2018 MARCH OAXACA

This week I had dinner with Annalisa.  We were to have Japanese food but after she arrived
she asked if I would go to Asada Vasco instead.  We were in Colonial Reforma in the North of Oaxaca so enjoyed a long walk in a different neighborhood until reaching the restaurant for one of their Lamb Specialties.  Lamb Shank off the bone with Vegetables and of course some Wine.  It was very nice.

Yesterday I stopped at Belanc Bakery for an English Muffin before winning my Dominos Game at the library. While leaving the library, one of the vendors that sell custom bracelets with your name on it….showed me one that said FUCK TRUMP. Then I walked Bob, our “leader” downtown where I stopped for a Sandwich at El Jardin before returning home.  While finishing my muffin, a lady sat across from me and was eating the Rye Cereal I sometimes order.  I commented that it was one of my favorites and she remarked she has been coming to the Bakery for 5 years now every winter when she visits Oaxaca.  When I asked where she was from she said Plymouth, Mass, where I opened my first restaurant and turned out lived only a block from her home.  She returns in the summer but has since bought another house in West Palm Beach and rents that on Air B n B for the winter while she comes to Oaxaca.  Small world.

When I got home I was playing on the computer and watching a video of people from all over the world when I noticed Wernher Krutein in the credits as the Producer.  I wrote him to see if he was the son of Manfred and Eva, SERVAS friends I knew from long ago and I am sure have since passed away.  Manfred worked for the CIA on a 7 year covert operation to resurrect a Russian Nuclear submarine from 3 miles below the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii in the 70’s.  He acknowledged he was the son and sent photos of the ship with his family from back them.  I wrote him back my story of our SERVAS visits to his parents home in Irvine and their visit to me in Phoenix.  Lots of coincidences.

Today I read, play, walk, and relax. Sunday, tomorrow…is Dim Sum Dinner at a private home with 14 of us attending.  Should be interesting. I emailed Helen to see if she wanted to join me to eat but declined after we set a date for Tuesday lunch at Tres Bistro.  I took a taxi to Biznaga and had a great Kebob of Shrimp, Tuna , Salmon,Tomatoes , Mushrooms, and spring Onions served with a Sweet Potato sauce with lime and Rice. 

On the way back home I looked for a vendor that sold Fuck Trump bracelets.  Instead I encountered a Great Trumpet player accompanied by a fantastic Banjo player.  I gave them all the change I had before topping off the evening with a “Carlos One” Brandy at Importando. The aftermath of another Wedding…



So I felt the world in my face on the way home…and I embraced it. I can’t do that in my car in Snottsdale.  When I arrived I looked for a movie on Netflix and came across the Danish Woman…10 minutes in a friend ask this famous artist couple how they met and the wife explained how they encountered each other and then she kissed him and she felt as though she was kissing herself.  I’m reading Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon.  Written BG  before google or computers…what a different world.  He actually quotes people that changed the world….what will Trump’s quote be…I GOT A BUTTON THAT WORKS…OR MAYBE IT’S PUTIN THAT WILL RUIN THE BEAUTY OF OUR EXISTENCE. Our memories will be our legacy…that is it.  Nothing more. 

I received an invite from Laury, the Irish lady from Boston area that I met last week, to meet her boyfriend at the Bakery this morning.  They had visited my place to see the location after I sent some photos.  She is returning next year and as always looking for something more permanent to return to.  They arrived shortly after me and we ordered some coffee and breakfast.  Her boyfriend was from Naucet Beach area I believe he said.  It was his first time in Oaxaca and already was enjoying himself.  We had a nice visit then I went to play pool with the “boys” and they went to celebrate their last night in town until next year.  She had mentioned a review by Calvin Trillin about “The Land of the Seven Moles”.  I googled it for you and up came “Photos from the Land of the Seven Moles”.  This is what inspired her to come to Oaxaca….Rick Bayless , the Chef from Chicago that is on the Food Network featuring Mexican food , inspired me.

Helen and I met at Tres Bistro to try out their new Comida del dia.  Menu of the day Special…it was good but TerraNova is better.  We said our goodbyes since Joan is arriving Saturday and will spend her first 4 days with me in Mazute visiting seafood restaurants and I hope to get some sun.  I return the day Helen and Ginny depart. I’ll see Helen again in September when I return to Western New York for our reunion. That evening I encountered her and Ginny at the MOST BORING LECTURE EVER.  After we stopped at Luna y Sol restaurant where Emilio and Pauline just finished the Grand Opening last Friday of the newly remodeled 4 year old restaurant in this location.

Nice dinner and talked to both Pauline and Emilio the owners.  

      Well today I bussed it to Colonia Reforma and had lunch at Sachi Ta Japanese hole in the wall, visited La Teca but didn’t even see a menu, then stocked up on wine and took a taxi home.


       Today, Virginia, my neighbor who will be leaving soon, invited me over to see the apartment I will be moving into five days from tomorrow.  I know I’m really going to like it. Nice refrigerator, lots of light and a bit larger than mine.  The only drawback I see is having to turn on the hot water heater for 10 minutes every morning before showering then remember to turn it off.  She poured me a nice Mescal and we drank to both our moves.  She will move across town into a place but only pay for the season each year rather than the whole year.  Save some money.  I may do the same but we shall see after next year.

       I attended my last lecture at the library for this season.  It was given by a Professor and graduate of Cornell University who was on sabbatical in Oaxaca and was the foremost authority on the Monarch Butterfly.  This was the was a lecture should be and what we expect when we pay to attend one.  He was outstanding and the story of the Butterfly and its 2000 miles migration every year from Canada, Florida, California, New York and all over the US to the same place every year that it has never been is amazing as are the Monarchs themselves.   Helen was there so we went to Biznaga for dinner then Importado for after dinner drink before saying our FINAL goodbyes and took a cab home.

