Oaxaca is a beautiful city, full of amazing restaurants and many beautiful buildings.  The zocalo always has something happening.  Whether it is families socializing or protests underway it is lively.  We’ve been a few times now, and will be a few more I’m sure.


The zocalo is the heart of all Mexican communities, big or small.  Families gather, young people “court”, vendors sell necessities like balloons and ice cream, and music is everywhere.  At any time of day the zocalo is entertaining, but Sundays are particularly lively.

We had a great place to stay in Oaxaca this time, loving AIRBNB for granting us access to these places – so nice to have a place that feels like home to relax and enjoy while being able to explore whatever area we are in.


We have explored the ruins of Monte Alban a few times, and are always amazed at the sheer size of it all.  Originally home of Zapotec people, these ruins are still being uncovered.  This visit we explored Atzompa, newly discovered!  Seriously, Mexican officials and archeologists must be suspiciously looking at every hillside and wondering what is underneath.


We took a collectivo taxi up to this area, about 8 km from Oaxaca itself, and then continued uphill to explore the ruins.  It is crazy that every time you think you have reached the top you only uncover more terraces.



From here you can look across at Monte Alban – they were all part of the same community, and the vantage point is incredible.dsc03249

dsc03241The ever present ball court …. maybe we find them so fascinating because of the soccer similarities … you can use any part of your body except your hands.  Authorities are divided on whether the loser or winner was sacrificed ….. it is a great honour to be sacrificed though so I guess it is all depends on your point of view.



The flora …… Honestly I don’t often take so many photos of flowers in Mexico but the flowers alongside the ruins and the road leading up to it were just stunning, and I couldn’t help myself.

From the site, we walked down the road (2 km) to the nearest town in order to get a taxi back to Oaxaca.  You really don’t ever know what you are going to encounter along the roads in Mexico.



From livestock to world renowned potter …. this roadside gallery was a real surprise.



It was only 2 km from the archeological site to the town, but it was hot!


Every year we try to bring back a couple of “Servin” mugs … the pottery is a marvel – wonderful to hold, perfect for coffee or tea and so beautiful.fullsizeoutput_4759



It seems like there is a cathedral on every corner in Mexico, and it is likely true.  They are absolutely beautiful, and regardless of your religion it is a wonderful spot to just sit and take a moment … maybe just to realize how lucky we are to travel.


We toured the Cultural center and once again, we marvel at both the building and the art it houses.  dsc03213


This is the ceiling …. seriously …. this much effort going into the ceiling.  dsc03221

dsc03212Yes, more ceilings …. how on earth did they do this?


Every floor had an area where they had outside space – no doubt to reflect and appreciate your environment.  This one overlooked the ethnobotanical gardens below.


As for the food ….. oh my goodness ….  eating in Oaxaca is a foodie dream.  We had outstanding food here.dsc03234

Origen Restaurant – the food here is without doubt picture perfect and the flavours live up to the image, I’d encourage anybody to eat here.

In fact, every meal we ate in Oaxaca was outstanding.  We kept saying “that was the best, I’d like to eat here again!”  We need more time in Oaxaca to do that.

However, it is time to move on ….. time for Mexico City!


Mercado del dia Zaachila & Culture Night 20 Nov 2014

Mercado del dis Zaachila means (I hope) that today is market day in the small town of Zaachila. We hopped a collectiva to get out there. If you haven’t ridden in one – basically a collectiva is any mode of transport that follows a set route, and you hop on and off as you need, but only on that specific route. It can be anything from a taxi to a truck!

Our first chore this morning was walking up to AeroTucan to purchase flights down to Puerto Escondido – we had originally planned to rent a car and drive down to the coast, staying in the rain forest along the way. However, after we stayed an extra day in Mexico city for Grant’s recovery we all thought it might be easiest to just fly down there. Vivian and Wilson were all for that, particularly as Vivian gets a bit carsick and that long trip along the ridge of the mountain would be a challenge. She thought it would be much easier to fly …. until she saw that we are going to be on a 9 passenger plane … ha ha – Vivi certainly has risen to a lot of challenges this trip – she’s a trooper though and both she and Wilson have been amazing at this different sort of trip.

On our way down to get the collectiva we saw so many cute kids – all dressed up as either Revolutionaries, caballeros (cowboys), Abuelitas (indigenous women) or Pancho Villa (hero). I did manage to get a couple of cute photos. Today is their national day of celebration of independence and all the preschool and primary school children regularly do this.

all ready for celebrating Independence Day

all ready for celebrating Independence Day

She was so cute, and happy to have her photo taken.

She was so cute, and happy to have her photo taken.

The market was fascinating. All the indigenous folk come in from the mountains to do their shopping, and their selling. So many fruits, vegetables, chickens, nuts, weavings, pretty much anything you can think of. They even have a lumber section – you can buy your firewood, or charcoal or even building material.

Most stalls are maintained by women, but there are a fair share of men doing the job also - you could buy anything here!

Most stalls are maintained by women, but there are a fair share of men doing the job also – you could buy anything here!

It was easy to imagine these old gals meeting up every week to chat.

It was easy to imagine these old gals meeting up every week to chat.

I've never seen black corn!

I’ve never seen black corn!

Every display is so enticing.

Every display is so enticing.

Chicken or turkey for dinner?  It doesn't get much fresher than this.

Chicken or turkey for dinner? It doesn’t get much fresher than this.

Picking up the weekly load of firewood.

Picking up the weekly load of firewood.


So delicious. Following dinner we went to a percussion concert – 6 amazing performers – all free.
[caption id="attachment_2501" align="alignnone" width="584"]Percussionists - amazing. Percussionists – amazing.

The most incredible aspect is that you are listening to such brilliant music in an incredible venue – all of a sudden you look up and the ceiling is elaborately finished and you realize you are in a first class art gallery!

And then – imagine our delight when we realized the opera house was hosting a free Shastikovich concert – I tell you that cellist had magic fingers and brought the audience to tears.

We attended a free Shastikovich concert here - stunning building inside and out.

We attended a free Shastikovich concert here – stunning building inside and out.

The inside of the dome. The inside of the dome.[/caption]
no flash allowed - but you get the idea of the grandeur no flash allowed – but you get the idea of the grandeur[/caption

Perhaps most Mexican of all was that throughout each concert we could hear the chants of protestors and the beat of their drums while indoors, in these incredible locations, it was a different world.

Things are heating up in Oaxaca – the protestors are all still here – and are setting up camp in many of the streets. It is hard to imagine in Canada that people would just arrive, string tarps across the streets and set up a tent underneath it – on major streets! Obviously they feel very strongly that it is time for a change.

Tomorrow we are off to En Via – this tour will take us to the homes of 3 separate women, operating on micro loans to help sustain their families, and hopefully break the line of poverty.