Having finally blogged Machu Picchu, I find a place I never knew existed. Monte Albán is a pre-Columbian, roughly active 1000 years, abandoned around 500-750 AD, this mountaintop site is about 6,000 feet above sea level. At first, I thought it was a city of shamans, then I realized it was a city of astronomers, and that everything revolved around the study of space and stars. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, which gives Oaxaca it prominence as a city.
There are two pyramids you climb up, one on the north which has a great view of different building sites. The one on the south I started to climb, but saw it had was not as good to see the whole site, so I went up only about 3/4. The site is amazing because it has buildings and also ball courts. Christina said these were Zapotec sites, not Aztec in which supposedly human sacrifices were made of the losers.
The second part of our trip was at the studio of Enedina Vasquez, a well known Oaxacan potter. Her sharing of how she makes her work during a demonstration, and how she handled being a woman of note and a successful potter made you appreciate her more. She uses combinations of slips for color which she has made and developed herself over the years, through finding and making the right clay and care in firing. While her work is very sophisticated her methods of finding and processing clay and creating the slips are deceptively simple. The refinement of her pieces is fresh and always unique.