Dec 24, 2009, 2:33 PM
Post #1 of 5
Teotitlan del Valle and Benito Juarez are both Zapotec villages in the mountains about 20 kilometers or so out of Oaxaca City. Teotitlan is at about 5,000 feet and Benito Juarez is at about 10,000 feet approximately 12 kilometers straight up the mountain from Teotitlan. We drove with a prominent Teotitlan Zapotec elder up the dirt road to Benito Juarez to observe the valley from this height, climb to the local mountaintop mirador and, well, to drink some cold beer but when we arrived in Benito Juarez, the road was blocked by locals for reasons I still cannot fathom so we were told that it would be necessary for us to park at that spot and walk the rest of the way up the hill (for reasons I could not fathom as the road continued to our destination) which we did and the view from the mountaintop over the expansive Oaxaca Valley was supurb but the point is that here we were a mere 12 kilometers from the ancient village of Teotitlan and guests in the also ancient village of Benito Juarez and protocols were rigidly adhered to even though our Teotitlan host was among the most prominent elders in Teotitlan only 12 kilometers distant. One thing we have learned in numerous visits to Oaxaca and Chiapas over the past eight years is that the indigenous cultures who have been so kind to us observe ritual observance of protocols in dealing with one another that seem inviolate but I wouldn´t count on that if I were you.