As I awakened on a Sunday morning in Oaxaca, Mexico, I ate a quick breakfast of Mexican chilaquiles, chips doused in salsa and topped with queso fresco (fresh white Mexican cheese). From here, I caught a taxi to Tlacolula to see the Sunday market, about 45 minutes east from Oaxaca.
The Sunday market is well-known in the region because people come from various surrounding villages to sell their wares. In addition, all types of food is served, but most famous is barbacoa de borrego (tender lamb). This can be eaten in a stew or by itself with tortillas. I decided to have it in a stew. This was unbelievably tender meat, and like every meal on this trip thus far, simply spectacular. I also had a local drink called atole, a corn-based drink. I decided I wanted a chocolate flavor, so fresh cocoa was melted into the cup to make champurrado, basically chocolate maiz drink. I was told by some friendly locals to buy sweet bread called pan and dip it into the chocolate. This was quite good as well. After eating this stew I went to a nearby stall and had a purple corn tortilla topped with beans and cheese. I’d never seen purple corn before, but like everything else, tasted great.
After eating, I could give the market my full attention. One thing that I was told by everyone before coming was to be very careful with my wallet, as the market has a reputation for pickpockets. This was made obvious as I noticed that all local women held their purses in front of their bodies clasped tightly. Luckily I had an inner pocket in my jacket, so this wasn’t an issue. I went on something of a shopping spree and purchased a cotton short-sleeve button down shirt, a magnet, a traditional clay cooking pot, a clay jug to make Mexican hot chocolate, a wooden sculptured animal (these are famous in the region), a backpack, and a painting. Altogether this cost around 1000 mexican pesos, approximately $50 US. The best buy of all was 1 kilogram of oranges for 25 pesos, the dollar goes a long way in Mexico.
There was a church in the market as well, I decided to take a snap as it reminded me of traditional rural churches I’d seen in Italy in an earlier life.
From here, it was back to Oaxaca. Like when I went to the ruins the day before, I decided to take a bus back. I went to the second class bus stand, where I was lucky that a bus to Oaxaca was about to depart. The fare was 15 pesos. There were no seats left so I had to stand the whole time, but this was part of the experience! Most of the others on the bus were people from the countryside that had come to the market to sell goods. The bus made various stops along the highway to pick people up at certain stops and drop others at requested drop points.
Once I got back to Oaxaca, I made sure to head to the Palacio di Gobierno (Government Palace) to see a mural inside. The security was amused that tourists wanted to go inside an official building, it must not be a common request. Like in Guadalajara, there was a breathtaking mural inside the building, viewable from the stairway.
After this, I simply strolled around town taking pictures and soaking in the atmosphere. Like in all Latin American colonial cities, there are a coupe of marvelously constructed churches.
Of course, there is the zocalo (central square), which nearly every Mexican city has. Here, people simply sit, chat, people watch, relax, and simply enjoy life.
When strolling around town, randomly a parade appeared in front of my eyes.
It was for a local bilingual school, and these are apparently common, as I saw another one later this night.
It was pleasant to see the locals being in a celebratory mood for no particular reason.
These kind of events really make trips pleasant for me, to see such festive atmospheres, particularly when they are unannounced (at least to me).
After this, it was off my last dinner in town. I couldn’t help but get my favorite Mexican dish, enchiladas suizas, basically enchiladas in green tomatillo sauce. Though I really didn’t have the space to finish the whole plate after my large lunch, I had to finish it as there was no tomorrow. Again, it was absolutely delicious, and I didn’t eat again for about 24 hours after this, as my stomach needed time to digest all this food.
Before walking into the hotel, I had to take a picture of the park just in front of it. Then I was chased by some stray dogs, but the short distance to the front door and my sprinting prowess saved me.
Alas, my trip was over and all too soon. Despite that, it was a wonderful weekend to a city that had long been on my radar. Now I look forward to my next trip, a return to Puebla, but this time with my father.