Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Our First Weekend in Oaxaca

I was really looking forward to the end of our first week in Oaxaca, as it was packed with activities and utterly exhausting. I needed some serious downtime! Well, it turns out that weekends are not off limits from this class, and we had activities planned for both Saturday and Sunday.

We started off on Saturday by heading over to the organic market, which is only a few blocks away from the house. As I mentioned in my previous post, the organic market is the one place we can feel safe eating any of the food. So, I kind of went to town. :) I started off with a delicious horchata drink with berries and walnuts. YUM. Let me say it again, YUM. Wow, I am in love with this drink:


I followed that up with a tortilla wrapped around this egg thingy with chiles. Yummy and spicy. Of course, I couldn't just stop there...I had to go and get chicken mole enchiladas. I was pretty stuffed at that point, though, and could only finish one of them. I am deifnitely going back to this market this Friday and Saturday.

Our big class outing for the day was to Abastos market, which is an absolutely enormous outdoor market about a 20 minute walk away from the house. Seriously, you could probably get lost in there and not find your way out for several hours. Five of us (Adrien, Katy, Tomo, Josh and I) decided we were going to walk there rather than drive with Raul (Raul thinks everything is too far to walk and insists of driving everywhere). Anyway, we headed out to the market, and as soon as we got there, the Torrential Downpour started (see my previous post). Wow, I haven't seen rain that hard in I don't know how long. All the vendors were covering things up, throwing tarps over other tarps, setting buckets in the middle of the sidewalk, sweeping water towards the drains...clearly they were pros at this sort of situation.


It was a crazy situation in a crazy place (really fun, though!). There are tons of vendors selling all kinds of stuff. I mean, there is an egg vendor:


A yarn vendor:


A chile vendor:


A candle vendor:


I think you get the picture. :)

We were pretty exhausted when we finally got home, and unfortunately, we were out of gas for our water heater, so we went over to the hotel to shower. I hung out and watched a movie with Tomo and josh as Katie showered, and decided to head back to the house after a couple of minutes. I walked out of the hotel and there were about 15 tour buses lined down the street, with music and fireworks going off. It was the guelaguetza parade!

I hurried back to the hotel to grab everyone to tell them they HAD to come out with me to the parade. Each different ethnic group in the Oaxacan state dressed up in their traditional garb and danced, played music, set off fireworks, and handed out mezcal shots. Literally, within the block we walked, we had taken about 4 mezcal shots each. :) Here are some photos I took...the one immediately following is my favorite photo I've taken so far in Oaxaca:




After the parade, we headed over to the mezcal fair (it is going on right now for about 10 days) with Eberth and Leo to try out some mezcal. Overall, I don't remember trying any fantastic mezcals, but I can tell you that I didn't like the mezcal con crema (kind of like Bailey's but with mezcal--why?!?). Tomo was brave enough to try a mezcal con gusano (with worm), and I was able to document this moment in the following (very funny!) series:


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We ended the night be heading over the El Central, basically the only cool club in Oaxaca, where we danced until 3AM (and I had to fight off a bunch of hopeful latin lovers by telling them I was married). :)

The next day (Sunday), the class was scheduled to go to the market at Tlacolula, where all the different Oaxacan ethnic groups dress up in their traditional garb to vend. Unfortunately, I was a bit hung over from the previous night's festivities and opted to bow out. I stayed in bed all day recovering, and ended the weekend with writing class and movie night. We watched Bride and Prejudice, a Bollywood adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. It was hilarious! Seriously, if you get the chance, watch this movie...the cheese level is VERY high.

All in all, a great week in Oaxaca... :)

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