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We spent three nights here but needed a few weeks to totally explore and understand this city. And I mean CITY. We first learned about Oaxaca in the 90’s through the travel channel and the food network. We put it on our bucket list and when the opportunity came up to leave Sereno in the Ixtapa Marina and fly to Oaxaca, we jumped on it. We were not prepared for how big Oaxaca is and not having any winter clothes, we weren’t prepared for the cold. We left a hot and humid Mexican coast and arrived in the chilly foothills. Apparently they are having weird weather like the rest of the world and are experiencing colder than normal temperatures. The afternoons were in the 70’s but as soon as the sun went down the temperature plunged. At night we layered up what clothes we brought since all the restaurants are open air.

The bar and restaurant scene in Oaxaca was pretty close to how we thought it would be. We found bars that actually had ‘a bar’. We stumbled upon one called Mezcalogia, where the owner/bartender is an ex-pat from Chicago by way of San Francisco. He specialized in cocktails and there was a row of little jars on the bar that he used to mix his concoctions. We tried several and they were all very unique. The ingredient in one uses the whey from milk and takes all day to prepare. Now that is dedication to your craft. He then turned us on to a local brew pub just around the corner. With the promise of craft beer we headed there and spent over an hour talking with the bartender who was raised in Oaxaca. That’s where you really learn about an area. He has actually been to New Jersey and stayed in Dover with his friends family. Gary and I were both born at Dover General Hospital and grew up not far from there. If we had talked more, I’m sure we would have discovered a mutual acquaintance since we still have family in that area.

I know you are thinking all they do is eat and drink. Not so though it is high on our list. We walked El Centro taking in the market and the colonial buildings.

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On our last full day we took a tour to the civic-ceremonial ruins of Monte Albán. The ruins sit 1,300 ft above the valley floor so the view of the city of Oaxaca was awesome.

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They had a ritual where the object was to keep the ‘rubber’ ball off the ground by bouncing the ball off the sides of the court and all parts of your body.  The ball was made from a rubber tree but it was very hard.  The winner was willingly sacrificed but in many cases the loser also died from injuries sustained from getting hit with the ball.

They had a ritual where the object was to keep the ‘rubber’ ball off the ground by bouncing the ball off the sides of the court and all parts of your body. The ball was made from a rubber tree but it was very hard. The winner was willingly sacrificed but in many cases the loser also died from injuries sustained from getting hit with the ball.

Stone carvings.  If the eyes are closed, the person is deceased.

Stone carvings. If the eyes are closed, the person is deceased.

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The little stones indicate that the area has been reconstructed a practice archeologist use around the world.

The little stones indicate that the area has been reconstructed a practice archeologists use around the world.

A door I actually had to duck for.  Inside was the stone carvings.

A door I actually had to duck for. Inside was the stone carvings.

A lot of cruisers visit Oaxaca, typically from further south in Huatulco. There were only five of us on the tour so we were surprised a couple other cruisers were among us. Since they are heading north after coming through the Panama Canal, we got a lot of tips and information. We will either meet them in a port or pass them at sea.

We stayed in the middle of the historic district at the Parador San Miguel. Great place for 86 USD per night.

All rooms faced out to this terrace.

All rooms faced out to this terrace.

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There were bird cages all around the inside terrace

There were bird cages all around the inside terrace

The sights at night.

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These corn carts are popular here.

These corn carts are popular here.

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A family watching over their street cart.

A family watching over their street cart.

Every night is a party at the Zocalo.

Every night is a party at the Zocalo.

On our way to the airport we saw what perhaps may have been the start of a demonstration at the Zocalo. Hopefully it was going to be peaceful. Oaxaca depends heavily on tourists so they really don’t need a repeat of the uprisings in 2006!

Anyway, we enjoyed our time off the boat and our ‘hollywood’ showers!

Fair winds,
Cindy