Out for Breakfast
Today we were on our own, we got up early and went to a restaurant called Chepiche Cafe. The people we met from Houston on our city tour said it was really great for breakfast. We took a taxi as it was quite a distance from our hotel. We were approaching the area when the driver tried to go up a side street and a garbage truck was coming down. He had to back out of the street and try another street, but we could see there were blockades so then he let us out and said we had to walk the rest of the way. It was a beautiful morning so we didn’t mind. It wasn’t that far away – around the corner and down a side street. It was a very nice setting with an open-air roof and lots of trees and plants.
Unfortunately, Shawn was not feeling that well, therefore we opted to share a pancake and egg dish. We didn’t have a long wait and we were soon finished and on our way again. We walked back to where we were dropped off and found another taxi.
The driver took us to the city center but dropped us off at the wrong museum. It was still early so that museum wasn’t even open. We wandered around trying to navigate with our phones but then finally asked several people and finally arrived at the museum. It should have been easy to find but we didn’t realize it was connected to Santo Domingo de Guzman, one of the principal churches in Oaxaca.
The Guelaguetza Festival
There was not much chance we were going to get into the museum. The next time it would open would be our last full day in Oaxaca. We wandered around watching all the people. Some were dressed in their native dresses. Here is some information about the festival that was going on that week – The Guelaguetza was a Zapotec celebration of their corn goddess Xilonen. The word Guelagutza means, “offering” in Zapotec. The character seen around the city represents the theme of the festival. The festival features traditional costumed dancing, parades of indigenous walking bands, native foods, and statewide artisanal crafts. The festival lasts two weeks and the first week coincided with our vacation. Saturday night was when all the indigenous cultures joined together at the auditorium to present their unique dances.
The festival was probably the main reason so many people were lining up to see the Cultural Museum. It was interesting walking around and seeing how the people dressed and watching small groups parading.
It was getting close to noon so Shawn looked at his best restaurant list and we chose another of the top ten restaurants for lunch, but it was about 15 minutes away. We began walking, although we soon realized that people were lining up on both sides of the streets and pretty soon it was impossible to get through the crowds. It was obvious that a parade was going to make its way down the street. We politely pushed our way through to go back and crossed several streets until we escaped the huge mass of onlookers. Shawn remembered a restaurant that was close by. It was called the Cathedrale Restaurant. It was also on his top ten list. We walked in and easily procured a table. When the waiter arrived, we asked to see the lunch menu, but regrettably, they weren’t serving lunch until 1 pm. Shawn decided on enchiladas and I ordered an omelet.
After our lunch, we thought it best to walk back to the hotel. We did enjoy walking down the streets and doing some souvenir shopping along the way. I found a special friend and had my picture taken next to her.
We arrived at the hotel just in time to see the manager getting into a taxi. She was going to the auditorium to see the folk dancing, one of the highlights of the festival. We were exhausted after all our walking and just wanted to rest and relax!
After a few hours of rest, it was already time to go out for dinner. We came upon an Italian restaurant that was only a block or so from our hotel. We decided to take a chance and stepped inside. It was very small and rustic looking. We were the only ones there. The waitress led us to a table and brought the menus. Shawn and I both decided on pasta and an unusual drink with pineapple and tamarindo. The pasta and homemade bread were delicious! We treated ourselves by sharing a tiramisu. All in all, it was one of the better restaurants and NOT even on the list! The restaurant actually had only been open for just two weeks.
With such a satisfying meal, it was time to go back to the hotel and think about our excursion the next day to the traditional Sunday market at Tlacolula.
Take a look at the next blog as we stroll through one of the oldest continuous markets in Oaxaca and across Mesoamerica.