Five characters (and their guests) in search of something.

Friday, March 25, 2005


Yesterday Kelsie, Ella, Muriel, Leland and myself had a fantastic visit out to Zaachila, which is a small town about a half hour outside of Oaxaca. First, we spent a couple of hours out at the livestock market which is on the outskirts of the town. It was truly incredible--none of us had ever seen anything like it. When we first got out of the taxi, we managed to wander into an area that was selling nothing but firewood and charcoal. We thought that perhaps we'd missed the livestock market, so wandered a bit. There were a couple of carts with burros braying loudly which provided a some entertainment, but still not what we were seeking. After asking a couple of people, we found our way around a corner and down the street to the sought after livestock market. Upon entering, a brahmen bull got loose, sending several people, including us, scattering out of harms way.

Overview--the bull area was the largest

Bulls for sale

And so the adventure began. We wandered slowly between the perimeter of where the bulls were and the comedors (small eateries) where barbacoa de chivo (barbecued goat) was being served. One woman gave me a taste as I admired the contents of her cooking pot. Delicious! Everything goes into the pot--organs, head, etc. Just at the end of the covered area that had all the comedors were the goats and sheep, and beyond them the pigs. Behind the bulls were a few burros and rather sad and bedraggled looking horses. There were also a few random bunnies, which the children particularly enjoyed.


Double decker sheep.

We were the only foreigners in the whole market, so were a bit of a novelty. Everyone was, as usual, incredibly kind and warm. After our wandering, we sat and had tacos de barbacoa de chivo which were great. It was a bit strange to be eating goat and being steps away from the live kind... The kids found the meat too spicy, so had deep fried quesadillas with epazote (a much used herb) and flor de calabaza (squash blossoms)--very greasy and quite yummy.

Sheep waiting while it's new owner eats some barbacoa...

After our lunch, we walked out to the main road and got a motorcycle taxi to the center of town, where there was a large and very crowded market going on. It was a little daunting with the kids in tow, and the heat coming on full force, but we managed to enjoy ourselves. We found some little classic Oaxacan baskets to use as Easter baskets for the kids, had some fresh fruit, saw lots of turkeys panting in the heat, and made a friend with one of the turkey vendors.

Market overview.

Making friends.

Her turkeys for sale.

After the crunch of the market, we went across the street to get a peak at the church, and get an overview of the market. We also found a molino (grinding store) to buy some freshly ground mix for making hot chocolate (or mole...). It was great to watch people choosing their particular amounts of cocoa, cinnamon and sugar, then seeing it ground. There were also tremendous vats of mole. The children loved tasting the freshly ground, still warm, chocolate mix.

The weighing station.

The grinders.

Mole off to market.

Checking out the chocolate.

Making hot chocolate later in the day.

We finished the day eating tacos at our favorite stand in the Parque Llano. All in all a grand day. It was Kelsie and Ella's last day, and I think quite a memorable send off.


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