Sunday, November 24, 2013

All Things Fall in Place

Huichol depiction of Life after Death
I hate departures, leaving people you care a lot for and at times wondering why you are leaving. I have done it enough times, however,  to believe that "vale la pena", that sometimes what you are feeling is growing pains, that what will come out of your experience will be worth it all. There is something very strong in Mexico that calls me. I like to think that in a past life I sculpted giant Olmec heads from massive stones in Tabasco, or rode the wind with Emiliano Zapata to save "La Patria". It feels like home .

Free Beer Tomorrow!
I arrived in DF at 5:37 am on Friday, November 15th. My friends, Sergio and Emma, had offered to let me stay in their apartment in San Angel for a few days to explore Mexico City, something that I have never really done. But between the red-eye flight with very little sleep and a chilly late November morning, "Kaboom", I fell prey to an authentic Mexican "catarro" (head cold) that put me out of commission before I began. But I pushed my better judgement aside and decided to explore anyway. It is hard not to succumb to the seductive calls of fresh fruit and jugo stands, Saturday craft markets in the plaza, and sidewalk cafes where a few ice cold Negra Modelos seemed to be the best medicine I could possibly find. 
I met my friend, Angeles, for lunch and, besides the ice cold Negra Modelos, I indulged in a lunch buffet of an "all you can eat" seafood spread that only the Mexicans can prepare. Chile rellenos stuffed with fresh tuna, shrimp sauteed in garlic, squid empanadas,Caramba! I hardly knew I was sick.
Jazz Players near the Zocolo
Sergio arrived from his home in Puebla the next morning to show me around. He took me to visit El Templo Mayor, an incredible museum built on the site of the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. Most of what was in the museum came from directly under the site, which is a block from the zocolo in the heart of DF! We surfed the pedestrian walkways from La Alameda to the Zocalo, caught in a wave of humanity out for a Saturday walk. There was movement and entertainment everywhere. I had hoped that the scorching midday sun,  massive quantities of chile de arból hot sauce, and ice cold Negra Modelos that I had consumed would knock my "catarro" right out of me, but no such luck. I went back to Puebla to Sergio and Emma's house with a very red nose and pockets bulging with saturated Kleenex.

Glass blower making Christmas ornaments
 The next day I boarded an ADO bus bound for Oaxaca. The bus had comfortable reclining seats with lots of leg room, drop down television screens that were showing episodes of Starsky and Hutch, and two bathrooms, one for men and one for women, a very desirable thing to have. If you have ever tried to pee in a moving bus on curvy, bumpy roads, you will know what I mean.

 I close this entry from my new apartment on Calle Pino Suarez in el Centro Historico de Oaxaca. The sky is cloudless, and the silence of Sunday morning fills the air. Time for a walk to the Zocolo for a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice or a fruit salad of papaya, piña, grapefruit, and mandarina to start the day. 

Perhaps I am just lucky, or perhaps it is my ancient ancestors here that are glad that I am back, but whenever I arrive in Mexico, I am amazed at how effortlessly all things fall in place.


Alice said...

Beautiful telling of how we all move trough time. All experiences prepare us for death. Thank you for the writing, photos, and be well friend in your homeland.

Lisa Ede said...

Very moving, Dick, and also wonderfully descriptive. I hope that catarro is now a thing of the past.

Anonymous said...

As always, your site includes such a rich blend of colors, tastes, images, personalities and places. You need to be careful because you are enticing visitors hungry for a break from their own somewhat gray wintery worlds (including me). While I cannot picture you as an Olmec stonecarver (more like the shamen directing the work) nor as one of Zapata’s rough riders (more likely his personal French cook or bread baker), I can picture you living many lives in Mexico, past and present. Your blogs are so beautiful to read and behold I continue to wish they had a more permanent substrate; something more substantial than a computer screen, something we could carry around with us, show to people, savor and save, printed on a thick home-made paper with coffee, chocolate and cinnamon stains.