It’s such a tiny area. The entirety of Central America – including the regions of Mexico we visited – could fit within the country of France. Yet every country is different than the next, each one having its own distinct culture. In Guatemala for example, the Mayan roots are very obvious; from physical features to traditional clothing and general way of life. While right next door in El Salvador, due to several tragic moments in recent history, the Mayan culture …
Funny enough, while it may have been unusually warm back home in Edmonton, it was actually warmer there than it was where we were for most of the time spent here. While the unexpected cold weather was a slight shock to our system, it was another encounter on our first day that really set the mood for the coming days…
The torta: essentially just the name given to any Mexican sandwich. During our time in Oaxaca, this was one of the first foods we immediately fell in love with, and has remained one of our top choices when grabbing a bite on the side of the road. This is one of those comfort foods that you eat without remorse: forget about caloric intake, don’t bother counting carbs, or getting enough ‘green’ in your meal.
Some pretentious food types and Chefs will proclaim that condiments are a cop-out, that if the cooks really knew what they were doing, the eater wouldn’t need to add anything more. As an occasionally pretentious food type and former Chef myself, I can attest to this fact.
Palenque is known for one thing above all else, the ancient Mayan ruins around ten kilometres outside of town. Having a place already booked near the small cluster of backpacker accommodation known as El Panchan, roughly half-way to the ruins, once breakfast was finished we quickly headed out of town and checked into our little hut.
Without question, our favourite side-trip from Oaxaca, and probably the most unique spot in the entire area is Hierve el Agua. Taking the local bus from Oaxaca, we eventually arrive at the small town of Mitla, roughly 70km from the city.
Roughly 30km east of Oaxaca, the town of Tlacolula holds one of the most impressive outdoor markets we’ve ever been to; not only in terms of size, but also the incredible selection of goods for sale. Many locals from surrounding villages and tribal communities venture into the city each week to display their product
It was supposed to be a nice spot to settle and relax, to stop and lay down some plans for the coming months. We planned on popping in, enjoying some great food, and getting out. Feeling like home wasn’t part of the deal, it certainly didn’t make leaving any easier. Yet five weeks later, we closed our apartment door behind us for the final time and walked to the bus station as the sun set ahead of us.
From high-end restaurants, to cramped, smoke-filled markets and late-night street carts, finding a bite to eat is never an issue. Whether your searching for roasted chicken in complex moles, to charcoal grilled beef, or sandwiches overflowing with greasy chorizo, you’ll get your fix.
*BANG* What the hell was that… a gunshot? No, it was more of a thud than a crack. It sounded more like a firework, but it’s only nine-thirty in the morning. Wait, there’s a small cloud of white smoke up there. Yeah, someone just fired off a Monday morning firework. That was our introduction to one of the biggest festivals in not only Oaxaca, but most of Central and Southern Mexico as well: Dia de los Muertos, or Day of …
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