Day 7, in which we watched a man pull a rabbit out of a tree trunk.

To day it was south and a lit­tle west of town to the Zaachi­la val­ley. Traf­fic has been ter­ri­ble this week so our guide Nico took us down a super-secret short-cut. Like going down the rab­bit hole.

tunnel of reeds on a dirt road
tun­nel of reeds on a dirt road

Speak­ing of rab­bits. Our first stop was the wood carv­ing vil­lage of Arro­zo­la. Arse­nio More­les took a machete to a block of wood and cre­at­ed one of his sig­na­ture long eared rabbits.

carving a rabbit
carv­ing a rabbit

This is the view of the back yard (and stu­dio) of one of the oth­er carvers. I have real­ly bad stu­dio envy.

valley view from arrozola
val­ley view from arrozola

I haven’t been to Arro­zo­la in about 5 years. The town looks much the same but the qual­i­ty and vari­ety of work being offered has gone way up. This pea­cock is one example.


All the way down this main street you can walk into the front room of any house and find carv­ings for sale.

looking down the main street in arrozola
look­ing down the main street in arrozola

At one house where I bought a lot of lit­tle things like ear­rings and hair sticks, this lit­tle par­rot fol­lowed us around while we shopped. If you look close­ly you can see that he fol­lows the painters around too. That’s a love­ly shade of blue on his tail.

parrot that followed us around
par­rot that fol­lowed us around

After Arro­zo­la we went to Cuila­pam de Guer­ro­ro. Their mar­ket day is Thurs­day. We walked through the ani­mal mar­ket. They don’t get a lot of gringo tourists walk­ing through the ani­mal market.

Most land in this val­ley is worked with oxen.

field oxen
field oxen

Goats, with lit­tle bun­dles of alfal­fa tied to the panels.

goats in pens
goats in pens

All of the pigs are this pale pink pricked ear type.

a litter of pigs
a lit­ter of pigs

Turkey is native to Mex­i­co and the favored meat for fies­tas. All of these will end up under a mole this weekend.

turkeys for dinner
turkeys for dinner

This is look­ing over the town from the site of the large — aban­doned Domini­can church.

down the hill into the village
down the hill into the village

The Domini­can church in Cuila­pam was one of sev­er­al being built in the Oax­a­ca area in the mid­dle of the 16th cen­tu­ry. There were more church­es being built than there was mon­ey to build with. This one was aban­doned in favor of the cathe­dral in Oax­a­ca city.

unfinished church
unfin­ished church

The chapel as been par­tial­ly restored. It nev­er had a roof. The indige­nous peo­ple could not fath­om the idea that you would go ‑inside- to pray to your god. The Domini­cans met them half way. In a church but with­out a roof.

outdoor chapel
out­door chapel

Today’s arty shot is of the tow­er of the chapel and the clear blue sky.

tower on the domincan church
tow­er on the dom­in­can church

No one can say how many of the Zapotec Indi­ans were bap­tized in this font. Some­thing between thou­sands and hun­dreds of thou­sands. The angels faces were clear­ly carved by locals rather than Europeans.

baptismal font
bap­tismal font

One last look at the val­ley before head­ing back into town for lunch.

zaachila valley
zaachi­la valley

Lunch at La Biz­na­ga (bar­rel cac­tus). Most places have a fixed price lunch spe­cial called the Comi­da Cor­ri­da. Run­ning lunch. Today it was pork­chops and apple sauce.

porkchops and apple sauce
pork­chops and apple sauce

La Biz­na­ga has one of the great bars in Oax­a­ca. There are so many votaries in this city. It’s nice to have one devot­ed to the agave plant.

the bar at la biznaga
the bar at la biznaga

About the Author

Lara Harriger