The canvas roof that covers the courtyard of La Provincia hotel (Calle Porfirio Diaz #108) is a symphony of raindrops. It is pouring, and the forecast is rain for the next two days. This means that our plans to go to Monte Alban and Atzompa today may not materialize. We shall see.
First, a moment about this hotel. It is a 3-1/2 star, rated by Conde Nast, two blocks from the Zocalo, and extraordinary. There are two inner courtyards filled with plants, contemporary art that is a juxtaposition to the colonial Spanish architecture, a great little restaurant, and lovely rooms. I booked this hotel on hotels.com and got a great rate of $129 per night. Sharing with my friend brought the price down to an affordable $65 per night, including a breakfast of scrambled eggs, tortillas Suizas, fresh bread with homemade apple jam, sweet cakes, incredible coffee, and gracious service. I would highly recommend staying here.
Yesterday was a whirlwind. First, a walk to Marco Polo on Cinco de Mayo in the historic center for breakfast, then arrival at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca in time for the 10 a.m. opening of the special exhibit and sale of weavings from Chiapas. A group of French people, originally from Lyon, have been working with weavers from Chiapas for the last fifteen years developing a textile cooperative called El Camino in their village for sustainable development. They exhibit and sell in Paris, Mexico City and now Oaxaca. The textiles are finely woven cotton in striking colors and come in an array of styles: handbags, pillow covers, baby bibs, shawls and scarves, and tablecloths. The villagers are handling their own production now and all the sales go directly to the weavers. It was hard to limit my acquisitions, and I keep reminding myself that it’s good to buy textiles, they don’t break in shipment!
Next, we walked up Cinco de Mayo to visit Janet Chavez Santiago in her Galleria Fe y Lola, and stopped in next door to say hello to Ale and Tito at El Nahual. Mucho caminando. Along the way, Erica poked into a new shop at the corner selling amber jewelry from Chiapas and got a stunning necklace for about $35USD. We were told that the Chiapas amber is all natural, untreated and has lots of bugs and inclusions. It is beautiful.
After walking around the neighborhood, going in and out of galleries, we had lunch on the Zocalo at Terra Nova, a great spot for people watching. We came back to the room for a rest and a change of clothes before going out again. Our hope was to get a taxi to Arrazola but it was too late in the day, so we decided to treat ourselves to manicures and I added a pedicure. Manicure was 130 pesos and pedicure was 140 pesos. Total bill with tip was 300 pesos for both, which came to about $25 USD.
At 7 p.m. we met up with Stephanie, a friend who is living in Oaxaca for two months, at Casa Oaxaca on Constituccion. We settled into the deep leather seats in the bar and I had the most delicious mango Margarita ever! The glass was rimmed in salt and guisano chile. Yum, yum. We settled in and decided to stay there for dinner. Erica’s shrimp was the best dish among the three of us. I had the vegetarian lasagna with spinach sauce and Stephanie had the cannelloni with an overly sweet béchamel sauce.
As we walked back to our hotel stopping to hear the flamenco music at Nuevo Babel on Calle Porfirio Diaz. It was a great day.