Friday, March 8, 2013

Monte Alban

This name describes a mountain that for several months of the year has trees blooming white blossoms.
It is the site of ancient ruins and holds great significance to the local indians in particular.
We used a tour bus to take us to the base and from there we chose to walk the grounds with or without a guide. Lewises used an elderly guide who was very helpful. Parsons and us chose to go our own ways and mostly guess at what we were seeing.
It was hot on this barren mountaintop ruin so we wandered slowly, not reading too much information but finding shade when we could. It is an impressive place, many glyphs and carvings, apparently of every medical procedure known to man! We saw more of these carvings at the museum in Oaxaca along with various pieces of pottery and gold decorative pieces. It is interesting to us how closely these potteries are to the ancient household items we've seen in Greece. Interesting that so far around the world they would have similar art styles.
Monte Alban is a very impressive ruin of huge proportion. It was a great centre for Zapotechan people, used for commercial and religious purposes. The massive staircases make much more sense bring explained as stadium seats, they are far too steep for a very short culture to build for climbing on. They were a challenge to me and my short legs.
Our fun was stopping to talk with an elderly Indian who was sitting under an 'alban' tree. At first we tried our Spangish but he replied with good English. He was a local farmer but in the dry season came to the mountain to sell . . . Crude pottery. of course Jim had to buy a clay jaguar from him. We could tell he appreciated us taking time to visit with him, and we certainly enjoyed it too.
Note - we have left the jaguar to decorate our rental place in Puerto Escondido.

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