4 am seems awfully early to be pulling a piece of luggage down a mostly deserted airport but am glad i got there early as the line to the Aeromexico counter was building fast. Check in went smoothly, the couple of hours before take off spent comfortably in the VP lounge by our gate. Came with the upgrade and was a nice surprise.
The luxury of two seats to myself, an excellent breakfast and a reasonable selection of cheesy Sci-Fi flicks on the movie channel were all good omens. The arid moonscape of the Northern Mexico interior greeted us as the sun rose, the emptiness of the land interrupted from time to time by small villages.
Following a layover in Mexico City our plane deposited us in Oaxaca at around 6 pm. Walking onto the tarmac and into the warm evening air was balm to the soul. The ride into town was slow – held up for most part by one of the seemingly endless parades in the city – but we reached our hotel early enough for a small group of us to head out into the town for a late meal. On the way we encountered the parade again – so had a little dance before proceeding on our way 🙂 I am not a mole fan so had the chicken and rice soup – served perfectly with diced onion, cilantro and green peppers together with chunks of fresh lime – awesome!
The hotel is lovely – right in the middle of town with a stunning inner courtyard that most of the rooms open into, plus a bonus of small private courtyards for some rooms one of which i was lucky to get. Interestingly enough – the sore throat that was bothering me for the few days before i left has disappeared. Must be the air and the good food:-)
Day 1 Oaxaca
After a good sleep and a breakfast of tortillas stuffed with scrambled eggs, salsa and black bean guacamole a small group of us headed into town. The first stop was the lovely Santo Domingo Church – seen in the photos behind the Oaxaca city sign. An amazing visit as we watched an impromptu rehearsal of a young girls first communion complete with her whole family, dancing and music 🙂
Our route then took us along the Alcala ( a pedestrian only road) with its multitude of shops and galleries. One stop was the outlet of the Martinez family from the famous Oaxacan Teotitlan del Valle weaving cooperative. A couple of us hope to rent a car and driver and make the trip out to the cooperative which is about an hour out of town. A small intricate piece of Zapotec diamond design weaving spoke to me in a way i could not resist and is now tucked in my luggage awaiting the trip home. As we made our way to the main cathedral and the Zocala – a main square in Oaxaca which is outstanding for people watching – we stopped in a gallery and outlet famous for Alebrijes – the small wooden painted animal figures of the region where we
also were fortunate to see one of the sand paintings I had heard so much about in this area at an altar in the store.
Buildings decorated for the day of the dead are everywhere and added immensely to the enjoyment of our walk.
The chrysanthemums you see in some of the photos are the flower used to welcome the dead – the parks and other spaces are filled with them. You can feel the energy building here in preparation for Oct 31 – it is going to be quite a party 🙂
Our final destination today was the Mercada de Artesianias which did not disappoint. I am becoming intrigued with the tin work done by local artists and ended up purchasing a small ornament – my sense is more will join it in my luggage.
A lovely lunch in the Zocala while people watching was the finish to an outstanding morning.
My Soupa Aztec was excellent, tortilla soup piled high with local cheese, avocado and a sauce that elevated everything to a wow status! An interesting touch in the restaurants are hangers that the waiters bring to your tables for your backpacks and jackets. I meet the rest of the group this evening and then we head out for a light dinner before the trip begins tomorrow morning. Until then Hasta la Vista!