Spanish school in Oaxaca
Trip Start Dec 30, 2010
44Trip End Ongoing
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Monday a.m. We reported to class and met Flor the director who then administered our entrance exams and then asigned us to our classes. We were disappointed that we could not be in the same class; but so it goes.
Sharon ended up in individual instruction and my class had 5 people in it. After our first day we were both a bit discouraged because we seemed to have such difficulty understanding what our instructors were saying; but we spent all afternoon and evening going over our lessons while walking along the streets of the city. We repeated this exercise for the first three days and slowly we are feeling that we are making progress. I had sort of a breakthrough on day 2 when I suddenly began to understand whole sentences instead of just pieces of them.
Tonight we went out for Tlaluchas at one of Flor's favorite restaurants. They are tortillas the size of a dinner plate filled with meats and cheese and vegetables and grilled over a charcoal fire. This is apparently a traditional Oaxacan dish and it was really quite good though we found it to be more than we could finish.
Oaxaca itself is a big city of 50,000 that sprawls through a mountain valley and so it is quite a bit cooler than the coast. The central portion where we are is all cobbled streets and with the exception of the massive churches, everything is single story height. Most are a cream color interspersed with ochres, blues, and deep reds. The sidewalks while narrow are made of paving stones and there seems to be another nice park every time you turn a corner. There are lots and lots of restaurants and hotels scattered along the streets and shops selling any number of crafts and such. All in all it is the nicest town we have been in and the first in which we have not been the only Gringos. Partly because of the abundance of language schools and mostly because it is such a nice town;there are a lot of Americans and Canadians here and most seem to be staying for months rather than just a week or two.
There was some violence here a few years ago during a teachers strike; but now it is very safe and very charming and you rarely see a policeman in contrast to Mexico City and Acapulco where there were men with machine guns and sawed off shotguns on every corner and in every shop. We will finish our classes on Friday and then take a tour of the surrounding countryside where we'll see the largest tree in Latin America, the ruins of an Aztec city, weaving, a " petrified waterfall" and a place where they make the very strong tequila Mezcal.
Then on Sunday we visit a market that is the largest in the area and is visited by 10,000 people a day.
After that....who knows.