I have been booking my rooms, flights and making plans for before and after my UK tour in June when a Russian double agent who had got asylum in England after a spy swap with Russia years ago, was murdered in Salisbury where my tour starts. He and his daughter died from nerve gas poison but no one knows how or who did it.  Right now over 100 British Agents have taken over the investigation in Salisbury.  My SERVAS friend Ruth in London sent me this report on the Spy’s death.
       Today I meet Joan, who flew in late last night, at Mariposa where she is staying and we will have dinner at Biznaga early this evening.  Tomorrow I’ll meet her at the hotel and we will taxi to a Collectivo in the morning for 4 days in Mazunte on the Pacific Ocean.

FEBRUARY CONTINUED….

      Played some pool with Richard and Kurt the other afternoon.  Kurt took me to his hotel to show it to me and gave me a nice box he made from Walnut wood.  He makes attractive decorative boxes and cribbage boards from wood he salvages on the beach or wherever.  I
liked it very much and appreciated his kind gesture. The hotel was very nice and right in the center, not far from where I live.


       Took second place at Dominos in our weekly Friday afternoon get together and Richard’s last game.  He returns to San Miguel Allende and his house where he will stay until it is sold or time to return to Ashville the end of April.  That evening we all met again for a farewell “upscale” dinner at The Catedral Restaurant, which is one of my favorites.  We had a great meal and said our goodbyes to Lynn and Kurt until next year.

  
     Richard stopped over this morning to unload all the “stuff” he couldn’t take back to San Miguel for a small fee.  My Organic produce sellers showed up for there weekly delivery. I got some eggs, avocados, tomatoes, spinach and beets.  Richard left and I headed for the Opera house to see La Boheme but was 5 minutes too late so had breakfast at the Bakery and returned home until dinner with Richard at Biznaga’s.

  I great Trio was entertaining the dining room when I arrived.  We ate and said goodbye until next year.  May be he may not return but might spend winters in Florida.

My friend sent me a version of “I’ve Been Everywhere Man”   except it is from Australia where I have yet to visit.
 Today there is an Australian/Mexican event that has been on going for 4 days.  This is the last so maybe I’ll go get an Ozzie Burger and an Aussie Beer while listening to Walk About music. The Ozzie Burger was the best I’ve had in Mexico but I tried some Organic coffee instead of Beer and like that too so bought some to take home to Snottsdale when I depart Mexico

.

     I am glad I went but feeling stuffed with a Hamburg I walked to the Zocalo and had a glass of Wine while reading and relaxing. First meat in a while…having more later this week. It was time for a Concert at San Paulo so I went over to catch the first few songs. 
NOTE THE COUPLE…THAT WAS 2:30…WHEN I RETURNED FROM MY WINE AT 4 PM I SAT NEXT TO THIS COUPLE FROM B.C. CANADA

 BAJO MANO…under hand was the name and if you click on it you can hear them. It was very good but I wanted to pickup some limes on the way home so shopped a bit and arrived just as a light rain cooled things down.

I visited Helen and Ginny for coffee then off to meet Annalisa in Colonial Reforma for Japanese Food.  When she arrived she suggested we try another Mexican place instead.  I had eaten at one of their restaurants in the Zocalo and didn’t care for it but this was nice.  We both had a Lamb Dish she suggested.  Lamb Shank off the bone with nice vegetables and a side of fresh spinach.

The next day I met Tom at Biznaga for dinner around 7 pm.  I had the Salmon and he had the Tuna …both were top notch. 

Enough for now.  This Sunday is Dim Sum dinner at Enid Lynn’s home with about 14 people. February is over and March is here.  Joan arrives next week and we head for the beach then I move into my new place when I return.

OUTDOOR MOVIE THIS EVENING….ON THE GROUND WHILE PROJECTED ON WALL


FEBRUARY IN OAXACA

 Our Sun has returned and it has been wonderful. Then Kurt and I celebrated the SUPER SUPER BOWL.  Tres Bistro had the whole bar reserved so we saw the first half at a hotel.  Then went to a sports bar for second half.  What a game. 

HALF TIME AT THE SPORTS BAR

    Today I played pool then went shopping for a light bulb. Kurt, my friend, laughed at me…
that’s it, your going to spend the day to get a light bulb!  Well it was one o’clock when I finished playing pool and had my sights set on Coppel, a local department store that google said was two minutes away.  Terry, another player, left at the same time and told me Coppel was on Colon, just across from the Zocalo and down some.  It had all kinds of lights…so it was on the way home so I agreed since it is a chain store.  I stopped at the Market and bought some Sylvia’s Pluma Cafe with Cinnamon ground into it. Then picked up some real PopCorn with no butter or Microwave nada.  After walking a half hour I stopped on Colon and asked a shopkeeper who told me it was back where I came from.  Google knows best.  I returned to find Coppel two minutes from the pool hall.  Then I find they don’t carry light bulbs at all!  The man directed me to an Electrical shop that did and another 1/2 hour in the opposite direction from home.  I found it and bought the light bulb. Now it was 2:45 so I decided to eat at Quinque, a popular Gringo restaurant that had lost it’s lease and moved.  It was now close by so I had the Chicken then took a taxi home.  So how long was it to shop for a light bulb…well it’s 4:30 now that I’m home.

Tuesday I went to meet Lynn and Kurt for lunch at the Bakery and as I passed TX7 bar I heard Blues music.  Eric was auditioning with part of the Jazz Trio and got a gig for Wednesday.

WE HAD ENTERTAINMENT WITH LUNCH

          I met Gadi, Lynn and Kurt for lunch at the Bakery.    
 Zoe will meet me at the TX7  tomorrow night to enjoy Eric’s music.

    Today I do nothing but play and attend the concert tonight.  I met Zoe and her friend Geronimo, a paratrooper in Vietnam when I was there.  They were friends from Salem Oregon and he was visiting.  The concert was great and a female singer joined for the set for a couple of songs.  I left after the first set.

