19 March, 2006

Oaxaca!

Hello everybody from beautiful Oaxaca! We tried posting yesterday but Blogger sucks so this is going to be a slightly different version. Anyhoo, after much heeing and hawing we were finally able to track down our luggage. Vergueishon proved to be a saint with tons of patience as he called and dealt with everyone from Mexico City International, Oaxaca International, NWA Mexico, aduana, infotur, etc. Ack! NWA you suck. Somehow, they sent our bag elsewhere...like Houston, which anyone with at least a second-grade education knows is very very different from Mexico City, despite the fact that both have lots of Mexicans. But apparently at NWA they only hire first-graders.

Friday was certainly more relaxing and enjoyable. We took the whole day to explore the arts-and-crafts towns south of Oaxaca, taking a bus from OAX to Ocotlan in morning where we visited the Friday tianguis or "market". Everything from Zapoteca shawls to donkey saddles to goats, chickens and hats, you could find what you need to outfit a ranch. We sat down at a roadside stand and chatted with a wonderful woman as she cooked empanadas, which are not of the usual breaded variety but more like large enchiladas but with meat (the same dish is called enchilada locally when it contains anything but meat). She liked us so much that she brought us free of charge this local maize meal drink called tejate which is sort of like horchata but less milky and less sweet. Most of our conversation centered on life and culture locally in Ocotlan and elsewhere in the US, where we live. Interestingly, she pointed out that most of the tourist she serves are either German or French, and that Americans rarely frequented the area. She added that she greeted anyone who seemed non-Mexican to her by asking if they were German or French, explaining that most of these European tourists became offended when asked if they were from America.

Then we took a bus to this small town Santo Tomás but there wasn't much to see and we ended up taking a camioneta, which is basically a pickup truck with a tent and benches in the back for passengers, back to Ocotlan. From there we crammed into a colectivo, a shared taxi that can hold several passengers whether human or animal (in this case we almost rode with a goat but its owner declined), and set off to San Martín where the locals make beautiful wooden figures called alebrijes usually fantastical animals contorted in various twisted positions. From there we continued onto San Bartolo where they make the famous Oaxacan barro negro or black pottery which is indeed very beautiful. So in the end of it all we came back loaded with memories and stuff to fill our apartment.

That said, for those of you on whom may befall the same ill fate as did our luggage, we advise you to dial the following numbers:

1. InfoTur 01 (55) 52 50 0123 or 0151 (Mexican tourism information line)
....Also, 01 800 903 9200 or 987 8224

2. Oaxaca International Airport 511 50 36 or 88

Any other numbers related to Mexico´s international airport or your particular airline´s offices can be found on their respective sites.

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