Friday, June 17
Before I get started, let me address a couple things. First is that Caroline asked about the humidity in Oaxaca. Yes, it was humid, but it was nothing like the humidity in the Midwest. My skin was often moist, but sweat wasn't running off me as it did in KC. I don't know what the percentage was (today it is 50%, according to the internet), and my best guess about why is is different would be that the city is something over 5000 feet. At any rate, the mid 80 temps and humidity in the mid range, it was reasonably comfortable.
Second, a tip when you're being a tourist at churches. Remember that those beautiful old churches are built to inspire awe during worship, so when you visit one don't just walk around and look. Sit down in a pew and really take it in. Sitting in pews gives, IMO, the optimal view of everything.
OK, on with the tour!
So Friday began early. We were to meet in the lobby, ready to go at 8:30. It is fortunate for some of the group that Mexico runs on a different clock! The bus was there, but the driver didn't seem too concerned. People were still moseying in the lobby at 9:00, and, as I mentioned in the last post, some didn't make it at all! In fact, a humorous story about that....
Kelsey wouldn't wake up for her aunt Dixie, so Dixie decided she should let her parents handle it. Dave went to the room and woke her, but Kelsey rattled off a bunch of stuff in Spanish. Since she spent last semester in Spain, I'm sure she is at the level of "thinking in the language" or in this case, perhaps dreaming in it. Dave doesn't speak Spanish, so he didn't know what she said. He asked her if she wanted to go on our day long tour, and she said no. Methiks she imbibed a bit the night before, ya know? hee hee!
So we went off for the day, and in the evening Kelsey was a bit miffed that she wasn't wakened! Dave told her what happened, and she was amazed. She said, "What did I say?" Everyone cracked up!
We left to see several smaller towns/villages outside Oaxaca, Mitla, El Tule, Teotitlan del Valle, and Mezcaleria are the names on the list. All I can say is that it was a very busy and interesting day.
As we drove along I snapped some photos out the bus windows. Inside the windows, too! TL and Philip taking in the passing sights.
The mountains and valleys have greater variances (mountains are higher from the valley floors) than where I live, but the terrain reminds me a lot of New Mexico. As you can see, the hills are much greener, especially now that we are having such a bad drought. but the lines, the crags, the general looks is quite similar. These mountains are a part of the Rocky Mountain Range, so I guess these mountains are the Latin cousins to my home hills!!
The first leg of the trip was around an hour, but it passed quickly as we enjoyed the views. It was nice to just sit back and look out the windows.
I saw this a lot everywhere we went, rebar sticking out of the roofs of buildings. Sometimes they had bottles inverted over the ends of the rebar, other times, just like this. I asked Scott about the reason for it. He said it is common to build what you need now, but if they decide that a later date, they might want to build on another floor, they leave the rebar to continue building up without losing structural integrity. When there are bottles on the rebar, he supposes it is to protect someone from injury if they should fall! OoooooKaaaaayyyyy. Not sure what someone might be doing above those things, but hey, I'm the foreigner!
As we drove along, I saw a huge billboard that read "Jesucristo es el Señor de Oaxaca." I didn't think to take a picture as I was busy translating it. Do you get it? It says "Jesus Christ is Lord of Oaxaca." I cracked up! I see these words on signs all over the US, but I guess it is extensive beyond our borders!
Several times I saw this ....
|Oxen being used to plow a field is very common.|
There were lots of these running around, too.
And goats are all over the place, too.
Our first stop was Mitla. First another pretty church ....
Right next to it was an archeological site called Lyobaa. There is evidence of humans living there as far back as 0-200 AD. When the power of Monte Alban (the pyramid we visited) diminished, this area became the most important Zapotec center. Our guide was very animated and informative, lots of fun!
Here are some snaps of the site:
One photo is special and needs some definition. This seat ....
.... is hidden behind a huge round post. I had to stick my arm around the post and snap this "blind." The story is that if the young women of the area sat in the chair three times, they would find the man to marry. Well, diddle-squeek! It was cordoned off so I couldn't go sit it it three times!!!
The people of the day ....
|Philip and Terri|
|Our guide, Dave, Bernd, and a slice of Andreas|
|The other Dave in the hat, and Brooke|
|Scott in the white shirt and hat, Suzanne with Yanek, Sheron in the green rebozo, Dixie sitting|
|Lexi, Brooks and Tere (Connie's sister)|
|Tere and Scott|
|Brooke and Kylee|
|Brooke looks less than joyous ..... remember she was out with Kelsey and the other younguns the night before!|
|All of us on the steps! Our guide rocked! He took pictures with EVERY SINGLE CAMERA IN OUR CROWD!!|
Our next stop was at a rug making place. These folks, mostly a single family, do the whole process except for raising the sheep. They card the wool, spin it, dye it (with all natural dyes), and weave it. We again had a great tour guide who entertained us as well as informed us. You can see the photos below.
I would have loved to have a couple of the big rugs, but three problems .... getting them home, finding wall space to hang them (this are too nice to put on the floor!), and paying for them!! I did buy a tiny one, a tree of life a little under a foot square. I have room for it on my wall!
I made my purchase and then enjoyed the garden while waiting for the others to finish. You know me .... give me some nature, and my photographic eyes are very happy! I'll share some of them with you, too.
Back on the bus and on our way to lunch. I got a fun picture of Lexie by holding my camera over the seat. This sweet girl will be 14 on Friday. Hard to believe.
When the bus stopped next, it was for lunch at a buffet. An amazing buffet! We had time to relax, eat, and for the kids, stretch their legs (as if they hadn't, but you know kids!!) for a while.
Next we were off to the mezcal distillery. This was interesting. A fairy simple process, a very small space, and wonderful product. Have I mentioned that I like mezcal? I mean I really, really like mezcal!! Seriously, I really, REALLY like it!! I brought home just one small bottle, something between a pint and a quart, because of transporting all the goodies. I bought a cream style, like a smooth liqueur. Mmmmmmmmmm.
There was a small market outside the mezcal place. We forced TL to try on this dress. Isn't it glamorous with the t-shirt?? LOL! But she bought it, and it did look cute on her.
Back on the bus, a short ride and we stopped to see this amazing tree. It is 2000 years old. Pardon me, that should be "mas de 2000 años," as the information says, so more than 2000 years.
Information about it: It is a sabino tree. The height is 58 mts or about 138 feet; The diameter is 14.05 mts or 47.5 feet; it is estimated to weight 636.107 tons. It is one big momma of a tree! And it is so interesting in it's shapes. Take a look at this.
On the grounds with the marvelous tree was .... can you guess?? .... another little church!!
And there were lovely garden around it all with one of my favorite flowers.
And a lovely archway.
On the trip back to the hotel, Kristy and Lexi were getting a little silly, but by that time, no wonder!
We had shopped, walked, watched, photographed, consumed, bought, drank about everything we could, I think. We returned to the hotel, at a light dinner, had a couple drinks and fell into bed. that was one busy, very interesting day! And boy, did I sleep that night!
Whew, this one took a while to do. Check back soon for the last official day and the events of the quinceanera. It was something special! Very special indeed!!