The Zapotec people who founded Tlacolula (pop. 15,000, 24 miles/38 km east from Oaxaca City) around A.D. 1250 called it Guichiibaa (Place Between Heaven and Earth). Besides its beloved church and chapel and famous Sunday market, Tlacolula is also renowned for mescal, an alcoholic beverage distilled from the fermented hearts of maguey.
Get a good free sample at the friendly Pensamiento shop (Juárez 9, 9 a.m.–7 p.m. daily), as you head from the highway gasoline station (along Juárez) toward the market. Besides many hand-embroidered Amusgo huipiles and Teotitlán weavings, Pensamiento offers mescal in more than 20 flavors, with many more for women than men.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Oaxaca, 5th edition