Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Day of Reaching Out


I visited Amate Books.
This morning, I decided that I needed to "reach out" and connect with the community. I didn't have to go very far. I discovered that Patricia, the lady to whom I pay my rent, studied French 30 years ago and worked as a guide for French-speaking tourists for 20 years.

I wandered down to the Oaxaca Lending Library to see if the volunteer coordinator was available because we are playing e-mail tag. I had a coffee, joined the library, signed up for a historical walking tour  and met Gail, who volunteers at the front desk. When I gave her my Canadian e-mail address, I found that she was from Victoria. I may meet a bird-watching group tomorrow and I picked up some information about a Creative Writing group.  There is a vibrant ex-pat community here and I will try a few different activities  during my stay. Although the volunteer coordinator was not there, my visit was fruitful.



my healthy lunch

Yesterday was a "finding my way day" devoted to the acquisition of household items and some food staples. Most people in Oaxaca do not eat the rich meals that are served in restaurants. Typically, meals in "tourist" restaurants are comprised of meat or poultry, tortillas, beans, rice, mole sauce and cheese or cream. Madame has tried all the moles and is hoping to return home without extra pounds, so must be careful. Today, I splurged and had a meal of steamed fish at a favourite restaurant. Although I am practising my Spanish, the young waiter spoke excellent English.

Although Oaxaca is a poor state, there are many well-educated people. Those employed in the hospitality industry speak at least two languages, while many speak 3 or 4. It is the indigenous
people from the pueblos who lack access to education.  For four years, my sister and I helped sponsor
student teacher from  one of the mountain villages. She completed her course work and earned an opportunity to visit a university in Spain. I hope to hear about her placement when I visit the Oaxaca Learning Center.
Local people can buy food for 5 pesos in the zócalo.
There are tents and placards in the zócalo every day. I don't want to stop and take photos but these signs over the food are urging the release of a socialist leader from prison. Today, there was a gathering of jubilados y pensionados, retired and pensioners. Apparently, I heard this while having coffee in the library, a pueblo that has not had water for three months was blockading a road somewhere today. It certainly is a different world!
You can learn from street signs just like in Paris!
I loved to read all the street signs in Paris and I can do the same thing here as long as I don't get run over. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day but a celebration of the Mexican victory over the French (yes, really) at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.  One of the odd things about me, there are a few, is that since I was a toddler, I have been fascinated by dates and history. There is certainly no shortage of history in Mexico.


8 comments:

  1. I love your intrepid spirit - thanks for bringing the heart and soul of this country to your blog.

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    1. I love it here! There is a very interesting mixture of European and indigenous cultures. Some of the comforts of home are missing but my days are full of adventure.

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  2. The pictures with wonderful warm colors and your stories are helping me get through the cold and snow here in Colorado. Thank you.

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    1. It is so bright and warm here! Today, I met people from New York state and Wisconsin who have fled the cold. This is snowbird paradise!

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  3. It sounds like a vibrant community and i love that you met up with someone from Victoria!
    Your adventures are just beginning...will be fabulous to follow along on your blog.

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    1. The Victoria lady might be your neighbour. She lives in Fairfield and rents year round in Oaxaca to keep her place. She comes for 5 months. Rents are very low here compared to home or Europe.
      Every day is different here!

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  4. One minor correction to your post... The Battle of Puebla was fought in 1862 when Napoleon III invaded Mexico.

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  5. Thank you. I don't know how I did that..

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