Dead Fish in a Box

The chronicles of a suburban fishpimp trying to keep it rural.

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Location: United States

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Fishpimp Mixteco's it up in Oaxaca

Hola Amigos, I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya', but I've been packing on the pounds in the valley of the Mextecs & Zapotecs. Instead of writing up the entire trip in one big slug, I think I'm going to throw together a few vignettes as I go through the week.

The first thing you need to know is that the weather was crap nearly all week. Hurricane Stan hit around Veracruz the day we got there. Now, Oaxaca is surrounded by 10,000' mountains, but even they couldn't stop all the moisture from moving inland. We weren't prepared for Seattle-in-November type weather, but we did the best we could with the ponchos & umbrellas our hotels provided.

We had planned to do some hiking in the high pine forests of the Sierra Norte mountains, but after the first walk in the morning we decided to bag the rest. We spent the rest of day in the tiny town of Llano Grande. It's not much of a town - only 150 or so very hearty souls, so the only activity our guide could come up with was an impromptu cooking class in the local roadhouse - I'll write more on that later. Llano Grande is at around 10,300', and is purported to have excellent views of the Oaxacan valley. But this is all we got:

By contrast, here is a shot from Teotitlan from later in the week. It's a good 4,000' lower in the same range

Nice view, eh?

We were able to enjoy ourselves none-the-less. The town of Oaxaca was deserted - no one in the plazas, no street vendors selling tacos and enfrijoladas, even the pan-handlers stayed inside. We checked out some great markets that are under cover as well as the 400 year old Santo Domingo mission & museum, as well as two more cooking classes. We also did some Mescal tastings - an excellent thing to do anytime; even the worst weather becomes inconsequential if one tastes enough of this wonderful liquor. I'll write more on that later also - just know this - mescal has come a long way - no worms in any bottles we drank from.

The bottom line is that when one travels thousands of miles to celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary, a little thing like the weather should not get in the way.


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