Jet-lagged early rising walks, sampling mole and chocolate. We signed up for a couple of tours to outlying villages in the central valley with a rich crafting heritage. Our guide, Jose Maria Brena Morales was fantastic, managing to avoid the tour buses and providing his Zapotec heritage insight at archaeological sites and Mezcal tastings. The yarn in the photo was all hand spun and the amazing palate the result of all natural dyes in Teotilan. We succumbed to the sales pitch and bought a beautiful rug - now we've got to carry another bag! At the Dona Rosa pottery, we watched a demonstration of an interesting hand-building technique on two saucers that was way over-hyped... perhaps I'm just a cynic, but burnishing pots was not "invented" in 1952, nor is smoke fired raku so revolutionary... But the old guy did put on a well-rehearsed show.
Oaxaca's markets and central square, the Zocalo, are incredibly vibrant and facinating, but we're ready to get away from all the people and traffic, so are heading north tomorrow to the Pueblos Mancommunados, where eight remote villages in the Sierra Norte mountians have an eco-tourism project, Expediciones Sierra Norte, where we'll be walking "between villages and sleeping in dormitory cabanas, along the pre-Hispanic track that follows the Latuvi-Lachatao canyon trail through cloud forests festooned with bromeliads and hanging mosses". Sounds pretty cool!