Guest Blogger Kristine MacKain: Cool Oaxaca Blog (Part 2)

Please enjoy Part 2 of Kristine’s take on life in Mexico—we’re sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did! Stay tuned for Part 3 tomorrow!

Lola

Could We Live Here?

We’ve seen amazing places, met artisans who do excellent work, even bonded with our taxi driver, Lupe, who sometimes takes us to the city.

The road from Bill and Mary's to our casita.
The road from Bill and Mary’s to our casita.

We’ve also met a number of people we REALLY like who are living here. In fact, we think WE want to live here! The owner of this property has land for sale and the views are stunning. We’d have to sell our house and we’re not sure we want to do that yet but we’re looking into it. We could buy land, build the house just to our specs, and live off the grid. I love Oaxaca; there is something mystical about this place:  the valleys circled by high mountains here, the way the mountains shift colors during the day, shifting from shades of green to dark blue by evening, the gray mist that settles over the meadows in early morning—it is truly stunning. The city of Oaxaca is messier and not nearly as charming as a place like San Miguel de Allende and it’s generally a poorer, dirtier place in the suburbs and villages (pueblos) surrounding the city. Also, there is poorer communication (as in no local papers and little formal gringo organization). But the setting is to die for. Also, the birding is fantastic–a testament to the great natural habitats here. Our neighbors, Bill and Mary, have counted 250 different bird species in their back garden!!

We had such an amazing time yesterday at a mercado about 25 miles from here –it was the best mercado I’ve visited outside Morocco — a Zapotec pueblo (in the rug weaving region) called Tlacolula (get your tongue round that!).

Zapotec Indian women in native dress dominated the scene along with live turkeys, oxen harnesses, baby chicks, goats, handmade pottery, and mezcal demonstrations, as well as a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables. You had to buy everything by the kilo and it was always the same price–20 pesos. We figured we got over $60 worth of fruit and veggies for about $12. The groceries were so heavy that Cedric had to make two trips to the car! We’ll never eat it all. We asked for one mango but were told it was five mangoes or nothing!

There was an incredibly beautiful church adjacent to the mercado that was filled with people wandering in and out. Walking out of the church we almost ran into a middle-class woman carrying a live turkey in a bag, its head bobbing back and forth in consternation. Mexican folk songs were being played and some guys were singing along. The experience was SO foreign– a mix of Mexican and Zapotec and not one sighting of gringos (except us) to corrupt the authenticity of the scene.

Thinking later about the chaotic, vibrant, messy, startling experiences in the mercado, and how strangely excited and satisfied I was having wandered through all that, I wondered what it was about Target and Home Depot that was so mind numbing, so excruciatingly BORING.

Church shrine in Tlacolula.
Church shrine in Tlacolula.
Tlacolula pueblo church.
Tlacolula pueblo church.
Woman buying tortillas at the mercado.
Woman buying tortillas at the mercado.
Waiting to be lunch...
Main dish waiting for pick-up…
"Turkey to go"
"Turkey to go"
Corn on the cob, mercado style.
Corn on the cob, mercado style.
"Moto taxi" in San Pablo Etla, "our" pueblo.
“Moto taxi” in San Pablo Etla, “our” pueblo.

2 thoughts on “Guest Blogger Kristine MacKain: Cool Oaxaca Blog (Part 2)”

  1. Great Kris…you nailed the market. Nothing like a live ‘take out’ turkey. Did you hit the Starbucks across from the church?
    Digo en broma!

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