Thursday, May 8, 2008

Summer 2007 Car Trip - 8

Reluctantly, we left the beautiful Iglesia de Santo Domingo and proceeded next door to the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca (Cultural Museum of Oaxaca). Prior to entering the museum itself, you have to pass through the stone cloister. I’m not sure if nuns and/or priests still live there or not. All we saw while there were armed guards. Passing through these wide, echo filled hallways, we entered the museum itself.

This museum is a wonderful place, showcasing Oaxacan artwork and artifacts from pre-Hispanic to contemporary times. Some of the exhibits are done as dioramas, recreating things like kitchens and dining rooms as they would have looked in a time long ago. Of course, what everybody wants to see is the Mixtec treasures exhumed from Tomb #7 in nearby Monte Alban. The treasure dates from the 14th century and was found in a tomb once used by the Zapotec people and then usurped by the Mixtecs.

Behind Santo Domingo and the museum was a beautiful cared for and manicured garden. We could see it from the museum windows but there was a separate entrance out back. We tried to gain admittance but one can only tour the gardens with a guide. Of course, we were too late in the day to catch any remaining tour. Maybe tomorrow then!

We had dinner at one of the many restaurants that ring the zocolo itself. We found a perfect spot for people watching and, after checking to make sure they served the one item in Oaxaca I had to try, we sat down. I had read about and was dying to try one of the many local specialties, the tlayuda.

The tlayuda is basically a large tortilla that has been deep fried to a crispness. It is then covered with refried beans, meat and cheese. Of course, it is smothered in the tasty, salty, string cheese of Oaxacan cheese. The trouble with eating it was that it had to be eaten by hand. One bite into it and the whole thing shattered and fell to smithereens onto your plate! No problem. Just pick up the larger pieces and eat them one by one! The added benefit of doing that was that it gave you plenty of time to order another beer. Mmmm, maybe that is why they were developed in the first place!

A very pleasant afternoon and evening behind us, we made our way back to the hotel and I fell into bed a happy camper.

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