      I met Hector for lunch today at Terranova.  Darcy, Pat, his sister, Steve, a friend and a new traveler, Dan Keohiety from NM were all drinking beer next door.  Dan was on his way to Terra de Fuego and was an avid traveler who was on his 41 country.

     Hector and I had a nice lunch and I stopped at the Amate Bookstore to buy my friends book The Isthmus about the Oaxacan Zone that was hit by the Earthquake.  The bookstore sold out of the books. I returned home.

     Dominoes today!!!
I lost.  Richard and I stopped to have a drink and bite to eat but Tapas y Vino couldn’t make him a Margarita so we tried a place he recommended at the San Paulo Cultural Center.  The emphasis was on Middle Eastern food so we had Tablu with Empanadas and Chicken Shawarma.  The drinks were overpriced for what they served as was the food.  Very unspecial so we stopped at the Zocalo for a glass of wine and returned home.

Saturday I had to wait for the Organic Market to come to me.  They were early 10:30 and I bought some fresh “Spring Onion” Avocados and Tomatoes. Such a wonderful service.  The quality is outstanding.  The family works together and even the son started carrying a line of candies and nuts.  He is a bit younger than Daniel, the owners son, but it is interesting to see them interact over a business purchase like Adults.  

Sunday was Google Photos Day and Sunday Morning on CBS followed by 60 Minutes that evening.  That was Sunday.

          Today I had breakfast and hauled all my framed photos over to the framer to reframe them right.  He put a border of paper on the Mat instead of a real black Mat that I requested and all the glue came off with the paper.  He agreed to do it for just the cost of materials and was very apologetic.  He works with his young son so that makes him honest.  Family is everything here.  I took the slow bus to the library and got my dinner and lectures paid for  and confirmed for the rest of February and March….tomorrow is one.
       I went to my barber for my 6 week haircut but now it’s warmer, I get a short haircut to last 8 weeks until I get back.  He was in the bathroom so I asked his assistant  who questioned me…to say he would be back shortly but I said no that’s OK.  Sat down and just as he started in walked my barber and waved hello.  Now I felt bad but I wanted to try another and Tom recommended him.  In the first 2 minutes most of my hair was gone.  I cautioned him…not TOO short..tapered…not bald.  Well it was the shortest I’ve had since my brain anyurism.  Then he kept talking to me and I kept telling him I couldn’t hear.  My barber came out and told him I couldn’t hear!  Then he charged me 10 more Pesos.  
     Biznaga was beckoning when I walked out the door adjusting my hat to fit my bald head.
I had Wine and Water to start…a Souve Sopas (Chicken Soup)…then got brave and ordered broiled shrimp with Tomatillo Sauce and Rice.  I ate the over cooked shrimp and tried the sauce with some rice but not much.  So I was still hungry. I ordered a Chocolate Trufe in Strawberry Sauce with Cappuccino and Carlos I Brandy (A Spanish student of mine bought me one when he heard me order a cheap Brandy and I’ve been hooked ever since).

PEEP HOLES TO LOOK OUT WHILE TAKING A PISS

      I took a Taxi home.  The driver had worked in Mesa and knew Joe Arpaio as does any Mexican that had been to Arizona.  He spoke good English and we had a great talk about Trump and his pardon of Joe.  Joe’s aspirations to be a Senator that replaces Jeff Flake. Made me feel good that I’m here. 
     Laundry Day. I dropped my laundry off at a new place that was cheaper and closer then went to try the Rye Cereal at the Bakery. It came with fruit and almond milk.  Very good.  On the way to print some photos I was going to have framed, I picked up some organic ginger turmeric and tepejilote stalks. The lady printed 14 photos while I bought some garlic from a village garlic salesman. 

    That evening I went to the library for a lecture on Artificial Intelligence!  It was very similar to the one on Climate Change where the lecturer pointed at the presentation screen while reading what it said verbatim.  The Climate Change lecturer power point program broke down the last 10 minutes and he couldn’t function.  Both “Lecturers” did not engage the audience or seldom even looked at us.  I couldn’t see the screen because he had his back to me while blocking my view of the presentation.  Both could have just printed out the presentation, passed it out and let us take it home to read instead of wasting our time.
      
 Today I took the flower from the tepejilote stalks I purchased and made an
omelette with marinara sauce and avocado. 

This evening I attended another lecture.  I know the lecturer this evening and he is good! Dr Louis Rey. The real deal!  It was.  I talked to him a bit about his receiving his Doctorate as the only indigenous person in the country of the Netherlands.    He told stories, sang songs, engaged the audience. His topic was Non Violence.
      
      Tonight I met with Tom, my ex neighbor for dinner at Bistro Epicure.  We have been friends for 3 years or more now and he lives in my neighborhood but I moved away from the complex he is in.  We had a great conversation.  He just bought a house and is remodeling it with the idea that it is the last place he will live in.


    Today I won my first game of Domino’s in a long time…by one point!!  Richard and I joined  a couple of the lady players for a roof top drink at sunset then Richard and I left for Biznaga and dinner.  Just after ordering a drink…an earthquake struck and the entire building emptied out into the street in 5 seconds.  After 10 minutes we returned and Orin, one of the ladies returned to join us after she went to get her credit card.  We all had a nice dinner , conversation then returned home. I was getting ready to go to bed when another earthquake struck and shook the building. I went outside but after a short time returned.  I decided a joint and bed were in order.

     
       I took a break to get out of the house Saturday and visit the Zocalo for a cup of Hot Chocolate and a good read when Tom stopped over to the table while passing by.  We had a beer together and we both returned home.

       Sunday I enjoyed watching CBS Sunday Morning then 60 Minutes later that evening.  I got caught up on my year end finances and started my free Turbo Tax Return.  Why free…because my income is less than $33,000….I live off Social Security and that is tax free since I already paid tax on my contributions to my account.  
      I went to bed but at 12:47 was awakened with the bed rolling from side to side….with the building.  This one was a 5.9 and took place in the state of Oaxaca.  

