A rather wet day!!

Heather came and collected us at 8:30am and we took a bus to the
Colonios, the bus which had been blockading our streets had been moved
in the early morning so the traffic was busier in the street and we
were able to take just one bus the whole way. Rosia and Jesus met us at
the office and we walked down to the family home. Maria had made
breakfast for us. First she served us large bowls of
delicious frothy hot chocolate with sweet bread, which they break
and dunk into the chocolate before eating. It was very yummy and we
glady accepted a second bowl full!! Then she gave us a different
type of tortilla, smaller with thicker folded edges and she had put a
smooth bean mix on them with melted cheese. The cheese here is very
white and stretchy, sorta like mozzerella but milder. She had a bowl of
guacamole and one of a very very hot chilli salsa. She had left that
for us to put on as she knew I couldn´t cope with too much hot stuff.
They are also very tasty and filling. Just as we had finished Jesus´
father Carlos came home to meet us. He was a delightful man, a builder
– from what I could make out he does everything from building,
electricity, plumbing etc. At the moment the strikes are affecting him
and he has not got much work so is just doing odd projects here and
there. He was very interested in us, our family and New Zealand.

We also found out more about the water supply system. There are
trucks travelling the streets constantly tanks full of water which they
get from some resevoir. The go to the houses and fill peoples tanks.
For some reason they don´t use the rain water. In the suburbs houses
like Jesus´ family have don´t get the water delivered as often as ones
closer to the city centre. They don´t have any running water. The
toilets are flushed by tipping buckets of water in. Often there is no
toilet paper, we have learnt to take our own with us, and you never
flush it down the toilet, the plumbing can´t cope with it. There are no
showers or baths. The wash in the concrete room by the toilet by taking
a bucket of water and using a small bowl they tip water over
themselves. If they have time they may heat the water first but not
usually.

I commented to Heather that the houses often look unfinished, there
is re-enforcing steel poking out the tops of most houses, as if they
are still building. She said that is often the case. They work on
Mexican time and build what they can afford with the money they have at
the time. So if they run out of bricks it just stays like that until
they can afford some more. Nathan has been fascinated by the broken
glass that they also add to the tops of their buildings to prevent
uninvited guests!! He thinks it would be a good thing to add to his
huts at home. As you walk down the streets you often see dogs roaming
or sleeping and there are always dogs running around up on the roof
areas.

Carlos and Maria have lived in their house for 18 years now and it
still appears to be unfinished.  Maria has planted many trees and
flowers. When you arrive at the end of the street there is are fences,
often made with tin. Their gates are wooden and open into a dirt
floored area. the yard and house flow into each other. Maria cooks down
the back of the yard. There is a large concrete tub of water beside a
fire with a large clay plate for cooking the tortilla. All cooking and
washing is done here, the clothes are hung randomly around the garden
to dry. The house is made from grey concrete blocks. The only parts of
the house which have permanent roof are the bedrooms and dining area.
It is very flexible as to where you sit to eat, depends on the weather
and time of day. For our first meal we were seated in the kitchen, but
today the table had been moved out into the yard nearer to the cooking
area. It is all delightfully relaxed and time free. I did ask Maria
what time she gets up int he morning to get everything done and she
said normally at 5am! It is certainly different with no automation in
the house. Mind you I think because we have all the time and labour
saving devices we cram far more stress into our lives. Maybe we are not
the ones who are better off ,-)

