27 hours ago my girlfriend and I made last minute plans to go on a road trip to meet a friend in the mountains between Oaxaca city and the Pacific Ocean, but as with other classic oxymoron’s like ‘American culture’, ‘Military intelligence’ and a recently more concerning one, ‘non-stop flight’, ‘plans’ and ‘Mexico’ are two words that really don’t go together.

At the half way point of the 6 hour ‘hell ride’ to the beach from Oaxaca is a small village known as San José del Pacifico. The village is best known for the abundance of psychedelic mushrooms that grow naturally in the area. Of course, this means it’s also well known for the abundance of hippies who’ve been visiting since the 60’s and 70’s to engage with the beautiful natural surroundings of the 3000m high pine forests whilst off their heads.

Our plan was fairly simple. Get to San José by lunch, buy some mushrooms in town, then get a ‘collectivo’, (a shared utility truck) to the next town, San Mateo, where our friend was waiting for us in a cabin she was looking after. We’d then spend the afternoon ‘connecting with nature’, be back to reality by evening, cook dinner and chill out by a nice warm fireplace and head home next day.

What actually happened over the course of that 27 hours was weirder than any trip we could have gone in our minds*.

The general confusion started when we were given directions to a turn-off, which we discovered was closed once we got there. Standing in the rain with no transport, a woman near by told us that we could walk 2 hours to our destination. We decided to hitch back into town and get the correct directions. So now, after waiting almost an hour for the next share taxi, having purchased some pretty rank looking mushrooms that were preserved in a jar of honey, and in continual distress as five or six dogs played dodge with the passing highway traffic, we were on our way to find our accommodation.

When we finally arrived in San Mateo and eventually discovered the cabin, it was pouring rain and our friend was nowhere to be seen. Just before we’d decided to abandon the whole day and head home, she arrived to check one last time if we’d come before she left to go home herself.

We ate the mushrooms immediately as it was now 5:30pm. At this point things got significantly more ‘normal’, except of course for the visual effects, extremely heightened awareness of the scenery and the fact that we were laughing at everything each other said until we had tears streaming down our cheeks… Mission accomplished.

It was a fairly mellow trip and we did end up cooking a huge meal, drinking some wine and sitting around the fire until we all passed out fairly early.

Almost immediately next morning things were back to unpredictable calamity levels. We decided that we were going to miss our 8:30am bus when the open cabin truck we were taking back to San José began reversing down a steep muddy track to where a taxi was bogged. I watched our driver tie a rope from the back of our open cabin to the back axle of the taxi and start to pull the car out, and although I didn’t do anything, I could see exactly what was going to happen just as the rope snapped and flung directly toward us just missing our bodies.

Once back in San José we purchased tickets for the next bus, ate breakfast and were on our way home without incident only to finally discover that our driver thought he was a rally car racer. We then spent the next 3 hours being flung in all directions on the back seat of a packed suburban van with my legs squashed to my chest and an elderly woman trying to drink hot soup from a cup without spilling it on myself, or her young daughter… This trip was not over yet.

* Note: I’m fully aware that psychedelic mushrooms and plans is probably an oxymoron, but actually the mushrooms were the only part of the series of misadventures and bad decisions that went to plan perfectly.

 

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About The Author

Teagues

Eats more tacos than any mexican, but skinnier than any supermodel, Teagues is always moving. Once based in Sydney, this artist recently called Cambodia home but now resides in Oaxaca, Mexico. Don’t leave your old magazines laying around near him or he’ll cut them up and stick them on a canvas…and sell it for his next months’ worth of tacos.