Oaxacan artisans

Today’s adventure brought us closer to some of the best artisans in Oaxaca. We started with world-famous black pottery. It’s made from clay found only in one region, San Bartolo Coyotepec. Artisans need a permit from the mayor to mine it. They shape the piece by hand (no wheel) and bake it in a fire of thick black smoke, giving it its signature color. Maybe I was just breathing the Mexican air, but the pictures of black pottery that I’d seen couldn’t do it justice. It was stunning. This woman was proud to share that the name on the piece we selected to bring home was her own.

Our next stop was toward something far more colorful: alebrijes. Alebrijes are Mexican folk art sculptures often used in Day of the Dead celebrations as a conduit back to the living. You may be familiar with alebrijes from the movie Coco. Pixar came to this very spot in doing their research and based the grandma off this woman. After seeing the process of creation, it is understandable that a reasonably sized alebrije will run you around $4000.

For dinner, we walked into Oaxaca’s oldest neighborhood, Xochimilco. We were met with a literal parade, or perhaps more literally, a wedding celebration, and reveled in the vibrance.

The energy of this city is truly unbelievable. At Ancestral Kitchen, I tried my first grasshopper, a local treat, in non-grasshopper form. Our waiter cooked seafood soup for us tableside, using hot rocks to cook the ingredients. Emerson meanwhile, stuck to his more traditional Annie’s microwaveable macaroni and cheese.

We said goodbye to Pug Seal and checked into the Quinta Real, a well-regarded converted convent with huge halls and tiny rooms. Shiloh settled in beautifully to his space in the bathroom, leaving Andrew and I to brush our teeth in the poolside bathroom before saying goodbye to another incredible day in Oaxaca.