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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Saturday 25 July— A Dangerously Delicious Day

On weekends, work little, play tourist lots! But can’t get the day started without a stop for coffee and hot Oaxacan chocolate. Sugar-high and caffeinated, we energetically bounced south of the Zocolo to the “Mecca” of mole

and chocolate to continue our delicious pursuits. We stopped at several chocolate factories and watched them grind and blend the cocoa, nuts and spices.

Filling our mouths with samples and shopping bags with goodies at each fragrant stop, we were now ready to take on the expanse of the artisan market, which covers a square block.

Among rows of colorful dresses, knitted handbags and painted treasures, we bargained and slowly emptied our pockets, purchasing several clothing items. After a quick lunch, we plunged into the public market, a quintessential Mexican market experience.

Everything from meat and fish to produce, belts, sunglasses and colorful pictures of Catholic Saints all crammed into micro spaces. We wandered around gazing and checking out the wares; Rick found a new sun hat and nice shirt.

As we strolled back home we passed the gelato place and of course had to stop for a cup (the heat and humidity is a great excuse). After several hours of siesta, we made our way to the International Mezcal festival taking place in the park several blocks from home. Mezcal is made from agave plant, just like tequila, only with a different distillation process. Where tequila manufactures use yeast to reduce distillation time (also making tequila weaker), Mezcal producers allow 15-20 for the agave to distil naturally, giving it quite a flare. Cream flavored, fruits and strong straight stuff are all tasty, AND locally produced in Oaxaca and the neighboring state of Guerrero! For $15 pesos (a little over $1 USD) we entered a maze of Mezcal booths and sampled way too many brands to count (we got just a micro taste of each). After testing a variety of flavors and brands, we bought a few of our favorites to bring home. We were amazed of the difference in each brand, like scotch in that each distillery makes a little different flavor.

We made our way back home for a quick siesta and our again for a light dinner. One thing to note about Oaxaca. on any given day (weeknd or work day) in the morning the streets are empty, however by 8-9 pm the walking streets are so packed with folks it can be difficult to naviguate you way through the crowds. This is just the opposite of any given US city! it is always a treat to walk down to the Zocolo in the eventing and have it completely packed with people hanging out listening to live music, talking with friend and just enjoying life.

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