ZZZZ… SIESTA IN OAXACA
El Carrizal, located high in the Sierras about 2 1/2 hours from the city of Oaxaca, is one of our favorite hiking/weekend excursion destinations. Some of the local delights from the trip last year can be viewed here.
View of the village of El Carrizal from a trail side mirador (lookout).
A highlight of this visit was learning about three bakeries that produce flat, round and quite tasty loaves, which we savored at every meal! The bread is totally local – growing the trigo (wheat), separating the grain, grinding into flour, mixing, and finally baking.
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The bakery below is owned by two families who bake bread twice a week.
Photo and caption by Lorna Stone. Thanks, Lorna!
Corn is another product totally grown and processed locally. Kernals are dried, ground, and made into delicious tortillas, and the husks and stalks are fed to animals. Maybe the husks are even used for tamales! As we were walking along the dirt road toward the mirador, these people waved us over to chat. The corn is typically put on the flat rooftops to dry then removed from the cobs and stored for grinding into the meal or flour for tortillas.
The people of El Carrizal are exceptionally friendly and welcoming. Everyone agreed that these people are what made such a magical weekend! We’ll definitely be back next year.
Noche de Rabanos (Night of Radishes) is a splendid one day creative extravaganza unique to the city of Oaxaca. Imaginative people from around the state have been working on designs for many months, and on December 23 they display their artwork for the enjoyment and amazement of thousands of onlookers, plus they have a chance to win a prize!
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We begin our day by eating breakfast in one of the outdoor restaurants that surround the zócalo, the main plaza of Oaxaca where the event takes place. We enjoy watching people construct and put the finishing touches to their depictions of daily life, history, religion, and culture. Some of the radish carvings are done at the last minute! Every tiny piece of the work must be of natural materials – no wire or plastic – and most of the radish figures are held together with toothpicks.
There are three categories of materials: specially grown giant rabanos (radishes), flor inmortal (looks like what I know as straw flowers), and totomoxtle, or corn husks.
Some photos show entire displays so you can see how elaborate they are, and some are of small sections to show the incredible detail. Photographer friend Rick Impett contributed some excellent photos – thanks, Rick!
MUSIC AND DANCING
Living lives surrounded with artisans creating textiles, carvings, metalwork, pottery, painting, music and dancing, children of Oaxaca learn to become artists, musicians and craftspeople at a very young age. It’s wonderful to see!
SPECTACULAR PIECE and the ARTIST
This hairy looking critter has been hanging out for several days on the trunk of a bougainvillea that is beside our porch in Oaxaca. The best ID I found is that it’s an arctia caja, which is the larva of one type of Tiger Moth. It is about 3 inches long, and is known in other locations as “wooly bear.” If anyone out there knows differently, please speak up!
I don’t know how long it stays in this stage, but I hope it returns as a colorful moth!
Great numbers of VW Beetles in various states of repair or disrepair buzz around Oaxaca (and perhaps all of Mexico)! It’s obvious people love them, and I love seeing the creative paint jobs or other “fix-ups.” Often they are speeding by, making it impossible to take photos, but following are a few favorite Beetles that I captured while they were parked.
Photos below were taken in Chiapas. This VW was a work of art from every direction!
You could alter your VW for a wedding getaway….
This Beetle desperately needs a sponser – what would you do if it were yours?
Contrasting colors in Oaxaca? Too easy. Oaxaca is awash with bold color combinations. It could be the birthplace of color contrasts! A one hour walk around El Centro provided more photo ops than I imagined. I did not have to find them – they found me!
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If you just can’t decide what color to use…why not use them all!
Throughout the day and even at sunset, the colors that surround us are intensified by the beautiful Oaxaca blue sky.
Seasons drift by subtly in Oaxaca, often defined by the blooming trees and bushes that delight us as the color palette changes throughout the year.
I used the following books for identification:
Arboles de México by Luis Lesur 2011 online store: http://www.etrillas.com.mx
Tropical Flowering Plants by Kirsten Albrecht Llamas, 2003 amazon.com
Standing on a street corner, chatting about the day’s destinations, a friend and I suddenly spotted a tortilla chip that was moving slowly down the sidewalk. Upon closer inspection we saw a brigade of ants lined up around the chip’s edge, toting it off to their secret hiding place.
And those riding on top…slackers or supervisors?