I Moved To Oaxaca

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Today was the first day of three of our school's end-of-year wrap-up. It's called Kids Fest, and each class has to do something in front of the assembled school and camera-toting parents. We had some songs, some Christmas carols, a My-Name-Is-(insert name her)-I-Like.... which was cuter than it sounds, and my group's limericks. I twisted their non-compliant teenage arms into writing their own. For instance:

There was a young lady from Peru
Every day she went to the zoo.
But when she took her car,
She went straight to the bar,
And never saw anything gnu.

(Way to go, Elvia!)

I also had to physically push them into the center of the stage from their hiding place next to the water cooler. Then hold them there while they recited their ditties. But they did okay.

We're gearing up for the trip north. Three days to go. I'm a procrastinator as it is, and in typical fashion put off a lot of errands for last weekend. Yeah, the weekend I slept and coughed by way through. Yesterday I took Greg down to the Soledad chocolate factory on JP Garcia to get some gifts. We had just finished brunch at Marcos and Osvelia's, and when Marcos heard what we were up to he said, "Oh, no. Don't buy the stuff in the box. Get them to grind you up a batch." I must have looked dubious, because he then told me how (and what) to request: un kilo chocolate primero sin cascara con un kilo azucar, 30 gramas canela y 20 gramas alamendros. Or, just over two pounds of premium-quality chocolate without the hull, and equal amount of sugar, and some cinnamon and almonds, all ground up on the spot and handed to me in big plastic bag, still warm and soft from the molido. I took it back to the cafe and Marcos showed me how to make it into patties. We let the chocolate get too hard before we started, so they're ugly patties, but Marcos was right -- how much more fun to have custom-ground chocolate. And all for 60 pesos. Yeah, about $3 a pound. Mmm, it's good.

Today, we went back down JP Garcia past the zocalo, past the market to a big artesanias warehouse full of individual stalls -- a good place to go for rugs, woven goods like tablecloths, and embroidered clothing. It's good stuff, and far fewer tourists go there so the prices are better. But, they still know their English. I was looking at a mighty fine blouse, the first one where I actually stopped, took the blouse down and really scrutinized it. The woman quoted me her price, and while I was thinking about it Greg said, "You know, you should look around at the other booths, and if you still want this one you can come back." Well, next thing we know the price is 25 percent off. Good enough -- sold! We've still got a couple of things to pick up and do before we go, but I think we've mostly got it wrapped up. Ha.

Oh! I almost hate to jinx it by saying anything, but ... we might have a new place lined up. We sure as hell are hoping so. We already decided we're moving because of the bus fumes, which I am sure do not help even when I'm not sick, sometime soon after we get back. And as luck would have it, Marcos and Osvelia's neighbors have to move. I checked the place out,a nd I like it alot. Everybody please keep your fingers crossed!


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