Tlacolula Meanderings: Play, Parking Tickets and No Where In Particular

One of my favorite past-times is the Sunday Tlacolula market.  I never tire of it. There is always something new, different, another point-of-view. This week there were strange flowers that looked like lollipops, plus fuzzy rambutans for eating.


Last Sunday, I parked on the street not attending to the “no parking” sign, which I didn’t think included the spot where I had stationed La Tuga.  Afterall, it was exactly where I parked the week before! Then, Carol and I set out to cover the market from one end to the other.  It was early and for the first block, we trailed a duo carrying guacalotes intended for sale.

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Then, there were the petate basket weavers from San Juan Guelavia who make traditional mats that gringos use for floor coverings who vend in the church courtyard along with the sellers of sal de gusano.

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The Tlacolula market is a food, flower and people fest. There’s no telling what you will find. Including a flower vendor with a floral skirt.

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After returning to find a parking ticket the size of a legal sheet of paper, I hailed a huge pick-up truck with flashing lights, two official policemen in the front seat, to ask where to go to pay it and how much it would cost, only to be greeted by the driver with, Do you speak English?” in perfect English.  I would follow this civil servant anywhere.

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And I did, winding around the streets of Tlacolula to get to the first hidden-away office, where several officials inspected me, ushered me into the inner sanctum, where the chief, a woman, stamped the ticket and told me to go to the regional finance office to pay. They are closed on Sunday, so I had to return during the week.

I did. The line was short. The ticket cost 255 pesos, about $21 USD, and I learned my lesson. Park in an official parking garage!


On the day I paid the ticket, these guys were still cruising the street. Guess what? They waived. Me, too.

4 responses to “Tlacolula Meanderings: Play, Parking Tickets and No Where In Particular

  1. The flowers look like a type of ginger flower we have in Hawaii. Commonly known as beehive ginger. Aloha!

  2. Nice post.
    I’m actually glad they didn’t wink and accept a folded up $10 bill. But is that just a myth? I know it was real when I was in Mexico 25 years ago (in DF and Guadalajara). Maybe not in Oaxaca.
    I went to Tlacolula on a lovely Palm Sunday my first visit to Oaxaca. My first mercado and first collectivo ride. Got to sit in the courtyard(?) of the church there, watch a procession and listen to a mass. A nice experience.
    In the market, they were selling dyed chicks that day – pink, blue, green. I bought a white embroidered blouse.
    What were those lollipop flowers? I found it really helpful to go to a market with a guide – there is so much you will miss if you are new at it.
    I did that at the Etla market (Wednesdays?) in the last days of October where things were being bought for Day of the Dead altars.

    • Yes, Elaine, I didn’t even intimate that I could buy out the ticket right on the spot! I’m very respectful of machine guns, even when held in the down position! I learned in Marrakesh, Morocco, that to pay a guide is to pay through the nose for stuff. So, I feel if I can travel through the souks unescorted, get lost, then find my way again, it’s worth the special experience to explore on my own. Those dyed chicks are just part of Easter here. I always wonder how long they survive. Come back!

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