December 11th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
Monte Alban

Decided to visit Monte Alban today, + were able to discover that the next bus there departed at 11.30.  This left us with plenty of time, we thought, to get our shopping – just the usual necessities of life: bread + fruit.  Started the day with coffee as usual, by the square, + then, on the way to the bakery, ran into Franz + Annette once more.  A bit of a chat on the street corner, a leisurely pick thro’ the wares on offer at the panaderia, + then the sudden realisation that it was 11 o’clock, + we were suddenly in a dreadful hurry.  A brief pause to arrange to meet F + A later – they wished to leave their bags in our room – + then a mad dash, first to the market, then on to the hotel the bus left from.  We were, of course, in time.

Something of a hair-raising journey up there – the driver didn’t seem to believe in slowing down for corners, even with a precipitous drop on one side.  Monte Alban was certainly impressive – great pyramids, + the remnants of old buildings all grouped together + unspoilt by the garbage of modern man.  Not difficult to cast a mind back to what it must have been like.  And all the intervening area covered by grass, a softening, mellowing touch, making the ruins stand out so much more gracefully.  Our regret was that we were blessed by a tedious companion, a Canadian called Rob who did little but compare Monte Alban unfavourably with Chichen Itza.  The tour company allowed one about 2 hours to look around before returning, + that seemed about right to us, being non-experts I suppose, to see + appreciate all there was, especially since it was such a very hot day.

Back in Oaxaca, we relaxed in our room waiting for F + A, + then incurred the wrath of management later when they returned to collect their bags.  I think they thought we were sub-letting.  That evening we ventured out to look for somewhere cheap to eat, + ran into Lynda again – she really is very friendly + very funny.  Ate a sort of large taco at a street booth, Lynda being chatted up by some friendly local boys.  Thought I punctured my gum with a piece of taco – rounded off the evening with coffee at… where else?

Our regular problem with time – and still no watch.  (Though nowadays I note fewer people wear them, relying instead on their phones – I suppose that could count as one more piece of technology unavailable to us then, though I have to confess I find a watch far more sensible and accessible.)

Nice to meet up with old acquaintances – one of the side-benefits of taking a relatively well-travelled route.  Mind you, that did also open one up to the simultaneous danger of being landed with unwanted companions, such as our Canadian chap.  Mind you, there is a big clue as to the success or otherwise of relationships on the road with my comment about Lynda.  I have talked before about my rush to judgment on people we met, but one sure way to create a good impression was to be funny.  Or at least to have a good sense of humour.  I do like to laugh… though that does get me into trouble from time to time.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    I spent a day at Monte Alban in 2018, guided by one of the teachers at the school we attended. What a grand place, and I’d take it any day over Chitzenitza!

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