While we were all talking Nathan disappeared. We eventually realised
he was outside playing a ball game on the street with the boys. They
were having a great time. He described it as a cross between baseball
and soccer!! It was quite hilarious watching them, everytime a ball was
kicked toohard it would land over the fence in a school ground, so they
would go get another ball. When they finally ran out of balls we
decided we should get moving as we were running out of time to go to
the petrified waterfalls. We caught a bus to the outskirts of the city
and then another bus to Mitla, that took about an hour. The landscape
was changing so much along the way. The buildings change as you leave
the city centre, they seem to have a real distinctive look about them
in the different areas. Outside the city there is less graffitti and
rubbish. It is also funny because you see the small traditional shops
tucked away and then a large more modern glass fronted ones scattered
amongst them. Once we got to Mitla we bought some extra water as it was
quite hot and then found a driver who would take us to Hierve el Agua
in his double cab ute. He had a canopy/cabin thing on the back for
extra passengers. The 6 of us managed to squeeze into the front seats.
I had to sit forward to fit in so was perched on the edge of the seat
the whole way up the mountain. We drove up the zig-zag dirt road for
about an hour. The views were amazing, there were crops being grown
high up on the slopes and small ´houses´here and there. The road as it
is now has only been made for 2 years. It was very much like our road
at home. The people that live up there bring their produce down to the
weekly markets to sell. We saw several people with horses and donkeys,
many dogs and also large bullock type cattle which I presume they use
to plow.

When we got over the otherside of the mountain we drove into a small
settlement called San Ysidro and the driver stopped to show us where
and how mexcal is made. It is what they call here Oro del Oaxaca –
Oaxacan Gold.Ít is made from corn. First they put it in a very large
fire pit in the ground and cook it. Then it is soaked in big barrels
for 14 days. They basically ferment and then distill it, We tasted it
and it reminded me of whiskey. It is VERY potent! Jesika told me that
when we were travlling in the first bus in the city she was sitting
near the window and saw a sight that she had never seen before in all
her travels – a man was lying stretched out in the middle of the
pavement, totally out of it, and stark naked, people were just walking
around him. Obviously under the influence of mexcal!!

We then went a little further to the petried waterfalls. It was very
hot there and the driver was quite anxious for us to get moving as he
could see rain coming. So he took us downt he track to the top of one
and then down to the bottom of it. By this time the rain had begun. It
seemed to be fairly light so we weren´t too worried and then down it
came, the heavens opened, the thunder crashed, the lightening was
flashing about the hills around us. By the time we walked back up the
steps we were absolutely drenched to the skin.

It was actually really funny and we couldn´t do anything but laugh
because we were all so wet. The guys stripped off their tops and rung
them out but we just stood and shivered. Nathan thought it was really
funny to get even wetter!

When the rain eased a bit we dashed back to the truck and headed
homewards. Jesika, Jesus and Nathan sat in the back cabin and froze.
They did have lots of fun talking and laughing. Heather, Rosia and
myself sat in the front cabs and soaked the seat covers. As the driver
was also wet he wasn´t worried. We crept slowly back up the mountain
and down the other side. I reckon he didn´t go much over 20kph the
whole way. By the time we got to Mitla we were all so cold that I
decided we need some hot Oaxacan chocolate to warm us up so the driver
dropped us off at a market and we found a lovely lady to make us some.
She served it with sweet bread which was devoured as we were all so
cold and hungry. While we were at the market we bought some veges and a
papaya for dinner.

We then had to phone Rosario to get permission to take Jesus
shopping tomorrow. The public phone system here is really funny. You go
to a booth were there is a man sitting with a phone. You give him the
money and the number and he calls it, when it is answered he tells you
which phone booth to go to and he directs the call to that phone so you
can talk in private. By the time a bus came by and we got into the city
it was dark and nearly 9pm. We sent Rosia and Jesus off to find their
bus home and we caught one to the hostel. So once again we had a very
full and adventurous day. It was full of laughter and learning. Nathan
is really enjoying learning new Spanish words, although his
pronounciation often leaves a lot to be desired. It does cause much
laughter all round and once again we have found folk that want to keep
him. Maria wants him to stay with her – she reckons we have enough
children and wouldn´t miss one!!! His favourite words are Adios Amigo.
Mine are mas rapido – because they all walk so slowly and we never seem
to get anywhere fast.

Hasta manana!

One thought on “A rather wet day!!

  1. I cant believe how much Nathan has grown from these pictures. I can remember those days back in Fiji where we had no hot water and had to boil water and dish it out over us to bath if it got cold.

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