Yesterday, we began the marathon than is Guelaguetza in Oaxaca. First on the day’s agenda was a morning trip to Reyes Etla.
The Señor de las Peñas church sits atop at hill and views of the lush green fields (gracias, rainy season) and the mountains were breathtaking.
Impossibly adorable children danced and shared, in the spirit of Guelaguetza.
We were in the heartland of Oaxaca cheese country for the crowning of Jimena Santiago Vasquez, as queen of the third Expo Feria de Queso y Quesillo.
Did I say cheese? Oh, yes — stalls and stalls of yummy cheese. The fair runs through Monday and we will be back!
Next on our itinerary was a return to the city for a little (?) gluttony — the Festival de los 7 Moles opening banquet on the grounds of the Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca. Botanas Oaxaqueña (cheese, chicharrón, chiles rellenos), followed by Sopa de Fandango, 15 (not 7) Moles, 4 Tipos de Arroz, followed by a platter of pastries and scoops of Leche Quemada and Tuna nieves (sorbets). Oh, and did I mention, cervesas and mezcal?
We even got a little culture, as author, Laura Esquivel (Like Water for Chocolate) spoke, though it was a little hard to hear her, with all the eating, drinking, and related conversations!
Moving rather slowly, we pushed back from the table and headed down to the Alameda (oh, it felt good to walk!) to take in the last stage of the Diosa Centéotl competition — the chosen “Goddess” presides over Guelaguetza. However, the area surrounding the tented stage was a mass of people by the time we arrived and the best I could do was see the backs of the magnificent traje. (See Chris’s blog for close-ups from the stage one competition.) And, the winner is… Dulce Yanet Grijalba Martínez, from the Zapotec community of San Pablo Villa de Mitla.
After a brief siesta, I rendezvoused with some young friends and we walked over to the Plaza de la Danza for a free performance by Alejandra Robles, one of my favorite Oaxaqueña singers. (For video from the last time I saw her, click HERE.)
The night was still young for my young friends and they were off to get a nieve at Jardín Socrates. I was off to bed, because I’d already had my day’s allowance of nieve AND we’ve only just begun!