If Carlsberg Made Markets...

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Mexico  , Central Mexico and Gulf Coast,
Tuesday, October 4, 2011

...they'd make them like the main Oaxaca market. Allow me to help untwist your tongue - it's pronounced "Wahaca".

Everything you could possibly ever need is here, and even things you didn't know you needed! Exotic fruits and veggies, stinky and sticky cheeses, dark/plain/nutty/white chocolates, an exhilirating range of chillis and chilli-coated insects, sweet baked goods, jewellery, clothes, bags, etc, etc catering for locals and tourists alike. But be warned, it's easy to lose your way in this Wonderland!

One spot that benefitted from our custom at least once a day (*blush* sometimes twice!) is Hawaii - a smoothie and torta (toasted sandwich) stand that we happened upon. They've got a great little operation going, making deeleecious foods with fresh ingredients delivered with enthusiasm and a smile. "I'll have the usual, please, Pablo".

For those in the know, there's a mouthwatering section of the market. Long before you see it, you're lured by the beautiful aroma of barbecuing meat. We fondly refer to it as "braai alley". What more does a Saffa need? (right, Olivier? ;) 

There's no shortage of food stalls, each touting their wares at the top of their voices, blocking your way as you attempt to walk through. We waded through the sea of little ladies to one spot that was particularly popular with the locals. Our mission - to try one of the regional specialities - chicken mole - a spicy, chocolaty sauce poured over meat. We opted for Mole Negro, since we're pro-affirmative action. Other choices are red, green or yellow, depending on the type of chillies used. It would be unfair to say we were underwhelmed. Lets just say we were barely whelmed. Perhaps we should've opted for the tourist's fare (see Manuela's pic - yum!).

Our appetite for ancient ruins was almost satisfied, but we visited Monte Alban anyway. Manuela sat this one out as she was well and truly sated having travelled throughout Latin America. Instead two ultra-chilled fellow hostel-dwellers from Israel joined us

Seen one ruin, seen them all, right? Almost. This ancient city was built on an existing mountain whereas the poor sods at Tikal and Palenque built artificial mounds to raise their temples closer to heaven. Instead of being hidden deep in the wildlife-filled jungle, the ruins of Monte Alban overlook the present-day city of Oaxaca. Plus, these were the first Zapotec ruins we've seen! They seemed awfully similar to the Mayans in many ways, but I'm sure there were some noteworthy differences. And no, I didn't make any notes!

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