A Day in the Neighbourhood

Please do not use the Cathedral as a bathroom.
Today was a day of no tutoring or library work so I just wandered a bit in the neighbourhood. I live about 4 blocks from the Zócalo or main plaza of Oaxaca. The Plaza's official name is La Plaza de la Constitución and it is the site of the former Governor's Palace and of the Cathedral of Oaxaca. There are also lots of people camped out in backpack tents, electrical cords running along the ground in every
direction and the  sounds of live and recorded music competing with speeches of all sorts. I went over to listen to what I thought was a political speech and it turned out to be a man selling herbal remedies.
The sign above implores people to not use the church as a bathroom. There has been quite a lot of criticism of the Zócalo on Trip Advisor but I find it a pleasant spot to people watch.

The vendors in the stalls are very relaxed and I stop to browse but I don't purchase. There's a lady further up Avenida de la Independencia where I have purchased a woven scarf. She's just on a street corner which means she probably can't afford a permit for the Zócalo. I put my loose pesos in my pocket so that I could give the street musicians something. I don't like to take my wallet out on the street but I do like to be ready with some spare change.

Further down Independencia, I see a tiny woman with two grey braids and the traditional woven apron
selling lettuce, herbs and zucchini flowers. I bought a little bag of lettuce (which is soaking in disinfectant right now) and politely asked if I might take a photo. She was not willing. If you are interested in seeing pictures of the people in traditional garb, I found some photos taken by another Canadian on Flickr. Many of the people of Oaxaca are shorter than 5 feet tall and traditional clothing is common.
El Templo de San Felipe de Neri
Between my apartment and the Zócalo is yet another church. I live within the sound of three sets of bells. Today, when I went in, there was another funeral. San Felipe is in a Spanish baroque style and was built in the 18th century of the local cantera stone.

It's interesting to observe this Oaxacan world. There is so much to see but I am sure that I miss a lot because it is so different from Canada. I am meeting so many Canadians and Americans who choose to live here for part of each year. It truly is a magical place!


  1. So many churches in close proximity - I wonder if one person would attend all three or if there would be stricter affiliations. And those bells must be something else.

  2. The churches were originally build by different Orders of the Catholic Church. They are all well-attended and in constant use. It is quite lovely to hear the bells. One day during Holy Week, there is a procession that starts at Santo Domingo Church and ends up at the Basilica, I think.


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