Impressions of Oaxaca City

Impressions of Oaxaca City

My favourite things:

Gold-dipped churches – the Dominicans left a trail of marvellous churches, full of exquisite carvings, high pillars reaching to the sky, the smell of wood and flowers permeating the air.

In the heart of the city is a beautiful square, full of flowers and trees, vendors with their colourful artisan wares, toys, food, music, laughter…

Music  – orchestras playing ‘danzon’ music, surrounded by happy couples dancing, bodies held tight… The joyful marimba music using a piano-like instrument that several musicians play at the same time. On one occasion there were 3 guys playing one marimba and 4 playing another, accompanied by drums and a saxophone. What a wonderful sound…

Perfect weather, at least in January. Every day it was 25 degrees with brilliant blue skies. In the afternoons, a little breeze would come up and cool everything down, just the perfect amount…

Everything smells like chocolate!!!  It is freshly ground for making hot chocolate and mole (a yummy sauce used in many of their regional dishes) Mmmmmm….

Least favourite things:

Traffic – I didn’t see one speck of courtesy in the drivers here. They disobey all the rules. They really do get their driver’s licenses by means that do not include a test! A bus came within an inch of crushing me – the driver decided to turn right – right on top of me. My first reaction was to shake my fist and swear at him. So now he speaks some English!

The  city is predominately Spanish, with incredible colonial architecture. But it seems to be almost devoid of Indigenous culture. After experiencing Chiapas, I expected a similar mixture of cultures here. I thought I would hear the many dialects that are still used, see traditional hand woven and embroidered clothing, and learn a bit about the Zapatecas, the pre-Hispanic culture that lived around here. But no. Instead of being a multicultural mix of people here, the Indigenous people still live in the surrounding small towns, in poverty.

Noise – wow, I sometimes I think everyone is deaf except me! Loud speakers blaring everywhere, people yelling, dogs barking, horns tooting and tooting… It makes me cranky!

Oaxaca hosts a humungous folkloric dance event in the summer that people attend from all over the world. But it appears that for the rest of the year, it almost doesn’t exist. I didn’t even see one beautiful woman in the colorful traditional embroidered clothing, nevermind folkloric dancing. I was disappointed…

The people are friendly and eager to converse. But we really didn’t see any evidence of cultural events. No concerts, dances, art shows… nothing. I imagine that because we visited in January, it was an unusually dry spell, because Oaxaca is well known for its rich culture.

We really enjoyed our time in Oaxaca city. I had heard a lot about it and was excited to experience the rich multicultural ambiance. But I went with expectations and that is always a mistake. It is a wonderful place and I will definitely return. But next time I will leave my preconceptions at home and experience it with an open mind and heart!

Some interesting sights…

A display of 2501 clay figures representing the people who left one small town in Oaxaca and went to the US. The rough sad images illustrate the hard life many encounter there.

Exquisite sculptures inside and outside the churches…

And some good old fashioned FUN!

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Comments on: "Impressions of Oaxaca City" (2)

  1. Brian Bolli said:

    Thanks Soo….

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