Friday, August 24, 2007

Oaxaca Street Markets (don't exist in Chacala)

I went to lots of street markets in Oaxaca City itself. And artisan markets, and museums. There was even food oriented market about a hundred feet from the hostel where I stayed. I bought juice and pan (bread) there every morning, for for mid-morning snack.

And I went to one street market at Tlacalula, a small (12,000) town outside of Oaxaca. The Sunday market at Tlacalula is very well known, and I took a bus from the 2nd class bus terminal to the market. I expected to see lots of gringos. But I only saw five, and they were all at the Mescal (sort of like Tequila I think) vendor´s stall. The market was large, and I got very tired walking around.
The church in Tlacalula is beautiful. And it has a huge walled churchyard, where I ate lunch. I took some photos inside the church, before eating. After while I heard the sounds of what sounded like a small orchestra coming from the church. After I finished eating (barbecued chicken and a coke and cut-up fruit) I went in the church. The music was lovely. And then the congregation started singing responses to the priest. I have never heard such beautiful "amateur" music in a church. I sat down on the little side bench, which I usually only do when the church is empty.
This was the patio of a nice woman who saw me looking in her gate, and waved me in. We visited but she didn't want her photo taken.Therew were alot of rug and weaving stalls. One man, Salvador, whose family has woven rugs inearby Teo....... for generations, was very friendly. He invited me to his familys workshop, and drew me a map and address. I will go there on my next trip (I hope I have a next trip to Oaxaca). I visited with his aunts at their booth, where they were selling an incense that comes from trees. I can't remember what it's called.

My favorite actual Artisan store is called MARO. It's located in a lovely old building in the Centro District, near the Zocala. All the crafts are made by women, and the business is run by these women. I loved this space. There were many rooms, with everything you can imagine. I was very familiar with the normal prices of most of the objects sold in these stores (having spent hours roaming the shops and markets), and MARO was very competitive. Or even cheaper than some places. I bought lots of small objects here, and wished I could have afforded some of the weaving and clothing. The biggest street market in the city of Oaxaca is the Abasto ( I hope I spelled the name correctly). It is the biggest market I have ever seen. It's open all the time, but Saturdays are the big day. That when Indio vendors and crafts persons come in from the small towns around Oaxaca. Everything legal in the world is sold here. And possibly some illegal things, but I didn't see any. I loved being here. Lots of food, cooked and fresh. Beautiful fruit and vegetables. Even naked, unrefrigerated chickens. And live turkeys, goats, and pigs.

One thing in the Oaxaca markets that was different from the little cuestos in Chacala is that people don´t seem to live behind their stalls, like in Chacala. I think in Chacala it´s partly because they don´t have anywhere else to stay, and partly for store security.

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