We were excited to go to Tlacolula to see the Sunday market. Our tour guides were a bit late and when they finally arrived, we were surprised to see that they were not Mexican. In fact, they were Canadians enjoying their retirement in Oaxaca. They had been living in Oaxaca for about 8 years and were very happily integrated into the Mexican way of life. They were quite active in the community and did private tours to supplement their income. Tlacolula is about 18 miles east of Oaxaca City and we arrived in good time. Our guide parked a few streets away and we walked to the market. Sellers were still unloading their goods and setting their stalls up as we were walking through.
As we photographed our way through the covered walkways, the aisles were wide with plenty of room to maneuver. Of course, we were just on the outside and hadn’t yet entered the building.
We wandered through the meat aisles which I always find gruesome but fascinating at the same time.
The Tlacolula Market is especially known for its goat and lamb (barbacoa) meat slow-roasted in an earthen oven. The remains of the animals may be used in a stew or soup. No part is wasted! We walked through this area which was extremely crowded at the time – people pushing and trying to get through and at the same time on the sides of the aisles, people were cooking on stoves that lined the passage. It would have been very easy to get burned! I was glad when we finally made it through the smoky and crowded barbacoa stalls.
It was getting late and just about time to leave. Tanya told me that they were selling honey made as lollipops. I decided it would be a good treat for my students so I went back to the stall where they bought the honey and bought about 15 honey lollipops. After that, we went around to see the local church.
Church of Our Lady of Assumption
It was a strange market tour in some ways. Although our Canadian guides were very friendly, they seemed more interested in buying groceries than in really guiding us. I was glad we had had Gabriel as our first guide to a market as I learned quite a bit from him and he was eager to explain the food culture and the market traditions. The next day was our tour to Hierve El Agua with the same tour guides It is one of the weird natural wonders of the world and both Shawn and I were looking forward to seeing it.
That night we were both so tired we thought we would just stay at the hotel and not go out for dinner. Then I thought maybe we could order a pizza. I got on/line and found a pizza place that was actually not too far from the hotel. I ordered the pizza and then we waited, but no pizza person ever showed up. Next, I remembered the Italian restaurant and thought they might have pizza, so I walked to the nearby restaurant, but no such luck. I think Shawn ate the rest of his enchiladas and I ate fruit and crackers and then we went to bed.
Look for the next post about Mitla, a town built on top of an ancient settlement.