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Xavier Mary and Eva L’Hoest at Galerie Albert Baronian, Brussels

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ROUTE 175

Oaxaca to Ocotlan: Takes about 40 minutes, initially with urban sprawl out of the city, and then gently rolling hills with a few strong curves, vegetation predominantly agave and corn under cultivation.

Ocotlan to Ejutla: Takes about 25 minutes, with long easy straight-aways and occasional curves and gentle hills. Once again agave and some corn, with a number of outcrops of carriso (river reed used for making ceilings, roofs and fences). Known for its Thursday market, with sale of animal skins.

Ejutla to Mihuatlan: Takes about 35 minutes, with more pronounced curves and hills, and easy-to-navigate peaks and valleys through similar vegetation and some mixed brush. Just keep going straight and the highway takes you out of the city.

Mihuatlan to San Jose del Pací co: Takes about 50 minutes. Leaving Mihuatlan you’ll see the impressive mountain range in front of you, which you quickly begin to climb. You’ll note the temperature change quite readily, as you witness the dramatic change in vegetation. In addition to deciduous trees including scrub oak, you’ll see an abundance of conifers, mainly pine. The agave changes from espadín under cultivation, to very different and impressive wild varieties along the side of the road, growing from rock outcrops, some reaching an immense size, with stock (chiote)shooting up from its core dwar ng many of the surrounding trees.This segment of the trip, and the next with descent to Pochutla, are characterized predominantly by signi cant mountain switchbacks. San Jose del Pací co is noted for the sale of locally harvested hallucinogenic mushrooms, in particular during the rainy season, and therefore you’ll come across roadside workshops selling hand-made wooden mushrooms as well as other hand-crafted products. You can rent a cabin if you wish to break up the trip and spend the night.

San Jose del Pací co to Pochutla: You’ll continue to climb for about another 10 minutes until you reach El Manzanal, then begin the descent. This portion of the trip takes about two hours and 25 minutes. You’ll begin to detect another signi cant temperature change, depending on the facing of the portion of mountain you are descending relative to the sun. At different portions of the stretch you’ll pass by a couple of waterfalls and three or four smaller rivulets spilling across the highway, goats and donkeys, home construction of wood, pine cones on the roadway, brilliant orange owered bromeliads, wild orchids, large expanses of boston-like ferns, and perhaps one or two patches of fog. For several kilometers you’ll encounter a sweet smell similar to that of maple syrup. Because of the steep descent, you may even detect the smell of burning rubber, but don’t worry, it’s likely a truck up ahead having brake problems. At about four hours into the trip you’ll begin to hear tropical insect and bird sounds and calls, and see bananas and sugar cane under cultivation and for sale, with coffee and honey also offered at roadside stands. On the approach to Pochutla the roadway will then gradually straighten out, with curves much easier to navigate. Tropical grasses predominate the roadside landscapes. An indication that you’re getting closer with be blown sand encroaching part of the roadway, and nally a sign stating “Iguana Hunting Prohibited.” A short while later you’ll see the sign pointing to the right forthe Puerto Escondido bypass.

Pochutla to Puerto Escondido: Takes about an hour. Highway 175 ends at a “Y”, so veer to the right and you’re on highway 200, following along the Paci c. However, you won’t be able to see the ocean for about 40 minutes. You’ll pass by the exit to Puerto Ángel, Mazunte and Zipolite. The entire nal leg of the trip is basically straight and at. For the last half hour or so you’ll see mango, papaya and coconut under cultivation.

17.3.17 — 15.4.17

Galerie Albert Baronian

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