#3 Oaxaca, Mexico, March 18, 2017

Dear Everybody,

Wednesday afternoon we had a nice rain, which the Oaxaquenos loved, as they are very short of water at the moment. Burt was bringing home our clean clothes from the lavandaria and so got pretty well soaked. Luckily the clothes were in a plastic bag.

It still dripped a bit as we walked to a restaurant for dinner that evening. We went to the Hosteria de Alcala, in a pretty courtyard of an old house. We had the Botana Oaxaquena for Two, which was wonderful. It had: cecina (the pork thin-cut meat), tasajo (the beef thin-cut meat) chiles rellenos, tacos with negro mole, chicharrones, guacamole, queso fresco, string cheese, and a ‘tart’ of bugs. We even had flan for dessert. It was still dripping a tiny bit as we walked home.

Breakfast the next morning was ala Burt—-starting with papaya and yoghurt; then a scrambled egg dish containing eggs, chorizo (Mexican sausage), strips of tortillas, tomatillos, and onion. We had a little Clamato (plain) to drink—-we’ve been using this to make Micheladas in the afternoons, which is clamato and beer, with a little other stuff thrown in—-kind of like an odd Bloody Mary and very refreshing.

One morning we spent some time at the huge Santo Domingo Museum, which is in the old convent of the church. We looked at the things from Tomb 7 in Monte Alban (from about the 8th C) which are gorgeous. A skull covered with turquoise and beautiful gold necklaces showed off the level of art in those ancient cultures.

A highlight was the Jardin Botanico (Botany Garden) out in back of the convent, which was viewable from many corridors. It is totally of cactus—-hundreds of kinds, and beautiful. They planted it first in 1993, but are adding to it all the time. With the mountains in the background, it is stunning.

On one of our trips to our Mercado Sanchez Pascuas, Burt bought Huitlapoche or Corn Smut! This is a fungus that grows on corn ears, and is considered quite a delicacy in Oaxaca. It looks strange——some here call it ‘Raven’s Poop,’ which gives you some idea of it’s ‘beauty.’ That night Burt cooked pork with Green Mole and the Huitlapoche, which he put inside a tortilla, frying it lightly like a quesadilla. It tastes quite mushroomy, and was good, as was the Green Mole and Pork. At the market Burt had also bought the most wonderful huge orange. It was so pretty and orangy smelling that he made candied orange peel for dessert. The next morning we had segments of the orange with yoghurt for breakfast.

For cocktail hour, we have been mostly having our usual gin martinis; however, I mistakenly bought olives with pits and they are very tiny olives. So it goes.

Friday evening we went to the hotel Quinta Real for their buffet and show. They mount a mini-Guelaguetza, which is the summer festival when all the surrounding villages put on their traditional dances. It was considerably different from when I saw it three years ago, and not as good. However, the costumes were brilliant (actually their native clothes) but it did take us out until 10:00, which is late for us! At home we only go to the daytime performances. And of course, eating at 7:00 is late for us, also. Still, it was a nice outing.

As we were walking up to the hotel, in a little park a dozen or so young men and women were dancing in this style——just a ‘pick-up’ game, I think. Yet, it was sort of organized, with some recorded music and the girls
wearing full colorful skirts over their tee- or sweat-shirts. (You need to swish the full skirts to do the dances) This one was almost more fun than the ‘real’ one.

As you know, we rented a house for two weeks and, except for the Mexican plumbing frailties,which we soon became acclimated to, we like it very much. It is on a pedestrian street, although locals can drive their cars through a gate to park them, which makes it nice and quiet and private.

The front door opens into the biggest room which is the dining room, where we ‘live,’ eat and talk.

There is also a small living room with a desk,
which I use to do my pictures and blogs.

The kitchen is fine—-at least Burt’s results are wonderful. I am the dishwasher, which requires heating water as there is no hot water in the kitchen. That’s ok, all the good food is well worth it!

We can hear some dogs bark, which makes Burt happy (a dog lover!) and we can hear the trucks that come around on neighboring streets to deliver gas and water, since they make some loud special noises to let people know they are available. Otherwise it’s very quiet.

There are three bedrooms and three bathrooms. There is a dearth of electrical outlets, as one would expect, and we make use of the third bedroom largely for the accessible electrical outlet to charge my iphone. Burt has brought lots of music on his computer and a speaker system, so we have lots of music of all kinds.

The lady came to clean and change linens on Wednesday. They also got a water delivery (not the drinking kind) which was quite an operation. They filled several big tanks on the property with huge hoses. Laura said that right now Oaxaca hasn’t much water. I’m glad it rained the other day! Laura lives in the next house, and she and I can text on our iphones (we each have translation) so that it’s not too hard to be understood. Yes, I know a little Spanish, but Not Enough!

I’ll get this off to you all—-hope you’re all fine!

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