Jan. 6 – A quiet day in Oaxaca

2009 January 6
tags: ,
by joe

Woke to a beautiful morning after a good night’s sleep.  Hot shower,  a good breakfast close by – life is good!

Levi took off with some fellow hostel guests for a trip to Monte Alban archaeological site;  I stuck around the hostel neighborhood and just took it easy.  Did some laundry, reading, sitting in the sun.

When Levi returned in late afternoon, we walked to a fabulous old church near the Zocalo, and it was spectacular – the ceilings and walls were covered in art and gold leaf everywhere.  Just incredible!

After that we went to one of the main markets for our last dinner here – we both had chicken in mole – a Oaxacan specialty.  Terrific.  We stopped at an english-language bookstore and replenished our stock of reading material (at wildly overpriced cost!), and saw some fantastic local artwork and craft-work.  Even got treated to another fireworks display in the sky over the hostel!

The trip to the market was upsetting for me.  The market here is huge, and wonderful in many ways;  the selection of fruits and vegetables is just spectacular, with all of the produce so fresh and lovely, and so much variety that there are dozens of items I cannot even identify.  But too many of the booths and street stalls are now selling cheap imported Chinese junk;  lots of throw-away, disposable, consumer crap that was not here before – plastic bags and cell phones and cheap electronic trash and all the rest of the wal-mart junk that we consume and then discard so much of in the US.  It saddened my heart, and soul, to see how much it has changed, and how it has changed;  how so much of what makes our cultures unique, and truely human, has vanished in just my short life time.  I was reminded again, how much we have lost, and not just in the US.  This is progress?  Progress towards what?  Baahh!

a partial wall of re-used green stone at the hostel

a partial wall of re-used green stone at the hostel

2 Responses leave one →
  1. 2009 January 7
    Jenn permalink

    The effects of globalization….which can be seen in the markets of developing nations around the world. Your story reminded me of my reaction to the markets in Cairo.

    However, the larger question is, by feeling appalled by this sight, are we reinforcing stereotypes of what we imagined another culture to be? Or, are we truly bemoaning the loss of cultural diversity–something that we feel we have lost in the mass-manufactured American life?

    Not a question I can truly answer….

  2. 2009 January 9
    Jon permalink

    I agree with your sentiments on the increasing amounts of junk that find their ways into our everyday lives. In some ways things get better with globalization because more people can afford more stuff, some of which is tangibly better from a quality of life perspective. However, like Jenn said losing cultural identity is certainly a concern and you can just hope that people will hold on to what is truly important to them and that as conditions improve and wages go up world wide and transportation costs increase, local craftsmanship can return. However, that doesn’t seem very likely right now and i think it’s just something we have to deal with.