A roller coaster ride. Yesterday no water ─ an empty tinaco (the tank that sits on the roof) ─ how was I to know? A good intercambio with my friend Soledad ─ she practices English and I practice Spanish. She’s having a bad time keeping her restaurant El Topil open ─ FCCB women may remember our meal there. The Triques have set up a makeshift vending area in front of her door and no one sees that this sweet 25-year old restaurant on La Plazuela de la Bastida is there. A budding “fusion” culinary trend has taken hold here, too ─ I can get a fabulous organic goat cheese salad, but it’s hard for a traditional cook like Soledad to keep up. Later, after waiting until dark in the Zocalo for a friend who never showed up, I came home sad and lonely, not realizing that last night was the most important calenda (parade) leading up to Christmas in the state of Oaxaca. Indigenous groups from many regions come to the city to parade through the Zocalo to the Basilica Soledad, where dancers perform the Danza de la Pluma on the church steps. I missed it, listened to the fireworks in bed.
This morning I am up early, taking my laundry around the corner to the little lavenderia across from Sanchez Pasquas market. Reyna Leonor Vargas Hernandez takes my dirty clothes with a smile, promises them for tomorrow morning. Next to her shop the tortilla man presses soft, fragrant tortillas made of maiz; most people buy them by the score; when I ask for two, he gives them to me waving away my money and wishing me a good day. Warm, mouth-watering tortillas for breakfast, the promise of clean laundry, clear, bright morning air. Gifts to start my day.