Friday, December 23, 2016

Hola from Oaxaca

The flight into Oaxaca from Mexico City was delayed by an hour and a half, so I didn't get in until after dark. The driver that had been sent to pick me up, Samuel, was right there and was such a nice man. He spoke excellent English, and guided me to the hotel and gave me some suggestions for dinner.

My hotel is right off the Zocolo, or central plaza of this colonial city. It was festooned with plantings of poinsettia for the holidays, and full of people out socializing. Families with kids and romantic couples strolled and sat upon the benches.

There were several Santa Claus characters taking pictures with kids.

There were roaming mariachi musicians and people selling all kinds of things, from balloons and toys to bark paintings and embroidery.

I sat at an outdoor cafe with a drink and some enchildas verde de pollo. They were delicious and far too filling for me to finish. It wasn't long before exhaustion overtook me and I went back to the hotel and slept like a baby.

This morning, after breakfast in the hotel courtyard, I took to the streets. I found one of the markets (there are several) and wandered around in it.

Tonight is the traditional festival La Noche de Los Rabanos, or the Night of the Radishes. This event dates back to the 1890s. People create dioramas by carving and assembling radishes into sculptures. This morning many of the competitors were setting up their displays - there will be more later on.
A protester encampment
I noticed a rather overwhelming police presence in the streets - entire platoons of policemen and women assembled beneath the arching colonades and then fanned out into the square. Perhaps it is connected with the festival, or perhaps with an ongoing protest and occupation of the square and nearby streets by striking teachers. In any case, it was a little startling to me but everyone else seemed to be used to it.

I looked inside some of the churches and strolled up a few streets. There was a huge Christmas tree set up in a plaza, and also an ice skating rink. There were many people skating, but there were also a lot of people on skates clinging to the side walls - I guess there's not a lot of ice skating in Oaxaca!

The mountains loom over the city. Buildings are painted in bright colors, and decorated for Christmas.

Cheese and dairy stall

Toy vendor in the plaza

Vegetable stalls

Embroidery and textiles
My Spanish is woefully bad. I have been practicing using a computer ap, and I gamely try, but I am grateful to all the people - from vendors to waiters to hotel staff - who accommodate tourists like me who are only fluent in one language.

More adventures to come!

1 comment:

Ellen Bloom said...

LOVE Oaxaca! Haven't been there in years! I never knew about the festival of the radishes! Snap a few radish sculptures if you have the chance. Thanks for the tour! Ole'