      Today I set a date with Helen to visit the Merced Market and Butcher Shop after we have brunch at Red’s Seafood Restaurant.  I was going to bring home some fish along with bacon but Red’s Fish Market doesn’t look all that appetizing.  The selection was poor too.

           We had a nice lunch and after a brief stop at the market to get some chopped fresh vegetables for my soup, we crossed the street to the Butcher and I got some great bacon sliced right off the belly.  We shared a Taxi home and agreed to meet at Berlina tomorrow at 6 pm with Kurt and Lynn.  They just returned from Puerto Escondido and will be leaving for home in Humboldt County, California.


 Played pool with Richard, Kurt and a new player Finn.  Finn is from Iceland but lived in Vancouver a good part of his life and is now building a home in San Felipe de Agua just North of Oaxaca City. He is a good player.  We all had a nice time.

I walked over to the Zocalo and had lunch and returned home.




         Later that evening Richard and I joined Helen, Ginny, Lynn and Kurt for dinner at Berlina then an after dinner 
Don Julio Tequila at Importador. 

Ginny, Helen and I took a taxi home.  I had him drop me off on the corner then stopped at the local pub for a Mescal poured from an Absolute Vodka bottle.  Absolute Mescal!  I tipped the bartender a bouquet of mini roses I bought to give to Adelina but I noticed they were a little brown around the edges.  Good Night.

15 MILLION PEOPLE DIE IN THE AMERICAS BETWEEN 1545-1550

CLICK HERE:  15 MILLION PEOPLE DIE IN THE AMERICAS IN 5 YEARS

Be bold with an news to get attention and win hundreds of “likes”  Yes it is true story but sad.   Who was left did propagate and produce a new generation, and then another, another
….and the clan, tribe, family, lives on right here everyday as an integral part of this whole culture called MEXICO.  A real and amazing lesson in life that surrounds me on the bus, sidewalk, city center, everywhere a reminder of people that existed 500 years ago but those that existed 1500 years ago and before.  It was said that all the indigenous people of the Americas are descendants of Central Asia.  Everyone tested had the DNA that come from there. 

Couldn’t resist this one either:   LARGEST UNDERWATER CAVE AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIND

A new day in Oaxaca starts again with a chill.  Helen arrived with Ginny.  She had a touch of the flu bad so Dr Z gave her antibiotics and scheduled her to return.   Helen was back from 2nd visit to Doctor and feeling better so it didn’t develop into pneumonia.  She brought me some Trader Joe nuts I requested so I paid her a visit and we caught up on since last year. Returned with my nuts and played dominoes at the library.  

       Saturday I packed some nuts and a box of wine to chip in at a home concert up the street.  Mary Rankin, a musician songwriter and singer from Eastern Canada gave a great performance at an outside venue with over 35 people in attendance.  Ginny and Helen showed up and after we went for dinner at the “Jaguar”…an Italian joint near where they live.

MESCAL I BOUGHT


       There were DACA protests in Phoenix at the State Capital Building.


       This morning I attended Mass at the Cathedral with Helen and Ginny so we could hear the Pipe Organ brought over around 1750 or thereabouts.  The high Mass was impressive and packed.  I took a few photos but will return again for more.  

      They joined me to meet Lynn and her husband Kurt for the Mid Afternoon meal at TerraNova.  Kurt had the buffet and we all had a meal that entitled us to a Half Bottle of Wine each while Kurt stuck with his beer.  We had a nice meal then left to return home when a huge group of Bikers stormed in and started circling the Zocalo.  It was the “Wild Bunch” with Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin…or so it seemed.  They were all peaceful and after doing about three round around the square all parked and proceeded to patronize the local
establishments.  We all went home.

     Tomorrow I have to go to the library to meet Richard and pick up my suitcase he borrowed and collect a Trader Joe’s one pound 70% Cacoa Chocolate bar he is offering as
payment for the Oaxaca Hat I sold him a year ago.  I don’t know why I am going there to pick up MY suitcase and what he owes ME instead of him coming to my house and returning it???  Oh well.  Lesson learned I hope. 
      Gadi arrived for my second week of one on one Spanish lessons. It went well then she left to give Lynn her one on one lessons while I went to shop a bit where I met Kurt.  They were meeting for lunch and Gadi was with her.  We all went to lunch at Mesquite then home.

PULPA…OCTAPUS

GREAT VIEWS FROM THE DINING ROOM

NICE SUNSET FROM MY CONDO

      
      Today I met Richard and Kurt at the pool hall after Gadi left for my last lesson of this week.   Won 3 games lost 2…not bad.  Richard and I went to Terranova for lunch when we 
ran into Gadi, Helen, Halina and Barb.  First time I’ve seen Halina and Barb this year.  We all had a great lunch and returned home.


     Comida with Annalisa was very nice.  Same Chef at Hotel Los Pilares as the owner of Art Comibe…which I really enjoyed.  She leaves for the US and will return in 2 weeks…dog and all. I ran into my old neighbor at Los Nogales, Tom.  We walked together then decided to have a drink together.  It was great to see him and we may have dinner next week.

Opera was simulcast from the MET in NYC.  TOSCA by Puccini.  I was falling asleep so left at the end of the first act and encountered a wedding on my way to have a Great Breakfast at Berlina.


I took the bus to the Pachote Market this morning then on to Walmart and taxi back home.
Mission accomplished.  Tomorrow I get fresh eggs delivered along with organic spinach,
tomatoes and the best Avocados.  A husband, wife and the child come to my front door and I
pick out what I want from what they offer that week.  Great service!

Well, I went to a lecture (poorly done) about Climate Change, then stopped for a glass of wine and was going to take the bus home but there was a demonstration with about 250 people marching down my bus route.  I managed to get by them and make it to the Zocalo where I ordered dinner and wine but they couldn’t accept my payment because the “system” was down due to the strikers.  Communication Workers.

