I Moved To Oaxaca

Thursday, September 25, 2003

I must tell you about my chocolate stick, aka the molinillo. It is THE tool for making hot chocolate. I've only seen them made of wood, and they're carved so as to have cavities and several floating rings. To use it you spin the handle between the palms of your hands. Before, I was using a spoon to smash up the chocolate chunks and mix them into the milk, but I always ended up with chocolate sludge at the bottom of the pan and a film of cooked milk on top of my mocha. But with the amazing molinillo, the chocolate dissolves into the milk, and the spinning action creates foam which keeps that dreaded milk skin from forming. Yes! I got mine at the market in Tlacolula.

Greg went to the barber today. Here's his story:

What a pleasure! Suzanne has been telling me very politely for a couple of weeks that I needed a haircut, and of late, I REALLY needed a haircut. But who could blame me for being reticent? OK, not reticent, but nervous about it? But today I had to admit it myself, and finally worked up the courage.
So I looked up the phrase, like I always do before undertaking something new, and set off. I'd scouted around to find a barbershop. The closest was right around the corner. I was glad no one else was there, except the barber. I would, frankly, have felt more nervous about having to wait, or having other customers watch me. Silly, but there it is.
So I went in and practiced my phrase. "Necessito el corte de pelo." He motioned to the chair, I sat down, he looked at me and said something.
"Hablo poco Espanol," I said. He repeated what he'd said and I recognized the word aqua as he picked up the spray bottle. Oh yea, "si.." He squirted my hair and brushed it with his hand and kinda picked it up.
"Grande" he said, and I concurred, "Muy grande."
"Muy calor," he added, and I agreed, "si."
He picked up the comb and scissors, and THEN I noticed his hands were a bit shakey. Well, he looked like he'd been doing it all his life and I just put away any anxieties I might have. I figured it if it came out terrible I could just shave my head bald.
Did I mention we are giants here? I had to slump way down to make it easy to trim the top. Other than that, no sweat. In fact, the experience was pleasant. Why? Ah, in a nostalgic way. I flashed to being a kid and realized I was getting an "old time" haircut. After three decades of Supercuts, here was a good ol' scissors and comb job. When he pulled a straight razor -- wow, a straight razor! -- to shave around the ears and neck it was a complete pleasure.
And a nice cut! So here is my picture of my new haircut.
When I was done I got out of the chair and said, "Muy bien. Ahora estoy guapo," and he smiled, "y no calor." Just $30. That's about US$3.
Estoy contento.