We made it onto the flight to Oaxaca – I tell you – Interjet airline is the bomb. Loaded on time, lift off on time, big seats (compared to Air Canada) – a quick beverage of any kind, along with snacks, refills, and boom – touchdown in Oaxaca. Love it.
The taxi bounced over cobblestone streets to find our apartment – Casa Del Barrio. Oh My Gosh. Love it!! Turns out to have 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms a cozy living/dining area and a fully functioning kitchen. Not to mention 3 little decks! One off the front entry way, another off the kitchen and a larger one with hammock and outdoor dining set off the living room. That may all sound huge, but it isn’t – just very well organized. We will easily spend our week here!
We no sooner hit the streets and I was reminded why I love Oaxaca so much – streets are clean, wide, smooth and sidewalks are not only existent but they are well maintained. This beautiful old Colonial city has it’s Centro Historico designated as a heritage site and they have looked after that very well. The old buildings are just beautiful – so colourful and completely kept in traditional ways.
Our wanderings took us into the central zocalo where they were in full long weekend festive mode – booths set up everywhere. Browsing the stalls we made our way to one of the mercados – and thankfully for us they still had a few vegetable vendors working – most were already in festival mode and closed down. We stocked up on fruits and vegetables for a couple of days as well as huevos (eggs), wine and beer.
This morning Grant had us all on the road by 10:00 (yes, late for us) and we hailed a taxi to take us to Monte Alban – an archeological site first occupied around 500 BC – and at it’s peak probably around 350 – 700 AD. The Zapotec Indians occupied the top of a hilltop, and from that perspective you can see up and down all 3 valleys in the area, creating a Y. It is huge!
No sooner do you climb a structure, and you see that it stretches out in front of you on another terrace altogether. Even at all sides of the developed or explored structures you can see remnants of ruins that haven’t even been touched. It is incredible to think of a nation of people that have still left such evidence of their existence that it can be pieced together all these years later.
Even Lonely Planet calls it one of the most impressive ancient sites in Mexico, and it is easy to see why, with it’s 360 degree views. Over 150 decorated underground tombs have been found in this site, although they aren’t available to view.
We waited for a taxi to materialize at the top for a while, without success. Eventually one of the vendors flagged down a young worker from Monte Alban, and he gave us a ride down to town, for slightly more than the taxi out – a great deal since we didn’t see a taxi all the way back to town. I guess everybody was in festival mode in the city!
On arriving back in town we decided to eat Mexican style – Comida. This was a full meal – tortilla soup, bisteca with onions or chipotle (thinly pounded steak) that was presented with beans and guacamole, watermelon water, and finished with coffee and a brownie. 65 pesos. Yes, that is the equivalent of less than $5.00 Canadian. After all that exercise, sun and food – we retired to our home for a siesta. I think siestas came about after eating their big meal at this time of day ….
After siesta we went to La Biznaga for dinner …. Grant and I had eaten there years before, and honestly – the only thing I could really remember was the flan with mescal sauce ….. it was still on the menu! We enjoyed it just as much tonight …. yum yum. However, the biggest surprise was Wilson ordering a chicken dish with chappulines! (yes, grasshoppers) He thought they were pretty good!
More on Oaxaca to come – but be assured we are having a great time!