After an annoying experience with Mexicana Airlines that resulted in us having NO connecting flight from Mexico City to Oaxaca...we were able to hitch a ride with Bret and Kevin. They arrived in Mexico City a few hours after us and had already planned to drive down to Oaxaca. It was a really fun drive and it gave us a good idea of what the roads would be like on the race. or so we thought.
Oaxaca (Wa-ha-ka) is a beautiful old town in southern Mexico, known for its history, as well as its cheese. (Oaxacan cheese is SOOO good.) It is also home to the tree with the stoutest trunk in the world. The Tule Tree. We didn't have time to see it.
We spent our time in Oaxaca schlepping back and forth between our hotel, the baseball stadium (where the cars and registration were), and Bret & Kevin's hotel (where most of the other Unlimited Class drivers were staying as well.)
We had decided to upgrade our hotel for Oaxaca, since we would be there for a few days. The hotel was beautiful - it used to be a convent. One day at breakfast, Emil was quietly checking email and I was enjoying my "pancakes" (which I learned is Mexican for "French Toast"), soothing monk-chants were wafting through the courtyard - when we simultaneously stopped and looked at each other. We recognized the chant. It was "Losing my Religion" by REM. In monk-chant. It was followed by the chanting of "Save a prayer" by Duran Duran. I need to find that CD!
The night before qualifying, there was a meeting held for the co-pilotos only. It became clear that our jobs were THE jobs of the race. We were to be in charge of everything and we had every right to get out of a car and refuse to navigate if our pilotos weren't doing what we said. (nice!) After meeting some of my fellow co-pilotos, I knew that this would be a fun race!
Qualifying was fun and scary. We qualified 3rd of our class. I got motion sickness - which didn't set in until after the run was over and I could look up for more than 2 seconds. I realized that motion sickness was not an option at all, since I would be useless. Mind over matter. I never had it again.
I loved Oaxaca. Can't wait to go back! Next time I have to hug the Tule Tree.