I Moved To Oaxaca

Friday, August 15, 2003

Wheeugh, what a day. We had a TDS today at Berlitz -- that´s a Teacher Development Session -- which occur on a regular basis and, since it was teaching tips and corporate bellyaching, I found it pretty useful. But before the TDS, we sat down in an empty classroom and started wringing our lesson plans into shape. It´s a simple enough thing on the surface: note the lesson goal, supplies needed, and what activities you plan to do in support of the lesson goal. In reality, for a new teacher, they´re hell. Us three new fish, me, Greg, and Patti Topper, spent most of the day tearing our hair over how to fill up 3 hours (for our Saturday lessons) with teaching and activities (related, in my case, to Introducing Yourself! Hi, my name is ... What´s your name? In the words of Glen in "Raising Arizona," I shit you negative.) And the routine is that, every Friday, teachers turn in lesson plans for the coming week´s lessons. So after we finished the Saturday plan, we had four more hour-and-a-half lessons to plan out. I take a lot of pride in my work, but I gotta say, at the end of our siesta-less day, I was listing activities like "Craft: ____"

I fully expect to be talked to tomorrow before class.

But here I am, out of school, my butt parked at a terminal at our Internet cafe. I just read Greg´s travelog entry, "Don´t Even Stop For Pictures," and wanted to paraphrase some of what he mentioned. First, enterprising, underemployed people provide services or entertainment for people in cars stopped at red lights. Windows washed? Newspaper or magazine? Watch me juggle/juggle flaming sticks/lie on broken glass, etc. People also sell stuff along the side of the road. I mentioned the cacti, and naturally at toll plazas and gas stations lots of people sell snacks and drinks from carts or shacks. We fancied we could tell the regional craft speciality or agricultural product by what appeared at roadside stands, but dig this: as we neared the city of Oaxaca, we started seeing people on the highway shoulders, selling ... toy trucks. Like Tonkas, but handmade and painted; we saw a guy working on one as we drove past. Where did the toy truck speciality come from?

The other curiosity was the horizon bulls, or large bull-shaped billboards advertising Magno Osborne, a Spanish brandy (thanks, Google!). Babe´s Mexican cousins?

I fully intend to stick some links in here to pictures. Because we got some surprisingly good shots from the car.


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