So now we still have teachers tents, doctors and medical workers, and now Telmex or ATT on strike?  I just paid in cash and heading home. Supposed to warm up today. It did! Met Zoe today at Biznaga for dinner.     Then we went to a concert…Szkajani Charlatans.    I met Eric , a Blues guitarist from Lafayette Louisiana.   He played at the Blue Moon Cafe there.  I loved that place and love Lafayette.  He plays tomorrow at Luna y Sol so will check it out. Both groups are staying at Zoe’s. Charlatans were here a couple of years ago and just arrived from Chiapas and leave Friday night for Tijuana.

     So David played Dominos at the library with our growing Mexican Dominos fans.
One of the best games we have had. Richard and I had made plans for wine and pizza at Belanc.  We left at around 5:30 so stopped at Imporandor in the Zocalo for one then two glasses of wine. 

TRIQUE VILLAGE IS PROTESTING THE TAKING OF THEIR LAND

RICHARD AND RICK

Oh I forgot we stopped at Biznaga’s for one Margarita….then he came over to my condo for…1/16 of a waffle.
       Then we took a taxi to Sol y Luna to hear Eric Louis from  Lafayette, Louisiana and a mix of Blues.  A lady looked in so I encouraged her to join us.  Mary from Portland Oregon did.   Her and Richard chatted a lot while I moved over to the bar to be close to the music.  The crowd conversation interrupted my ability to hear….as did the Mescal I ordered at the bar for a table of Oaxacans as well as the singer Eric.

       When I rejoined my table, I noticed the owner was outside smoking a cigarette
with some young friends.  I went out and lectured all of them about the addiction of nicotine…then someone passed me a joint and I had a couple of hits then returned to the music when one of the men at the table, handed me his loaded pipe and a lighter.  I stepped back outside alone …took two hits…and said GOODBYE…got a taxi…exchanged business cards with the driver.  He spoke perfect english and lived years in the Southwest USA including Phoenix for years.
       I made it up the stairs…reminded me of benders past. It had been a long time for me and felt great.  We will see how it feels in the morning…now 1:12 AM.
       Two days later I recuperated and headed for a  Mexican bar then a gringo bar to watch the  superbowl.  I will sign out now…until the next blog post…Amigo David

EVERYBODY IS BETTER IN OAXACA…OH BABY

Well I returned to Oaxaca for the 6th winter…I keep a place year round and have spent a couple of great summers here also.  My youngest daughter Heather joined me for the first week of the New Year.  First time we shared time together without children, family, or work.  It was very special.  
      Then a cold snap came in and I dug out the long underwear.  There is NO heating or Air Conditioning except in plush hotels…it normally is not needed as the weather is so temperate here…like Shangri La..but waking to 36% INSIDE like a refrigerator is challenging.  Forecast is 5 more days then back to normal. 
       I went to a birthday party in Teotitlan del Valle, a textile village where every family owns a loom, last night.  There is a family there that lives in the same dwelling their ancestors did….over 1500 years ago! 

          The breeze throughout the open house chilled the atmosphere so a little mescal helped to revive it and we had a great meal, good time and a live band for this 72 year old to dance to.  I returned home early and expect to see snow on the ground this morning .

WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE MICHELLE

LAST TO EAT…OUR PHOTOGRAPHER ALLEN

THE RELIABLES

THE FANTASTIC “CHEAP SEATS”

MICHELLE’S MANTRA

        It was 39 % but the sun was up as usual and it should be a warm day…My grand daughter Taja, gave birth to my third great grand daughter two days ago.  Now I have 7 great grandchildren and 10 grandchildren along with 3 daughters to remember birthdays…etc.  Keeps my mind sharp.
        The whole day was spent inside posting old Travel Journals to my Blog.  I have over 20 years of them before I discovered Blogger and started posting my travel there.

        Gadi came today in an attempt to resurrect last year’s Spanish she implanted in my brain.  It was coming back slowly as most things at this time in my life.  Adelina cleaned house while I dined on more Pizza while renewing my friendship with Hector over lunch at the Bakery.  I noticed my intermittent claudation in my legs was causing the pain to return since my daughter left.  I tried to think of diet, lack of water, medicines, …what was it that had changed.  Today I discovered it was my Puma sports socks that were very much like compression socks.  People that have limited circulation in their legs or arterial blockage should not restrict the flow of blood with compression socks!!  I will give it a test run tomorrow.
     Helen arrived late last night with an urgent message from Ginny, her traveling companion.  My phone had been shut off but while resting to alleviate the pain in my legs on the way to lunch I turned it on and discovered she was seriously sick with possible pneumonia and at the very least a bad case of influenza.  I sent her Dr. Z’s work and mobile number but she was already there.  Follow up appointment in two days to see if it has progressed into pneumonia or if her treatment  made her better.  I’ll visit her then.
     Tomorrow will be another day of Posting the historical travel journal to my Blog…these posts are in chronological order.  If your interested in hearing about my trip to Southeast Asia…its 2008-9 on the posts.

OAXACA ANOTHER WINTER…DAUGHTER’S VISIT

 Jeannie my super neighbor dropped me at the airport New Year’s Eve Day.  I flew into Mexico City and then after a 3 hour layover continued on to Oaxaca.  It was around 8 pm when I arrived at the Condo but had hid a key in the flower pot and now couldn’t find it.  I got the landlord to search for his key and by 9 pm I was unpacking until 11:30 when I set my alarm for 4:30 am to meet my daughter who took the redeye flight from Tijuana to Oaxaca.  Then the fireworks began..surprise it’s now 2018.  An hour and a half later the noise subsided and I finally fell asleep.
     
