Monday, June 11, 2012

Week 1: Exploring the city

Week 1:  The first week in Oaxaca has officially gone by. Its been a good week thus far. We had our Pro-world Orientation and we got to meet our home stay moms. The first few days were tough for me as I had problem communicating with people, as everybody speaks Spanish. Things got better after a couple days. We spent the first few days exploring the city and i was impressed by the people, their culture, their history and the atmosphere. The people are nicer then the people back home and are open to conversations with strangers. navigating through the city is easy and the availability of public transport makes it even more easier.
Walking street Macedonia Alcala, Oaxaca, Oaxaca.  
The city is historic and beautiful. The architecture of the city is influenced by Spanish colonial architecture. The center of the city is called Zocolo. Numerous restaurants are located by the Zocolo and it is common to see people hanging out in the Zocolo even at midnight. Also, the city has numerous markets where you could buy hand made arts and crafts that represent the indigenous culture. It is good place to find Oaxacan regional dishes like mole, tylayudas etc.
Skulls excavated from Monte Alban that
show incisions
made in the skull for brain surgery.
Past weekend we also had our first group weekend excursion. We went to Monte Alban, a pre-columbian archeological site. The site dates back to 500 B.C. It was a center of Zapotec culture. The site consist of numerous pyramids, a ball court and an observatory. The thing that stuck out the most to me was Los Danzantes or the building of dancers. It was covered in carvings of human in tortured and strange positions. According to our guide, the distorted bodies and pained expressions might connote disease or suffering; some have clear features of childbirth, dwarfism, and infantilism. Last but not the least the Zapotecs were very advanced for their time and were conducting brain surgeries in those days. The proof can be seen in skulls that were excavated from the site.
Overall first week was a great week, I looking forward to see whats in store for me for the following week.

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