December 26 in the morning:  Mitla and Yagul

The greater Oaxaca area has three valleys that merge together, surrounded by mountains.  The first day we traveled to the East Valley of Tlacolula where we visited the Zapotec ruins of Mitla and Yagul.  Both settlements post-date Monté Albán.
First we visited a big old tree near Mitla.
Then to the Zapotec ruins of Mitla, itself.
Brian and Gary
Guided tour of the tree
Mitla ruins adjacent to town
Brian speaks with Juan Manuel at Mitla.
After the Mitla tour, we went to Yagul.  The Yagul was smaller overall than Mitla (which isn't particularly big).  However, they were clearly sports fans because Yagul sports the biggest ballcourt in Oaxaca Valley (and the third-biggest in MesoAmerica).
In the shade at the game court.
Gary and Kevin find some more shade.
Tlacolula Valley and game court
Tlacolula Valley
Tlacolula Valley from the Yagul overlook
Stylized pic of Gary
Brian and camera
Tlacolula Valley from the Yagul overlook
Tlacolula Valley from the Yagul overlook
Game Court as seen from the lookout.

December 26 in the afternoon:  Candles and Textiles

After Yagul, we visited Teotitlan del Valle, a Zapotec village.  Here, we visited a family of craftspeople to see how tapestries are created from natural resources.  They also served us lunch.
We actually started with the candlemaker.  The candles were made out of beeswax.  The basic candles were easy — just pour wax over a wick 500 times.  The candles were often decorated with fancier wax items.  These were made out of molds.
Gary making pineapple.
Gary so proud!!
Angie was the first.
Sofia with an ornate candle
Artsy rendering of carpet pic

Then on to spinning, dying and weaving.  All under the same roof.
Artsy rendering of spinning rig
The master at work
The master at work
Gary tries.
Angie tries.
Gary works the native spinning rig.
Different rendering of same pic
Dyeing wool with Indigo Dye
Red dye comes from Cochineal.

Farting around in Oaxaca

On December 27 and at other times, we had a lot of free time.  Since our hotel was about three blocks from the Oaxaca city square (Zocalo), we made a lot of trips there just to walk around.  This part of Oaxaca seemed safe, happy, interesting and family oriented.  There was a bit of Christmas, a bit of Festival and a lot of just being together.
Zocalo plaza between the church and the green
Poinsettia surrounding the green
Just outside the Zocalo
Just outside Zocalo
Native Indians
Going to a party.
Zocalo food
Zocalo food
Zocalo food
Wearing her wares.
Cutie Pie
Women carrying kids.

December 28 in the morning: Monté Albán

Monté Albán was the center of the Zapotec civilization during its heyday.  Monté Albán was founded around 400 BC and was pre-eminent in the Oaxaca valley for 800 years, until about 400 AD.  It sits at the top of the 'Monte' with unobstructed views of the valley in all directions.  I find it especially amazing that Monté Albán has no source of running water – no springs or rivers!
Mark tries a hat.
Everyone at Monté Albán
Everyone but Mark
Gary and Kevin farting around.
Gary and Kevin still farting around
From the North Platform, looking southwest
From the North Platform, looking southwest
Narrower southest view from the North
Looking directly south
Looking southeast
Monté Albán
Monté Albán
Angie and Kevin not paying attention
Monté Albán
Gary, the Zapotec god
Monté Albán
Monté Albán
Animated race.
Panorama to the left   (Warning: 4.6M file)
Panorama to the right   (Warning: 4.6M file)
Wide panorama   (Warning: 6.3M file)

December 28 in the afternoon:  The smithy

In a modest house on a small street in a tiny town outside of Oaxaca, you will find this blacksmith.  In an area the size of a two-car garage, he makes swords, daggers and knives out of scraps.  Literally scraps.  Watching him work is entrancing and educational.
Blacksmith at his forge
Heating steel
Hot steel
Forming the steel.
Smith demonstrates flexible steel
Material for a knife handle
Weird demonic image of smithy
Materials for a knife
Knives and daggers
Spooky shadows

December 28 in the afternoon:  The carver

asdf asdf qwerty.
Hector, the crazy dwarf
Yuko and Angie
Gary, Angie and Yuko
Gary's art show #1
Gary's art show #2
Gary's art show #3
Hummingbird (original)
Hummingird (enhanced)

December 29:  Montañas Sierra Madre

For no obvious historical reason, we spent the day up in the mountains above Oaxaca.  Oaxaca already has altitude; this was at about ten thousand feet.  The event was a walk around the rugged terrain, guided by a local farmer (not an English speaker).  Later we got to a town where we watched a bit of a basketball tournament and then hiked (again!) for lunch.
Early in our jaunt
Farm land
Brian and Gary
Watching Yuko
Yuko playing.
Angie and friend
Farm in the wilderness
Uphill stretch
Uphill stretch
Pause at the top
Organic plowing
Organic plowing
Organic plowing
Finally. A freeway!
Huge plant
Brian and Gary
Angie, Mark and Kevin
Angie, Mark and Kevin
Angie, Mark and Kevin
Angie, Mark and Kevin

End of Photos

Doka doka dokka