Winding down in Oaxaca
Trip Start Jan 07, 2008
36Trip End Ongoing
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Today finds me finishing up with school, and venturing into my home classroom for the next week or so to study what I have been ingesting in the classroom lately. I have a bit of sight seeing yet to do before I make my move to the next destination, and I look forward to getting a peak at some of the areas that are just outside the city. I have plans Tuesday to visit El Tule, supposedly the largest tree in the world. Being a sucker for an amazing tree, it should be interesting.
We moved our clocks ahead one hour here today and THAT, always makes me happy. A sure sign that summer is coming and the days will be longer. Yippie ki yay. And spring continues to unfolding in yet more beautiful and shocking colors than you could believe possible
I had the good fortune of getting out to visit two of the local and very large cemeteries on Easter Sunday. As many of you well know, this is a city that celebrates the dead unlike any other, and I was looking forward to an opportunity to view this exceptional cultural aspect of the area. The day did not disappoint.
Because it was a holiday, the cemeteries were open and there were flower vendors out front in full force. And, as always, there were women selling food. Many folks appeared to making a thoughtful visit to their departed loved ones, and brought along some of their favorite foods and drinks as an offering the grave sites. My favorite items viewed during the day were a can of beer and a bunch of apples. A unique combination for sure. For the most part, the scene was pensive, but not morose. Families cleaned, freshened water pots and displayed flowers in the vases attached to the crypts. The variety of sites, and the elaborate nature of them definitely indicated the wealth that the family had when they buried their loved ones. The dichotomy from poor to rich was plainly evident and in some cases, made me feel sad for those who could not participate in this aspect of their culture as they might like to. I can only imagine what All Saints Day is like here in early November, when decorating the graves, and the celebration of life takes on an almost competitive feel
My new landlady, Maria Pilar, is the bomb. She could not be nicer if she tried, and is always kissing me when she sees me for the first time every day. She loves food and we joke frequently about how we are contributing to the expansion of each other´s waists. I prepared some shrimp and pasta the other day and brought some down to her. Never, does she not return the volley. She came up stairs about half an hour later with a jar full of what I consider to be, and this is no lie folks.....the best hot pepper condiment I have even eaten in my life. Yes, you heard me right......the best. Y´all know I love me some hot peppers and might be difficult to believe this, but they truly were unbelievable. THIS is the recipe I take with me from Oaxaca that I can easily reproduce anywhere in the world. It is a blend of sliced hot peppers of every shape, color and size combined with whole garlic cloves, sliced onions, sprigs of thyme, fruit vinegar and whole sticks of cinnamon. That´s right folks, cinnamon. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Just writing about it makes my mouth water. All I need is a big fat grilled rib eye steak and a baked potato to compliment this creation, and the good Lawd could come and take me when I was done.....
I am leaving here in 3 weeks and heading back to Puerto Escondido to finally take those surfing lessons I´ve been talking about for so long. I have been inland for a bit longer than I would like to admit, and am desperate for some long quiet walks on the beach interspersed with copious amounts of time pretending to be a fish. I have no definite plan as to where I will venture after Pto. Escondido, but it is likely my first stop will be Antiqua, Guatemala for a few days, then off to coastal Honduras and Nicaragua. Time to start doing some serious research of coastal areas in Central America. Onward HO!