I Moved To Oaxaca

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

This just in: we're back to going for the apartment we really like that's just outside our budget. But hey, we have a week to change our minds.

And Sunday afternoon we did indeed go to the museum at Santo Domingo. Wow. Well, wow because it's a big collection, from old, old pre-Columbian through churchy stuff, icons and whatnot. The setting is great -- Santo Domingo is a beautiful old building, with a kick-ass botanical garden -- but the lighting and display were sometimes below what the objects deserve. The signage was pretty bland, as was the audio assist. But hey, you never know until you try. But, oh, some of the items on display: they had the turquoise-encrusted human skull, Porfirio Diaz's old uniform, conquistadore armor (plate and chain), really fine gold- and stonework that reminded me of the Scythian stuff for quality. We didn't see nearly all of it, but as soon as we get our Berlitz IDs we can get in Sundays for free. As it was, I started pooping out. By the time I got home and ate some tortillas and an avocado, I felt pretty wiped out. Yeah, you know it: new city + small children = illness. Fortunately, the fever only lasted through Monday morning. I feel, okay, now.

Oh, and Sunday I'm going up to Pitico, shuffling along up Reforma and I see this family oohing over Little Jumbo. I'm not too surprised because it's probably the only Subaru in the city, and it has California plates. Well, on my way back I saw what exactly they were oohing about: somebody had taken a rock and smashed in the rear, driver-side window! Crap. Nothing disturbed other than the shattered window; maybe a stray Oregonian? I moved the car around the corner onto Independencia, which isn't as well lit but also not travelled except by residents, while Reforma is a through-street. Monday someone helped themselves to the motor oil and gas-line antifreeze in the back (guess I shoulda taken that out), but better that than the stereo. So now we're looking into parking lots. I think we've got one picked out -- on Reforma -- that we're going to try and firm up tomorrow morning, as our Spanish just wasn't up to it tonight, though we tried. I think we understood what she was saying, but we want to be sure.

Spanish class in the morning continues to be fun, though the vocab is coming fast and furious now. Did we show off too much too early in the lessons? Ha!

I think a fresh plane of tourists arrived from the States -- they're everywhere tonight. Herds and hoards of 'em. It IS pretty funny how easy it is to tell the American tourists from the European or Mexican ones. Mostly the clothes, I think: the knee-length shorts made out of sporty polyesters, the daypacks with lots of bungee cords and straps, the trail runners. The Europeans tend more towards strappy tanks (though I should talk; that's what I'm wearing now but I have paired it with a high-tech fleece, so there), sandals or flip-flops, and tans. Many of the Mexican tourists are family groups, which often include a nanny. Haven't seen too much of that with the American crowd ... so more about the housing thing. Part of me feels like a whiner even complaining about a big-ass apartment in the city center with a private patio for US$420 (side note: I know the exchange rate isn't 10-to-1, it's more like 13-to-1, but I like just moving the decimal point. If you want to do the math, just add a zero and look for the current rate of exchange) after living in the Bay Area where US$420 gets you butkiss. I think that should be capped but it looks better lowercase. And we've been looking around, and unless we luck into something tasty like our friends Marcos and Osbelia, who rent a place near us for about US$200, two hundred gets you a crappy place IN the city, or a nice place out in one of the colonias. Now, that wouldn't be so bad since we've got Little Jumbo, we we thought about it: we have to (currently) go into school twice a day, which we walk now and would give up if we drove; when our schedules don't synch, like when Greg's classes start at 4:30 and mine start at 6:00, one of us will have to sit around and kill some time in the city; we are so disgustingly urban that I don't think we'd know what to do out in one of the colonias, where the entertainment consists of tv/radio (if you have electricity, but I think we'd spring for that) and/or watching the kids and dogs parade up and down the dirt roads. Hoo-whee, pass me another beer, Vern! Plus, we know some people in the city now -- well, two -- and we wouldn't know anybody outside of town. But, man, it IS cheaper. Like $125 for a place ten minutes' drive from city center. Now, I haven't laid eyes on this $125 place, but still.

Hey, do you know why we call our car Little Jumbo? When we were moving stuff from the House of Mystery into storage, our new swingin' pad in The City, and taking the fish up to Alisha and Brian's place in Arcata, we rented a big white panel van. Huge. We had it for a week and referred to it as Jumbo ... yeah. So when we saw the little white Subaru that would later become ours ... it was a natural. Sometimes we call it Jumboita.


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