My previous experiences visiting Teotitlán del Valle were always along the main highway with a tour company from Oaxaca City. The town is famous for wool rugs that come in an array of vibrant colors derived from natural sources like the cochineal bug and indigo. The largest rugs take months to make and designs vary from simple patterns to intricate scenes. Due to the time and skill involved in making the famous rugs, they can be very expensive.
On this trip we went past the rug places near the main highway and ventured into the center of town. Soon after we got out of the car, an elderly gentleman came up to us and told us about a comedor that his wife and daughter-in-law run. After cruising by the cathedral, we took his advice and headed for the comedor.
We sat in an open-air dining room with two tables that were surrounded by scads of rugs hanging from the ceiling and stacked in the corners. In the next room there was a small stove and we could see a few chickens hunting and pecking out back. The menu for the day was chocolate con agua to drink, tortillas, a soup that was the town specialty called sopa de guía and mole negro with chicken, of course. Sixty pesos gets you everything. Normally I don’t eat a freshly killed chicken swimming in mole for breakfast, but I do eat just about anything that is put in front of me. This was one of the best meals I have eaten in Mexico. If you ever find yourself in Teotitlán del Valle, make sure you stop in and eat at Comedor Jaguar on Avenida Juárez.
After breakfast, we waddled over to the Bug in the Rug to watch the standard rug-making demonstration that is offered at many places in Teotitlán. When you see how the rugs are made and how much work goes into each one, you will understand why they cost so much. There are room-sized rugs that cost upwards of 10,000 pesos, and smaller ones that cost a bit less. We could afford a small throw pillow cover for a few hundred pesos that has different tones of brilliant red thanks to the cochineal bug.
Everyone we met in town was extremely friendly and the majority of them had rugs for sale. Aside from the friendly people and beautiful rugs, Teotitlán also has and a large population of donkeys carrying bundles of sticks and hordes of dogs. If you’re lucky, the carnival will be in town. It’s worth it to go into the town and check it out rather than simply hopping out of a tour van at a rug place near the highway.
Jesus peeking over the wall
the front of the cathedral
fence made from uncut bottle caps
sheep head at the Bug in the Rug
a light bulb and a purple building
hiking up the hill
dog behind a post
old dog sleeping
old dog awake