Friday, August 07, 2009

Monte Alban - August 6

I purchased a tour ticket. A very long tour that began at 10 a.m. and ended at 7 p.m.

The guide spoke English about as well as I speak Spanish. I'm speaking Spanish all day now because the people I've met who speak English are not fluent. And so, by the end of this very long tour where I'm struggling to communicate I'm exhausted. And, to be totally honest, I suspect my companions are exhausted in their efforts to communicate with me. And so, by the end of the trip I'm sitting quietly while all around me people are chattering away, but alas I cannot join them.

First up - Monte Alban - the ancient, and oldest, state government in North America, perhaps in all of the Americas, I'm not certain. It was discovered by Alfonso Caso, and as of 1978 has been a UNESCO heritage site.

The building of this city, the center of the ancient state, began around 300 BC.

The state of Oaxaca has many, many villages that for generations have specialized in producing a particular object of art. We went to two of them and watched the artisans at work.

I just bet you've seen both the wood carvings and the black pots in stores where you live.

The black is natural. Once the pot is baked it looks kind of dusty, and when the dust is wiped off - presto - a black pot.

I did not bring much money. I should have brought more. A very kind Mexican family from Monterey treated me to a buffet supper that everyone on the bus had in a small village. To try and compensate I purchased a gift for them, a small black vase.

Oaxaca is also known for its cuisine. I had a wonderful salad, cheese empanadas, other things that I don't know what they were, drank a drink made with rose pedals and of course had several samplings of postre (dessert)

It was a very good day.

(You can click on a photo and it will enlarge)

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