Oaxaca is really wonderful——the weather is perfect, the food is outstanding, and there are lots of artisania shops with lots of interesting things to buy. We’re both trying hard not to buy things since neither of us has room for much more! However, Burt bought a hand made bag in the exact colors of his bathroom in which to put extra towels. It was for sale at a restaurant where we had breakfast a couple of times.
Still this is Mexico and not everything works so well. The second day we managed to plug up a toilet and the oven in the stove wouldn’t light so we had to call for help from our landlady, Laura. We also have a refrig that works fine, but it’s hard to open and when you jerk it to get it open, it moves, so eventually one has to pause and push it back in place. Then the drinking water has to be purchased in big bottles. We use a pump-thing to make the water come out. It’s amazing how much we use—-for drinking and cooking.
On the way home in a taxi the other day, Burt forgot his visor cap, so when we went to Walmart’s to buy some needed housewares, we also bought him a Bogart hat to keep the sun off his head. We think it looks pretty sporty. Speaking of taxis, they are so available and quite cheap so this works out much better than renting a car.
Burt has been reading up on the seven moles of Oaxaca and attempting to learn the different chilies. In our little market that is only a few blocks from our house we saw a whole area devoted to mole ingredients.
We were also able to buy three herbs that Burt wants to get to know, as well as some squash blossoms for the chicken soup that he is making. Here you have avocado leaves, Hierba Santa, the squash blossoms, and epazote.
It’s fun to walk around the neighborhood and see what’s available. We found a laundromat a block away and made good use of that. Luckily they do all the work! Near it is a chocolate shop—-Oaxaca is very big on grinding their own cacao beans and making world class chocolate. We stopped in after delivering our dirty laundry, rewarding ourselves with a morning hot chocolate.
On Monday we had our dinner at the Casa Oaxaca. We had looked in on this restaurant earlier and Burt had photoed the menu with his iPad. We had studied it carefully and chosen our dinner. I explained to the waiter that we wanted to order three plates, but we wanted to share each of them. No problem—-what I really like about Mexico. Wherever and whenever you are eating in a Mexican restaurant, you can have whatever you want, whenever you want it, and however you want it.
We started with Margaritas—-Burt had his with mescal and I had mine with tequila. His was the more interesting, and later we ordered another to share. It was quite intense——Burt says “an iodine taste like Islay Scotch.”
What a wonderful meal, a beautiful setting upstairs outside, overlooking the Church of Santo Domingo and a friendly, competent waiter. Our walk home, about six blocks, gave us a chance to digest our over-the-top dinner!
Tuesday morning we took a taxi to the HUGE Mercado Central Abastos. We walked around in it for two hours and I don’t think we covered more than a fourth of it. A young girl was butchering a beef hind——and another lady was making beef tasajo. This is when they slice beef VERY fine and when they get almost to the end, they turn it around and slice back again; they keep doing that so they wind up with one loooong piece of very thin beef, kind of like an accordion. They salt it as they go.
Of course they have all the usual produce, chickens and veggies, but we prefer to buy those at our neighborhood market. We did see a big display of all the grasshoppers, ants, and bugs, but didn’t buy any, although we bought some sal gusano and sal chapulines (salt with ground bugs)—-to put on our fruit in the mornings.
Today we had breakfast out, and what a breakfast. We started with capucinni, and then we both had Huateque, which was a dish of two fried tortillas, two eggs, ham, black beans, string cheese, and tomato sauce with some very good chili sauce (picante) to put on it. That required a walk so we walked to a supermarket, but on the way came to a nice store that had the things we wanted to buy, so we popped in there and then took a taxi home.
More adventures to come!