I was outside at 6 am and all the streets were deserted after the night’s celebrations.  NO buses, cars…or TAXI.   Finally around 6:40 I flagged a taxi and headed for the airport.  I got there just after her plane landed and she was coming out of bag claim.

We returned to the condo and unpacked then took a walk trying to find something open.  It was like a bomb hit…nothing open and no one around.
We found the Importador at the Zocalo open so had breakfast and returned for a nap.

When we finally got rested and out of the house, everywhere was open and packed! Music, dancing, celebration on New Year’s Day.  We had dinner at Tres Bistro and planned our next day to visit Monte Alban Ruins.

We woke and took a taxi to Monte Alban… a Zapotec Mayan ruin dating back around 2000 years.  We had a beautiful day with a cloud cover that enabled us to take some great photos and protect us from sunburn and heat exhaustion.

That evening we tried different Mescals, a liquor distilled from the Agave plant and famous in Oaxaca, the effects of which caused Heather to want to adopt a puppy and get her fortune told.

We had dinner from a street vendor…big greasy hamburger with cheese, pineapple, ham, lettuce, onion , tomato, and a hotdog all in a bun with ketchup.

Wednesday we met my Spanish teacher, Gadi Hernandez for lunch back at Tres Bistro.  We then toured the textile Museum

Gadi left for work and we went next door to the San Pablo Cultural Center.

There, among other things, was an exhibit of Oaxaca’s famous woodcarvings and ceramic creations.

Thursday was an excursion via a “Collectivo”, shared taxi, to Zacachila, another ancient village dating back 2000 years and an burial sites, one of which was that  of the ruler of the Zapotec nation. This is also one of the special places to visit the Cemetery during the Dias de la Muerta or Day of the Dead celebration from October 31 to November 2 every year.  Today was also Market Day.

That evening we attended a Concert and met my friend Richard.  We went out after for a Mescal drink with Chapulines…better know to us as Crickets.

Friday, after breakfast at the Organic Market, we wandered down to the
 Archaeological Museum, a part of the Santa Domingo Basilica, which was next on our tour.

We had lunch at the Organic Market then visited the Stamp Museum.

Heather had some bracelets made for her children.

 We wandered around then had an early dinner at Cabuche before returning home.

Saturday we wandered around doing a little shopping, sightseeing then later a pizza at the Boulanc Bakery.

 January 6 is when a gift (the only gifts passed out …none at Christmas) is given to the children by the Three Kings.  Children from poor families, and orphans also are brought in or gifts taken to them in the villages by the Three Kings.

  After watching a wedding celebration, a ceremonial Corn Dance, we had dinner then went home to pack for an early morning departure on Sunday.

My daughter was departing today. The week was over and it was Sunday morning at 4:30 am when I rose to help her.   Feliciano our taxi driver was waiting to take us to the airport at 5:30 am. 

         We arrived and got in the end of a long line.  30 minutes later we checked her bag when the attendant informed her that her flight is tomorrow!!!!!!  Can’t get a taxi out of the airport…have to take a collectivo but the ticket office was closed so I paid three times the price to return home.  Now I am sick with a cold not the flu…I hope.  She has no idea how the children will get to school on Monday and she was supposed to be at work.  We laughed as we both returned to bed after the best Avocado I ever ate.
     Yesterday as we were leaving our small complex and there was a vendor selling produce out of the trunk of his car with wife and child.  Got fresh dozen brown eggs, beautiful tomatoes, avocados and honey without ever leaving the compound.  More in my blog…got to get rest.   Lots of “stuff” to catch up on but got to get rid of this cold first.
      We did get an extra day so Heather took off on her own to explore and go have lunch.  She ended up at Tres Bistro, where the waiter recognized her and pointed out some friends of mine that he remembered from last year.  She introduced herself to Lynn and her companion and they invited her to sit with them. Nice coincidence.  I don’t remember what we did that day but we did return to bed early and were all packed to depart again.  This time I didn’t go with her but said goodbye when the Taxi took her off to the airport.  Great visit and one of the best times I’ve shared with my daughter.

NOVEMBER & DECEMBER IN SCOTTSDALE

Jeannie, my neighbor, dropped me off at the Excalibur in Las Vegas after our 5 hour drive from Phoenix.   Dinner at Buca de beppa was OK but now the Poker Table calls.  I folded after two hours with a $100 loss to make up tomorrow. 


      Jeannie drove us to Mt Everest , an Indian Buffet that Mike, my Chef friend, suggested.  Mike was waiting and the lunch was very good. 

Mike returned to the hotel so I could bestow my lavish gifts for Oaxaca on him…a CD and some instant Mole for Mexican dishes.

      Tom, another friend from Phoenix that has been retired in Vegas for years now, met me with his wife Patty for Coffee and catching up on old news.
       Danny, the traveling piano man, had made a temporary home in Vegas this last year and picked me up for dinner that evening at a Thai Restaurant.  We stopped first at the Memorial to the 61 slain people that were massacred at the Mandalay Hotel concert last week.  We took some photos, chatted with some Community volunteers then had a nice dinner and chat since last he had been in Phoenix.

      Jeannie drove me back home the next day.  I dropped my laundry off when the owner asked if I was a “snowbird”.  I told her about my trips to Mexico and she wanted to know about Oaxaca.  Her big question…”Was it safe”.   Well I told her Mexico could be dangerous but where I was was safe…she asked if Mexicans had prejudices against Koreans.  I thought no but why ask that?  She said her son was murdered while traveling in the Philippines on vacation..

      I returned home and received an Mexican News of the Day on my computer.  “Cartels move into Oaxaca”  10 truck loads of cartel members from Velazquez took over a village in Oaxaca announcing they were moving in to clean out the bad guys?  Not too reassuring for me or anyone planning a trip there.  I decided to start holding back on my commitment to Oaxaca and instead of bringing more stuff into Mexico…start taking it out this year. 
   The situation has become worse but those that have been there , say they can’t remember when their were no protests in Oaxaca…it’s the nature of  Wonderland.  I’m returning with a very positive attitude. 

