SOME SCENES FROM OAXACA:
Our local music academy where whenever we walked by, students were learning stringed instruments.
Our local tortillaria, where we got fresh, warm tortillas just before many of our meals.
The local barbershop, where the barber had two motorcycles.
Saturday afternoon at 4:00 we went to a mescal place where we had inquired earlier if they had tastings. It was closed. Thinking it would open at 5:00, we went across the street to our Santo Domingo Church, as there were many beautifully long-gowned women and men in suits heading that way. It turned out to be a wedding, with the bride and her father lining up outside of the church. As she walked to the church door, there seemed to be a problem. It turned out that the strap on her shoe had broken (high wedge with strap to hold it on) and repair was needed. The wedding planner came to her rescue (I don’t know what the solution was) and they proceeded to the door of the church. Burt and I ducked in the back pew. The two priests came to greet the wedding party, and they all marched down the long aisle.
The guests kept arriving late to the ceremony—-up to 40 minutes late! A full choir sang an anthem from the balcony. It was wonderful to see the beautiful church all lit up—-I never have seen that before, even during Mass.
Burt and I slipped out and went back to the mescal tasting place at 5:00——still not open.
On the way home we encountered the Zandunka restaurant that seemed to feature mescal. We inquired and learned that yes, we could have a tasting.
We had two flights of three mescals each, and wrote down the names of the ones we liked so we can buy some bottles to bring home. The mescal industry is such a cottage industry with dozens of different methods and additives (like chicken breast!) to make different flavors, that trying to buy a particular one in the USA would be impossible.
Having had tiny tastes of six mescals, we proceeded home for Burt to finish cooking our dinner, which was a two-kg Red Snapper, or Huanchinango. It had been fun to buy it that morning in the market. It appeared to be fresh caught (according to Burt) and he asked the boy to scale and clean it. He marinated in a bunch of stuff, then roasted it in the oven.
The day came to make our investment in four bottles of mescal to bring home. Having taken notes from our tasting, we found a shop—-actually it was a puzzle to find: the address was 528B Reforma. When we got on the 500 block of Reforma, the house numbers started at 526 on the corner; proceeding down the street, they went to 524, 522, etc, down to 514. Thinking we didn’t have the right address, we continued walking and the next number was 528, and there was the shop! That’s Mexico!
The shopkeeper was cordial and very helpful. We bought mescal from four varieties of Agave cactus; there are many,
many, apparently. Then they had tiny tasting cups which Burt and I both bought. Mescal is supposed to be sipped (they say kissed) very sparingly—-in fact, the waiter at our tasting said one is supposed to take a sip and ‘blow out’ immediately. I had trouble making this work—-so it goes.
That evening we attended a concert by the Oaxaca Symphony at the Macedonia Alcala Theatre. That theatre is spectacular—-to think that it was built in Oaxaca in 1903! How many people could there have been there then?
The orchestra strings played Elgar and Grieg (21 players with four women, including the concertmaster); then the full orchestra played Beethoven and Mozart (34 players). It wasn’t up to the level of the SPCO but enjoyable, especially in that thrilling theatre.
We’re home now, and all is well! Thanks for reading all this——we had a wonderful time!