Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sat 12 Sept - Oaxaca exploring and sampling

Our first full day in Oaxaca started with a simple breakfast in the court yard of our hotel.  Sort of continental with a Mexican twist. 
We've seen this a few times - sot of "wet"nachos and beans for breakfast called Chilaquiles. Had to be tried. It was good.

Di went for a wander before our 10am tour to Monte Alban.  First stop the laundry - after a week the clean clothes are running out. All good for timing and picking and also easy with a drop off back at the hotel. 

Woohoo - Di also found proper coffee (a bonus for Lisa who found they only do instant coffee at breakfast).  Whilst out and about Di also the Goethe Institute.  What the...not sure of the history here.

Our tour was scheduled to be 3.5 hours and leaving for Monte Alban at 10am.   We waited for our transport and at 10.30 the tour host said there was a problem and could we change to another day. Nope we have lots more to do here, so they put us on another transport and we got to Monte Alban a bit later.

Monte Alban (basically white mountain) is an important archaeological site of the ancient Zapoteca people, who started here 500BC.  They stayed here until 750AD when years of drought pushed them out to the east coast. The Zapoteca were very advanced in medicine, astronomy and get-physical engineering.  The whole place is laid out pure square to compass points and had a university, a hospital and amazing acoustics. They also believed in renovating their buildings every 52 years.   

We met up with our guide and he switched between English and Spanish to explain this place to us using a model of the buildings uncovered (which is only 10%) of what they know is here and nearby.

Gotta love that women were the powerful ones in this society - the emperor was a woman.  But we did also hear that on average each woman gave birth to 16 children. Surprisingly childhood mortality was not high as they knew medicines and had a hospital. 

All of the town is perched on the top of the mountain so the views are amazing. Also acted like a fortress but we did not hear about wars - these people were traders and had a robust economy. 
The main market square of Monte Alban behind us with the observatory.

The market square for "Imports" and the fantastic view. The Zapoteca were also called the people,of the clouds. 
Our guide was great - Explaining the real life of these people with some humour thrown in. 

Ancient football was played here with a 3.5kg ball. No heading or kicking, they just used arms, shoulders and bums. 

The centre for the priests. 

After 2 hours we were back at the entry and the tour guide told us our bus should be soon coming to a carpark nearby. So we went and waited, and waited, and waited...

It's a good thing the view down to Oaxaca was so beautiful as Lisa and Di sat and watched and waited for an hour for our transport back.  A communication breakdown somewhere. It was hot and we were hungry But managed with apples we had taken from breakfast and Saltines from dinner last night. 

A few attempts to get help and information were tried before our bus turned up. Lisa was more successful by finally reaching the hotel by phone (provided by Monte Alban cafe staff) just as our bus turned up.

Once the bus arrived it was smooth and fast sailing down the steep windy roads to Oaxaca. 

We were dropped off near the Artisan markets and started to explore together but realised we needed drinks, food for Di and to do different shopping so agreed to meet back at the hotellater.  The markets here are brilliant and sell everything but after some shopping Di needed a break. 

So she opted for local drink and food in a crowded place. The lunch today was Carne Asada - very delicious very thinly sliced BBQ beef that you warp in a very thin tortilla.

Meat lovers heaven and absolutely delicious.  You can pay more and get salad and condiments but Di was too hungry and just ate meat and tortilla like a starving person. The girls at the same table kept giggling!

A drop off back at the hotel of purchases and then out again to exchange $US. Its a cash town so shopping is making a dint in Di's supply. 

Saturday afternoon and lots of people were on the streets wandering too. 

Into Zocolo the main square where there were lots of different activities, balloon sellers, buskers and people. Di sat and watched this energetic dancing girl for a while - she was great and deserved the handful of pesos Di contributed. 

After more shopping (shirts) and we met back in the room (timed well as Lisa and Di both arrived within a minute of each other). We had a short break before we set off for dinner.  

Heading out for dinner we did something that had to be done... Ate Chipulinas.  Small fried and flavoured insects.  On the way I tried one tiny one with salt and lemon flavour. It was tolerable but a bigger chilli flavoured one had me spitting out! Lisa bought a bag of them. 

After a nice dinner, reasonably priced we headed to a Mezcal specialist that Lisa had found. They offered a Mezcal sampling with a lesson.   We have a whole new appreciation of Mezcal versus tequila.  Quite yummy but very strong. 

Our learning and tasting map.  Mezcal is very pure as only water, and perhaps a worm for flavour and colour, are added.  But flavours can vary like whiskey based on age and the type of Agave plant used. 

And a "brave" selfie of us after the Mezcal appreciation. Yes we appreciated!

A big day and really interesting but now it's Buenas Noches. 

No comments:

Post a Comment