OK, so I said this Oaxaca series would be in two posts but as you can see, we did a lot, so it really deserves three!
On the last day of our trip, we decided to take touring matters into our own hands. One of the all-day tours that we looked at (but ended up not choosing) included a trip to the nearby pueblo of Coyotepec, famous for its barro negro (black pottery). This pueblo is famous for this craft just as Teotitlán is famous for its woven goods. We talked to someone at an information booth in the zocalo of Oaxaca, who assured us that if we went to X intersection in town (which we did), a bus would come by that we could catch to Coyotepec (which it didn’t). Luckily, this scenario is very familiar to us so after watching the scene for a bit, we figured out that there were taxis which said where they were going, and Coyotepec was one of the destinations. So, we hopped in one. It turns out that these taxis are colectivos, which function kind of like a bus, but obviously smaller. The taxi driver goes to the destination listed on his car and along the way, he picks up as many people that are going to the same place as he can fit in his car. Though it might sound uncomfortable, it was actually very easy and extremely cheap!
We got dropped off in the centro of Coyotepec, which is quite lovely.
There were several shops that sold the barro negro in the area but also, there was a big tent set up in the centro where different vendors sold their pottery as well.
We bought a LOT here! Everything was absolutely beautiful and very cheap. Though we found the same kinds of pottery in the city of Oaxaca, it seemed to be much cheaper to buy everything here and the quality was overall better than what we had seen in the city.
After returning to Oaxaca, we were pretty hungry and decided to get something to eat in the market, which we had done the day before. However, we entered the market from a different side and stumbled onto this awesome eatery.
It was a little confusing at first to figure out exactly what to do because the room was very full and people were shouting in all directions. However, someone shoved a basket of onions at us and we more or less figured out where to go from there. The idea in a place like this is that there are several stations set up in the room. The first one is to pick out what vegetables you want with your meat (hence, the onions). Then, you go to a stand and choose what kind of meat you want, which they grill for you right there on the spot.
While you’re waiting for your meat to be cooked, you find a seat. In this particular place, there were long booths that were meant for at least 8 people if not more, so we picked an empty one and were soon joined by a nice family on vacation from Puebla, MX. When your food is ready, someone brings it to you and usually that person is followed by a host of other people, selling you things to go with your meal such as tortillas (a must, obviously), salsa, guacamole, and possibly a delicious side dish of chapulines. Which are grasshoppers, cooked to death (thankfully, that is literal) and covered with salt and lime.
Chapulines are very popular in Oaxaca and once we saw the little girl at our table chowing down, we decided we had to at least try them. One grasshopper each was enough. To be honest, they really just tasted like salt and lime and were crunchy. Maybe a little tooooo crunchy. At any rate, we can now say that we’ve tried them!
And that folks, is a run-down of our trip to Oaxaca! If you ever have a chance to go anywhere in México, we would definitely suggest going there! All of the wonderful things that we heard are absolutely true–there is no other place quite like it!