What´s up Oaxaca


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North America » Mexico
June 9th 2015
Published: June 11th 2015
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It´s hot and sunny. I´m wearing what I slept in. I´ve communicated in 2 languages today, and I need a shower (at the friendly suggestion of both Sam and Jeff), this is awesome. Its exactly why I´m here. Well, its a lot of the reason. I need to look decently presentable when I´m on shift at the hostel, but otherwise I hardly care what I look like, and improving my spanish everyday, and get vitamin D all the time. It´s funny how I still need to practice reminding myself to be actively grateful though. Not that I´m not grateful already for being on a grand adventure in a beautiful place, its just funny how quickly people can adapt and forget how special or extraordinary of an experience they´re having when have already normalized it. One of the stronger intentions of this trip is to do a lot of internal work/growth on myself and healing. One of my daily practices right now is reminding myself constantly to actively live in gratitude so that it becomes a reflex at some point. Attending the local aa meetings in english is something that helps a lot with perspective and being grateful. Its always a very
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I'm pretty sure this is the biggest church in Oaxacs city. This is the plaza at night
real reminder of why I´m making the choices I am and beautiful evidence of how amazing the results for these choices have been and continue to be.

I went and explored a smaller town outside of Oaxaca last week with 2 sweet girls staying at the hostel. We took a bus to Ocutlan which is roughly almost an hour out of the city. The city is small and active. We got off at the main plaza and headed into the market to check out the place. The market outside and the market inside. They have everything for sale at markets from cellphones to papayas to dog food to mustache combs. Clothes, buckets, chicken, its all there and its all stinky, more or less. The smell hit us as soon as we crossed the threshold of the large, open door. Though to be fair, the meat section´s odor is much more potent than that of the tortillas or dried herbs. We walked around for a while, it was pretty crowded inside. Old women and little girls walk up to you constantly asking if you want to buy bread or onions or a shirt or a comb. You get used to
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I bought this for 75 cents in the outside market in Ocutlan. It is hand made and a likely use is for burning copal or perhaps herbs. I got it to add to my altar for burning things or holding a candle.
telling cutie pies no. It started raining pretty hard. We went outside for a bit, then back inside to wait it out. Its coming into the rainy season here and when it rains, sometimes its like torrential downpour. When it stopped we went back out. I swear the outside part of the market had grown or shifted while we were inside. It reminded me or that movie ´Rose Red´by Stephen King or some other story where a haunted house grows and changes while its victims are inside so that they become lost forever. Fortunately in our case the plaza is not quite that big, so eventually we found a shuttle that would take us to San Martin, a way smaller town known for its creation of alebrijes. Alebrijes are beautiful wooden sculptures ranging from the size of toy car to that of a large down (most common ones are on the smaller side). They are carved by hand and they painted delicately. It is a beautiful and intricate art of the Zapotec culture. Zapotecs are indigenous people and if you´re curious, here is a link with some info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zapotec_civilization. These creatures can take months to finish completely and are absolutely
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Federal police helicopter during the protests last week
stunning. I have some photos I took down below though they barely do justice. I bough a little mushrooms which was 40 pesos (about $3) but that was in a cheaper shop. We took a tour at an artisan´s collective facility and they had ones that were hundreds of dollars.

The little town was lovely. It had one paved street that was the main way in and we walked back out to follow the road down to get back on a bus. While walking down the main road, we saw a large assembly of people of all ages playing music and marching our directions. We realized when they got closer that it was a funeral. Mariachi music is always upbeat, but this melody was melancholic as well. It was kind of awkward walking the opposite direction of what seemed like the entire town taking up the whole street so when they got closer, we just stood against the wall and watched. I was totally feeling the vibe and almost cried as they were carrying the casket by. After they passed, I pulled out my phone to take a photo and saw a man looking at me put his hand up. I assumed he was meaning in objection to any photos and I felt bad for having come off as disrespectful. I told my friends about it and they said, ¨no, look, he´s waving at us¨. He was waving at us flirtatiously and beckoning to come join him which in contrast to the somber sad/melancholy atmosphere was pretty hilarious. I thought I had offended him but he was looking at us excitedly and blowing us kisses. I still wanted to take a photo because it was this was very an authentic scene of their culture and probably tradition so I waited but everytime I turned around he was still looking at us and it was really funny. I really liked their style of all walking through the town together. It was sad, but felt more like a celebration in addition to honouring and paying respects. It was public and everyone was involved, I thought it was beautiful.

By the time we were done admiring the alebrijes, I was feeling pretty worn out. I had a cold last week and that was the first day I had enough gusto to want to go do something but on the way home
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Little mushroom alebrijes I bought for 40 pesos (less than $3) from a very nice man who had his own little shop
I was a bit poopy. I had woken up that morning with a strong craving to go this place that Id been going to with my friend Ella from Virginia. The place is a spacious cafe (spacious as in very high ceilings, it feels luxurious) with food and drinks, but they specialize in hot chocolate made with delicious traditional Oaxacan chocolate. Oaxacan chocolate is rich and tasty and one of the yumyums that this place is known for. This cafe also has bagels, pretty decent ones actually (bagels outside most of the US are either nonexistent or just not the same). My favorite treat lately is a hot chocolate using chocolate with chili and water and a bagel with cream cheese. Its a good place to talk, enjoy the flavors, and look at some really cool and funky art they have.

Things just mellowed out in Oaxaca. They were protests for about a week. Teachers are the main strength of protesting and riots here in political manners, from what I´ve gathered. The protests were very organized and affected much of the city. They shut down gas stations and comandeered some of the buses. They came from other parts of
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A larger and more impressive alebrije. This photo really doesn't do justice
the country and there were so many and shit got rowdy enough that tons of federal police weren´t sent from DF (Mexico city). Its funny how gas was almost inaccesible yet government police helicopters were flying around over the city for hours. These protests were for the election that just happened on Sunday. Protesting because the government is corrupt and when it comes to politicians here, they transparently only care about money and gaining more power. As is the case in much of the world, the distance between officials and common people is very large. They want to resist voting because they don´t want any part in bringing someone else power that just wants to live off the people and work for self-seeking. They were messing with the voting poll areas, bringing out the papers and burning them on the streets. I didn´t see much of the action, but things got pretty crazy.

Overall though Oaxaca is safe, its a very safe city actually. You could walk around alone at night and be fine (I don´t lol) unless you happened to be in a really sketchy part of town. I´ve made some good friends here, its nice to feel close to people. I´ve got a very relaxed pace and routine between working at the hostel, going to meetings, and getting to yoga, and chillaxing 😊 I´m getting ready to leave here soon though and probably won´t be at a place this long again for a while.

I´m missing family, friends, booboo, and the awesome lake days I know are upon the beautiful people of Orcas. I remember though what I´m doing and where I am and how grateful I am to be here. There is nowhere else I´m supposed to be and no better I could be feeling. Much love to all


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The goats weren't having it
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Crabstache
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Main avenida in San Martin
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Me and Ella! She stayed at the hostel for 2 weeks and I loved becoming good friends.


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