Trip Start Mar 21, 2007
87Trip End Ongoing
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The main square in Oaxaca (pronounced Wahaca) is absolutely mobbed with people all day and there are a lot of market stalls. There are also many political activists that have stalls some of which seem quite full on. My understanding of it is that they are fighting for the rights of the indigineous people here who make up a large proportion of the population. 20% of the population only speak an indigenous language. I saw a lot of communist literature on the stalls with posters of Lenin, Marx, Stalin etc. up on one of them. Some of them were playing news coverage of the police or to be precise the riot squad fighting with protestors. I know that there was an incident in the last 2-3 years that affected tourism and that there is a large army and police presence in the state.
Went for a walk down the square again and watched some of the people who were sitting at the tables in the restaraunts being mugged by groups of musicians (mariachis) who would walk up and start playing next to them and obviously they would pay them something.
When we got back got to our room were well parched after about 4 beers each and noticed that someone had put our bottle of water in the bin. Got up the next morning and noticed that someone had made off with our soap (a tiny bar that we had used and kept from the hotel the night before) and shampoo (a trial size of VO5) looked around the floor but could not find it. Anyway knew it had to be the girl under Paula's bunk as her boyfriend was helping us look and he looked in her locker which I thought was strange. She then came back and said that she knew nothing about it. 2 mins later she said that she might have picked it up with the rest of her stuff and lo and behold it was in her toiletries bag but she knew nothing about the shampoo. The shampoo had been proped up against the soap.
Spent some time on the internet and got the great news that there is a new King in Scotland. Congratulations George & Shirley.
When we went for a meal the next night I decided to go for the local food which is mole, which comes in various forms, with enchilladas. Mole is a sauce that contains about 17 ingredients including cocoa, sesame seeds and chile. It was like Marmite or Bovril and the enchilladas were drowned in it so it was hard to even taste the chicken in the enchilladas. It is not often that I find something that I dont like to eat. Anyway I think the pictures say it all.
Spent most of the time in the morning doing the blog and then walking around in the afternoon relaxing in the square with a beer. Oaxaca is a really nice city with lots of beautiful colonianl architecture and some nice markets.
On Sunday we hired bikes and cycled out of Oaxaca towards some ruins but didnīt make it as is was a bit too far. We managed to do about 40km and the cycle was through some excellent countryside and we were happy to get some excercise, although I think Paula got a bit more than she wanted (sore arse).
Update about Oaxaca - on the 16th of July there major riots in the city. Lots of cars getting burnt and buses being rolled down a hill towards the police who were firing tear gas. It happened this particular Monday because their is a 2 week festival that celebrates the indigenous people of the state, however a lot of people think that they (the government) have turned their traditions into a commercial money making scheme.