Published: January 21st 2013January 21st 2013
Hierve de Agua
Rock that looks like waterfall
So been in Oaxaca for a week now. The weather has been so much better than closer to Mexico City though its still a bit cold at night. So got here last Monday after a 4.5 hour bus ride from Puebla. Was a nice scenic trip through lots of valleys as we made our way 1000m closer to sea level...still 1500m above sea level though! In some of the valleys there were heaps of cacti taking up literally every part of earth, was a strange scene but pretty none the less. So got to the bus station and met my host mother, Sylvia, and drove back to where I would be staying. Turns out theirs another Australian staying there as well for two of the weeks I'm here which has been good, not so boring going out with another person to do things!
So had some dinner and chatted on first night, turns out my Spanish has improved quite a bit :) Had some food and then sleep before starting Spanish classes next day. Was originally in a class with 3 other people, but I was at a more advanced level, so have ended up with private classes, much better!
Me in the alley of cacti
Classes have been good and have been going over the stuff I learned last year at uni and doing a fair bit of conversation so I can put all that grammar and vocabulary to use. Enough of boring lesson recap anyway...on to things I've done here.
There is so much stuff to do here, its great. First full day here had a wonder around the city to the Zocalo (main plaza) and to one of the markets. Bought some Oaxaqueño cheese called Quesillo. Its like really stringy and delicious. Also went for my yearly dental visit for $30 rather than the $200 back home.
Can't really remember what days I did other stuff on so will just go through what I've done. So have visited the museum of Oaxacan culture which had loads of cool stuff in it from pre-Hispanic Oaxaca through to colonisation and current day. Was in a big church with lots of different rooms and nice architecture. After that went to the ethnobotanical gardens next door and had a tour. Got to see lots of plant species endemic to the region.
Have also been to Monte Alban, which is big ruins close to the
city that were inhabitated from a few thousand years ago until the arrival of the Spanish. Got some awesome views of the valley surrounding Oaxaca and the nearby villages. On the weekend went to a village called Mitla, which had some ruins also and some markets. Bought a few things and got to practice my bartering. From there got a pickup truck for just under an hour to a place called Hierve de Agua, which is a rock formation with natural springs. From a bit of a distance the rocks look like waterfalls. Was a fun trek in the pickup to it going up and down windy mountain roads thinking we were going to tumble off the side.
Saturday night decided it was time to try to local alcoholic drink...Mezcal. Worst decision ever. It seriously tastes like paint thinner. God it is bad. And we had bought like a taster of 6 shots each. Needless to say did not finish them. Earlier in the night had a much better with traditional food however. They really have some great cusuine here and a lot of it is vegetarian which is good. Sunday, spent the day at the Gallery of Pre-Hispanic
Art, which was nice. Incredible the things that have been made with stone. One fuck up and you'd have had to start again! After that went to bar to watch football...sadly stupid NFL playoffs were on and had to suffice with that. And that brings us to today. Later on will be going to volunteer again.
Have volunteered teaching some kids in an indigenous village about 25km out of Oaxaca. Am meant to be teaching them English but its more just providing them with something to do after school per se.
So yeah other than that, not much else really to report on. Has been nice to be with a family and eat proper, healthy meals rather than eating out every night. Not sure what I have planned for rest of the week, shall see how we go. Update sometime soon!
There are more photos below