Friday, January 22, 2010

Part 2

And day two in Oaxaca was a long day, we grabbed a tour van, which we thought was transport only - again a lack of Spanish played in this, it wasn't too bad though. Our 1st spot was a giant tree in a church court yard, C thought it was amazing I was more interested in the wedding that was happening in the church, everyone, the entire wedding party, the family, and all the guest followed a marching band all the way through town to the church, after the guest went inside the bridal party followed once they where all inside a guy started letting of fireworks and bungers in the church yard, which seem strange to me as no one but him could see them - everyone was inside the church I assume having the ceremony. But I learnt during my time in Mexico people will take any excuse to use fireworks, they where everywhere and it was a rare night we didn't hear any.

After the tree we visited the highlight of the day for me a small village famous for their rug making. They showed us the complete process, from combing the wool to spinning, dying and weaving. It was so great to see particularly the dying process - our favourite dye came from a little white parasite that grows on the cactus, when you squash it on your hands you're left with a red die. this is where it gets tricky, the die reacts to the PH levels in each individual's skin so everyone gets a slightly different red. When you drop a few drops of water on the dies it changes colour, it will change colour again with lime and limestone, each giving a different colour - it was amazing. You can get colours ranging from deep red through to orange, yellows, and even purples this way. After the demonstration it was shopping time, and I admit I walked away a little broken hearted as we simply couldn't afford to buy all of them. We narrowed it down quickly picking 2 rugs with traditional patterens (copied from local Zapotec and Mixtec ruins) one in grey and white the other in reds and purples, made from the parasite. I couldn't decide it was 2 hard so the decision was handed to C and he picked the red one. I still wish we had been able to afford both of them, but maybe next time.

After that we went to Mitla, an amazing ruin covered in the best geometric patterns I loved it, they where only small but they would have to be one of my favourite ruins, they stand out as different and the detail in the design really was something. Across the road from the main ruins was a Spanish church that was literally built on top of the temple, with some of the original still standing behind it. This was not the 1st or the last time I was totally blown away by what the Spanish had done when they conquered Mexico. They hadn't simply moved in and started their own rule they had calculatingly gone through Mexico building on top of traditional import sites, and imposing not only their rule but their religion and way of life of the local people. But I truly loved how Mexico now incorporates all of it's ancient culture along with the Spanish culture into a very unique blend.

After Mitla we took a rather bumpy ride into the mills to some mineral springs. The springs has left mineral deposits over the years, and the rocks appear as a waterfall, running down the edge of the cliff. The view was breathtaking and it was freezing, I had go buy myself a Nanna wrap to keep myself warm.

Back in the van we headed to a Mezcal factory, well the back of someones house anyone, they took us through the process - similar to tequila but they smoke the plant rather than steam (which defiantly comes across in the taste). Than on to the tasting, personally the anejo (aged) was the nicest, not unsurprising also the most expensive. They also had a range of fruit infused mezcals that where amazing such a rich strong flavour, very sweet and tasty.

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