I Moved To Oaxaca

Monday, September 01, 2003

Street Food Report: I finally ate an elote. For those like myself who don't feel like scrolling down to see if it's already described, an elote is corn on the cob, stuck on a stick, slathered in mayonnaise, then coated with crumbly Mexican cheese and dusted with chile powder. It may sound gross -- it does to me -- but it tastes pretty good. And as leery as you might be about eating corn cooked in mystery water, how about this? Like apparently all Mexican mayonnaise, the jar of mayo my little street vendor was using was just sitting out, for who know how long. That's what worried me. But I'm fine, and it was a tasty snack.

The occasion for eating the elote, which Greg wouldn't try, was our attendance yesterday of the Blessing of the Animals at La Merced church, not too far from our casita. Sunday is our only full day off from teaching, so we took it leisurely, and a little before 5pm strolled over. The blessing takes place in front of the church doors; they had a pavillion set up for the priest, and a garlanded pathway for all the owners with their animals. Many of the animals, mostly pets, wore costumes. I'll upload some pictures shortly. We saw everything from fish and turtles to birds, rabbits, and big ol' dogs. Baskets of puppies and kittens. Tons of little kids. And elotes. Oh, and one very smart guy selling pet supplies from his car. It was awfully nice to see lots of well-loved animals for a change. Usually we see the animals without such love and care, roaming the street and looking pretty pathetic. As pathetic as all the really poor in Mexico, like the stoplight vendors, or the families that play music while their littlest kids do a herky-jerky dance in front with a cup or bowl -- and if you're thinking of organ-grinder monkeys you wouldn't be far off, as the kids have about as much expression in their eyes. Coming from a place with still a fair amount of New Deal social support, I was taken aback at first to realize that their is no such thing in Mexico. Sure, you've got your nationalized housing and health care, but no social security, no AFDC, no SSI. So, human or animal, when you're down and out in Mexico, you are down and out.


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