Cost of living, OAXACA
I shopped this midday at the mercado in Parque Llano for fresh food which, in combination with my refried black beans (made from scratch) and rice, I am hoping will last a week. Everything here, plus a bag of ground chili the same size as the nuts and raisins shown here, 195p = .28 USD in current exchange rate. There are 25 warm tortillas under the Veracruz oranges. Only catch, is that because of foot pain (fasciiitis) when I walk long distances with heavy bags -- I had to take a cab back, which cost 30p (2.19 USD)
The unexpected benefit of taking the cab was that I met a young driver named Luis, who speaks excellent Spanish, has studied English as an intercambio at the ICO language institute in Oaxaca where I studied years ago, and who may become my student. He lives in Atzompa with his wife and 2 young children, and said he'd come by and pick me up one late afternoon and take me out there for a visit.
Atzompa was established between 600 and 800 AD when it served as an overflow for the elites who no longer wanted to cope with the uncontrolled and unsustainable growth of Monte Alban. Atzompa served as the northernmost defensive settlement of the Zapotec region, and recent excavations have revealed beautifully executed buildings of fine stonework and stucco, and 3 ballcourts -- one of them may the the largest found in Oaxaca. (Monte Alban has only one). UNESCO will declare this a World Heritage site in 2010, along with the prehistoric caves of Yagul and Nitla.