Ballerinas / Soledad square

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Oaxaca Today

Noise: Cars, trucks, buses, motos, gas man (“Gas de Oaxaca!”), water man (“Agua!”), church bells signaling misas at all hours, firecrackers ─ for weddings, funerals, fiestas, kids’ pranks, anything; people talking loudly.

You can’t buy things online and have them delivered here. Amazon, for example. But there’s a great library started by expats and I’m now on my 3rd John Burdett mystery/thriller starring the Bangkok Buddhist cop, thanks to the Oaxaca Lending Library. You just can’t get lots of things here ─ like good beauty products and sheets.

On Saturdays the Lending Library has Intercambios which match you up with a native speaker who wants to learn English. For one hour we speak English and the next hour Spanish. My match was Gabriela, a charming 21-year-old from one of the pueblas, studying English, German, and Mandarin here. Her father and one of her brothers (there are 5 kids) ─ who were farmers and whom she hasn’t seen in 6 years ─ are working in Philadelphia as a chef and a waiter. Her first question to me in English was “What are your dreams?”

Do you mean what do I dream when I am sleeping, or what are my dreams for the future?” I asked.

“For the future,” she smiled broadly. This is one sweet and soulful young woman. When she grows up, she wants to live in Chiapas, travel, study languages, and be a translator.

Last Friday was Dia de Taxis ─ Taxi Day. The drivers decorated their taxis with flowers, ribbons, pinwheels. First they went to mass together to bless the taxis. Then breakfast, then they drove around all day in full regalia. Taxi Day is one of the things I love about Oaxaca.

Art, too. I’ve been coveting prints by Fernando Oliveira for years, and just bought a black and white lithograph ─ half price direct from the artist! What a thrill to see the maestro at work in his studio! This one is called “Dolor y Resistencia” ─ Pain and Resistance. It pictures the women of Juchitan, a region on the isthmus of Oaxaca, who are protesting that their men are desaparecidos (disappeared). The rooster, carried by one woman, is a symbol of new life.


angela said...

How special to have the artist and the artwork together. I like his work!

Lynda said...

Joanne, Lois just gave me your blog address. So nice to see your face...and photos of Oaxaca