Thursday, November 27, 2008

Oaxaca

Sorry I haven't updated in a while, but I've been too busy having the time of my life. Last Thursday night I went to the Ska-P concert which was beyond amazing. They only have about 9 fans in the US, so you haven't heard of them, but they're a brilliant ska-punk outfit from Madrid. These guys are huge down here; I've never been to such a massive, energetic ska show. It was worth hanging out for 4 days in Mexico City to wait for it.

Then, after a quick 6 hour jaunt by bus last Friday, I arrived to the much smaller and more pleasant town of Oaxaca. This town has managed to suck me in and keep me here for a week. It's up in the mountains, the weather's great, and I've been spending the days volunteering with a charity that runs a small kindergarten for some of the poor children, gives them a meal, and helps them get into primary schools around the city. So far I've spent two days in the kitchen, washing dishes and performing other menial kitchen tasks that even I am capable of. Yesterday they started me translating the children's letters to their sponsors. Here's the best of the best of what I got to translate:

"It's very very cold out. I almost freeze in the morning when I go to school. I even drink hot coffee and I'm still cold. Maybe I should start eating pure chiles and the spice will make me forget about the cold."

"I'm doing well in all of my classes, except for Spanish, physics, P.E., math, history, and English."

Also, since I've been here, I've been trying out various local dive bars and have found a clear winner. I'd tried out a couple that weren't terribly exciting, but then one night a couple of the more intrepid travelers staying at the hostel went out and found another one to try. We walked through the old-fashioned, saloon style swinging doors and everybody looked at us kind of funny. Looking back, that was the first sign that we'd struck gold. The patrons were actually quite friendly, one proudly telling us in English "Welcome to Oaxaca" and we chatted for a couple minutes. We ordered a round of beers, and partway through the bartender came over and showed us a bottle of mescal (liquor kind of like tequila) with dead scorpions floating in it. He buys the mescal himself and throws the scorpions in live. He claimed it was an aphrodisiac, which he emphatically illustrated by holding his index finger limp in front of him and then quickly pointing it up. It's a hell of a drink, but an aphrodisiac it is not.

5 comments:

Rock Dr. said...

That must be some kindergarten if the students are taking physics, math, history, and English!

Who runs this amazing place?

Jake said...

I like the translations. those were good.

hotlips said...

that is awesome you are volunteering while there. how did you find the place to volunteer? I have heard of that liquor, you can buy some at scorpionmezcal.com

hotlips said...

"If your partner cheats on you, drink mezcal; if you suspect as much, drink mezcal. If you are unfaithful, drink mezcal; if you are monogamous, drink mezcal. If you have doubts, drink mezcal; if you are certain, drink mezcal. At any moment, and under any circumstances, drink mezcal."

- from "Reflections of a Mezcolatrist" by Ulises Torrentera.

Adam said...

I read one line as "We walked through the old-fashioned, saloon style swinging doors and everybody looked kind of funny. Looking back, that was the first sign that we'd struck gold."