From Mexico City, we took a bus to Oaxaca, Oaxaca. We had heard that Oaxaca is beautiful, but we didn't know what else to expect. We arrived in the city of Oaxaca at 8 pm, found a hotel, and walked around the downtown. The center was full of people out having a good time. Many families were sitting with their children, and groups of friends and couples were strolling around. There were clowns performing, like there are in many popular centers, who cater to adults more than children. I don't know why, but the clowns attract huge crowds. The weather was warm, but not humid, and the downtown was beautiful. Eating dinner and walking around was a great way to spend the evening.
In the morning, we took a bus to Monte Alban, ancient ruins at the top of a mountain just outside of the city. There were many pyramids still standing and fully uncovered. The site was first occupied by the Olmec, and later by the Zapotecs. There is a plaza surrounded by pyramids with an astronomy observatory in the middle. The acoustics in the plaza are impressive- if you clap, it can be heard throughout the whole plaza. It was used for ceremonies and parties, so the acoustics were important. There are the remains of some luxury homes, tombs, and small pyramids scattered around the main plaza. At the site, the whole city of Oaxaca and many small towns can be seen in all directions from the top of the mountain. It is beautiful to look at now, and I can't imagine what it was like thousands of years ago, when it was a green, empty valley.
I got stung twice by wasps at Monte Alban, but luckily it was right near the end, so they didn't affect the visit.
After the ruins, we got on a bus to Palenque, Chiapas. We wanted to spend more time in Oaxaca, but Jose is really excited about seeing the Yucatan, so we started on our way.