Mexico: Oaxaca

Thursday, December 6, 2012

As soon as we landed, we could feel we were going to experience the 'real' Mexico that we'd been craving in Cabo. Oaxaca (pronounced Wa-harka) is a gorgeous little city - the centre of the town has street after street of low rise, Spanish-influenced architecture, with all the colours you'd expect from Mexico thrown in over the top. It was a busy week: we visited ancient ruins, took guided tours to small out lying craft towns (including a traditional rug weaving place - where we bought a rug!), sampled the local delicacies, like mole and grasshoppers (although I wasn't brave enough to try the grasshoppers - some of our group ate them fried on fajitas with guacamole!). And, of course, we did more than our fair share of local handicraft shopping at the town markets. We were there with a couple of friends from the wedding, which made it all the more enjoyable.

I don't think anything could have prepared us (especially you) for the onslaught of colour, music, dancing, firecrackers, flowers, parades, skulls, noise, face paint and costumes that came together for the day of the dead festival. Run over two days (one day for the adult spirits, one day for the children), the spirits of lost loved ones are celebrated with such joy, it's hard not to think of it as one of the most magical and beautiful things I've ever seenYou got a bit scared by some kids dressed up on the day we arrived, and when you heard the parade was to come into the courtyard we were hanging out in, you were terrified. We heard the marching band first and you screamed when you saw the first puppets coming down the street (they were about ten feet tall!) and for the first few minutes we had to watch the party from an upstairs balcony. You warmed up to it, though, and after a while we came back downstairs to join the revellers. You started loving it when Shane bought you your very own little diablos (devil) costume - you wore it for four days straight, it was literally the talk of our hotel, until Shane held you down and tore it off for a wash.

We visited a local cemetery and it was the most beautiful and moving sight to behold. The outside was thronging like the big day out, crowds of people carrying armloads of flowers and jostling for tables at makeshift cafeterias, with all sorts of drinks and food on offer. Inside, the graves were barely visible beneath stunning pink and orange flowers and family members sitting around, laughing and drinking.

I will remember our time in Oaxaca mostly for the warm beer in cans on the mini bus, the local markets, you as little diablo, and the colour and the music and the life of the day of the dead festival. Oh, and Shane setting fire to a pair of shorts hanging over a lamp in our hotel room while trying to communicate on the phone to a Mexican in his own personal brand of broken-English-spoken-with-a-thick-accent. But that's a whole other story.

Next stop: the biggest city in the world! Mexico City.





















Photos 1 - 9 extremely kindly supplied by Paul Mason (that's his gorgeous bride striding out in the first photo!). The rest taken by Shane and I on a little camera lent to us by Liza. Thanks guys!

17 comments:

Ann said...

What an adventure! Mexico is such a beautiful country. How did you manage traveling with little Olive? Any pointers from mama to mama : )

raisedbywolffs said...

What a beautiful place, it makes me want to paint my house in those beautiful chalky yet bold colors.
Thank you for sharing these it's a mini holiday or my mind.

Lila

raisedbywolffs said...

*for my mind. Which really really needs it as you can probably see.

one claire day said...

Oh wow - I can really feel how much you loved it, Kel! Amazing photos and memories! xx

Madeleine said...

Too much to look at and read about and love here! Can't wait for the next installment. Can't wait! Xx

Mrs Biddle said...

What beautiful photos. I especially love those sweet breads with the dolls hidden inside. Thank you for sharing - you're inspiring me to consider a trip to Mexico with a little one x

A and B said...

stunning photography! I love oaxaca although you must go see San Cristobal de las Casas! That town is so romantic and amazing...such a hidden gem.

Lerosso said...

I am so jealous! Buen viaje!

Lamy Australia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lamy Australia said...

Dolls baked in buns? Want to go (sans the entourage of penises).

Thanks for the inspiration x C

ashley said...

olive and the donkey. goodness me your girl is perfection. from canada mexico was my destination, quick and cheap holiday. from aus it's another story. how i miss it's beauty. x ashley

Dressing Ivana said...

such a lovely trip. I lived in Mexico for 2 years, it has something magical

Ellen Arthur said...

Oh wow! what amazing memories and experiences for your beautiful children!
Ellen xx

cara said...

The colours!

Liv Lundelius said...

Mexico seems such a crazy and beautiful place.
How amazing you were there for the festival.
That's something that's always been on my travel list.
Great photos.

ejorpin said...

What an amazing experience! What wonderful adventures! I've thoroughly enjoyed every single piece of Mexico you've shared with us, makes me hunger for exotic locales...

Yellow Finch Designs said...

oh, i am enjoying these photos! and i must admit, i'm slightly jealous. what an amazing time of the year to travel to mexico.

your blog is so lovely.

 

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