Billy and Kaki's Adventures in Oaxaca: Monte Alban and, Of Course, Food

editor’s note: Our friends Billy and Kaki, who are fellow devotees of Oaxaca, kindly agreed to fill us in on their current trip.

Kaki writes:

Every time I visit Oaxaca, it’s like the first time, because it´s impossible to remember how perfect the climate is, how wonderful the colors are and how friendly the people. We arrived on New Year’s Eve too late for the special Christmas Guelaguetza but early enough to be kept awake by the firecrackers, cherry bombs, and neighbor´s turkeys. The deepest bombs set off the car alarms, with a wildly successful cacophony of noise.

We´re traveling with my sister Marvine and her husband Knox, who are visiting Oaxaca for the first time. This morning we visited Monte Alban, the ruins on the mountain near Oaxaca left by the Zapotecs and the Olmecs.

Tourist and guide in front of ruin at Monte Alban

Kaki and guide Netzahualcoyotl Jimenez Diez at Monte Alban

Our guide was a seventy-nine years old, and has been guiding for forty-eight years. “I am a ruin, myself,¨he said. His name was Netzahualcoyotl Jimenez Diez, which he translated as “Hungry Coyote.” He said he grew up in the city and didn´t speak Zapotec, but that his father did. He described himself as Olmec.. “This is the nose of an Olmec,”he said.”The Olmecs are descended from the jaguars. The Mayans are descended from the snake, with their crossed eyes and flat foreheads, and the Aztecs, with their beaked noses, from the eagles.¨

Billy writes:

As does Kaki, I come to Oaxaca for the sunshine and the wonderful people. But also for the food and the art. We ate supper last night at Pizza Rustica, where they prepare a special sangria. The waiter gave us the recipe, “start with vodka”; he held two fingers to the glass.
(note: asking how something is made is a good conversation starter.)
Today we ate lunch at our favorite little restaurant, Maria Bonita on the Alcala. My celebratory haiku:
Five chilaquiles
Verde or with “holy herb”
We´ll have to come back

After lunch we walked one block to ARIPO, an artesan’s coop. This is a good place to sample the variety of Oaxacan art: weaving, clay works, carved wooden figures, basket weaving, embroidery, and rugs. Many of these works were new interpretations of the classics. I always come home from Oaxaca inspired to be an artist.

Traveler and guide stand in front of Monte Alban ruin.

Netzahualcoyotl Jimenez Diez and Billy

2 Responses to “Billy and Kaki's Adventures in Oaxaca: Monte Alban and, Of Course, Food”

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  1. Mario (Mayo) says:

    Thanks Churpa, Kaki and Billy, next time I drive down to Rancho (nxt year?), I’m going on an adventure instead of the blur of a beeline to the beach !

  2. churpa says:

    I know. I’m sad to not go to Oaxaca or any of inland Mexico this year. Though I guess I really shouldn’t complain since (si Dios quiere) I will be sitting on a tropical beach in just over a week!