Running out of Time

We have been on the road now since the 23nd October and as our time is growing closer to a return to home, there are more observations to be made on Oaxaca and Mexico.

Facebook posts have included some of what I will probably write here.  Too lazy to check, really and that is because it is warm and sultry here today and we shopped for gifts for friends and family today.  Rayman is in repose on the bed and I’m sitting on the couch by the open window which is allowing smells to come wafting in…corn, chicken, familiar wonderful food smells.  Should I call them scents?  It sounds nicer.

But I digress.

Yesterday was day two of Dia de los Muertos.  As in Gaul, there are three partes…Gallia est divisido en tres partes…as I sort of remember my latin lesson from high school a million years ago.  But be not impressed by my memory.  I googled it.  Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres.  Okay, I stand corrected.  This may explain why I have never excelled in foreign languages!!

Again I digress.

The first day of the dead is for people who died too young.  Day two is for people who died in accidents.   Today, day three, is for everyone else who has succumbed.  Well thought out, I think.  The first day was joyous and over the top with parades, bands playing songs that didn’t seem to be well rehearsed but perhaps that is their style…not sure.  Alters are devised and festivals are held.  The one festival we attended (everything is free) included a group of young people singing Mozart’s only dirge in Spanish.  It was both recognizable and beautiful.  3IKraxsATvaKjj6fxD1AYQMarigolds are the flower of the festival.  They are everywhere and they help the spirits find their way to their alter.  Incense is burned to help the journey…the spirits can smell their way home as it were.  When they get to the alter, they find food and drink and trinkets that represent what they loved when they were in this world.  The candles placed on the street help light the way.The alters are fascinating and all over the city.  As Teddy Roosevelt used to say, “Delighted!”. 

Some observations.  We have been touring by wandering around and have met many, many gringos.  From Washington, D.C., Houston, Chapel Hill, Arroyo Grande (yes, our friends Liz and Robin were here and we met up for mezcal margaritas last evening…small world).  Met two Docs from SF, two women from Portland one of which has a friend that lives blocks from our skinny house.  Also a man from Harlem who once lived in LA.  The list goes on and one.  Most Mexicans we met speak muy poquito English and since we have limited Spanish, I cannot give the same details.  Suffice it to say they were all lovely, helpful, warm, welcoming people with rich histories.  

One of the most interesting things I’ve seen is a hat holder in the restaurant.  It sits on the floor and can be mored around.  Here’s a pic.  GSQMc+ViRb6Z+pZHhEf21QWhat a great idea.  Can also be used for purses.   A revelation. 

After touring some of Italy, this vacation is almost free.  The exchange rate is so favorable, it seems unfair.  Many Mexicans live on a dime but their clothes are clean, their children are beyond well behaved which doesn’t surprise me in the least.  Once we went into the interior of the Yucatan and the women all wore white dresses that were spotless…how did they do it?  Don’t know but they did.  Another thing we saw was the base of the old trundle Singer sewing machine with a glass on top instead of the machine.  We are going to try to replicate that for the skinny house.  It was really cool.  No picture because pictures were not allowed in the art gallery.

Our hosts are wonderful.  Donna comes from the east coast.  An architect by training, she moved her 20 years ago.  Carlos is a native and he is a super host.  They have el perro (a dog), Gabby who was abandoned at 4 months (a rescue dog).  She attends obedience training and is a fast learner.  Sweet, sweet bowwow.  Makes us miss Beaumeister more. 

This region of Mexico is known for the mezcal that they make.  It is a cousin to tequila…from a different agave plant.  There are two methods of making mezcal.  One is similar to tequila.  The other is smoked and you can taste it.  It is delicious in a drink such as margaritas.  We are enjoying it.

Today while wandering around looking for the store that sold a man on the street a blue linen hat that Rayman liked, we happened into Oaxaca’s market which takes up almost a city block (blocks are not big here).  Snapped some pictures.  Fun time at the market.

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We

purchased so many things, we must buy another suitcase to get it all home.  A rug and a Oaxacan piece of art (an opossum which has great significance in this culture).  Can’t reveal everything because they are mostly gifts and my dear readers won’t be surprised when they receive them (laboring under an assumption they read my blogs which is silly on my part). 

Rayman was not looking forward to this trip.  Now he doesn’t want to leave.  Quite an about face.  He is delighted with the scene, the food, the people, the tradition of the holiday.  Pretty cool.  And he is practicing his Spanish which sounds more French than Spanish.  The other thing he is practicing is leaving an establishment with his credit card.  Twice he has left it on this trip.  Just sayin.

The other tourists we have encountered have been from France, England, Ireland, Italy, Canada, Australia. It’s very metropolitan for such a small city.

Tomorrow we visit a World Heritage sight.  It is Mount Alban.  The oldest mesoamerican city discovered.  We are taking a bus (no rental cars for us on this leg of the trip).  It is situated up the mountain from here and promises wonderful views of the valley.  We are stoked.

More later.    

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