Guatemala City > Mexico City. We have both lived in Mexico for work or school at one point so we made a point to steer away from what we knew and to head south. The northern and southern parts of Mexico are vastly different, in geographic landscape, food, music, culture and political attention. Southern Mexico is still quite remote, slower paced and rich in Mayan culture. We had one road to follow through the vast, mountainous state of Oaxaca as we headed to its highlands state capitol, Oaxaca City. It is an UNESCO world heritage site and full of extraordinary handmade textiles, ceramics and rugs-rugs-oh-the-rugs. The pace is slower in Oaxaca and while farmland is given to residents of this state, there are very few good roads, farming technology or money coming in and out to make much of their land. As in most third-world countries, the farther away people are to the capitol city the farther away they are from government attention, resulting in less money, assistance and development. We also saw this as we continued to the southern-most state of Chiapas, which borders Guatemala and is one of the most beautiful land I’ve seening all of North America.
The driving part of our Mexico chapter was a delightful surprise of the month. There is such diversity in Mexico’s landscapes and weather, much like driving through the States. From our car windows, views changed by the hour — soft rolling hills, cactus-covered deserts, dramatic mountains and valleys, ranges for as far as the eye can see, clear blue lakes, rocky grasslands in white then orange then purple, jungles and swamps, cold and dry alpine forests, fog-covered passes, tropical lowlands in crazy bright greens.