oaxaca 2

a couple new favorite things:

“leche quemada” flavored nieve. nieve is icecream. leche quemada tastes like oaky horchata, burnt sweet milk.

we visited a 2000 year old tree called el tule. in the gnarly knobby bark you can see the faces of animals!

ate a lot of nopal which is cactus which gave me a bit of a stomach ache.

-the market here. youcantbelieve it. the mountains of stacked petrified chiles mounted upon mountains of more dried chiles. and the stacks of fermenting, FUMING bananas, this smell is so poignant, so strong, so sweet. and papayas, and mangos, crowded around throngs of hanging meat and sausages, next to stacks and stacks of more spices, next to  baskets full of red-spiced grasshoppers, chapulines. a crunchy snack. watermelon-colored cactus, plastic cups of colored jello. paper thin burning tortilla.  the pungency of the smells, textures, and colors is  insane.

– the zocalo. the social epicenter, the meeting place square of oaxaca. old couples dance here with a live band, shuffling and radiant. 15 year olds go to flirt, to touch eachothers warm skin under ancient fig trees (you cant do it at home when you have 4 brothers and 2 sisters and abuelita cooking tamales all day. ironically, the carnal privacy is found in the public square). i can FEEL the warmth of these adolescence and their doughy skin aching to burst free of their tight sequined jeans. i can smell the hormones in them and it is sweet and sour and i want it.
-wandering around the zocalo are many indigenous women, fluttering about trying to sell textiles and touristy artisanal goods while month old babies are strapped on their 17-year old backs. they are small women with small hands and small frames and there is stoic dignity in them. but i know this admiration and fascination is problematic, because it is a novelty for me to see such a colorful and quiet and barefoot population try to sell everything from cheetohs to hand-embroidered shawls to anyone who will make eye contact. it makes me feel useless. some of the women are 95 and have eyes who are turning baby-blue opaque from blindness, and some  just got their periods for the first time a couple months ago, and are selling candy with their friends on the corners. they laugh and giggle and when they don’t sell the candy they start to unwrap the lollies and eat them themselves.
they have this profoundness i don’t have because i don’t have to sell candy in a sqaure. they give milk to their children, handing their breast to their 1, 2, or 3 year old like a corn on the cob to latch on to, warm nourishment. when the girl needs a break, she passes the child on to another lactating friend and she’ll take a stroll around and look at people dance and people eat food at the bars. and take it in quietly and enjoy it.
from our terrace, we saw a white owl perched up in one of the awe-inducingly large trees. it was stark white. at first, my dad and i thought it was a crescent moon. it was just an owl. looking at us, looking at the stars, looking at the plaza resurge with energy, looking at its tree companions. watching everything below with confusion and probably admiring the sexiness and lack of self-consciousness that rivets the streets here. just like me.

 

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