The Vagabond in Oaxaca 22 March 2019


            Twilight is beginning to fall in Oaxaca; the thunderstorms promised yesterday never realizing materializing today though lightning struck surrounding area, and, for a moment, a fierce wind blew.

Oaxaca is a gentle town; it doesn’t seem to demand of you the way the capitals of Europe do, urging you to join their hustle and bustle.  Not so Oaxaca; here there is no hustle and I have found no real bustle.  The closest I have found to hustle are the sellers of Chicklets, who look up at you with mournful eyes, hoping you will buy a pack from them.  How is it that Chicklets are the gum of choice by street vendors?   It was thus in Beirut, Tripoli, Sidon, Istanbul and now Oaxaca.

It is colorful, full of buildings splashed with pastels.  Near the Zocalo, vendors line the square with their wares and I almost wish I had a trunk to bring home a thousand things I found charming – none I need though I have not seen such good weaving anywhere.  There were some patio chairs with woven plastic for their seats I lusted after.

Late afternoon yesterday, I ate a light meal at a restaurant there, attended by a couple of solicitous young men who smiled with me at my fractured Spanish, doing their best to help me, while I remained grateful for technology as my translator app proved invaluable, particularly at check-in at my hotel, where the young man spoke so quickly I couldn’t decipher he was asking me for identification.

It has taken me a day to adjust to the altitude and I found myself happily napping yesterday, more than I could have imagined.  After breakfast!  After lunch!

And then a good long sleep last night and when I woke this morning, I felt acclimated.

Oaxaca is in the mountains, which gives it a temperate climate year-round but 5,000 plus feet takes me a day to get used to, for which I am grateful I gave myself permission to do so.

Because there were to be nothing but thunderstorms today, I booked conference calls chock a block only to have the rain not appear so when I finished, I wandered to the Museum connected with the Templo de Santa Domingo, a former monastery, filled with treasures from before and after the Spanish Conquest, overlooking the attached Botanical Garden, which apparently has the world’s largest collection of cactus specimens.  For 300 Pesos, [$15] I hired a guide and Emy was worth it for pointing things out efficiently.


Santa Lucia and a skull decorated with turquoise

             Returning to my hotel, a modest, sparkling clean place with a nice little restaurant attached – my morning omelet, giant glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and basket of bread, with tip, was $6.00, I sat down and did some work on a long piece I have been avoiding.

The sun has set, and the church bells are chiming, and I am off in search of a light dinner before some good reading before sleep.

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