When Joy and I wake in the morning, we know we are in Oaxaca. Shaking off dreams of serpents in trees makes way for strange bird songs along with the more familiar Inca dove call.
If the birds don’t wake you, the bells will. As if to celebrate the rising of the sun, each cathedral has its turn. I can make no sense, rhyme or reason of the number of rings. I should pay closer
attention. Each day starts off slow and steady. Honking of horns comes one here, one there as if to mimic the bells. Honking will pick up and remain steady throughout the day. I am sure it is the only way to keep traffic flowing. It must be driver’s way of saying “stop gawking and keep moving”! We are much slower to get going. Maybe we should create an alarm clock that honks at us.
The light is pure in the mornings here. At night there are few cars and trucks in the streets which run through a maze of colonial architecture with wild abandon during the day. Morning haze is different from mid day. The air is fresh.
Joy and I are not settled enough to have any sort of regular schedule.
We move slow in the morning. Nothing is waiting for us, no eight hours
to put in, we have no watches. We do make lists. They are always short.
One of our frequent pastimes now is looking for a home we will feel
comfortable in. Although we have an ‘apartment’, and it is fine for
now, it doesn’t feel like ‘home’. This is a great way to have to speak
Spanish. It isn’t like we just want a ‘coca cola’, we need a house with
kitchen, bath and, of course, a patio. That takes a few words! Then we
have to understand what they say! OK, we have an address. We have a
map. Most places we are interested in are within walking distance from
the ‘Centro’. We get around pretty well. Well enough to log 4 to 5
miles a day, on foot! (Thanks to Joy’s mom Jo’s gift of a pedometer we
actually know how far we have gone) So, we keep busy. There seems to be
just enough hours in the day. Get out, have coffee and breakfast, mark
a few things off the list, eat lunch, have a siesta (yes folks, where
do you think we are?) do a few more things, another siesta, then home
for the evening. Whew! We are usually in bed by 9:00. (Well, Steve is anyway…)
A type of passion flower?
We have asked ourselves “what are we doing here?”. It’s a change, thatis for sure! So much soul in everything around us. These people love color. There seems to be a range of color that feels ‘Mexico’ here.
Oranges, purples, yellows, reds, turquoise, dark blue, sienna and other very earthy tones……they all seem to blend perfectly. And attention to detail. So much labor to make things not only last but truly beautiful. So much soul.
There is dirt. There is dust. There is exhaust! There is graffiti. There is noise. There is trash. But these things are only ends of a spectrum that at its opposite end hold such beauty. Buildings are magnificent! There are flowers everywhere. Music and art abound. This is not a place of fancy veneer that on the outside only looks like something real; it is all real, from outer surface to deep within. And we have only scratched the surface here.
Mother Earth took special care to teach these people warmth and friendliness. You feel it as you
walk down busy and crowded sidewalks. Sidewalks here are treacherous and narrow with fast moving bumpers just inches away. Everyone makes way for everyone else. I can remember back home where spacious sidewalks seemed so small because so many people wouldn’t care to notice you coming their way, and would not go to the trouble to make way. People with that attitude here would not survive long. We are overwhelmed most of the time.
A courtyard garden of an ex-convent.
An interior courtyard covered with bougainvillea.
The Macedonia Theater.
Some streets in the ‘Centro’ are closed to autos.
Food has been a challenge for us, which is such a major pastime here. Half of everyone here offers something to eat. We have no idea what there is yet. We have been adventurous.
One lunch had octopus ceviche, wonderful lentils, cheyote soup, fried whole fish, tortillas filled with lamb, and horchata or cucumber juice to wash it down.
Luckily Joy is doing fine, but I have had a lesson in cautious culinary curiosity. Fresh fruit abounds. We are learning how to use the markets. That in itself is quite an adventure! (More on markets in detail later) Cafes are everywhere and most are open to the streets or to an interior patio. Some are lush with plants and flowers and music. The people, again, are great and so eager to be helpful and friendly.
Geovanny, who works at “Isabel’s Cocina”. Such a nice young man!
Joy sitting by the opening to the street. She likes this ‘jamaica’ drink. It is made from hibiscus flowers.
I thought I ordered beef stew. That’s what I got (with all the liquid removed). It was quite good!
All in all, if I had to choose a life of safety and boredom, or one of possibility of extremes I will choose the latter.
Well, canons are going off again. I guess they must mark that it is close to 9:00 pm. They do seem to occur each night about this time. We have had peppermint tea, yerba buena, to settle my stomach as we both work on our computers. I have a reputation to keep up, I am lazy.
We miss and love our families and friends. We think about you all often.
More soon of our……………what are we doing here?
Adios for now