I moved into my condo in San Augustine Yartareni June 2013 and started making plans for a garden on my terrace, improvement list to bring back from Arizona, etc.  I bought new pillows for the bed, cushions for the chairs, decorative vase with flowers, a clothing stand and a memory foam pillow top as well as a Microwave.  My cheery new home away from home.
     Alas the trips back and forth to Oaxaca,  shopping and lugging things home on the bus, going back and forth twice in a day sometimes, returning late at night in the dark, and the final straw…the dogs barking.  I even thought about buying a place that I could control somewhat, but in the end I’m moving.  I will see how my new place works out next year and already have alternative places if it doesn’t.  During that time, the neighborhood has added a car wash, motel, a pedestrian bridge over the highway, an automobile repair shop, a recycling business, a copy shop, another bar, and all the businesses have expanded their hours.  I suspect this is all because of the new Walmart complex going up just down the road from the new disco.
      This was to be a leisurely day with no plans.  I dropped my last load of laundry off and hopped the bus into town.  

When I exited my normal stop next to the main ADO Bus station I noticed police, hooded protesters, more riot police, the ADO was surrounded by protester and had been spray painted.

 I stopped by the library to find out what it was about.  Seems the teachers are at it again and they’ve enlisted the aide of student protesters…last night they went on a rampage in town and spray painted some more but I didn’t notice much except the bus station and really don’t know what the issues are except for what the spray painted building tells me.   
      I had lunch at the Zocalo, listened to an accordion and bongo player, and ran into Zoey, a couchsurfer traveler from Salem Oregon that I previously contacted.


      I had emailed Zoey before I returned this winter.  I was browsing the Oaxacan CouchSurfers and recognized her from my stay during the summer.  I never met Zoey until today.  I had written and invited her for coffee when I returned but she was in Asia.  When she returned she emailed me for coffee but needed a couple weeks to readjust after her Asia trip. Her Profile said she liked the “Dead Can Dance” and I have all their albums.  Very unique and unusual band as is Zoey as a person…at least her manner of dress. She was meeting someone for lunch so we didn’t talk much.  I did ask how she was adjusting to being back in Oaxaca?  She said it was like an out of body experience like a nice dream.  It feels good. 

       People that come here are drawn to stay by some unknown , unexplainable force. You can say the weather, the friendly people, the beauty, the food, the energy…the ghosts of civilizations that occupied the Americas 10’s of thousands of years ago…are still here.  17 different languages, cultures, …there is no putting it in words.
   I took the bus home entertained by a blind Harmonica player.  

    Today I dropped the last of my trash off and paid the Senora when a MotoTaxi pulled up so I jumped in with a huge bag of clothes for storage at Oasis in Oaxaca, paid the man as the bus pulled up and ran to catch it.  Just after I boarded, I realized I got on my usual bus…NOT the one that drops me at Oasis. Meanwhile a lady boarded selling Children’s DVDs or cartoons to babysit your child by.

 I exited and caught the real bus to Oasis where Tere greeted me and showed me to the 2 bedroom apt so I could take some photos..then to the studio where I will be staying this month.

 I took some photos, paid the rent, got the keys and visited Manuel at his restaurant for breakfast. Coffee, fresh OJ, basket of bread with Scrambled eggs accompanied by beans and cheese.

Delicious. He joined me and we rambled on about our careers, his deportation the hospitality business, our love of poker and blackjack before he had to return to work.  I gained even more respect for him, his professionalism, attitude and talent. We will see more of each other and play poker soon. 
       I visited the Zocalo and noted a large crowd.  I was surprised to see a man with assorted herbs, plants, and vegetables.  He was explaining the medicinal use of each one while demonstrating how to prepare it for the use. Striping an Aloe to get the gel, etc. He sold a print out of them and their properties.  It was in Spanish so I passed.  On the return bus trip was a lady selling top one million hits all on one CD.
     I packed all day Saturday and sorted…take home vs leave for November.

 Sunday I rose and brought everything, boxes, suitcases, microwave, pillows, clothes, memory foam mattress etc down the stairs to the landing and went to the buffet restaurant where I told the guard I needed a taxi to move it all to Oaxaca.  The cook came over to me and explained he worked four years in the US and learned to cook and speak English in a restaurant.