I woke with a swollen cyst in my groin area on Saturday.  My Primary Care Dr. Narda at the VA saw me in two days….when I called my third Primary Care Doctor with Cigna,to make my first appointment, this Doctor that was seeking clients gave me her first available appointment over 6 weeks away.  Dr Narda sent me to the VA two days later for a Sonogram to determine if the Cyst was infecting my Scrotum…that would be back.  The test was tonight and the results take maybe two weeks for the radiologists to give his opinion. 
    
The antibiotics took care of everything and the infection went away….thank God. 

Debbie, an good friend was just returning from Puerto Penasco with her friends Sonya and Mark.  It is a tradition…that and St Pat’s Day.  We went out to dinner but could barely cover all the catching up over a year’s time.  She may move to Ecuador and we could visit later.
A wonderful three course dinner at Deseo was a night with me having to visit the VA the next day so we separated knowing she will be back next year.

I stopped out to New River to visit Chris.  Larry had arrived from Colorado so he and his lady Bambi and Chris and I had a nice dinner together with Rose and Jim joining us.  We decided to go to the dance with them that evening but after a few more drinks, the evening was over..

 The following week Marjorie and I went to an opening of the newly remodeled Mountain Shadows resort.


 My friend from Travel Insider’s North Korean Tour, Kenny from California, drove over to be with his relatives for Thanksgiving and invited me. Nice family and great Thanksgiving.  He returned Christmas and we went out for lunch and visited the Art Museum.

Marjorie had some things for me to drop off in Oaxaca so we had lunch one afternoon in downtown Scottsdale where the Waterfront was all decorated.

BACK IN THE USA…

         I returned to my condo to find packages and mail.  My electric bike had arrived via China, Copenhagen, NYC, LA, and finally Phoenix…only 9 months. 

I still had to assemble it. The third day of opening mail when I got the news of the 8.2 Earthquake in Oaxaca near Chiapas.  It devastated the local villages near the Pacific Ocean.  It was felt in Oaxaca where a few historical sites were damaged but no reports of injury…just a lot of dirty underwear. Mexico City was 2 weeks away from the 1986 Anniversary of the worst Earthquake in history, so this also caused a lot of frightened people and lots of buildings damaged.  I sent some money to an archaeologist in Oaxaca that was on her way to assist the villages that were destroyed.  Mexican Earthquakes

      I finally got my bike assembled but took it to the local bike shop to be checked over.  It costs $45 and I bought a helmet, bell, and mirror then folded it up and put it in the car and drove home. 

That afternoon I unfolded it and hopped on all ready to ride up to visit Doug and Cindy for coffee.  My neighbors were excited that I was going on my Maiden Voyage and were in the parking lot with baby and their son to watch.  I noticed that no matter what setting I put the computer on, the gears did not engage?   The electric motor seemed to work so I ushered my neighbors away in case I fell on my face then pushed the accelerator and was off. 
       Riding my electric bike  I made it without pedaling…could only use the motor…my seat collapsed and I was like sitting on the ground with my knees sticking up in the air when I finally arrived for my visit with my 86 year old friend.  After visiting Doug and his wife Cindy…I discovered my rear tire was flat.  Doug gave embarrassed me a ride to my new found bike shop where I dropped it off and thanked him. The first photo was me and my first bike…this is me and my last bike…note the tires are near the same size. 

    Then after realizing the chain comes off when you fold the bike up, I put the chain on to make the gears work.  Well me who rode a bike from 7 to through out my life but seldom after Attica.  There I rode 5-7 miles a day to school, paper route , work, play, in the winter but lived on my bike in the summer.  Now I didn’t even think about the chain but just pushed a button.  The bike has been in the back seat ever since.

    The Anniversary of the Mexico City Earthquake of 1986 started off with a 7.1 Earthquake near Mexico City that brought a lot of buildings down and a lot of people died that day.  The following days brought another earthquake back in Oaxaca that took a bridge out in the villages where the first quake struck.  This really made help difficult.

        I planned my day around Happy Hour with my neighbor.  It was restaurant week and I was planned on splitting a dinner with her at a new place.   Wrong day.  This seems to be a recurring theme in my life lately.  Short term memory loss.  We made the dinner the next day and had a nice visit as well as dinner.
          I did the same thing with my exercise classes.  First day I got the dates mixed up and didn’t show.  The following day I arrived 10 minutes early to discover there was only 10 minutes left as the class started 40 minutes ago.  My billiard lessons were cancelled for lack of interest but my Chemistry Classes were great and very informative.  I had been 3 hours laid back in the Dentist chair after 1 1/2 hours in class. 
         I told the dentist that my goal was to replace the implant that I lost not to fine tune my mouth.  He put on a new crown and decided to focus on the implant and forget the rest as I was in pretty good shape.  So my bill went from $1500 worth of crowns and cleaning up stuff to $2000 implant and $525 for the work so far.  Hmmm?


CELEBRATING BRAZIL

      

       When I was in Oaxaca this summer I attended a Combo 4th of July and Canadian Independence Celebration where a Photographer for the Library took our Photos.  When the photo was sent to me, I found it a nice likeness so posted it on my Facebook Page as my profile photo.  Within one day, I received 45 likes with comments from 5 ex girlfriends, 8 family members, 2 Oaxacan friends, 1 Servas member, 1 Couchsurfer, 3 Students from Spain, my babysitter when I was growing up, 1 former employee, 8 friends from the Dubliner Pub, 7 High School Classmates, 5 Nudists, 2 Poker Playing friends, and one friend each from Vermont, Colorado,Scotland, Turkey,Denmark, England and Amsterdam….45 !!! in one day!  It is nice to be remembered. I cancelled my two Facebook Accounts the next week.  Too much wasted time. Now visiting the Phoenix Art Museum.

