Friday, May 19, 2006
Zocalo, Market, and Chocolate
The SAT is coming up fast. Really fast. I was just realizing that it's only two weeks from tomorrow and I haven't studied at all, haven't taken the PSAT, nor have I taken any practice SAT tests yet. I guess I know what I'll be doing the next couple of weeks...
Anyway, yesterday we went downtown with some relatives of the people I'm staying with. We took the bus down near the Santo Domingo cahtedral and walked the rest of the way. The cathedral is right on the walking street, which runs kind of betweent the Zocalo and the cathedral. (There's also a coffee shop right across the street. Great place to watch the sun set on the cathedral.) There are also lots of the trees with bright orange flowers giving plenty of shade. Walking down the street to the Zocalo, you pass by many seemingly colonial buildings painted nice bright colors, along with quite a few people selling souvenirs. The whole street is paved with semi finished rock, giving it an almost cobblestone-like quality. It's beautiful.
Getting down into the Zocalo, you pass by musicians playing for people in the restaurants, women trying to sell you fresh, fragrant gardenias and rose, many shoe shining stands, and by people selling all manner of balloons. Continuing on past the Zocalo we went to the Benito Juarez market where you can buy anything from a fresh (hopefully) cut of meat to a leather jacket to any kind of chile you could think of. Unfortunately this is where most of the tourists go so the vendors aren't nearly as nice as other places, and few of them welcome picture taking. Maybe I should tell them that the pictures will go on my blog, which will give them free advertising. As if anyone reading this will ever come down here to buy their products. :)
The people at the Mayordomo shop we went to next didn't mind the pictures, so I have more from there. Mayordomo is the chocolate maker in Oaxaca. They will sell you cooking chocolate, hard eating chocolate, freshly ground warm chocolate for eating or forming into shapes to harden, or powdered chocolate. They will also grind your cocoa beans with sugar and your choice of almonds, cinnamon, and/or maybe vanilla. The also make chocolate milk shakes and hot chocolate. And the very best part is that they are very liberal with their samples!!! I almost bought a pound of warm chocolate for less than two dollars. It's stronger and a little more coarse than American chocolate, but I love it!
First pic: Balloons anyone? Vendors just off the Zocalo.
Second pic: A poor musician who plays for people patronizing the restaurants around the Zocalo.
Third pic: The walking street, looking back toward Santo Domingo cathedral
Fourth pic: Cheese, chocolate, honey, etc. One of the few stalls in the Benito Juarez market that let me take a picture.
Fifth pic: Santo Domingo cathedral and convent turned museum (the back part on the left is just all that's visible, but it's pretty big).