Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When in Rome Oaxaca....

When we finally conquered our last speedbump on our endless curvy drive, we had arrived in Oaxaca City. In another failed attempt to find a RV park using our outdated guidebook (this time the only thing left was “ARK” painted on a wall) we quite happily parked ourselves at Casa de La Tia Tere B&B just a few blocks from the Zocalo. While the beaches we spent the past month enjoying were fabulous, we were both ready for a change and Oxaca was a great place to get re-immersed into the real Mexican culture. Aside from Mexico City, we’ve never seen a main plaza so grand – we almost felt like we were back in Rome!

Iglesia de Santo Domingo

inside the church everything was gold

the sun was a little too bright for me!

We spent most of our days in Oaxaca taking in the sights (there a bunch of churches), strolling the markets while sipping on various fruit juices (watermelon being my personal favorite), tasting Mezcal (a cousin to tequila made from maguey) and even eating some grasshoppers in the market (only Ben was so brave)!

molé, molé, molé & dozens of flowers

feeling a little crazy after eating the grasshoppers!

One morning after getting Dewey his first oil change and tire rotation, we made a side trip to Monte Albán (meaning White Mountain), the ancient Zapotec capital situated on a hillside above the city. Dating back to 500 BC, Monte Albán was occupied in 5 phases, ending in 950 AD. The center of a highly organized, priest-dominated society, it was the head of the central valleys which was comprised of at least 200 other settlements and ceremonial centers.

During another side trip we visited a nearby pueblo, San Bartolo Coyotepec, know for unique black ceramics and another (Teotitlán del Valle) where traditional tapetes (rugs) are woven where we learned about the process of tinting the wool naturally and watched weavers at work. Only 5 families in the valley are known for their quality work and market the majority of their goods in the US, especially in the west. One weaver was working on a 10x15 ft. special order rug that when finished would take 6 months and cost over $3000! Having admired the work all week in the markets, we made away with a smaller more affordable tapete that is sure to help make our new Guatemalan apartment feel more like a home.

weaving in the works


aaron said...

isn't that monte alban from the scene at the end of Nacho Libre? while watching that video i expected to see ben skipping through the screen in a baby blue velvet sweater suit.

Krista & Ben said...

Great idea...we'll keep it in mind the next time!