Welp, this is my fifth full day here and I feel like I’m becoming more accustomed to the downtown Oaxaca area, and I’m enjoying trying to speak Spanish with the locals. Everyone has been very nice and patient, not like when I was attempting to speak French in Paris and all the locals would just cut me off and make me speak English. I have appreciated the fact that I am experiencing Mexican culture that is off a resort. So here’s what we did today:
- The bus was late because Gabriela (the tour guide) was mugged last night two blocks from his home.
- We went first to Mitla, a zapotec church/high priest/temple area. We saw the high priests house, some tombs (emptied by vandals years before) and went to ANOTHER market. I was tough though, and stuck to me lowest price for some silver and turquoise earrings that match the necklace I bought in Monte Alban. (150 pesos – $15).
- Then we went to Culupa, a master weaver’s shop. I forget his name, but he uses all natural materials, such as the cuchinile bug, moss, indigo stones, limestone and lime juice to create beautiful colors for the rugs he hand-weaves. Some rugs can take more than six months to make. He and his wife, collect the wool (or buy it) and spin it using a Laura Ingalls type spinning wheel to create the skeins for weaving. How he comes up with the designs I have no idea. Anyway, the rugs cost $20 for a table coaster size patch to $15.000. I did not buy anything there.
- Finally, we went to El Tule, which is the widest (not the tallest) tree in the world. It’s in the zócalo of a little village a few miles outside Oaxaca. As with just about everything on this trip, it’s hard to describe what it’s actually like, and pictures don’t do it justice. Um, let’s see… it’s big, green, and has a lot of bark. It has a little son (also a very big tree) about yards from it. I think the Tree of Life in the Disney Animal Kingdom might be based on it.
- We went back to the hotel about 5 pm. We were supposed to hear a social activist speaker but he couldn’t make it. At that point, it was fine because we were all fagged (and I mean tired) out from our day. Dinner was to be in the hotel that night at 8:30 – free because they messed up on the reservation. So a few of us went dress shopping. It was really fun. I got a new t-shirt for 100 pesos, and we stopped in a store in the zócalo to pick up some wine and mezcal. I then went with Betsy to pick up some t-shirts for all my boys. I hope they like them!
- Dinner was free because of the hotel move. We had asparagus/poblano soup (the best part of the meal), some kind of roast pot roast with cheesy noodles, and lime cheesecake thing. It was good – and it was free. We just went to bed after I skyped Ricky (the best part of my day).