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20/12/06 - Day 45 - Monte Albán, Oaxaca - Mexico - 8172 miles
Heading up to Oaxaca! Our German friends left the Pemex sooner than us. To explain you the facts, Oaxaca was in the latest months in a certain insurrection, from the month of May 2006 to the month of December. More than one million students, for the majority issued of poor families, were private from teaching due to this conflict, including 70 000 teachers from the Oaxaca state.
This rebellion was the expression of a profound social disagreement in this state of the Mexico, one of the most underdeveloped State with the Chiapas, neighbor state. "Oaxaca is a state made of poverty and social injustices that generated a lot of social movements, but no one had ever reach this point.", mention Porfirio Santibanez, from the institute of research in human sciences of the university Benito Juarez of Oaxaca. The governor Ulises Ruiz, from the revolutionary instutional party (PRI in Spanish), the ex-party hegemonic of the Mexico, was the target of all thoses opression and persecution accumulated and the people who were manifesting were requesting nothing less than his head. So the thing who started everything: Like every year, at the end of May, the teachers mobilised themselves to request a social re-valorization.The intervention of the police 3 weeks later was the excess point.
So, Oaxaca is one of the beautifulest city we visited at this time! We can't believe there was a big conflit with about 9 people who died and some molotov coktails and gunshot, people seems to live quietly with a smile. We just tried to find the indications to go to the Monte Albán ruins, (indications were not evident everytime here it's important to know). After a good 30 minutes, we finally found the right street!
Which street, a really narrow road, but the view we had from Oaxaca is just incredible! So now some history to explain you the ancien Zapotec civilisation that lived here and their empire.
First of all, Monte Albán is situated at about 2000 meters (3200 feets) below the sea level, in the greenery valley of Oaxaca. This empire was founded by the Zapotecs about 500 years before the year 0, and 3 century that followed. The civilisation who lived there, with the one of Teotihuacan and the Olmecs, the one who had the most influenced the civilisations of the meso-american period. This empire was militarily advanced, just when you look at the situation of Monte Albán. You can see miles and miles around in the valley!
Monte Albán was an intelectual and artistic city. One of the construction was dedicated to the astronomy, the observation of the stars but also, to calculate agricultural cycles, to predict seasonal changes and to determine the proximity of the rainy season, as well as the time to recollect medicinal plants. Also, as a result of these observations, prophesies were made and constructions, streets, avenues and plazas were oriented toward the cardinal points.
On the site, you can also find lot of "danzantes", stone sculpture and things burned on the rock. The most part represent probably nude man, maybe dead sacrified prisoners, to show the big militarily strengh that Monte Albán owned. Some specialists think that it can also represent handicapped people (Autism, Trisomy...) because those people were probably magic people or shaman.
With those drawings on the rock you can also find some glyphs and dates, which show the using of the calendar and writing by those civilisations and their willing to record and remember some events.
So now, it is okay for the history. If you want to know more about this subject, just make some research on the internet. We saw our German friends there and talked with them before continuing our visit. This site is incredible and always in restoration, some constructions remain to be restore and some others to be principaly reconstructed. Everything is keep in good condition, a man was cleaning some places like stairs during another team was restoring a building and another was cleaning bad herbs with their machetes.
Around 2 o'clock, we finally ended our visit of this really huge archeologic site. We took the road to Oaxaca to find a market and buy some food before taking back the road heading up to Huatulco, where we'll find a Pemex to past the night.
Here is the map of the day!
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Before leaving.. - First day in Montreal - Second day in Montreal
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Préparation d'avant-départ - Départ de Thetford Mines - Fin de semaine à Montréal
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - 27 - 28 - 29 - 30 - 31 - 32 - 33 - 34 - 35 - 36 - 37 - 38 - 39 - 40 - 41 - 42 - 43 - 44 - 45 - 46 - 47 - 48 - 49 - 50 - 51 - 52 - 53 - 54 - 55 - 56 - 57-85 - 86-130 - 131 - 132 - 133 - 134 - 135 - 136 - 137 - 138 - 139 - 140 - 141 - 142 - 143 - 144 - 145 - 146 - 147 - 148 - 149 - 150 - 151 - 152 - Retour à Thetford Mines