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  • Day5

    A long drive: Mexico City to Oaxaca City

    February 27, 2018 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    After having a traditional Mexican breakfast of Huevos Rancheros, we boarded our coach for the long journey to Oaxaca City. The drive would take us through the Central Mexican Sierra Madre but there was no treasure or bandits to be found.

    Our first stop en route gave us a view of two of Mexico's volcanos- the famous Popocatépetl and its sister, Iztaccíhuatl. In the picture, the mountain with the snow covered peak is Iztaccíhuatl and to its left is Popocatépetl. Iztaccíhuatl is inactive, hence the snow but Popo was sending a regular stream of smoke into the sky as it is very active at present.

    Pictures duly taken, we set off up, down and along winding roads that gave fabulous views of mountains, canyons and valleys peppered with a variety of different cacti and native Oaxacan agave plants used to make Mezcal.

    On finally reaching Oaxaca City, we thought our travels for the day were over but it took over an hour more to get to our hotel due to an impromptu road blockade caused by a spur of the moment political demonstration. Apparently, it happens quite frequently in this part of the world. Thanks to the skill of our driver, Alfredo, and some very close shaves with lampposts, we decamped in our rather lovely hotel and went on a tour of the town.

    Walking through the zocalo first, we then came upon the Templo de Santo Domingo, a most impressive building and ornately decorated inside. Once the home of Dominican monks, they are particularly venerated in Oaxaca as they tried to protect the indigenous population from the excesses of the Spanish Conquistadors. Nevertheless, the wealth inside is in stark contrast with the poverty outside the town but I'll get off my soapbox. Actually, it is rarely used with the dowdy and unwelcoming Cathedral on the zocalo the main church of the city.

    We then headed to the main market, Mercado Juarez, stopping off for a quick snack of Chapulines Picantes : Spicy Grasshoppers. I would have posted pictures of them but I subjected you all to my insect eating exploits in Cambodia so I thought I'd spare you this time. The market is the main destination for all sorts of things- food, clothes, Oaxacan specialties and even pets. A couple of presents duly purchased, we headed to our restaurant, the Casa de Abuela - Grandma's House. Nigel and I tasted our first tequila of the holiday and feasted on a traditional meal of Chicken Empanada with Mole Amarillo and a mixed Tlayuda. The Tlayuda is a large thin tortilla that is made crisp by toasting it on a hotplate called a comal. It was then covered in refried beans, pork fat, salad, avocado and thin slices of spiced beef. Part tortilla, part poppadom and part pizza, it was delicious and filling.

    Bed now beckons so we can restart our archealogical adventures tomorrow. Loving it so much.
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