William’s latest post, to which I’ll add some pictures.
It is hot down here, hot and dry, the city is 1542 meters [5,100 ft.] above sea level. When we first arrived it was the rainy season, May to September, and we were told to expect an afternoon shower every day. It was different this year though. It rained heavily almost every day. Most people said it was unusual to have so much rain. There were hurricanes on both coasts at the same time during this time. Then on Thursday, September 26, the rain stopped. No rain since. Now the heat is setting in.
When I was here in March I got dehydrated very badly. I had chills, diarrhea and much discomfort all through the night. I have noticed that Oaxacaños don’t drink water, at least publicly; they do not sweat; and even though it’s eighty degrees, they have on a second layer and usually wear long pants. I sweat a lot, and now drink water often. The air at this altitude feels so dry, and yet if I take my hat off my head is soaked. I have set up a fantasy time frame of three hours where if I did not drink something, I would have sunstroke.
One weekend we went to the beach.
We opted for the 10-hour overnight first-class bus. Wow, was the beach hot. It was so hot Lisa got sunstroke the first day but recovered overnight, nurse Guillermo at the ready. The next night I got “liquid out the wrong orifice” disease, luckily nurse Lisa was at the ready. We returned to Oaxaca via a different route, a six-hour bus ride that we split into two three-hour rides to stay in the village of San Jose del Pacifico [8,500 ft.]. There is supposed to be a view of the ocean but there were too many clouds. When planning for the beach we thought it might be hot; the bus going down was AC’d to sixty-five degrees, then we arrived in the mountains on the return trip in shorts, no sweaters and no rain gear and guess what — it was raining. We are one brainy crew! I had sh*t out the last of my brain cells, so I just sat down by the side of the road and let Lisa find us a place to stay. I learned something new about diarrhea though — it’s not so much the emptying, but the long week it took too fill back up, and the reading of bodily signals that used to indicate solid, liquid or gas meaning very different things than they used too. My blog will be called “Plug in or Plug out.”
Few here have cars so travel is in, first-class buses, second-class buses, vans (15-passenger), collectivos (Nissan Sentra, 6-passenger), or three-wheel cart thingies that carry three in the back for short distances in some towns. Once you hit the country it is a compact pickup with seats in the bed and a covered roof. The road from the beach to the mountain town barely clings to the side of the cliffs; I imagined if we went off the road we would roll over and over for a long time until we became a little pile of scrap metal way down below.
I think getting sick started me feeling more desirous of the familiar, AKA, “The Residence at Illinois Avenue.” There is a little gourmet restaurant down the street run by a Wisconsin girl who fell for a Oaxaca guy, that makes the most amazing carrot cake; each day that passes I want more and more of the stuff. I have been craving familiar tastes too: pizza. Now I know how it feels to be away from one’s country for a long time.
While I have been flagging, Lisa has been thriving. She has an amazing number of interests. Every day she will point out a random “something” fastened to the wall in an artistic or colorful way, or note how beautiful a hand-painted advertisement is. Her eyes are developing special fabric discernment receptors so she can spot differences between artificial and natural dyes. Her new friends at the English Library are teaching her how to do hallucinogenic mushrooms. Not! She is simply loving Oaxaca. We did good by coming here.
Lodgings were Lo Cosmico in Zipolite, in El Arquitecto in Mazunte, Pueste del Sol in San Jose.