We took a Sunday drive early enough to arrive at Monte Alban before the buses of sight seers took over the grounds. For 15 minutes we had this entire set of ruins to ourselves. It was completely quiet and easy to imagine that we were explorers seeing something that no one else had discovered.
This site is studied as one of the economic and social epicenters of the Zapotec society for a thousand years. What does that mean? These guys leveled a mountain top to build this incredible city high enough that they could see any bad guys approaching from quite a distance. Some of the first written language has been detected on glyphs (carved into large stones) around the site. This group of people were connected with other regional civilizations closer to Mexico City (Teotihuacan) through trade. There is a large building in the middle of the complex that was used by the priests (scientists of the day) to study astronomy. And then, like many of the ancient civilizations in Mexico, the city declined and deceased without explanation.
Last night we hosted a pot luck dinner party for a bunch of folks that were brought together by our new buddies Lewis & Brandy, who we met when we sat down at a random Tlyuda cart our first night in town. After several months of relative social silence in SMA, it was super fun to meet a bunch of new people in our new town. One of the nice things about staying at La Calera is that there are people arriving every day from all different parts of Mexico, and it's a great hub for trading advice and travel stories. I'm definitely out of practice when it comes to hanging out past 10pm, but I look forward to getting back in the social swing in this town.
La Calera is an old abandoned lime factory (above) that has been repurposed into an incredibly creative new space. There are several private apartments built around the property, and these are rented out on Airbnb. Spencer gets so many points for finding this place! I can't believe that we get to live here for 6 entire weeks. It's a total dream. Every piece of the factory has been integrated into the landscape, the buildings, and various usable art installations on the compound. There are so many beautiful spaces, it's impossible to really capture the feeling of being here on camera, but I tried anyway.
This table just really needs to host a dinner party, immediately. Which is perfect timing as our new bike buddies are putting one together here tomorrow night! If you're in town or can get here tomorrow by 6pm I'll have a glass of wine and some hummus ready for you.
I'm not sure what I love about this spot so much, except that it's huge and it's mostly empty. There seems to be something so innocent about all of this old machinery that has found new shape and function in a table or something useless but beautiful. Like we're here to see it in a new light, in retirement, or it's next life perhaps. An object that might be tossed out as junk can actually be transformed into something incredible because some one imagined that. It feels like a really good way to start a new year.
Oh, and ps. Do you see this pond that is totally flush with the ground? It could be kind of tough to tell it's actually a tiny body of water if you didn't have the context, like knowing that this kind of plant floats and grows in water, or having complex depth perception. You know who doesn't have either of those? A dog. As I was walking through one of the buildings here yesterday I heard Spencer laughing harder than I've heard him laugh in a really long time. I turned around and saw that Monet was completely wet, which was confusing because she generally avoids water at all costs. Imagine my disappointment when I found out that I missed witnessing as Monet tried to walk across this pond that looks like grass, took one step, and fell in head over tail. Oh, Mo! What you lack in smarts you make up for in far--being sweet! I walked back to the pond with her today in hopes that she might fall for this a second time but instead she decided to leave a giant poop on the ground for me to clean up in front of a large group of new guests. Maybe she's got a few smarts after all.