"Oaxaca, Mexico: An

Expatriate Life"

Writing by Stan Gotlieb

Pictures by Diana Ricci

Markets of the Oaxaca valley

I love the markets. They are a wonderful contrast to our shopping malls. They provide fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables, local artesania, and household goods, in an exotic atmosphere. My weekly shopping is in an outdoor market near my house, but I am drawn to the larger regional markets of the Oaxaca valley. Each village has its own weekly market day.

**Click on an image to see enlarged photo**

Every Thursday, the farmers converge on Zaachila with their pigs, oxen, goats, sheep, burros and horses, creating the largest animal market in the Valley. The animals are tended but not fenced. You can get right next to them, as this picture indicates.
Ocotlán has its own traditional pottery designs, which this woman is painting while attending to her stall in the market. The baskets and the rugs come from other villages.
Here you see chapulines (grasshoppers). They come in various sizes. They are boiled twice, the first time to clean them, and the second time to flavor them with salt, lime juice, oregano and garlic. It is common knowledge among the natives that when a foreigner eats one, he or she is sure to return.
These are metates, which are still used to grind corn for tortillas. People from all over the Valley come to Tlacolula to buy their grinding stones, made from lava stone in nearby villages. It is traditional for the bride's family to buy one for her as part of her dowry.
Teotitlán del Valle has "always" been a weaving town. The tapete (rug) designs have been changed and augmented over time, but the traditional "diamond" and "mitla" designs go back to prehispanic days. Many weavers use only natural dyes, while others have "adapted" to modern chemical methods. Most shops carry both, an it's the buyer's choice. The town provides an area for small, simple puestos (stalls).


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