MY FAVORITE PHOTO

It is time to make a Vegas run to visit friends and take a break.

LIFE AFTER DEATH?

There is in Mexico and it’s celebrated for three days every year…
ZAACHILA STREET ART AND THE DAY OF THE DEAD…

There is a street that connects the Cathedral to the Cemetery in the village of Zaachila, a short ride from Oaxaca in Central Mexico. The village was formed as early as 500 AD.  Many people were born, then Baptized at the Church, and later buried in the Cemetery. The street the funeral procession would pass through has Wall Murals on both sides depicting the return of the Ancestors from the Dead to celebrate a reunion with friends and family. Food, Drink and Entertainment around the decorated grave site are shared with their Dead Ancestors from Sun set to Sunrise for three days starting October 31 each year.
          The first day is for sharing with the deceased children or Angelitos. Little Angels. The street Murals are many, varied, and painted by different artists each year in early October and remain there until the following October when they are painted over with new Art. The Mayan Civilization disappeared around 700 AD

and were thought that many integrated with the Creek Indians in what is now Florida and Georgia. Their “pictographs” were used to communicate their history in Codices like this one.

It has been almost 10,000 years since the beginning of Mesoamerica in 7000 BC when Hunter Gatherers started cultivating Corn in Oaxaca and forming villages. Today the creative talented indigenous people of Mexico express themselves in a variety of art forms.  Street Art is one.

People congregate around the decorated and prepared grave site to share stories,dance , eat and drink for those 3 Days.

We,in North America,commune with the Dead and make Memorials as needed.   Las Vegas lost 61 people in a Massacre this month.

 There are those descendants from Mesoamerica that still celebrate the Muertos 
de Dias their traditional way…even in a Las Vegas Supermarket.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

LAST POST

 I went over to the bakery today and had a Avocado Toast and Coffee.

 I inquired into Lost and Found to see if they had my sunglasses I’ve misplaced but did not.  I bought a dog on the way home.  Everyone needs a pet.   Mine is a novelty pull toy that I thought was cute.
        I told Adelina that she would have to water and feed it while I was gone. A quick stop at the BBQ Chicken place for dinner with Macaroni Salad…I can’t resist it.

My back has been bothering me for about 4 days now.  I slept well last night and felt good so left for the Barbershop for my last haircut while Adelina cleans house.  I took the bus and arrived to an empty shop.  I sat and read a bit then he came in from the back and motioned for me to sit in the chair.  I started to get up and the pain shot right up my back.  He noticed that and looked concerned but I told him …old age.  When he finished I started up and he asked where in the back it hurt.  Then he urged me to sit back and put my feet up while he proceeded to get a electric hand massage from the cabinet.  The old kind that you put you strap it to the back of your hand then use your hand to massage.  He massaged my back, scalp, shoulders, arms, legs, hands, fingers, neck and face!   It felt great but I was already having a bowel attack after my morning coffee.   
      I thanked him and fast walked to the library and barely made it to the bathroom.  I took the bus home when Adelina was just starting to clean so I told her about my back and I would just sit on the couch while she cleaned.  She got me a pillow and then when she finished my bedroom she urged me up off the couch lay on the bed.  The she asked where it hurt and I showed her.  She returned with Benque anointment my mother used to use all the time for her aches and pains.  Every time I would kiss her hello or goodnight she smelled of Bengay.  She rubbed it in then I kicked back and read while feeling the coolness of the menthol but the pain was still there.  I took 800 mg IBProphen.  Now I have a reason to make a Doctor’s appointment.


   Today Adelina called on me to see if I wanted some more Benque and if the pain was better. I was tempted but, though it felt good,it didn’t solve the problem.  Maybe a full body massage? I love Oaxaca.
     I had dinner at Vin y Tapas.  More Pasta…bad..and my daughter called while I was reading The Glory and Desire on Kindle when I received my 5th phone call in 3 months but couldn’t get out of Kindle and answer it and didn’t have my Bluetooth transmitter to send the call to my Hearing Aides.  I replied on “Messenger”  with a Photo after I got her message.  Still no vocal contact.  
        It is nice to hear a voice.  I still remember her’s on the phone, my Mom’s , my Dad’s , our phone operator Philis Walsh, even my Grandmother’s voice.  When your on the phone the voice is the person.  When your with them the voice is only a part of the whole.   

      Well most of this week I’ve laid low but today my back was much better so I went to the Bakery for a Mushroom Tomato on Sourdough and coffee.

 In a couple days I meet with Annalisa, Zoe and a couple of her friends, Doug and Greg at Destilada for a 9 course meal.

Today I visited Biznaga for their Comida of Spinach Soup and a Pulled Chicken Lasagna but instead of Pasta they used Scalloped potatoes with the chicken between and topped with Cheese and a salad.


      I went to our “Dinner Party” but Zoe got the days mixed us and made the reservations for the following day.  Annalisa and I decided to do the whole meal so grabbed a table and enjoyed a great evening of good food.

 I told Zoe I would stop in tomorrow to meet her two visiting sons and have a drink.

Gadi and I had scheduled a Breakfast when she returned from Bogota and her training to be a field interpreter for the Sierra Norte area of Oaxaca.  We met at Tres Bistro and she was still beaming from the excitement of the 10 day trip.  She made some new friends and met many from around South America and the world.  We enjoyed our last meal together and parted ways.  



Mexican Independence Day festivities and preparations started today for the big Parade and Celebration on the 15th of September   I’m ready!


That evening I met Doug and Greg who were visiting their Mother for a week.  I stayed for 2 drinks then left.  We had a nice conversation and they were all having fun and a nice dinner.

Yesterday I had Comida at TerraNova but took most home along with a take out from Sushiito for Sunday snack.  

Darcy, his sister Pat and Jan invited me to join them while they were finishing Happy Hour.  I had a drink then returned to do some more packing.

Red White and Green..colors of the flag. Adios until next year.