We traveled to Oaxaca for our friend Andres’ wedding. He was one of the few other Costa Ricans at Northwestern when we were in college, so to me his wedding felt like a strange mix of college reunion and a party with old friends from home.

Oaxaca felt touristy, but not nearly as much as some other cities we’ve visited recently. The food was amazing, and as a fan of mezcal I had a lot of really good drinks to pair it with.

The colors made for great photography. I received some film as gifts for the holidays, so I took a roll of Lomography 400 courtesy of my friend Maizie, and a roll of Fujifilm 200 (which I experimented with and pushed up a stop) courtesy of Hannah’s cousin Grant. I also brought my DSLR, which I only used during our longer excursion day.

We were staying right by the Templo de Santo Domingo.

Perhaps my favorite shot of the trip.

This lady was really flattered that I wanted her portrait. Our interaction put a big smile on my face.

At the entrance to the Mercado de Artesanías.

The photo exhibits at the Centro Cultural San Pablo were quite good.

One tree…

…in two takes.

I didn’t realize they were sitting at the hospital steps until after I took the photo, and then felt guilty for taking it.

We had lunch at Alfonsina. It was one of the best meals we had, but the place itself was really special, too.

Next up was a tour and tasting at the Real Minero distillery in Santa Catarina Minas.

We were lucky to have Graciela, the head of the family-run distillery walk us around the grounds. Along with the mezcal business, they also run an organization whose goal is to catalogue and safekeep seeds from various agave varietals for future generations.

The “oven.”

The process was extremely manual, but the outcome (which we tasted, and then brought home with us) was wonderful.

The next morning, I went out on a walk by myself while everyone else got ready

The courtyard at Muss, where I had my breakfast.

For some reason, I kept reading this as “pizza,” and almost didn’t take the photo because of it.

Oaxaca is a big wedding destination. This family was sitting at the bench and the colors looked to good not to ask for a photo.

We were told we had to go walk around the barrios of Xochimilco and Jalatlaco. They didn’t disappoint. This was my second favorite shot of the trip.

The courtyard at Filemón. I came back with a bag of their coffee, which was great.

On a friend of a friend’s recommendation, we went to Mitla and Teotitlán del Valle instead of Monte Albán. I’m still not sure if it was the right call, but it was interesting and beautiful.

The fact that the ruins are right next to people’s homes when there’s so much open land felt pretty strange.

The superposition of old and new in a non-European context felt unexpected, new.

Right next to the ruins there is a little crafts market targeting tourists.

The main entrance to the San Pablo church.

Had I taken one more step back this would have been a much better photo.

We visited a traditional loom in Teotitlán. All I could keep thinking about were the luddites.

Sometimes, photos out of the car window can still be good.

We stopped for late lunch at another mezcal distillery. They had horses.

The crew.

We went to an artisanal chocolate shop, and got to try a bunch of different combinations of cacao and sugar.

These guys were playing basketball right outside.

I had left my camera in manual focus, and didn’t notice it, making for a few blurry pre-coffee photos the next morning. This one came out well, though I don’t know what happened with the corners.

I was amazed to learn that the sounds of Mexico City are not just Mexico City’s. There were a lot of people selling tamales and atol in little carts like these, and others picking up scrap metal, all with the same recordings.

The military presence was also pretty unexpected.

Before heading to the airport, I stopped for more coffee at Cafeto y Baristas.

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