I Moved To Oaxaca

Saturday, September 20, 2003

And the Spanish-only fun continues: today after school we went to a party at a fellow teacher's house. Very nice place, on a hill with a stunning view of the city and surrounding mountains, fun to have some grilled food -- people brought those big honkin' tlayuda tortillas, quesillo (the Oaxacan-style cheese, kinda like string cheese), Oaxacan-style beans (black and watery, but good), cebollas to grill, and enchilada meat (beef rubbed with red chili paste). Nice to hang out, but since everybody but G and I know Spanish, most of the conversation was in Spanish, and while we're getting okay with functional Spanish, conversational, slang-laden Spanish is still pretty tough going for us. So it was difficult to socialize. We mostly chatted with Jonathan, one of the teachers and a fellow left-leaning American, but when he left to pick up his wife, we were at loose ends. So we left early; a bummer in my opinion but I was feeling weird just sitting on the periphery not being able to join in the chat or understand what people were even talking about.

I also have a head cold. This irritates me no end, since it's the second time in two months that I've gotten sick, and that just isn't right. And I'm sounding pretty grumpy here (they have a phrase here, being a grumpy grandpa). So before I log off, something positive.

We drove Gilberto and Nayali up to Nunki's (our party host), because all of us wanted to stop by the super-mercado on the way to get some meat for the grill. Gilberto and Nayali discussed it, and Gilberto asked us if we wanted to go to the cheap store, or the better store. Well, we said, we know Gigante is the cheap store -- neither Greg nor I are big fans of Gigante's noise and incredible clutter -- so we said, what's the better option? Turns out it was a permanent open-air market in Colonia Reforma, along the lines of the big mercado downtown (the one where Greg smashed his head on the low-hanging pipe). But the Reforma market caters to residents, not tourists; it's smaller; and it's cleaner -- sometimes the Juarez market has this odor hanging over the corner with the butcher stalls that keeps me far, far away. But the Reforma market's stalls had no bad smells. Of the five or so butcher's stalls, we went to the one with the best-looking chorizo because, as Gilberto explained, if you're going to grill in Mexico you must have chorizo. Well, okay then. He bought some chorizo, I bought some carne enchilada, and Nayali bought some plain carne. They also had some good-looking pork chops, so maybe another time I'll swing by there and get some for dinner (the market's pretty close to the school). The market also had an optometrists where I was finally able to find some Aosept disinfectant for my contacts; I haven't seen it anywhere else, even in Gringolandia. Too bad it's so expensive: 95 pesos! If I'd have known, I would have brought more down with me, for sure.


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