October 25, 2022
Yes, it’s been a while. We pretty much gave up on blogging because it’s a lot of work. But we’re on a new Mexican adventure now, and a lot of people have asked us to keep them updated, so we’re trying this again. At least we’ll dump some pictures here, no guarantee of insightful text. Or accurate captions.
We are in Oaxaca City for Day of the Dead, which will be the first two days of November. The Spanish began construction of this colonial city in 1532. It’s in the mountains of southern Mexico at around 5100 ft (1555M) elevation. Oaxaca is known for its food, its art, mezcal, and its Day of the Dead festivities.
It’s always flower season in southern Mexico:
Of course the colonial Spanish city has a lot of old, ornate churches:
Serious profusion of flowers:
This hotel facing the Cathedral has a nightly folkloric dance show:
We stayed in that hotel and saw that show. . .
. . . 27 years ago. (For those younger folks in the audience, color photos did exist 27 years ago, the b&w is by choice.)
We took a guided tour to a mezcal producer growing a variety of maguey plants and turning them into a variety of mezcals using very traditional methods. We saw production steps going all the way from flowers:
Here, the hearts of the harvested maguey plants are roasted under a mound of soil:
Mezcal is made from a variety of maguey plants, not just the agave used for tequila:
Michael is getting ready to start crushing the roasted plants to make it easier to ferment their sugars:
The roasted fibers are like sugar cane, but so much more caramelly and delicious.
Crushed and separated fibers go into vats for fermentation:
Clay pot still:
Serious(ly illegal) stuff:
We tasted a variety. Honestly, too many to tell apart:
Our tour also took us to a studio where they make amazing wooden animal sculptures called Alebrijes:
The city is full of art:
Some general art, and some Day of the Dead themed art, like these Catrinas:
They are just starting to put up decorations for Day of the Dead. This is no Christmas lights in October kind of tradition.
Note the pole is painted to not interrupt the mural:
We stumbled onto an early parade:
Oaxaca is known for its food. Like mole:
A few dried chilis:
You can certainly find restaurants serving the standards:
But there’s also a fine food scene that’s combining tradition with innovation. Here’s a delicious tamale served on smoldering corn husks:
A tomato salad:
That’s it for our first few days. It seems like we’ve seen and done a lot, and we’ve still got a week before the main event. We will have to try to pace ourselves.