There are loads of places to visit in Oaxaca. One of the day trips I did was to Monte Alban, some ruins on the outskirts. Here's a short story of my trip there with a travelling friend, Uvlad.
|Well worth a visit. Monte Alban|
Photo by schizoform
At first I wasn’t that keen on visiting
“What is it anyway?” I
asked Uvlad, my first travelling friend, who leaving soon for Belize on a
“It’s an Archaeological
site, maybe you can learn something,” he said as he scanned his guidebook. We
were chilling out on the hammocks in the hostel terrace.
“Learn something? At an
old ruin?” Maybe he was right; I’d enjoyed my trip to Teotihuacan. “Go on then.”
Monte Alban, or White
Mountain in Spanish, was more interesting than I’d imagined, but the trip there
was mental. The crazy bus driver whizzed us round the curvy lanes and overtook
cars on blind corners.
“Look at those views,”
“I’d rather not,” I
said, trying not to peer over the cliff edge.
At the top we were
almost 2000 km above sea level.
“The Zapotecs started
building Monte Alban in 900 BC and finished 2000 years later,” Uvlad said as we
“Whatever,” I said,
still feeling slightly giddy. “There’s an amazing view though.” The light blue
sky was cloudless and the dry region of Oaxaca stretched out for miles.
How archaeologists get
their numbers fascinates me. There must be a knack to guessing the right age
for rocks, much like a good wine connoisseur. I imagined the Monte Alban
“Dear Charles, what do
you think of this one sweetie pie?”
“Well Margie darling,
looking at the carvings I’d say she has to be getting on a bit, wouldn’t you?”
“Yes, the texture is
ripe, isn’t it? Look at how the rock just peels of so charmingly. I’d say she
was an eight fifty.”
“My dear, I’d have to
disagree with you there, put her down for a nine hundred.”
|Great place for a game of Subbuteo!|
Monte Alban was like a
mini version of Teotihuacan. Between the north and south platforms was a
luscious green-grassed plaza with monuments in the middle and at the sides. We
climbed the steep staircase of the south platform and rested at the top.
“Bet you could have a
great game of Subbuteo here, eh Uvlad?” I said, gazing at the felt surface.
Uvlad was unaware of the delights of the miniature football game.
“We’re at the top of an
ancient ruin and all you can think about is a stupid football game,” he said
after I’d explained the rules to him.
“Stupid? Look at the
smooth surface; it would make a great pitch.”
“Yeah perfect, where’s
your culture?” He had a point.
We strolled round and
read notices about why things could have been built as they were and what could
have happened thousands of years ago. The information was mostly hypothetical,
but I guess they were experts.
Some of the Zapotecs
engravings were confusing.
“Are they dancing or
hunting?” I asked Uvlad. He read his guidebook and made appropriate
“There’s a debate about
whether the engravings are of dancers, or tortured prisoners of war who have
chopped off their penises."
We preferred them as
free happy dancers - with their important parts intact. The trip down was a lot
less frightening and we arrived in tact. I’d enjoyed my last exploration with
Uvlad. After that he took off to Belize and I never saw him again.
Labels: best places in Mexico, life in oaxaca, Mexico, monte alban, TEFL Mexico, trip to monte alban.