I Moved To Oaxaca

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I'm happy to say I had a very good Sunday; I'm only just getting around to posting it because of my incredibly sucky work schedule this month. More on that later.

So Sunday I woke up, had a leisurely mocha for breakfast and read some more of "The Three Musketeers" -- and yeah, it's good! Greg convinced me to buy it while I was sick, since I whipped through all the magazines we had and could get in no time. Guess he got tired of me watching the same four DVDs over and over again. Greg got up, did a little writing, then around 11:30 we went over to do some Internet, then go back to the extensive museum attached to Santo Domingo. All we had to do was cross the street to go from one to the other, but in route we heard a brass band playing somewhere nearby. And we have learned by now that 1) take an umbrella; 2) when the taco man asks you "Con todo?" you say yes; and 3) always head toward the sound of a brass band.

So we turned around and headed uphill. On Garcia Vigil street we saw the band in the midst of a parade: the federation of zapotec something or others were having a parade for ... their group? their pueblo? their patron saint? Not sure. But in addition to the brass band they had 2 giant paper-mache puppet people, banners, men and women in costume, candy to toss to the crowd -- the works. So we followed the parade, took some pictures which I will link to as soon as Greg puts them up on his site, all the way down to the zocalo. As we walked down with the parade one of the women with a painted gourd bowl of candy walked up to me and handed me several lollipops -- touching, as they usually just toss it to people. One of the lollipops has a small bag of chili powder rubber-banded to it! Muy Oaxacan.

We then walked back up the hill to Santo Domingo and spent some time in there. We had intended to see the wing we missed last time, but got sucked into a temporary exhibit while searching for the bathrooms: a combination of video-taped interviews with and pictures of people who live in and around Huatalco on the coast, along with physical objects -- hammocks, fishing nets and shrimp traps, furniture, etc -- from their lives. Pretty interesting stuff, but one village's focus pushed it right over the edge for us into fantastic. The place is Huamalula (wa-ma-lu-la), but which we insist on pronouncing Hu-a-ma-lu-la. For the week of their big fiesta, the people in the town wear masks and hats to represent pirates, blacks, Spaniards, and Christians, who then chase each other around town and throw each other in a mock jail. But then the people of the village marry their old earth goddess -- oh, yeah, they're Catholic all right, but they still marry their earth mother, in pre-Hispanic times a terrible, monstrous-looking deity, now represented by a 3- to 4-foot crocodile. They dress the crocodile up in a little white wedding dress (!) and take turns dancing with the bride. We just about died -- we want to go there!

(We told our Spanish teacher about it, and he said he once saw a festival where the villagers married a turkey, which they dressed up in a little tux; they even gave it a cigarette to smoke.)

After that, we left the museum. The sky looked ready to unload, with huge dark clouds and lots of thunder and lightning, but we decided to head for the zocalo even in our unbrella-less state and have a beer. Which we did, along with another mighty fine bowl of sopa azteca. And while we were there we just happened to catch the waiter races around the zocalo -- several heats of 8 to 9 waiters with serving trays and a variety of drinks, walking as fast as they could without spilling the booze, all the way around the zocalo.

We even made it back home without getting rained on. How perfect is that?


Post a Comment

<< Home