Sunday, May 29, 2011

Temple of San Felipe Neri

I was told that there is a religious tradition I believe for the Thursday on Palm week to walk to 7 churches. A tradition born in Rome, in which people walk and meditate-pray. This is a tradition hard to keep in newer cities, in which seven churches might be miles away, or small towns where there might not be enough. I unfortunately arrived on Friday that week, so I missed this tradition. It would have been a piece of cake, since there's at least around one church every 3 blocks. Easy to keep the old ways in places like these.

Also, a guide mentioned when we were visiting ruins, that the biggest and most beautiful buildings were those in which they honored their gods. He paused and said, "Well, it's no different from our days. The most beautiful and decorated buildings are still the churches." Talk about evolving as a society. Anyway, they are still in all honesty, truly majestic and beautiful.
And a little something extra. I kept seeing this decoration all around buildings and churches, and thought it was a curious thing for everyone to have a similar thing. I thought the provider sure knew how to do profit for religious weeks. It was until days later, that someone opened my eyes, and told me it was a beautifully cheap decoration: sauteed onions from a grill. Once they gained that yellow color, they peel off by layers and weave them together and just add the purple fabric. My mind was blown.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Plaza de la Danza, Church of la Soledad.

Both Plaza de la Danza, and Church of la Soledad are quite visible from the street. Hard to miss such a church and patio.

Just before going down to the church, there was the Escuela de Bellas Artes (School of Arts) Benito Juarez.
 And to promote tourism, the spots with historical importance have had this post nearby. Since 2010, people are able to call or send a text to get historical details as to the place they are currently visiting. I didn't really use the service, but I believe it was only for Mexican cellphones.
The church of la Soledad just before going down the stairs.
And here one can see the Centro Historico(Historical Center), and the School of Arts together.
Pictures of the church aren't that great, since one cannot use flash inside most of the buildings.

Since the visit was on Palm week, there were always people at churches; but since Mexico is a very religious country, it would still not be strange to see people in church during the week.

An incomplete picture of the arch from the entrance. I guess I could not help thinking back to Lord of the Rings.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ice cream in Oaxaca, Encanto y Beso Oaxaqueño

I have been quite busy moving, so I've had no time to make any posts. Now, it's all done and good. 

I'll begin by posting about ice cream in Oaxaca. I visited at a time when summer was barely beginning, and the sun's heat rays where sometimes unbearable at around midday. We were told that if we visited Plaza de la Danza, right before entering Church of la Soledad, we would be able to enjoy a variety of ice cream. With a weather reaching 40º Celsius(104 Fahrenheit), it was hard not to take a small walk. 

Walking down the plaza, you easily notice how popular it is; there are stands everywhere, each propped with tables, chairs and umbrellas. 

Sweet bread, coconut filled empanadas, sugar sprinkled cookies and cream filled scones were just the beginning of the variety that could be tasted at this small place. A little warning, there are bees everywhere, and most especially around stands similar to this one. I'm not one to complain, but I've seen others react really bad to the sight of just one nearby. They are just a common nuisance.
Before sitting down, we visited the church (I will make a post of that later), and at the exit, enjoyed a bit of fresh cut mango with lime and sprinkled chili.
This is how the stands look when you go down Plaza de la Danza, there are just so many to choose from. Not to worry though, most of them have a similar selection of ice cream.
A quick look at the menu from what one had to offer. They also allow you to have a taste if you are curious as to a certain flavor, just ask for a sample. They have either ice cream made from milk, or water; and I have to say, both are delicious.
I decided to taste Beso Oaxaqueño (Oaxacan Kiss), cream based mixed with carrots, pecans, and  apples. Encanto Oaxaqueño (Oaxacan charm) the orange one, is a mix of various fruits, I kind of forgot which; nonetheless it was exquisite. Along with Sweet, delicious and just satisfying in such a weather.
 The plates where fun, and useful to discard tasting spoons.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A gift, worthy of the gods

What is this humble man pulling out of the machine?
Why, the meal of the Gods of course!
Smashed cocoa beans, mixed with sugar, spices and lots of everything nice! This is an example of a made to order mix.

