The kickass town of Oaxaca

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December 30th 2010
Published: December 30th 2010
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Oaxaca was an interesting place for me, I couchsurfed for the first time in mexico. And couldnt have got it any better. My host was a spanish teacher and taught me some basics in return I gave him some lessons in german. We spent a lot of time walking the streets of Oaxaca, making contact with some stencil artist having an exhibition in the middle of town. We visited their atelier at the old train station where a circus of probably american acrobats were rehearsing their show. A battered old school bus was their home and backdrop to a couple performing arial accrobacy while dressed up old men tried to lure some more people to their show. "Ah you are not here to stay for the theatre, dont worry it most likely will be shit anyway..."

I had hoped to collaborate with one of the stencil artists. Oaxaca must be the capital of political graffiti. Stencil are everywhere on the old buildings, some of them religious, but always with a message. I saw many rooftops and freestyle tagging. Every day a new piece somewhere. The town itself is very touristy, people not looking at the tall red giant anymore. A welcome change to the staring eyes in Colima but then there are all these tourists.

Thanks to my host I got introduced to many locals including the owner of Txalaparata which meant free Mezcal for the next days. so I drank and drank and drank, the nice thing about it not giving me a hangover at all. But it is a very aquired taste indeed. One day, after my host had left to DF and left me his room for a week, I met Lisa a girl from the states and Ane a girl from Sweden or France or Finnland, it was a bit complicated. Together with some new friends from Wales we went on a road trip to the hot springs of Hierve el Agua close to Mizcal.

We had a bumpy ride in a shared taxi up and down a steep hill but finally reached the hot pools. which are not hot at all but so cool because they form teressases running from one pool into the other, The only other place in the world like this is Permukkale in Turkey. We spent some time there before returning back home to oaxaca.

The coolest thing of all things to see in Oaxaca, however, is Monte Alban. This old zapotec ruin resting on the mountains around Oaxaca touched me more than those big ruins in DF. It is the peacfulness, the quiteness and the few tourists that come to this place. Everything is more compact than in DF but it is also more interesting. In the centre of the great plaza is a very asymetrical building, having carved stones all around it, telling stories of conquer, of human sacrifice and of astronomical calenders, determining when to collect herbs or plant crops. Being so interested in streetart, ancient graffiti interests me even more.

I walked around this two thousand year old observatory discovering more and more scratched in messanges from the past. Some of them were naked men that were described as dancers, later archeologists scrapped this theory and decided that they were instead captured enemy soldiers ready to be sacrificed. And they do not look very happy on the stones at all.

At some point I decided to sit under and old tree, playing some tunes on my ukulele to these old places of worship. I walked over to one of the ball fields imagining this ancient games of balancing and kicking a small rubber ball around, either for fun or to solve conflicts. Even though they went a bit weird with their whole sacrifiying buisness, playing a game instead of dragging your exwife into court sounds like much more fun. I wish we would do that more often. North and South Korea playing badminton instead of building bigger and bigger guns.

I left Oaxaca very spontaneously in the middle of the night. My new welsh friends told me about a cheap shuttle ride in the night and I was on my way, leaving this beautiful and most interesting place on my travels far behind.

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30th December 2010

beautiful place
never heard the name though...but seems to be a place worth visiting.
1st January 2011

oh it is great indeed. it is the capital of the region oaxaca south of mexico

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