I Moved To Oaxaca

Saturday, August 23, 2003

I was a bit rushed yesterday, and when I got home thought of all this stuff I could've written about. So I made some notes for today. Shortly after we arrived the papers all had a big story about the big Volkswagen plant in Puebla stopping production of the old-style VW bug, affectionately known in Mexico as the vocho. About half the city cabs are vochos; when I was in the Yucatan ten years ago, all the rental cars were vochos; and I'd say one in five cars on the streets are vochos. It makes me miss Anti-Ed Anger terribly. Yes, I pine for the most uncomfortable death-trap I've ever driven or ridden in, and I have ridden in some god-awful hoopdies. I would love to have Ed here -- I think people would like and appreciate his paint job. On what SoCal desert dune does Ed ride these days? Not that I don't appreciate Little Jumbo, she's a great car. Does a great job on Mexican pavement, thank you AWD! And I think we've decided to leave our hats and a couple of bandannas in the car, as we got a little ... crispy during our Mitla excursion. Nothing too bad, but Greg does have an interesting design on the top of his feet now.

My left foot is not having a great year. First it was the cracked skin on my AT hike. Then on Wednesday I wore my Doc Martens sans socks. No problemo in foggy San Francisco, but with the humid weather I ended up rubbing a big ol' blister on the heel of my left foot. It's about the size of a quarter, and the color of ripe strawberries. Not much to do except apply the aloe vera, change the bandage regularly, and wait for it to heal.

Culture moment: during a Spanish lesson last week, our instructor, Gilberto, asked us to draw little characters -- Greg drew Randy from PeeWee's Playhouse and I drew Zippy the Pinhead. We both got complete blanks from Gilberto. And when he had us recite the names of the five continents ... yeah! America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceana (which includes all the Pacific islands). Antartica doesn't rate. And more Pooh sightings in Pitico; let's hope for picture links soon.

Ah, Thursday after class the director and a fellow teacher said to be sure to go to the roving Friday market near our house; we got to say, rather smugly, that we had already been. In any case, we went Friday morning before our drive. And it is a fine market; I like it a lot better than the sessile Juarez market. The fruits and vegetables were for the most part excellent, real California-quality. And, as a Californian, it was a treat to see a handful of fruits? vegetables? I have never seen before. Must get better about writing down the Mexican names. Anyway, I bought vegetables (green beans, broccoli), salsa fresca fixin's, fruit (bananas and a type of mango I've not seen before; Penny at Gathering Tribes says she always tries the unusual mangoes for fun when she visits Oaxaca), some potting soil for my coffee plant, some crappy pomegranites (is that spelled right?) off a woman selling on the ground*, maybe more. My shopping bag was stuffed. Despite my using as few plastic bags as possible, vendors insisted on sticking my purchases in little plastic bags. I don't know why. But since we don't have any plastic wrap we use the little bags for leftovers, so I guess it's a wash.

We've seen almost no recycling in Mexico. That surprises me, considering the amount of poor people. Have the government or a private agency buy #1 and #2 plastic and aluminum cans, and I guarantee you there will be an army of people making sure not a bit of it goes into the landfill. I mean, would you rather pick cans or lie on broken glass at a stoplight?

One more thing regarding selling: on both the street and in mini-supers, you can buy, say, a cup or two of dry dog or cat food from a big 50-lb bag, or one cigarette, etc. Pretty economical.

*So, the hierarchy of selling at the open-air markets is, permanent stall, moveable stall, mat or cloth on the floor with your produce or wares, a basket on your head. As Patti's friend says, the closer to the ground, the more money goes into indiginas hands. So I try to buy low, but damn, those pomegranites were a disappointment.

Now, Wendy mentioned that I talk a lot about food, but it's the one thing in Maslow's hierarchy that is uppermost in my thoughts; besides, it's usually fun stories. I tell ya, I'm going to miss the Donut Lady when we move to the other side of the Center district. She had potato tostadas the other day, and huge pieces of white cake with peaches and meringue frosting.


Post a Comment

<< Home