I Moved To Oaxaca

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Big fun yesterday; today, not a damn thing. So lemme tell you about yesterday ...

Our friend Osvelia's story just keeps getting more and more convoluted and unhappy. Without going into details -- there must be a megabyte cap on these blogs -- I'll just say that her husband Marcos is still in the U.S. and isn't coming back to Oaxaca for the foreseeable future; Osvelia and Lluvia are probably moving back to Oregon; the daughter of the woman who owns the building housing El Viejo Shaman is out to drive Osvelia from the shop, contract or no, in order to get more money, and has resorted to intimidation and petty vandalism in her efforts to succeed; the furniture Osvelia left behind in Moderate Shangri-la will at some point, maybe soon, maybe not, be moved up to Osvelia and Marcos's place in San Sebastian. So I need to buy me some furniture, or use my camping gear to pretend I'm sleeping in an Appalachian Trail shelter.

Sure there are furniture stores all over town, but why spend a lot? So I went down to the Abastos tianguis Saturday afternoon for some shopping. Anybody been to Koby's swapmeet in San Diego? The Abastos is at least five times larger, and crammed with low-slung tarps, guy lines, and people selling their wares on the ground. Plus the throngs of very small people. I had a rough idea where the furniture vendors were and, on my way to find them, I stopped in at a sanitario to pee -- a sanitario that sold beer in front! But I passed on the beer, got directions from two guys carrying an armoire to a waiting truck, and started browsing. The style of furniture at the Abastos is called rustica, and that basically means stuff like you'd find at Busvan For Bargains or The Sawmill: cheap wood furniture, cheaply assembled and finished. Fine with me, frankly. And it was fun buying a table, getting the guy to add a finish of my choosing, then arranging for a truck to take it and me home. When G comes back next week we're gonna go back and get more. Like chairs, a pantry, and some dressers.

While I was at the Abastos I also saw guys selling honey out of wheelbarrows: you choose your jar from the vendor's collection, and he ladles it full of honey dripping off the frames perched on top of the wheelbarrow. And one of the many mystery fruits on sale was ... well, I don't know what it's called because I didn't write down the name the woman gave me, but it's like a tuna only round and not sweet. It's got an almost squash-like scent to it, but it's not squash-tasting. Anyway, it was good peeled and mashed up in a fruit smoothie for dinner. I'll have another one tonight.

Saturday morning I took the bus out to the sports field on Universidad near Gringolandia to play rugby with a local club. I'd found out about it months ago, but they practice Saturdays at 11a, possibly the worst time for me as a Berlitz teacher, so it wasn't until this Saturday that I could go. I told Ron, the guy who'd given me the flyer and who I called Friday evening, that I'd never played rugby before, but he said it didn't matter. Despite my confusion over the continuous and free-floating line of scrimmage, I had a lot of fun, and since the game doesn't involve throwing the chubby-football rugby ball but rather tossing it, I didn't have to humiliate myself with any girly throws. And fortunately I catch better than some of the other players -- all guys at this point, a mix of Oaxacans and Americans, but Ron says sometimes women play.

Between the rugby and the market I barely made it to 9:30p before sacking out -- only to wake up at 11:30p, like I'd just had a nap and was now ready to go another 6 hours! Thank goodness a Xena dvd was near at hand.


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