When I left early next morning I noticed I'd left a puddle of water, and some oil had run down the side of one of the inner back tyres. Hmmpph.

The scenery was incredible.

That's looking north. To the south it was all green, and forests. Just beautiful big green mountains.

The radio was still not working. I realised it had gone out soon after the last welding job when the battery was disconnected. I looked around the batteries. There were 2 parts of a plug just asking to be joined up. I joined them and the radio lit up, with everything it had got. It showed it all, warning messages, everything, on the tiny screen. None of the buttons worked, even the off button. I decided there must be a code to restart it, which I don't know, thought maybe I'd have to buy a new radio, and disconnected the wire.

Then during the next 30 minutes, whilst driving, I though, surely the off button would still work? I reconnected the wires and this time everything worked perfectly. I have no idea why. The only problem is, I can't remember how I set the clock on the radio. Maybe I'll have to fork out $10 for one of the on line radio manuals they sell from Russia. Or look at my watch if I want to know the time.

I was now descending towards Oaxaca.

I stopped for lunch and after lunch investigated the water leak. The water pipe from the sink which is supposed to go into the waste water tank was not. I guess it dropped out, and was never put back when the supports for the tank were fixed. After a lot of struggling I got it back where it should be.

From Oaxaca, I retraced my route a little, I wanted to see the oldest tree in the world, I'd missed it on the way down, and my Japanese friend 池田 眞彦 (translates to Masahiko Ikeda) had said it was well worth seeing. It's big.

A Montezuma Cypress. akin to the Bald Cypress. The trunk is 58m circumference, 14.5 m diameter. Between 2000 and 3000 years old. Total weight over 600 tons, over 800,000 cubic metres. Probably the largest living thing in the world. Also quite amazing was the almost deafening sounds of birdsong from the inhabitants of the tree.

I checked with the tourist police about parking for the night, they said to park behind the church, they also gave me directions to a mechanic, to fix my oil leak. He starts at 8 am. I'll be there!

I bought some tequila from a roadside stall, after tasting it. 25 pesos a bottle. Nice bottle too, handpainted. Don't know what it may do to your eyesight though after 4 or 5 shots.

I had a lovely quiet night behind the church, and met up with the mechanic in the morning. It was quite a busy place, there were 5 mechanics, plus the boss. The found a damaged seal and replaced it. Took about an hour and a half. 200 pesos. Seems I'm back to regular Mexican rates. That's not expensive.

Although I got to thinking. The guy who checked the brakes in Campeche took the half shafts out. I wonder if he damaged the seal while doing that? And the thing which was loose that I thought was exhaust gasket blowing was something that had been removed then put back when the head gasket was replaced. The welding repair on the propane tank melted some wires. And the welding on the waste water tank caused a leak from the sink because the pipe was not put back, and maybe disconnecting the battery caused the radio problem. Maybe I'm imagining it or maybe you just get what you pay for.

I continued on my earlier route a touch more, to the Zapotec ruins at Dainzu. Most of the ruins I've seen have been Maya but there are many similarities. It's older than most ruins I have seen, starting about 700 BC continuing up to 300 AD. I took a photo of someone going to plough.

Whilst in the area I popped over to look at a local church but the doors were closed. The paved plaza was very impressive, particularly as the village was at the end of a mile long unpaved road.

In Oaxaca the church Santo Domingo was very impressive, both outside

and inside

The main plaza was nice too, even if rather full of balloon sellers.

I climbed high up to the observatory above the town.

I'd decided to stay the night at a trailer park up in the hills around the left. I had directions but did not realise the road in was so bad or so steep. I'd just decided to give up and turn in an entrance when I saw the sign on the gate, trailer park. I joked with the American owner, I asked if he gave a discount to first timers for finding the place. He said everybody told him he was the cheapest campground in Mexico! Turns out that at 75 pesos he was the most expensive I have ever stayed in. That's not including the car park at Playa del Carmen. There was a good view over Oaxaca though.

Best regards

David Barker


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