Oaxaca . . . Land of the Magic Mushrooms

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner

Monte Alban, Mitla & the French hippie girls

One Summer In Mexico – Part 45

It was the summer after the Summer of Love.  The Hippie Era was at its peak and the beginning of its end. During August 1970,  many thousands of European young people, mostly from France, flooded into the Mexican state of Oaxaca to gather its famous Magic Mushrooms and then attend a festival on the Pacific Coast.  

I was in Oaxaca on a fellowship to study the archaeological sites of Monte Alban and Mitla.   My path crossed those of seven beautiful “wannabe” hippies from Lyon, France.  They invited me to camp out with them just outside the gate of the Monte Alban Archaeological Zone.  I had never even been inside a tent with a female then found myself jammed into a two-person tent with three of the young women.

It is a true story of two magnificent archaeological sites, passionate romance, comedy and tragedy as told by 228 painstakingly restored, 50-year-old,  color slides – converted into a “movie” . . . with the addition of music, sound effects and a commentary.   You will become an eyewitness to the days of free love and psychedelic drugs.  You will also see spectacular views of Monte Alban and Mitla, plus the natural landscapes of Oaxaca, when the main highways were little more than a gravel roads. This video discretely describes “adult” activities such as illegal drugs and a budding romance between two architecture students from different continents.  It is inappropriate for children. 

If you did not experience this era, you will find this “snapshot” from the recent past, especially fascinating.

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