Monday, April 23, 2012

Week Two in Oaxaca City

Hola Ustedes,

Without knowing it ahead of time, we are here for the 480th anniversary of Oaxaca. 480 years is a long time! The festivities go all day and night. In the Zocolo (main square) the sidewalks are loaded with vendors and tourists, and it only gets more crowded at night. As you walk you can barely separate the different musicians. An elderly man stops at the sidewalk cafes and plays "I did it my way" over and over again on his saxophone. Afterwards he creeps through the cafe with his walker and asks for payment. There is a boy, about 10 years old, who drags his foot and begs for money, but I've seen him walk normal. Security guards try their best to keep the vendors away from the tables, but it's impossible . . . they are outnumbered!

In the center of the Zocolo is a giant gazebo that showcases famous mariachi bands. Last Saturday night we happened upon one of these performances and were given front row seats. We sat for a good hour and listened to them play. Afterward we stopped and watched a chess match taking place on the sidewalk in front of the Cathedral. A bunch of people behind us began line dancing to the music from a high school band. A clown had a huge crowd surrounding him fifty feet away. Everywhere vendors carried massive bouquets of balloons. Children ran circles around clusters of state police officers. We finally left to find a quiet place to eat. An Italian restaurant caught our interest. Right after we ordered, a jazz band came in and set up right next to our table. At first I thought "Oh no!", but they were wonderful. The lady's voice was beyond professional quality. The pizza was not so great (Joe says I'm just prejudice against Oscar Mayor weenies on my pizza).

We went to the actual market place, which was just like the one in Florence, except more crowded. Everything was organized in large groupings. A section for flowers, for bread, clothes, meat, backpacks, etc., and of course the ever present chapulines (fried grasshoppers). The textiles here are good. A lot like Guatemala.

We've settled into our routine of favorite places to go. Studying at Black Coffee Cafe or another little hole-in-the-wall place with a forgettable name, but cheap beer and mochas. A glass of wine and a Negra Mordelo at El Olivo with it's fabulous view and refreshing breeze. Dinner at La Olla for the Mole Negro de Fandango and Joe's favorite beer, (expensive) Tempus. The creative lighting using vegetable strainers at La Olla always makes me smile. More commonly we eat at the local Arabian Taco Restaurant. I have never had such a good quesadilla with meat in my life, and the employees are so friendly. We love that place.

Last Sunday we found a church close to our home. It is a Calvary Church. The people were nice, but we couldn't understand the pastor. The worship music was good though.

Back here at the house things are much more tranquil, except when Adriana is here to attack Joe. She is the five year old niece of Viki, our hostess. Adriana is adorable, and she and Joe have become buddies. They play soccer in the backyard, read stories together and collect bugs to creep me out. Adriana tries to distract me while I'm writing, but Auntie comes to my rescue. A German lady is staying here from our school. She seems nice, but her German accent makes her Spanish unintelligible. A man, Jesus, rents the room next ours. Denise the Canadian rents the studio apartment downstairs. She and I have become pals. Her boyfriend, Ricardo came by the other day to meet us. Nice guy.

Well time to go eat at Taco Arabe. Lots of love Heidi and Pepe.


  1. Such a wonderful way to enjoy life! Keep writing!