This morning we went to Tlacolula and its famous, enormous Sunday market. It was filled with new sights, new smells, new tastes…WB would have loved it! We love exploring markets, and I think Oaxaca has had my favourite markets so far. We will have to come back together some day and share the experience.
We started the morning with big bowls of coffee. B has been very kind in accomodating my caffeine addiction. Finding coffee is often the first item on the agenda, and thankfully there is no shortage of the stuff in Mexico. There’s something so wonderfully rustic about drinking it out of the large, clay bowls. It’s funny how atmosphere, the sense of something slightly new, can make something taste so much better. Not that the coffee isn’t tasty in itself. It’s not normally how I would drink my coffee – it’s strong, dark, hot and sweet. But it’s delicious.
The local church was decorated with streamers of colourful flags, and a Communion was taking place. Tourists and market shoppers sat on the brick wall in the shade, watching families gather in fancy dress, mothers smoothing out wrinkles in their children’s white clothes, fathers smiling on proudly. B and I had a brief talk about religion. It is a bit hard for us to understand. It has such a grip on the people here (and many others around the world), and I can’t help but see that as problematic in some ways. But beautiful things come out of it too.
For lunch we ate cheese and squash blossom quesadillas hot off the comal with hot chocolate. I hadn’t had hot chocolate yet. It wasn’t rich and thick and creamy like a North American expects. It was smooth and slightly bitter, with a thin blanket of foam, but still comforting and satisfying. In Canada, I always thought it was a bit of a blasphemy to make hot chocolate with water instead of milk. But it works in Mexican hot chocolate – milk might overwhelm the delicate and nuanced flavours of their chocolate. Perhaps next time I will have to try with milk and compare.
I also tried mezcal at a shop with a million different varieties and a bunch of unofficial friendly salespeople who plied me with different flavours. I tried a straightforward one to bring home to Adam (with a scorpian in it – I know, it’s kitschy and touristy, though it does apparently empart some different flavour, but it looked neat!), and B bought my mom a coffee liquer kind of mezcal that was very delicious. I tried a fruity so-called “girly” one because apparently “no, gracias” wasn’t an option. It was yummy, but not something I would generally drink. Not that I would drink the so-called “manly” mezcal either.
I also bought some deliciously smoky-smelling peppers to bring home and try my hand at mole. Hopefully the cooking class we have planned for Thursday will teach me a bit more about how to use them.
We took the bus to and from the city which was chaotic and amusing. There were live turkeys sitting docily here and there around the market for sale, and one family had brought theirs home on the bus. They left it up by the bus driver but then, I suppose, were instructed to move it, and so the father sent his young daughter to go grab it by its feet and bring it to the back of the bus. The look on her face was priceless! Clearly no kid gets used to the chore of carrying the live turkey home on the bus!
Also, there was a pretty hardcore Jesus sticker on the bus.