Settling into my Apartment in Oaxaca

  Oaxaca…one of 31 states in Mexico…I am in Oaxaca, Oaxaca….the capital city of the state….one of three of four of the largest states in Mexico…bordered by the state of Veracruz, Pueblo, Chiapas, and the Pacific ocean, a 4-6 hours drive from here.   The city population is around 250,000 with another 250,000 in the country.  It is an international destination for foodies, history buffs, archaeologists, folk art fans,  photographers, weavers, and just plain tourists trying to add another World Heritage Site on to their list.
Beautiful Historic Oaxaca
           I am doing well but have been spending my time getting things of comfort for my apartment…a clock, extension cord, trash bags, new pillows, etc….my refrigerator broke down so landlord sent another almost new one.  

    Living in the country is quieter with fresh air and a fair view.  It is very private place.   Sunbathing is permitted at my place.  
       When I had finished moving in, I contacted Darcy, a Couchsurfer that I met before.  I visited his house in the country on the last visit.  This time we went back to his rental again but it was really clean and organized?  He had a Couchsurfer from Montreal who ended up renting a room for three months until she found another while teaching English.  She had taught in Thailand too. She liked to clean and organize.  I returned to the other side of Oaxaca and my Casa.
       Travel to and from my Casa to Oaxaca has proven to be easy.  There is a MotoTaxi service that takes you to the bus stop for 5 pesos and then the bus into the city for 6 peso…about 50 cents.   A taxi would be about 80 pesos or that have Collectivo taxis that you share and can be 1-8 pesos depending on how many fares  they have. This can be inconvenient when you have to shop for a lot.    I bought shelving for the bath, a large dispenser for 5 gal water as well as large trash bags, and some more “stuff” .  The bag lady didn’t have a large bag so I thought I’d put the small stuff in their bag and just carry the dispenser and a the box with all the metal shelving.  Upon arrival at the bus stop the box broke and all the poles , bolts and connecting shelves went on the ground.  I took one of my large trash bags out of the box and threw all of it in the bag.  The bus was jammed and I’ve carrying a bag with all the shelving box and miscellaneous crap along with this large dispenser while trying to hold on while the bus lurched forward.  It was standing room only and I was doing my utmost to remain standing when an old timer offered me the inside seat by the window.  I struggled with no leg room and sat there with this tower of baggage a foot over my head with everything in my lap.  The old timer took my bag with the box to help.  I was very thankful.  The traffic was slow and the bus was now jammed so every stop they people had to cram closer and closer all the way to the back.  It was hotter than hell.  Then the old man ,he was probably my age, left when we got to the McDonald’s  (yes, they are everywhere providing clean restrooms, wi-fi, air conditioning and food if you like) stop and I tried to put the dispenser on the floor under my seat but no go. I was back to being buried in my own mess and now with a woman next to me.  Then my stop came and I bumped and fell against 5 people trying to exit before the bus took off.                      
            When I arrived for the MotoTaxi, there was a lady with 8 bags like mine so I waited for the next  taxi and finally arrived around 4:30 exhausted.
            I get a little sun in the mornings if I wake in time.  I can go naked inside during the day but at night it is like a fish bowl but I really don’t think anyone can see my place from far away.  The terrace would need a hedge or some plants.   
          The sink plumbing broke and the plumber was there that day to fix it.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to live out here but now I know my landlady is supportive and a friend, I am starting to put a little money into things to make it comfortable.  I am buying a Microwave.  There is a two burner gas plate to cook on.  In town you can step out the door and eat what you like. Here I have to cook.  Just stocked the refrigerator yesterday.  It has a good freezer too. 

     The TV didn’t work well and only 4 channels unless I want cable.  My computer provides me with Netflix movies, TV series…( The Hour…is great).  Finished the series Mad Men and MI-5.      I sometimes play poker also.
       I go to town most days on the bus.   A group of men get together once a month for Happy Hour in a different local bar.  We were doing it twice a month at a long time expat’s home but he didn’t want to continue.  “Smoke” is cheap and shared along with the booze and food.  My last Men’s Happy Hour, I stopped for a Latte at a coffee house I frequented on my last trip. The lady remembered me and my drink.  I used to go there in the morning for double strength Latte so I had one.  The caffeine buzz had me talking the entire evening…yap yap…I must have sounded like Gueso the dog next door.  He is a yapper.  

         The Oaxaca Lending Library is a focal point for information, activities, and socializing.  I’ve been there twice for an Oaxaca orientation and to take out DVD’s.

      I attended a performance of the Russian Ballet Company  at the Opera house. It was Esmeralda. I don’t see Marjorie much at all. She accompanied me to the ballet and we are going to a Fourth of July fund raiser put on by the Library.   Occasionally we have lunch or happy hour together.  She is off in the villages crusading for educating children…what she does best.  She takes Spanish classes and gives English classes to children. She will be returning  in another two weeks.  

     Today I went to Cheraui,  like a Mexican version of Walmart …it is one of three or four they have around Oaxaca.  I spent the afternoon and $100 but had so much it weighed 50 pounds.  I threw everything into my Walmart cloth bag but it was too much to walk so took a cab to the bus stop.   I was getting on the bus when the strap broke under the weight so I looked pregnant with a Walmart bag. I made it home without further incidence.
     This morning I purchase 5 gallons of water from my nearby Miscellaneous Store.   I made a deal with the grandmother, owner of the shop to pay her 10 pesos to take my trash any Fri night and put it out Saturday morning.  She wanted to do it for free. I had to insist.  I will buy my water and other stuff from her but she doesn’t have a lot.  Worked out great.  
          Got to get that Microwave at the store where I got the shelves.  It is  $20 cheaper there then any store yet.    Have to take my shirt back to exchange for a larger one ..and meet with Darcy again tomorrow for a few beers
     I’m eating Edam cheese on homemade Crafted bread with a Gin and Grapefruit…life is getting better.
     Shopping will be almost done when I get my Micro and bath shelve….I went to buy micro yesterday and the price went from  699 to 899 so decided to try Walmart someday.   Exchanged my shirt for one that fits.  Darcy and I had  couple of dozen beers  after Darcy’s sister showed with a Couchsurfer from LA via N Jersey.  She paid $1000 to take photo classes here for ONE WEEK  at the Photo Institute.  Nice school..nice gallery.  Young lady who has been a Nanny for 7 years and now trying other things.   Biznaga, my favorite restaurant, lured me for a bite to eat.  I talked to Fernando the owner.  Then stopped at my bar next door in Yartareni…while it rained.  Not feeling too good today…can’t do that again for another year. 

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