Boca del Cielo, Chiapas
A tortoise is readying herself to lay her eggs on the beach at our feet, while a yellow crescent moon hovers over the open Pacific ocean. On the Pacific coast we were blessed to witness the entire process of tortoise love, from courting, copulating to egg laying, hatching and little tortoise prodigy in mass exodus to the ocean for their first swim. We gave a hand with the local tortoise farm volunteers here in Boca del Cielo harvesting or digging up the newborns and releasing the little webbed feet guys on the shore, and it was magical to watch them crawling towards the waves with a bravery that comes with preprogrammed instincts.
Vladi and I first headed out after a few weeks of chilling at his family’s home in DF to Oaxaca, Oaxaca. We arrived to this very city I have been frequenting these past five years I have lived in Mexico to see the zocalo full with striking teachers from Mexico’s public school system, SEP. Posters remembering Emiliano Zapata, Francisco Villa and Benito Juarez and demanding fair wages, open contract negotiations and the resignation of Oaxacan governer Ulises Ruiz were hung high from trees and the kiosk. Vladi’s brother Emiliano went with his organization to the camp-in for a week early September to offer help to the teachers union, and passed us on some contacts before we took off. Outside the city center, the atmosphere was grim and worrisome, as severe police brutality led to the chasing out of the teachers, and as the protesters returned, the police had retired and left in their place posters announcing crime alerts and instilling fear in the neighborhoods surrounding the center. We attempted the contacts but came out dry, as most organizers were working on a march and the actions of the following days, and we ended up booking bus tickets to the sierra mountain range in Oaxaca, none other than a town called San Jose del Pacifico. During the three hour drive through stunning Oaxacan scenery, we saw mixed reactions to the teachers strike graffited on the walls, some saying "give our teachers a living wage" and others "get off your lazy bums and teach our kids".
Once in San Jose, we camped, hiked, felt that rumble of an earthquake, ate great grub and contemplated the vast wilderness that surrounded us and the long road ahead. After a couple days we headed on to Mazunte beach on the Oaxaca coast, the beach that has been my bay to the Pacific Ocean all these years living in Mexico. Vladi and I have been coming back to this popular hippy beach year after year, and while this time we almost had the beach to ourselves, we happened to run into Mauricio,who was planning almost the same route in Guatemala and Honduras. He needed gas expense help and we needed some road tripping, so it is working out that we will spend another night here in Chiapas at this beach made famous in the Mexican movie Y tu mama tambien, head to the border, on to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala (where I stayed last summer... beautiful place!), down to Antigua and then up again to Copan, Honduras, back over the border to Livingston, Guatemala, and then up to Tikal. From there, Vladi and I will be on our own to head down through El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and finally Panama, which will either lead us to South America or to the Carribean!