first, the ZOCALO, the central square:
-two women with pink and blue palm trees of cotton candy bunches chew the fat. they sell a turquoise poof to a little boy and it comes with a sticky toy, a little sticky monkey, that you can fling on walls and at the limbs of other children. “viene con un monito que se pega!” a good selling point for cotton candy.
-women also sell cylindrical foil balloons, the funnest of games. you can project these up into the air and watch them float down, use them like swords, bonk your friends, send them flying. They look like soft wrapping paper tubes.
-the baskets of goods balanced on women’s heads will never cease to tingle my inner child. maybe it goes back to watching the jungle book, picking my nose, as a 4-year old, or maybe to the games of pretending to be a runway model like on the reality tv shows. inside the baskets are potato chips or plastic wind-up toys.
three crunchy tacos are served with four salsas, i forgot about that. my favorite is the creamy green one. every thing i’ve eaten since i got here doesn’t come up to more than $6. the avocados are 20 cents and i eat them as i walk.
-my breakfast consists of half a papaya with pineapple, tea, and then huevos oaxaquenos, which means they are escrambel with chiles and tomatoes and onion. the cook is named graciela and i think that’s a great name. every graciela i’ve met has been somehow saintly.
-the market still has high piles of fried grasshopers, like I remembered, and various ice-cream-like tubs of mole that are scooped out and pressed into containers to take home (and use to braise chicken thighs with).
and there are smushed mangos on all the cobble stoned streets because they fall off the trees and colored birds and frogs eat them, and loud motorcycles with pudgy couples run over them.
every corner has a couple making out. Why not hold hands and squeeze hips with wandering fingers at every chance? that’s how the oaxaqueños do it.
the parrots squawk and i hear the chirpies and tweeties of frogs and birds all day, mosquito bites.
the cordiality of the locals is shocking. the glances men shoot aren’t at all subtle, but the softness of those in any somewhat servantile position is striking. “Mande usted,” “Estoy a su servicio” for merely stepping into a pharmacy, i feel like a dictator. i need to learn to say these phrases.
every afternoon a thunderstorm rolls in, i am told and i witness. a green parrot is staring at me. there are about 100 workshops i want to attend in the oaxaca center, this is an artistic civilization. from cardboard-camera-making, to cellphone photography, to sculpture of the nude. i have to get to work.