Sunday morning is a quiet time on the streets, even at 9.30am.
One thing that has been amusing us these last few days is an operating metal detector set up on the way to the market. But most people just walk around it or roll their bikes and carts through it so it buzzes but the police do nothing. Plus on the opposite footpath there isn't a detector so why not use that side instead?
Today we opted for private transport to do a few specific things - visit the town of Tlacolula with Sunday makets, the worlds largest tree and a weaving specialist at Teotitlan. The tour was 4 hours and left at 11am. See our direction below.
A taxi with our driver Augustin picked us up and off we went.
It's great to see some local countryside. The Sierra Nevada and Sierra Juarez mountains are spectacular.
Main crops we saw along this route were maize and agave (for Mezcal). This is known as the Mezcal trail and there were tempting distilleries along the way. Agave is the spiky grey/blue plant in the foreground and they actually use the "pineapple" core for Mezcal.
First stop the weaving specialist family of Vasquez Gutierrez. Internationally famous following the artisan methods for every step of the process, aligning wool strands by hand, spinning, dying and hand weaving. His son demonstrates the steps here.
We also got to try.
Dying with indigo for the blue skeins of wool was interesting. In the water it looks green then when it is pulled out and oxidises it turns blue. Within minutes. You can see the colour changing here.
Di was tempted by charcoal chook for lunch but you had to buy a whole one. So no...
Like all markets there are spruikers and instead of the $1 standard price that we usually experience at Footscray markets (in Melbourne) here you constantly hear "a diez" which converts to pretty much the same amount, a dollar.
Some of the meat stalls look interesting but I'll skip the tripe thanks. And some other items Di just had no idea what they were.
Di did a little shopping - agave honey and an apron for cooking and then wandered back to meet Lisa at our taxi. Lisa came with various parcels too and found a woven wall hanging she liked, much cheaper.
The vehicle selection here is quite broad but we both like these "moto taxis"
After just over an hour here (not long enough) we headed off to El Tule which is supposed to be the worlds "stoutest" tree (in diameter and trunk size, but it's really tall too). You only get a true sense of it when you realise that there are about half a dozen people in the bottom left of this photo.
Whew bought an ice cream each and jumped back into the taxi to Oaxaca.
Arrived around 3pm and we opted for some quiet time. It had been a hot day. Di went searching for more water to drink and a shady location. Zocalo main square was perfect and quite relaxed. Only got asked to buy something about 3 times. The main government building is all done up ready for 16 September celebrations.
A while sitting here was enough for Di and then back to the hotel for panadol and a rest. Di suspects she is bit dehydrated
The expected thunderstorms rolled in around 5pm. Di was resting back at our hotel. Lisa on the other hand had headed back out to find a sandwich but managed to dodge the rain by being inside when the thunderstorms hit (including in a church with a mass finishing up). View from our room shows that rain thundered down. It lasted about an hour then stopped and left the city cooler. Nice.
Lisa made it back during a break and we opted to head out for an earlier dinner (7pm here) before the rain would start again.
On the way we went via Zocolo square again and came across this lovely dance performance. Very traditional and beautiful.
Dinner was non-traditional. We both ordered hamburgers, which were pretty good. You would think hamburgers were a local food. Lots of places serve them, and pasta, beside traditional meals.
Then we went in search of coffee/tea and realised that whilst the locals can make a reasonable cafe americano their caffe latte skills are grim. Lisa's coffee looked like a milkshake even after she ordered it strong and small. Di's fruit tea was quite nice but we won't be back to the Italian coffee company (ha!)
Back in our room by 9.30 making it an early night for us. Big day tomorrow when we learn to cook Mexican food, not hamburgers!