Day of the Dead

Decor around Oaxaca is heavy on the Skeleton theme.

Decor around Oaxaca is heavy on the Skeleton theme.

High on my list of things to do while in Mexico has been to visit Oaxaca for the Day of the Dead. I recruited my sister to come down for this one, since we are both bona fide foodies and Oaxaca is the land of the tasty grasshoppers and moles. After a few mishaps with changing flights we arrived in Oaxaca to find our hotel is literally right in the heart of Oaxaca. We are right on the Zocalo, which is great… until about 1 am when you really want to go to sleep and the party is still raging. And here the party does rage! It is like being in the middle of mardi gras. I’ve reached the point where I am so high on mole and sleep dep that I’ve embraced it and have just been enjoying the front row seat to the endless concerts and parades that are going on right outside our balcony. I will be glad I think when we get back to Juarez for the peace and quiet (words that were probably never before uttered about Juarez I am sure).

Oaxaca, though is absolutely amazing, we’ve visited a bunch of the markets, unleashed my Spanish upon the world, trekked all through the historic area, and attended a cooking class. In the cooking class we

Learning how to make salsa for the tamales.

learned to cook a bunch of different types of tamales including a red mole tamale. Tragically the one thing we have not yet found is the grasshoppers, they appear to be out of season. The plethora of delicious moles does make up for that somewhat. The decorations around town are amazing, we haven’t made it out to the cemeteries yet but almost every restaurant, hotel, or shop has an alter up in honor of their deceased relatives. I’m rather fond of this tradition. When I go, I would like my ancestors to leave me gifts of chocolate, and sugar skulls, and beer (take note future descendants–bring me annual tributes of booze and sugar please).  The whole city smells of incense, and pretty much around every corner is some sort of music performance or a parade. The actual Day of the Dead is today

Sugar skulls, one of the staples of the Day of the Dead, on an altar.

(I’m still awake thanks to the endless revelry outside my window), so I’m anticipating it being a bit more low key. As always we have met some really interesting people while traveling through Mexico. Though I really need to learn not to mention what I do for a living until I know for sure no one in the room needs a visa. Ah well, fortunately this couple was very nice about the whole thing… not like when the girl caught me at the bridge on the red light and used the fact that I was a captive audience to ask me about all about her cousins visas. Tomorrow we’re off to see some ruins outside of the city, and search for a vegetable since between all the mole and a the Oaxaca chocolate we really haven’t seen anything green in the last few days.

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