 My kinda guy.  I told him I would pay the driver 400 peso to help load, deliver and unload my belongings.  When I finished it was a short wait before the driver arrived.  In Spanish he said what I thought to be 500 pesos.  I was planning on giving the guy a big 100 peso tip anyway so hopped in and we went to Villa Antiqua to pick everything up.  The taxi driver loaded and reloaded until the taxi was full with me sitting in the front with a Microwave in my lap and a coat rack.  He asked for the key to lock up but I couldn’t get it out of my pocket and told him to forget it.   I couldn’t move but was so happy to do this in one trip…half way there I realized I had left my hat and my computer upstairs.  I thought he was going the wrong way because it wasn’t the way I showed him.  I said you have to turn…he looked at me and said…your Casa…and pointed .  I was amazed…we were at the front door!   Tere was there with her husband when I opened the main gate to allow the cab to back in.  She was surprised at so much stuff but very cooperative. I explained I would assist her after I put away my stuff to go in the room and had to return to Villa Antiqua for my computer.  We drove back and he asked if I wanted him to drive me back…I was thinking I already agreed to pay 500 pesos before I asked to return and it is so cheap just to take a bus but then was tired from the move and agreed .  I decided then to take the food in the refrigerator too .   In a minute I was back in the taxi and at my front door in Oaxaca.  Now was the reckoning. I first handed him 500 pesos…expecting him to wait for more but he started reaching for change.  He was giving back 400 pesos! His original charge was 50 not 500 pesos…$4…he added another 50 to do another round 100 total…I gave him the 500 Pesos and got his name and number for when I need a driver to take me to the airport and pick me up when I return.  I was very pleased and he worked so hard.  Then he told me that he lives next door to me!  That’s how he found his way to my door so easily.  

     I gleefully unpacked my clothes, computers, kitchen utensils, food, water dispenser, memory foam , bedsheets, toiletries, etc.  Then I went about reorganizing everything.  I took down shelves, knick knacks, pillows , junk into storage, put out my wastebaskets, chairs, clothes rack etc….and now have a nice neat organized place that is hotter then hell right now…so I left to find a towel…that is packed away in November’s stuff, detergent…same…and to relax in the Zocalo. The family I saw before when visiting Helen were still here and outside with their children.  I introduced myself and met Neils from Munich who is waiting for his house to be remodeled.  They told him 5 weeks…ha…yeah…Mexican time?  He is friends of Roland…the father of Kay’s lady ladies children.  Roland left last summer but missed his children so returned.  He and Neils were friends and were considering a German Brewery in Oaxaca.  I told them if they bought me a beer I would give them advice.  Nice man though Helen said there infant child crys a lot in the night.
            I met a young family at the bus stop that lived in the states for four years.  The young lady and her sister spoke English fluently and were friendly.  Daddy had his arms full with a baby.  I hopped the first bus and was at the Zocalo in minutes sipping a latte listening to listless jazz on a Sax played by an elderly gentleman…my age.  I felt energized and walked across to a small grocery store but no towels or detergent but there was Kay with a group having her coffee.  I introduced myself and they invited me to join them for dinner at the newly opened Hotel Parador.  Gary and Coral from B.C. Canada knew the Chef and recently discovered this gem that took 14 years to restore to it’s glory.  It was elegant, with fountains in the center of an open courtyard and a second level balcony surrounding the dining room with an open sky above the courtyard. The Chef greeted us and a waiter promptly sat us in an empty dining room.  I perused the menu to discover some amazing dishes and CHEAP prices.  The Chef , from Mexico City, trained in Santa Barbara, Florence , Genoa, Madrid before returning to Oaxaca.  His father is Italian so he acquired dual citizenship for Mexico and Italy which allows him to work and travel anywhere in the European Union.  His plans are to leave before next year and open a restaurant in Europe.  My Shrimp Cocktail was not enjoyable…to sweet and poor quality shrimp…plus the presentation was not professional.  The salads for the ladies were very nice and well presented.  Gary’s Spaghetti with side Veggies was well done and he said great. My Chicken Cordon Blue with Tamarind Sauce never came until they were almost done.  It was dry and overcooked with no cheese inside that I could tell.  The Sauce was superb.  I rushed through it because they were finished and looking at the bill.  I would go back and will but will order more Italian…which he seemed to do well.
      We bid them goodbye, as they were leaving tomorrow, and agreed we would see them again next year.  Kay showed me the new place she hopes to move to.  It has more of a community in the complex and is lovely.  I didn’t get to see the studio as she doesn’t have it yet, only a bid on it when she returns…whenever.  I walked her home and she gave me a towel.  I stopped for some Cheetos and detergent then arrived to find my neighbor blocking the balcony with her desk and computer.  It is hot in the rooms so the balcony is where I am also.  I asked for the password and she asked if I speak French.  Ha I thought…the last language on my list…I took 4 years in High School.  I assumed she was French Canadian from Montreal.  Very pleasant and gave me four passwords for four accounts here…depends on which you want to sign in on.  I signed in on one and after 15 minutes of swearing I may have to complain about this…I switched to the “fast” one.  Very pleased.  Fastest connection I’ve been on in Mexico and right across from where I’ll be staying for 5 months the next time. Yippie.  So ends my day.

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