Good food, big markets, nice buildings and a good tour
18.01.2012 - 20.01.2012 25 °C
I got to Oaxaca on Wednesday morning and spent the whole morning exploring the city's huge markets. The first one is a standard market selling fruits and vegetables, meats, sweets, clothes, some souvernirs etc. All the local specialities could be found here, such as quesadillo, a stringy cheese sold in the form of a ball, mole, a sauce that comes in different versions of different colours, containing very interesting combination of ingredients, and mezcal. The second market is one that mainly has comedores, restaurants selling the typical local dishes and bakeries in it. Here I ate mole negro con pollo, meaning chicken with rice, tortillas and the black mole. The sauce is very special, containing chili, nuts, onions and cocoa beans among others. It was strange, but very tasty! The third market is a handicrafts market where all the typical local artesanal products can be found. I bought some nice souvenirs here.
In the afternoon I went to the Santo Domingo convent where a museum about pre-Columbian cultures is now being housed. It was very interesting with a lot of information and many beautiful artefacts. I spent much more time there than I had planned.
I then went for a walk around more of the town, but suddenly my legs started hurting a lot. I had gotten a lot of mosquito bites in Puerto Escondido (I counted more than 50!) and I seemed to suddenly have a bad allergic reaction to them. My legs were bright red, full with small red dots and burning so much I could barely walk anymore. I went to the pharmacy where the pharamcist sent me to the doctor next door. He was shocked at the sight of my legs and prescribed me some strong medication against the allergy. On top of my legs hurting so much I started feeling very ill, so I went to bed and watched a movie...
The next morning, I was feeling better, although my legs were still very painful and red. I decided to take a tour which would not involve too much walking that day.
We first went to El Tule, where the tree with the widest trunk in world stands. It was massive! An impressive sight.
Then, we drove on to Hierve el Agua. There is water bubbling out of the ground on a hilltop, which looks like it's boiling, hence the name. The water creates a pool in which you can go swimming. And where the water runs down the hill, petrified waterfalls have formed. The whole site was incredible. The views from another, higher hill were just amazing. I did not dare to go swimming because of my legs though...
After lunch, we went to Mitla, an archaeological site of the Zapotec culture. It is small, but the buildings are very intricately decorated.
We continued to a mezcal factory where we got some explanations and demonstrations on the making process of the alcoholic beverage and then got to try different types of mezcal. I especially liked the 8 year old mezcal and the hazelnut cream.
The last stop of the tour was a textile factory. We were shown how the wool is spun, died with different natural products and weaved. I had seen this all before on other tours, but the rugs and other products made here were different and beautiful.
That night, the English girl I travelled with for 5 weeks arrived in Oaxaca, so we started travelling together again for a few days. We tried some more grasshoppers that night (she did not like them and I found that they were not as good as the last ones) and then went out to a bar to see some of Oaxaca's nightlife.
In the morning, we took a bus to Monte Ablán, another archaeological site. This is the most important Zapotec ruin. It was big and the buildings were great. It was a good and interesting visit.
Back in town, we went to the food market and I tried another typical dish, the tlayula. This is one of the many tortilla dishes they have in Mexico, the tlayula being a huge round deep-fried tortilla served with salad, meet, cheese and of course chili sauce on top. It was again a very good dish.
I then went to visit a couple of art museums. Both very nice but quite small. Then I spontaneously decided to get a hair cut, which I had wanted to do for a while already. As usual, they did not just cut the ends and my hair ended up a bit shorter than I would have liked... But it looks good, that's the main things.
On the way back to the hostel I found that a live band was playing on the main square, so I stopped there and listened to them for a while. When they finished I went back home and spent the night there until we had to leave to the bus station to get our night bus to Mexico City.