Posts/June, 2011/

Oaxaca’s Stamp Museum, Textile Museum, and Ex. Marquesado Barrio near the Abandoned Train Station; Heading Home

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Thanks for your interest in my recent nine day trip to Oaxaca City, Mexico. I’ve broken the trip into eight parts loosely organized by the central activity of the day. Want to see the other posts? Browse the Oaxaca category.

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Our last day in Oaxaca began with a pyramid shaped pile of eggs and the opinionated conversation hogging of a lady at the breakfast table. I felt both annoyed by and sorry for her, a combination of feelings I generally reserve for myself.

First, we stopped at the nearby stamp museum and admired the large collection of stamps from around the world, including a surprisingly large collection of bicycle stamps. Sadly, the museum is not shaped like a stamp.

Next, a trip to the textile museum to look a textiles from around the world. If you love beads, this place is bead heaven. But if you’ve “bead there, beaded that”, then this isn’t going to change your jaded outlook. And unfortunately, this museum didn’t look like a stamp either.

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Inside the textile museum.
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J in the house of flying shawls.

Despite being high strung from looking at stamps and beads, we decided to go for a walk west of town to the abandoned Oaxaca train station in the Ex. Marquesado neighborhood.

The train station was overgrown and served a variety of functions from train car art exhibits, to reading rooms, train paraphernalia museum, and a barrier between the hillside shanties and the even more ramshackle shanties below.

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It’s almost like this lady was paid by the tourism department to walk in front of colorful walls.
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Hill climbing posse.
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A crusty doorway.
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Little birdie pops his head up, saying “Put me in your mouth, Nik.”
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More stairs up to the hillside neighborhood.
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Not sure why these are split in the middle.
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Old engine at the decommissioned Oaxaca train station.
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The saddest teeter-totters in the world.
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The wrong side of the tracks.
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The platform to nowhere.
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Old water tower for the steam age.
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It’s like I’m inside the video game Crysis, but without the guns or nano suit.

For some reason, a steady stream of people in military uniforms kept walking along the tracks. It was like they were meeting to ship off but no one told them the trains no longer ran.

On the way back we wandered through the pedestrian-only hillside neighborhood, then into town for ice cream. This time we tried mescal and peanut and mamey and peanut. Big black beetles were dying all over the sidewalks.

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Air plant as musical notes.
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Pedestrian street on the hill.

Crazy stairs and ribbed road for car pleasure.
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One of the fancier restaurants of the barrio.
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Not subtle with the color.
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Just in case you weren’t sure where the stairs to 329 were.
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Colorful wall.

More stairs.
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Steps and painted wall.
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The cool kids.
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Miscellaneous store’s seating.
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Beetles dying all over town.

We explored the Camino Real Hotel, considered the swankest hotel in town. In the pool, three men talked business while a sunbathing woman’s bottom seemed to have not effect on them.

For lunch, we returned to trusty La Olla for a fixed price lunch that included variety of dishes: salad, soup, beef filet with chili sauce, desert tart, mescal, ginger tea. It was valuelicious!

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Beef in tomato sauce.
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Corn, pork, and squash.
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Vegetarian torta.

After a nap, we played cards at a coffee shop as firework booms shook the building. Afterward, we ate more tortas. It started to rain heavily by the early evening, and we ducked from awning to awing on the way home.

Oaxaca got us daydreaming. Is it the kind of place where J could open her B&B or where I could open my coffee shop? Would I enjoy living there, or raising a kid there? Would I get around by my childhood dream car, the Volkswagen Thing, or would I travel by my own tuk tuk?

It’s hard to know if the feelings we had for the place were because of vacation or some deeper bond.

Like all trips, time seemed so much slower in the beginning when everything felt new. But by the end, the day were passing quickly again. It was nice to mix up the routine and get away from the familiar for a while. I’m a married man. And as I wait endlessly in Mexico City for our delayed flight back home, I keep wondering when literally the honeymoon is over.

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