We are sitting up in the room that is the third floor of our little house in the Colonia Estrella neighborhood of Oaxaca, Mexico, with windows at floor, wall and ceiling, an atrium of sorts. We look down over the city, and we can hear 100 dogs barking, doves cooing, and just a moment ago, the propane delivery truck announced its presence on our street with a loud, recorded announcement and a horn that sounded like a cow bawling. Oaxacans, people and animals alike, are loud.
And happy. So much joy here, and a simple irony about things: we passed a funeral shop yesterday, with caskets neatly arranged for viewing in the doorway, with cardboard Christmas stockings hanging above on the lintel. Wouldn’t want to go to the other world with cold feet and no Christmas spirit, now, would you?
So far, the food is plentiful, delicious and very cheap. Restaurants serve a meal here called comida corrida, which is a multi-course meal, whatever the house prepares that day. You can usually choose the main course, but the rest just arrives: a pitcher of pomegranate refresco, a squash soup, very simple, pureed with celery, then a plate of warm corn tortillas wrapped in a woven napkin, with a bowl of warm brothy black beans, and a very spicy green salsa. Next came our main courses (I was full already, by the way): Stu had pollo stuffado, a slow-cooked chicken thigh in chili sauce, with rice; I had potatoes and mushrooms with chilies and cheese, with rice and a small lettuce salad with tomatoes and avocado. And finally, yes, dessert, an apple and raisin strudel. Which I, in my very poor Spanish, asked for: “me postre, llevar?” (to go) and which Stu enjoyed for breakfast today. The cost? 120 pesos, or $7.20. That was for BOTH of us. As in, $3.60 apiece.
We walked all over yesterday, which is a bit of an exaggeration, really just getting our feet wet, and a bit sore. Sleeping like babies at night.