Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Home Stretch

San Cristobal was a gorgeous little town. If it weren't for the rain -- and the projectile vomiting -- I would have enjoyed spending more time there.

A few shots from one of the clear days.

I hope these weren't the tacos that made me sick, because they were delicious.

Argentina has their dog-head mannequins; Mexico has... this.

Colorful local market in San Cristobal. We wandered right into the crowded, stinking depths of this thing. It's remarkable how similar it felt to the markets in Asia. They even had pig faces for sale.

Here's how it looked most of the time in San Cristobal.

Finally, I recovered enough to handle a night bus and we made it to Oaxaca. Our apartment is incredible. It's right off one of the busiest roads in town -- only three blocks from the zocalo -- but so peaceful and relaxing on the inside.

Look at those ceilings... you could fit a basketball court in there!

Perfect spot to really hunker down and work on my book. As you can see.

The shared courtyard.

And our own little breakfast nook.

The view from our balcony. This was some kind of graduation parade. About a week later we had another giant parade down the same street, this time a major protest against the local government.

Wish I could remember what this was called. The guacamole mellowed out the crisp, savory tortillas and carmelized topping perfectly.

Marta, one of the two cats that live here. Pictured capturing the largest moth I've ever seen. Honestly, it was almost like a bat.

Oaxaca is a little bigger and more polluted than I expected it to be. But the city is overflowing with character.

They repaint the buildings frequently to keep on top of graffiti.

Fresh corn tortillas, still hot from the oven. $0.80 for a kilo.

We are finally doing a better job living frugally and cooking most of our meals at home. Still, we plan on taking advantage of the world-renowned culinary scene here.

Here's the famous black mole.

And the red mole, with a side of white beans that were out of this world.

Another new favorite: mezcal. It's Oaxaca State's answer to tequila -- a strong alcoholic beverage made from blue agave. But we're finding that you get a little bit more for your money with mezcal than you do with tequila. Even the cheapest mezcals taste as complex and -- I'm not sure what the right word is... peaty? -- as more expensive tequilas.

In other news, the Spanish-speaking and book-writing, respectively, are going pretty well. Liz is studying with a private instructor about 15 hours a week, and I'm nearly achieving my goal of 1,000 words a day on the book.

The basketball-playing, however, is going poorly. If I walk 20 minutes to a rotting old court with no nets I can usually get a game of 1 on 1 going against a 4'11" guy. It's exercise, I guess (we're at 2,000 meters here so I always get winded), but it gets old really fast when you can literally block every single shot your opponent takes and score 100% of the time on them. I have to take it super easy on people just to stay interested in the game, and that's no fun.

We have about 4 more weeks here in our apartment, and then we'll head to the Oaxacan coast with a few of Liz's friends that are coming down to visit.

And then we'll be just about done with the trip. Catch up with you again soon!


locarno said...

what up?!?!
can't wait to meet up with you folks in a few weeks. Perhaps you and i can get in a few ball games before heading to the coast?

Nomadic Matt said...

Your photos of the food make me want to get on AeroMexico right now.

What is your book about? cuisine! :)

Dan said...

Two chapters in the book are about food (so far). But I wouldn't say that's really the focus.

Glad you like the photos, though!

locarno: Bring it!