 This is the store selling Mayordomo Chocolate, comes in various flavors, and if you want, just plain chocolate (warning, much bitter than the rest) they have that too. This are crusty and breakable chocolate bricks or pastes, prepared to dissolve in water, milk, whatever you fancy. And they sell like crazy, all day busy, everyone grabbing boxes, or asking for a custom made kilo or two of chocolate just the way they like it.

 The employees giving out samples were like priests from ancient deities, showing you the power of the gods with simple spoon filled chocolate mixes.
Wondering for what flavors you could ask in your mix? Photo here shows the free samples for nut, vanilla and  cinnamon. Samples alone were finger licking good(literally, stuff melts too easily). Brought back like two boxes, and they are the best for a good morning wake-up, cold or tired evenings.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Delicious beginning

Now, what can I say.
Mourn how much I miss these delicious daily meals? Maybe, but I'll be a little more productive and describe what this beauty is.

Beside the freshly squeezed orange juice, we have the magnificent Tlayuda.

This is a large toasted tortilla with a spread of black beans, marinated juicy flank steak, avocado, cilantro, epazote(fragrant, citrus-minty leaf), the sweetest, juiciest tomatoes and the very best: Oaxacan cheese. A salty, flavorful string cheese; it's just the perfect mix of ingredients.

Now you could try and eat this like tostadas or break it off in parts(just like the newcomer I was), or as they typically take it, fold it in half and eat it.
With choices of habanero or burnt chiles sauce, I fell in love with the place from the very first day.

Hope you have a good breakfast!

Friday, May 20, 2011

San Diego

I don't know why, but I love these signs. If I could, I wish to stop and photograph all of them.

And all in all, a beautiful city, I love it when there is so much variety within your reach. A fancy downtown, ghettos a bit down the streets, beaches and parks within public transportation, and all types of people. What's not to love with sun, winds and a bit of occasional refreshing rain?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Suddenly, culture

First day, we are walking by the market street, colorful vibrant and delicious. And suddenly, I notice this poster by one of the entrances. It was a concert for Carmina Burana, with the symphonic orchestra from Oaxaca, the choir from the city and more harmonics.

I would have given anything to assist, but I had nothing fancy to wear for the trip, and info regarding entrance was never published. Rumors from people with touristic info. were that the city had already given tickets to the public. Oh well...

I think I wouldn't have minded, except that in one of the tours I took, I heard too late that a couple that left early were choir singers for the event. I got a lot more frustrated knowing I could have asked(begged) for entrance.
I still loved the poster.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hotel pictures

So these are pictures of the hotel I stayed in Oaxaca. Not a very cheap one, mind you, but it was perfect for tourists, clean, safe and close to everything. Excellent service. Hotel Casantica.

The colonial architectural details were astounding, aside from the occasional antique objects.

This was the sign for the womens restroom.
And for mens restroom, appropriate themes coordinating perfectly with the  hotel's environment.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

First breakfast

This was a small meal before breakfast, on the first day in Oaxaca. A small stand that served: hot chocolate, milk, juices, and tortas.
 A torta is bread roll filled with everything imaginable; from lettuce and ham to smoked meats and/or seafood. I decided to try one torta of tamal, or Guajolotas as commonly called in Mexico City, it's a very typical meal especially by the south of Mexico and mostly characterized as a meal for the poor. After all a filling and cheap food, and quite delicious.
Now for the hot chocolate, this stand had warm milk just ready to be prepared. They use this molinillo or wooden whisk to prepare and mix well the grainy and coarse chocolate.
Two hot chocolates and the torta were for 25 pesos.
I love to eat here.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Wake up to make 'important' calls, check the mail, ice cream for breakfast, prepare meals for the day and dance as if doing mdma to Florence+The Machine.

That was a nice 20 minute work-out for the day, now off to work.

Just makes me want to jump and dance the moment I hear it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tap Water

Never tasted good tap water. Chlorine is just too present in it, and even with flavored powdered. Though when it's cold, flavor gets along well and you can barely taste such odd flavors.

I still drink it if I have too, and I'm too cheap to use payed water for soups and in preparation for meals.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Travelling to Oaxaca

Oaxaca, from Monte Albán

I recently went to Oaxaca, Oaxaca in Mexico. A truly enjoyable travel, one I wish to share.
I will continuously post photographs and videos along with some errant comments. 

I traveled along with my family, took some tours and mostly enjoyed the food and sights.