Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Guidxi Binnizá – by the little hill

OK, I think this should be called Zapotec week, 'cause a flood of posts on our Oaxaca trip is a'coming! 

First, Xadani, or Xhadani, which means little hill. By the way, spelling Zapotec names that include the SH sound is a bit complex. In Zapotec spelling, the SH sound is represented by XH, whereas a plain X signifies the ZH sound as in genre. But in Mexican Spanish, X is usually used for the SH sound in many widely spoken indigenous languages, like Maya and Nahuatl. So when you look up place names in Zapotec speaking areas, you might find that the same name is spelled both with XH and with X. 

So, Xhadani. A small population some 10km south of Juchitán. Our mission? Our friend wanted us to have one seriously good, typical isthmus breakfast! But just before we got to the restaurant, we came across this gem of a mural! I mean, both me and the habibi couldn't help but seeing some North Korean theme at first glance! Later, we learned that people sometimes have murals painted of family members important to them. Yet, the choice of colour, the military suit, the star, even the person's features... crazy, eh? 

Just a short walk from that fantastic mural there it was – Na Vicenta ("na" means Mrs. in Zapotec). Outside Na Vicenta's? A viejito! Remember my previous post where I talked about the tradition of blowing up the old year, represented by an old person, right? 

Now, this was our first breakfast experience in the area, as we had arrived just the night before (in time for a vela muxe). It couldn't have been more different than our usual breakfasts anywhere I could remember! There were totopos – a sort of tortilla, but hard, with tiny holes, and usually served warm – with cuajada, basically a very soft, not strong tasting cheese. And fresh fish of different sorts, grilled. And giant shrimp with a chili and mayo sauce? But the best part, for me, was the champurrado – a drink made from ground criollo corn (local varieties of corn, different from those usually available abroad or in big urban centres), cacao, and water. So incredibly good! Loved it! And I'd later discover that not that easy to make well, as this was the best champurrado I had during my whole stay.


Now, there was indeed a little hill right next to us, hence the name of the town. And me being me, my legs were itching to take me up there! So, while the gang was finishing breakfast (so much fish), I went up for beautiful blue skies, clouds, cacti, eagles (or vultures? LOL)...

...a small shrine, views of the sea, of town and of immense windmill fields! It was crazy windy, so despite the heat, it felt incredibly comfortable!

Those there in the photo below are the steps for the ascent-descent. 

A short, really nice visit. After the partying the day before, and this breakfast excursion, it was obvious our Oaxaca trip was going to be one interesting experience after another.

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