Oh Oaxaca!July 5 in Mexico
Our time in Mexico was soon coming to an end but we had enough time to squeeze in a trip to another part of the country. Travelling budget-class Volaris airlines, we boarded our flight to Oaxaca City, after a slow Über ride through Mexico City. The Über ride included the obligatory conversation to practise our Spanish, which was almost the same conversation, or a variation on a theme, that we have had with every Über driver in Mexico. The hour flight got us to Oaxaca City a little after lunchtime, which meant we had the afternoon to roam around the historical centre.
Oaxaca City is situated at the foot of the Sierra Madre mountain range, in the Central Valleys region of the state of Oaxaca. While Oaxaca City is not the big smoke and not exactly renown for its party scene, we must have found the only “nightclub” in the city – and it was located at the foot of our apartment building. After the thumping bass of the restaurant-cum-nightclub stopped, we only had a few hours before the thumping sounds of drills and hammers and construction work took place in an adjoining building. We are almost certain that the DJ at the nightclub was playing to an empty room – maybe he turned it up so the neighbours could enjoy the soothing sounds of hardcore techno at 3am. Not!
After a couple of days of exploring the historical areas of the city, Ricky took a tour of Monte Albán, an ancient site inhabited by the Zapotec and Mixtec cultures, and located a few kilometres away from downtown. The site was an important civic-ceremonial centre for the Zapotec people, with artificial terraces and architectural mounds across the partially excavated city. More interestingly are the carved stele that demonstrate the culture’s deep understanding of anatomy, particularly with respect to obstetrics. Apparently early in the civilisation, the culture did not understand the correlation between birth defects and consanguineous sexual relationships. The stele included depictions of a number of women with physical abnormalities, some illustrating the complexities of child birth. After a quick wander of the site, the tour ended with a sprint through the on-site museum, before being huddled back in a mini-van. The amount of time allocated really wasn't enough to explore the entire site in a leisurely manner. At least Ricky got to meet a couple from Texas, Kyle and Terrie, who had visited the ruins twice, and we got to exchange travel stories and contact details.
The next day, we wandered to the Centro Cultural Santo Domingo, a former church and monastery built between 1555 to 1666. Initially, we thought that we would spend an hour touring around the religious site (well, half an hour for Jason and an hour for Ricky). We strolled around the bottom floor before catching sight of the enormity of the building and the collection of artefacts that ranged from the earliest civilisations of the Zapotec to the late Nineteenth Century. Surrounding the church and monastery is the largest garden of cacti and succulents that we have ever seen. Unfortunately, we missed a tour of the gardens but it wasn't too late to do a tour of the local markets, one more stroll through the Zócalo, a wander past the Basilica of Our Lady of Solitude and the Oaxaca Cathedral before heading onto our next destination.
Next stop: Mexico City Part 4
For video footage, see:
(Monte Albán): https://youtu.be/B-EudEEikowRead more