Monthly Archives: February 2011

Oaxaca, Mexican markets

 Many Mexican towns have weekly markets called a tianguis (tee-AHN- gees). Much like a farmers market, goods of varying types are brought to sell or trade. They also were historically a very important aspect of socializing.

In the town of Tlacalula which sits east of the city of Oaxaca the tianguis is held every Sunday and it is a sight to see.  Our friends John and Donita who moved last year from Hollandale, Wisconsin to the Oaxaca coast had come up to visit us in Oaxaca city and tagged along for the Tlacalula tianguis experience.  The streets of this little town become a maze of market zones where the only thing we couldn’t find but are quite sure it was there somewhere, was a kitchen timer for baking.


Following our noses, we smell the warm scent of the BBQ goat this market is known for. You’ll see woman wearing the traditional clothing of the region they’re from. Stalls selling dried fish, fresh fish, chorizo, flowers & Linc’s  favorite fruit cups.



Then we also had John and Donita picking out plants and planters for their garden.

Then it was  time to get back to town  so Linc wasn’t late getting to his temporary job here in Oaxaca.

Evanston to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

I guess we timed our Evanston departure just right. We kept delaying our departure due to projects we had going in Evanston and were tempted to do so one more day but didn’t. The first of 2 nights we spent in (Texas) hotels, while watching the news we heard how Chicago was in for one of the 5 worst snow storms EVER!  Texas itself was bracing for storms and record breaking cold. As Chicago Bear fans we did laugh when we heard that the Packers and Steelers would be met with snow & freezing weather when they probably thought they were going to get a chance to catch some warm rays. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaa it was 1 degree there with the wind-chill factor on Tuesday. Yup we made it passed Dallas before that set in as well. Going as far south as we could to spend our second Texas night in Laredo Texas, in WARM Laredo, Texas we might add.

Each time we’ve changed not our route but where we stop, how long we drive per day. We’ve noticed that no matter how long or short it’s the last couple hours that drag on. Anyone who has actually talked to us about driving from Evanston to Mexico has heard us complain about how blasted long of a time it take to get from the north east corner of Texas down to Laredo in the south. As I’m always saying, “It’s like their rolling the state up in back of you and rolling it back out again in front of you, you just can’t get out! But finally we did yesterday morning. We crossed into Mexico at about 11:00 a.m., a bit later than we had planned, thanks to the extra comfortable beds and rooms at the good old Hampton Inn. We keep suggesting that with our last name they should give us some kind of break, they laugh and then smack the full charge right on the plastic.

We know there is great concern about safety in Mexico but we have never had any problems or seen any.  After taking care of paperwork at the border we enter Mexico and drive south on what they call Quotas (Toll Roads) in Mexico. They’re rather pricey but very safe and cut lots of time off the time it would take driving the free roads. Now when I say safe that doesn’t take for account the cows that here and there break through the wire fencing along the way, or the horse that jumps the fence. These quotas are also traveled by the Green Angels. The Mexican Tourism Ministry operates a fleet of some 275 pickup trucks that operate similarly to AAA in the U.S.. The Green Angels provide mechanical assistance, first aid, basic supplies and if need be towing. We had one experience with them last year when we were driving on fumes and they got us to a gas station so we could fuel up and continue on. As we so often find with people here in Mexico they were friendly and so happy to help. Linc drove in our van withone of the guys while I got to drive in the Green Angel truck with the other and learn all about his family. Now it’s a weird thing that we were driving on fumes to begin with because throughout the years our experience with finding a gas station in Mexico has kind of been like finding a bar in Wisconsin, they’re on every corner.

So now we’re in San Miguel de Allende. San Miguel sits at about 7000 feet and was originally founded by a Franciscan monk named Juan deSan Miguel in 1542. In September 16th, 1810,  the Mexican War of Independence began nearby in the town of Dolores (now known as Dolores Hidalgo).  General Ignacio Allendejoined the army in San Miguel, as chief lieutenant to Padre Miguel Hidalgo and led the army to several victories. Allende was captured during a battle and beheaded. General Ignacio Allendeis now a national hero, and San Miguel (el Grande) renamed itself “San Miguel de Allende” in 1826 in honor of his actions.

San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful city with it’s colonial architecture and cobblestone streets. If you’ve ever been in our store, the colors of the walls were inspired by the buildings in San Miguel, in fact so was the color of our home Casita Cielo Azul, in San Pancho. It’s those deep pumpkin burnt orange and red tones. It’s home to a large community of expatriates both from the USA as well as many from Canada who come to enjoy the mild climate though it can get very chilly here in the winter months, especially nights and early mornings.

Off now to explore the streets and markets of San Miguel, back later!

Hasta pronto! Jill (& Linc)