Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Summer 2007 Car Trip - 11

Hard for me to believe, but it was a little over a year ago, May 15 to be exact, that the events I am going to tell you about took place. I wish I were doing the trip all over again. But with maybe a little variance in the route. So.....

We were once again up early and had consumed breakfast and enough coffee to keep us awake for hours. Everybody who had signed up for this tour met outside the tour office. Our driver appeared and we were escorted to a three seater mini van. Of course, the really cute girl from Argentina got to sit up front next to the driver. Best seat in the van. The rest of us, a couple from Germany, two ladies about our age from Mexico City and the three of us, were left to figure out our own seating. The middle seat was wider because one of the seats raised up to let the passengers into the last seat. We took the hot, no air movement back seat. And off we went.

Our first stop was the giant Arbol del Tule. This is the world's largest tree, located in the village of Santa Maria del Tule, a short drive from the outskirts of Oaxaca. Once there, we were disgorged and given a time limit for our visit. The first thing you see is this sign.

This tree is impressive to say the least. Scholars think that it may be as old as 6000 years, but many more believe it to be around 3000 years. Still, impressive. It is also called the Tree of Life because there are so many animal looking figures hidden among the limbs and gnarls. I don't think I captured any in this picture though.

I read somewhere that this giant, ancient tree is in danger. The surrounding population has grown and the increased need for water is depleting the ground source this tree depends upon. I think UNESCO needs to step in here and try to do something to preserve it. I doubt that the Mexican government would give any resources to doing this.

Another picture of the whole tree.

To read more about this fascinating tree, go here.

After walking around and around this tree and enjoying the gardens nearby, we had time to walk next door to the government building. I was fascinated by these palm trees.

They are so huge I could hardly believe that they are real. That's me posing in front of the middle one, to give you some scale. Remember these trees. We will be talking about them later on again.

We were ushered like little tourist sheep back into the van and headed out for our next stop, the Teotitlan del Valle. This is the famous valley area just outside of Oaxaca that is full of weavers. The main reason we had wanted to come to Oaxaca. While waiting to hear about that, enjoy this little trailer of the mountain road we had to travel that day.

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