Monday, November 16, 2009

The First 24 Hours

My first act upon returning to my new apartment (see travel experience in previous post), was to unwrap my new mattress from its plastic cover, lay it on the floor, and put on the sheets. After a day flying, bed looked very fetching.

Then I changed clothes and headed down to the zocalo for my "re-entry" immersion session. Yep, it's still there and thronged with people enjoying a balmy Saturday night. On my way over, I fortuitously ran into a "calenda" celebrating some saint's day. Fifteen foot costumed characters led the parade, bobbing in every direction, with fireworks rockets set off every block or so, followed by musicians and a crowd following behind. I took it as a very happy "Welcome Home" sign.

Sunday morning, I reinstated a Oaxacan tradition of mine and headed two blocks south to buy homemade fresh tamales from the tamale lady who sets up shop at her ad hoc sidewalk stand every Saturday morning. At 8:30 a.m., there were already 15 people in line. That's because those of us in the know know she always sells out by 10 a.m.

Then I treated myself to my usually Sunday brunch at my favorite breakfast place, Cafeteria Don Tito's. Since I'm a Sunday regular, my waitress, Maria, gave me a big kiss on seeing me and asked about the trip to the States. That's very Mexican and very nice. Afterwards, I wandered through the displays in the zocalo for the International Book Fair. Dozens of book sellers lined up under the tented walkway.

At 11, I went to the American Anglican Church just west of the zocalo for services and social hour. I ran into several friends there. After that, I walked back to the zocalo for the every-Sunday concert of the Oaxaca State Band under the shady laurel tree. Hundreds of folks, families and kids encircled the performers. I found a seat at one of the shoeshine guys' stands and had a shine while I took in the music. Life is good, and I tipped well.

Next, I came back to the apartment to unpack. Then over to the Sunday vegetable market at Mercado Merced. Since the fridg was empty, I needed to stock up. In front of the market is a seafood restaurant, La Red, and I had lunch there. Which gave me just enough time to go home and change for a 6 p.m. concert at Teatro Macedonio Alcala. It was a multi-media music ensemble from the U.S. called TuxedoMoon. Very big on amplification. Not very big on music. Incomprehensible rear-projection graphic on the screen behind. Somewhat like a bad music video turned up really LOUD.
So I left early, realizing I'm more Music of the Baroque than Music of the Multimedia.

And I wandered down to the zocalo for a snack. Mr. Potato Face is a popular wagon that parks behind the cathedral. They serve pototoes...what a surprise. Freshly cut and freshly fried potato chips. It makes a tasty--but greasy--supper.

And that was my very full first day back. It feels like home.