This is the
centuries old cathedral called Santa Domingo, located in the
Colonial Centro. Construction began
in 1572 by the Dominican Friars and was completed 200 years later.
The inside is filled with ornate gilded paintings and statues
from the best artisans of that time period.
The attached monastery to the left is now a regional museum.
Entrance fee for the museum is 48 pesos per person, currently
under $4 USD.
like this woman are a very common sight in the city. Headdresses
such as the one she is wearing are colorful and there are
several different styles of wrapping them. Personally, I think
it's a great idea - one never has to worry about a 'bad hair'
day! I am seriously considering taking up this habit.
Here is a lovely
corner building, typical of the colonial architecture seen
everywhere in Oaxaca city, capital of the state of
vendors are everywhere. In this photo a woman is selling her
hand embroidered dresses and blouses. Oaxaca is famous for this
style of clothing. The embroidery takes days, weeks, and for some of
the more ornate styles, months.
This is just
another 'day at the office', and her children are beside
her. The young girl with the notebook on her lap is doing some
homework. The woman on the far right end of the photo is looking
at her cell phone.
old convent of Santa Catalina is now a hotel with several
restaurants and is run by The Camino Real hotel chain. Garden areas
are everywhere in this spectacularly beautiful rambling building.
For fun, we
chose to celebrate our Thanksgiving Day meal at the Camino Real
Convent Restaurant. Here we are with our friends, Dennis and
Martha. Although we only ordered 2 combination platters, there
was easily enough food left over to feed 4 more people!
heaped with grilled arrachera (tenderized, marinated beef),
chicken breasts, pork, chorizo (sausage), quesadillas,
guacamole, chapulines* and salad. With a pitcher of fresh fruit drink,
the total came to 300 pesos per couple, about $23 USD.
Even at this great price, the meal was by far the most
expensive we had in Oaxaca!
are grasshoppers considered a delicacy by many Mexicans. They
are collected only at certain times of the year, thoroughly
cleaned and washed out, then toasted on a clay cooking surface
with garlic and lemon juice, and sal de gusano to create
a sour-spicy-salty taste. Chapulines
are available only in certain parts of Mexico, the state and
city of Oaxaca
being the most famous. Chapulines are known to have been
used as food for over 3000 years.
is very celebratory. Parades, musical gatherings, clowns, mimes,
fireworks, balloons and other entertainment is common at the
Zocalo, the main city plaza. Here is one darling of a young girl
having the time of her life with a dulce (sweet) in her hand, and
dressed to the nines in native costume.
Food is also
fabulous and fresh in Oaxaca. This woman is making fresh quesadillas on
a hot grill over a fire.
Oaxaca is a
cafe society and there are so many cafes to choose from! It's a lifestyle that everyone enjoys.
shows you more cafes at the Zocalo. A great place to take a break, eat and enjoy
time with friends.
woman in the center of the photo with the wrapped yellow scarf
on her head. This is a common manner in which the local women
wear their hair. It's not exactly a hat, but adds color to one's
outfit, and one's hair doesn't have to be 'perfect'.
many 'walking streets' in old colonial Oaxaca. Certain streets
are blocked off and pedestrians have the right of way, making it
really pleasant to saunter through town.
through the main market near the Zocalo, we discovered a type of bar-b-que
where you can purchase freshly sliced beef or chorizo links which
grilled over an open flame. The meats you see here are almost
paper thin like carpaccio, and you purchase your meal piece by piece. You are
then charged by the kilo. The open air restaurants are quite
clean and appealing.
Here you see
women grilling someone's lunch. Maybe it's ours! In this
particular grilling market, there must have been close to 20
such 'restaurants' from which to choose your meats and sit at
chiles of various sorts are everywhere in Mexico and what's a
meal without chile?
Every item at
these restaurants is
purchased separately for 10 pesos a plate, just over 75 cents. Above is a selection of salad, radishes, a
type of fresh salsa, and avocado sauce (for your meat), all freshly made. Notice
the heavy volcanic stone containers under the tray. These are
mortars used for grinding spices and other food stuffs with a
pestle - or, as you see here, bowls for mixing or display.
This is our
meal. Freshly made tortillas, grilled paper-thin beef, jalapenos, onions and fresh avocado. The flavors
were to die for!
A sky view of
the Santa Domingo Cathedral from the amphitheater that was built
into the "Cerro del Fortín", a hill that overlooks
central Oaxaca. This is where the Guelaguetza is
celebrated each year. The word Guelaguetza is from the
Zapotec language and means "reciprocal exchanges
of gifts and services".
view also gives you a better look at the attached monastery to
the Church. It's quite large! In the period of the revolutionary
wars, all of these buildings were turned over to military use,
and from 1866 to 1902 they served as a barracks. The church was
restored to religious use in 1938 and the monastery became a
regional museum in 1972.
This is the
local Theater, a gorgeous corner colonial building. We read the
schedule of events and found that international orchestras, singers and
musicians were all listed to play, with an entry fee of P50
which is currently less than $4 USD!
easily spend a few months here and enjoy the celebrations, the
food and the affordable cultural scene available.
Sunday there is a gathering of people who fix food to raise
money for their church. This is easily the best deal in town. If
you are in Oaxaca, be sure to check it out. On the corners of Indenpendencia and
Lots of food and excellent prices, and it's a real family affair. People
are friendly, fun and very welcoming. The food was delicious!
are preparing fresh tortillas with their tortilla press. The
fresh cornmeal 'dough' is in the aqua bowl in the center of the
table. Note the grill to the right in the
plantains with condensed milk drizzled over them was one of the
desserts offered at this gathering. DEE-licious!
cantinas still have the swinging doors commonly seen in the old
American Western films. There's something very satisfying about
entering a bar through these type of swinging doors, swaggering
through and saying to the bartender "I'll have a
is pretty good too!)
an entrepreneur. Small
businesses are in abundance. This shop sells fresh fruit juices and fruit
colonial and magnificent to the contemporary and simple, Oaxaca
offers beauty in many forms. This small courtyard garden is
an effort to create privacy and to beautify a doorway leading elsewhere.
upscale hostel in the center of Oaxaca city. There are lots of
choices of lodging here as it is a favorite tourist destination.
the moles of Oaxaca!
means sauce and you might be familiar with the word guacamole
(avocado sauce). In modern day Mexico, there are seven moles:
black, red, yellow, colorado, green, almendrado, and pipián.
famous mole negro, or black mole is made with
chocolate, so it's easy to find chocolate vendors. You can buy
their powdery chocolate by the kilo, with or without almonds.
This shop was freshly grinding their chocolate and almonds,
selling their half-kilo packages for 25 pesos or just under
the streets on the edge of the Zocalo, Billy found these
Policemen suited up and ready for action. They look straight out
of the movie, Robo Cop and you do not want to
mess with them!
true to Billy's nature, he
charmed the police
into granting him permission to pose on their ATV. What
chutzpah! And one of the policemen is taking this picture!!!!
recommend Oaxaca City as a destination site. On our criteria
list, it favors well on many counts: It boasts good weather,
friendly people, affordable prices, savory food, good
transportation, inexpensive entertainment options and it's a
clean city to boot!
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