Travels to Oaxaca

Read by Sue Anderson

(4.5 stars; 12 reviews)

Botanical Piracy! A French botanist plots to steal red dye cochineal insects from Spanish Mexico and transplant them and their cacti hosts to the French Caribbean. The year is 1776. Nicolas-Joseph Thiéry de Menonville is a fast talker and a quick thinker. Botanist and physician by training, he insinuates his way from Port-au-Prince, first to Havana and then to the Mexican mainland on the ruse that he is searching for a botanical cure for gout. In Vera Cruz, however, his passport is confiscated, and the Viceroy orders him to leave Mexico on the first available ship. There are three weeks to wait before the ship sails. Thiéry de Menonville concocts a daring plan. Circulating the story that he is spending the interval before his departure at the country estate of an alluring widow, he instead climbs over the city wall of Vera Cruz in the dead of night and sets out on foot for Oaxaca and its cochineal plantations, no matter that he is ignorant of the exact route to take. Not daunted, he stops at a monastery and tells the monks he has made a vow to walk on foot to Nuestra Señora de la Soledad in Oaxaca, and the monks point him on the right road. How Thiéry de Menonville succeeds in bringing living cactus and cochineal insects to the French colony of Saint-Domingue is a non-stop adventure tale. - Summary by Sue Anderson (10 hr 30 min)


A Plot is Laid; Arrival at Havana 30:34 Read by Sue Anderson
Havana - Life and Times 25:48 Read by Sue Anderson
Obtains a Passport to Visit Veracruz 27:01 Read by Sue Anderson
Provincial Society at Veracruz 30:54 Read by Sue Anderson
Veracruz - City and Fortifications 31:23 Read by Sue Anderson
Birds, Insect Bites, and Gossip Aplenty 28:54 Read by Sue Anderson
Ordered to Leave Mexico; A Desperate Plan 25:37 Read by Sue Anderson
Sets Out, Illegally, for Oaxaca on Foot 31:13 Read by Sue Anderson
Reaches Orizaba; Visits a Monastery; A Temptation of the Flesh 32:36 Read by Sue Anderson
Tehuacan; Negro and Indian Labor; Turtles; Pulque; Offended Pride 30:46 Read by Sue Anderson
Tehuacan to Oaxaca: San Sebastian, Los Cues, Quiotepec, Cuicatlan 28:58 Read by Sue Anderson
Sees First Cochineal Plantations 28:53 Read by Sue Anderson
Arrives in Oaxaca: Secures Cochineal and Vanilla 31:21 Read by Sue Anderson
Starts Back to the Coast 28:16 Read by Sue Anderson
Praise for Native Justice; A Customs Inspection 29:34 Read by Sue Anderson
Animosity Between Blacks and Indians 28:52 Read by Sue Anderson
Safely Back at Veracruz with the Cochineal 26:21 Read by Sue Anderson
8 June 1777 Sails from Veracruz with Stolen Cochineal 26:15 Read by Sue Anderson
A Stop at Campeachy; Dyewood Smuggling 29:04 Read by Sue Anderson
Dissects a Porpoise and 2 Sharks 25:14 Read by Sue Anderson
A Mix-Up with the American Revolution: Encounter with the Ship "Boston" 27:25 Read by Sue Anderson
Lands Cochineal at Saint-Domingue; Offers Sophistic Defense of Botanical Piracy 25:40 Read by Sue Anderson


Less Adventure, More Botany & Travel

(3 stars)

This isn't a rip-roaring tale, although there are some adventurous elements to it. It's more a personal journal, much of which is filled with sea voyage (the weather conditions, how many leagues were made that day) and botany ("I saw a lovely cactus, about 4 feet in height, with 3 inch thorns and purple flowers"). In this way it reminded me of a nonfiction version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was still interesting, though, with the cultural references and incidents of travel. I could trace at least his general route through Mexico using Google Maps as I listened along. Sue is a good reader, very easy to understand. Thanks for the contribution, Sue!

(5 stars)

Hi this book has no stars so I’m givin it fiv