OAXACA

OR THE DRAMA AND LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE UNPRONOUNCEABLE.

Waking the next day to bright sunshine and sheer happiness I hobbled out to the terrace. A quick look back to room and unpack then she’s off!! No hanging around just a quick check on my devices for maps and museums etc The lovely girl from the desk the night before fretting about my foot (I found out later she never stops working) Her and the maids clucking and worrying about me as I backed out the door defiant to the last. Outside bright, hot, so beautiful and well er, Mexican.

Very Mexican feel at this gem of a hotel

The Indoor Market.

The great indoor market opposite that I limped over to first was very stereotypical with it’s tortillas for breakfast stalls, and heaped up avocados as big as a navvies fist. Large sections of very dead stuff played their part in the day of the dead celebrations, and fresh juice stalls that were serving pints of various fruit juices mixed up to your order. A large corner of the massive hall with any flowers you can imagine encompassed you with their scent, and selections of every chili ever invented lay in baskets silently pulsating, their heat waiting to be released into an unsuspecting mouth. Maize cobs of all colours and sizes, breads and cakes. Toys for children and grown ups. Pottery, clothes and woven baskets. Jewellery and bright unidentifiable baubles. Carved yams, woven bags textiles of bright colours it went on and on, drowning you with its brightness and opulence.

I left as a stallholder tapped me on the shoulder with a fish, much hilarity was had by all as said fish and I gazed at one another me being the first to scream. Ha ha ha, yes I haven’t got a handle on the Oaxacan humour yet but I obligingly kissed the fish on the lips and exited.

The Central Square and Cathedral.

Beautiful small houses brightly painted surround the large main square crammed full of restaurants. I hadn’t eaten in the market after fronting up to a dead fish so was very peckish but I wanted to stagger on a bit.

Shadowy walkways away from the burning sun and great restaurants

Oaxaca is a lovely place. The vibe is positive and as long as you stay in the centre which is heavily policed you’re fine. In the course of the next couple of days I occasionally had to go into streets that most definitely ain’t for a girl going it alone. It’s a fact in Mexico that it can dramatically deteriorate safety wise at the turn of a corner or on a new parallel road to one that was bright and breezy .you have to be on your guard nearer the periphery of the centre but even here pickpockets and con men thrive.

I was happy to see all the day of the decorations still up as I had travelled through most of the highlights the night before however much like at home when Halloween is over Xmas rears its ugly head. As in Merida Xmas decorations where starting to creep from their impatient hiding places and Santa was breathing down my neck. I just didn’t have time to dawdle foot or no foot I needed to plan this section of the trip.

So over lunch and into the night my scribbling into my notebook began. I realised that I needed to hit Hierve El Agua the following day early so I could squeeze in Mitla too. The next day I would go to museums and galleries then the day after to the beach at Puerto Escondido. So after lunch I should sweat it out and go check bus for following day AND for the onward journey in three days. This would give me some peace of mind as now I had THE FOOT I would have to get very tight on my travel plans as everything was taking that bit more time.

The walk back to my hotel after lunch was hot, sweaty, emotionally draining and frankly a bit too busy and pushy and shovey for my liking so back at the ranch, after a terribly misguided purchase of what looked like in retrospect a Mexican waiters shirt (never shop in pain and haste I didn’t even need a fucking shirt), I swooned a little and had a fake siesta before checking out the buses and where they went from.

The ensuing hobble to not one but two very dangerous bus offices in the searing afternoon sun was not my finest hour as a canny old travelling bird.

With an injury you are a walking target, get used to it you are putting yourself out there. You are saying the below:

“Look at me? I am a bit on the wrong side of 40 (what?!), I don’t know your town and have strayed into a famous rape and murder zone unknowingly. I also am a woman alone and slightly lost but don’t dare to get out my phone to look on the map on it as I know you will steal it from me. I am blonde and wearing a flowery skirt and have pain and regret stamped on my face for this terrible folly of an outing. I am stupid and deserve whatever you deem necessary to show me the error of my ways. I am asking for it!”

Top tip: Now read all that in the yellow box and imprint it on your brain as to what not to do. Realise that you must always suss out the joint first and not be a fool. I only did this because I wasn’t thinking clearly as I was always in pain or out of it on painkillers!

I made it home without tickets and a healthy amount of respect for my surroundings. I would go to the bus station in the morning with a couple of German tourists and do everything from there not be Mrs Fancypants and Duchess Knowitall again in this lovely but deceptive town.

Drama over I lolled on the terrace and drank wine while nursing the foot with my frozen water bottle. Tomorrow was going to be a big day.

OVER AND OUT FROM A FOOLISH OLD BIRD.

My daily recuperation with ice bottle on the foot happened here along with guzzling wine in the evenings

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