Posted by: Bert and Tania | October 9, 2011

Oaxaca

I went to a restaurant in London called Wahaca once. That’s not how you spell it, it’s Oaxaca. Oaxaca is a state of Mexico and Oaxaca City is its capital. We loved it.

Our first week was spent in Oaxaca City, arriving on 9th October. Tania, Bert and George attended Spanish classes at Ollin Tlahtoalli school, run by Omar Nunez Mendez while Rosie finished here second novel. I think our Spanish improved. A bit.

Omar was great and took us to a closed doors Mezcal bar. Mezcal is an extremely strong Mexican spirit, like Tequila, but made from the Maguey plant instead of the Agave. These plants are enormous and grow everywhere in Oaxaca. There is bad Mezcal and good Mezcal, we learned. The good stuff is available in plastic pots, written on with marker pen. The mezcal we tasted was made on tiny farms by Omar’s mates and some were really good. But they haven’t gone through the required certification process to be sold legally. Hence closed doors. One of them was 86% alcohol. Yes. 86%.

More incredible ruins were visited at Monte Alban, a day trip from Oaxaca City. Oaxaca is an amazing, low rise (due to earthquakes) place with increadible markets, foods and lovely people. We celebrated Mexican independence day on 15th in the Zocalo, or main square.

Omar sent us off to a village to learn to make ‘Mole Verde’, a kind of green soup with chicken in it. We spent the day with Alicia and her family, buying ingredients from the market, picking stuff from her garden like ‘Yerba Santa’ which is an aniseed leaf and grinding, boiling and blending. Moles are a famous dish from Oaxaca and there are seven different colours of them.

After Oaxaca City, the four of us spent a few days trekking in the ‘Pueblos Mancomunados’ in the Valley Central in Oaxaca State.
This was amazing and reminded us a bit of Nepal as it was high up in the clouds and life there is basic. We based ourselves in Cuajimoloyas, where Rosie met an old lady who made her a potion, as she’d been ill for a while. We think it worked a bit. It took an hour to boil up all the ingredients.

Our three day trek was through jungle and we saw lots of medicinal plants and our guide, ‘Tokyo’ was lovely – he’s a friend of Omar’s. Our trek was cold and wet, through the villages of Latuvi and Benito Juarez. We stopped in a cabin with a log fire where we could dry our clothes out and play cards.

After that, on 22nd Oct, we headed down to the Oaxaca coast to Zipolite. After a miserable rainy first day, the sun came out and we were all taught to surf by a muscley French man called Davide. We also visited the turtle centre at Mazunte and saw millions of turtles of all sizes, then headed to a night time trip to the beach at Playa Escobilla where we saw turtles laying eggs in the sand. This was amazing. A guide took us and an Australian couple on the beach, which was protected by the military where we saw about 20 to 30 turtles. The week before we would have seen 5000. The little poppets dig a hole about a foot deep, lay 100 springy golf ball sized eggs, pat the sand back over them then head back into the sea. It was incredible.

Oaxaca is an amazing part of Mexico. We loved it.

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Responses

  1. Jen & I loved Oaxaca. In a different season- Monte Alban was burnt brown…
    Vayan con Dios, hasta pronto.
    Jen & John F

  2. Hello Jen and John F… We loved Oaxaca, maybe my favourite bit of Mexico. When were you there? Food was great.


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