February 13, 2008
Ooo it’s hard to keep up with this blog stuff while we are in SCHOOL!!!! Cassidy, Teslin, and I are in our third week of Spanish classes. Class is 4 hours a day with a 2 hour workshop in the afternoon (4-6:00). Chris meets us at school at 1:00 and we go out to a nice big mid-day meal, and then return to our Posada for a serious siesta. Spanish is going great, but by 8:00 I’m toast (the kids still have zip at this hour however). We all feel that the afternoon class is a bit too much, but now we are learning back strap weaving and can’t resist.
Cassidy and Teslin are doing great with their Spanish. They are speaking in sentences and asking for things at restaurants and markets. Over the weekend we all went to the market at Tlacolula, a small town 20 minutes from Oaxaca. Cassidy bought his first treasures and did a great job bargaining for them. I’m quite impressed. I find myself sitting in class feeling a lot like I am a first grader in an 8th grade honors course. (Actually….I’ve gotten better…I may just be 2 years behind now). We just found out it is actually a 5 week class this time, so we will be here longer than we thought.
One of our Posada buddies, Ron, returned today to Tucson, and we are all sad to see him go. We look forward to seeing Ron and meeting his wife when we get up there ourselves again. The Posada can take 3 more people, but I don’t think anyone is scheduled to come this month. Another woman, Jennifer is out traveling around rural markets in Oaxaca for the week. She’ll be back for a bit, and then she too leaves. That leaves us and Dan, the long term renter from Canada. This is Dan’s 3rd year here and he considers it his second home. We’ve gotten to know the sweet family that runs the Posada and the kids are getting quite friendly with the 7 year old, Africa. In fact on Saturday, Chris, Cassidy and I went out to a nearby village (San Felipe) to bird, and Teslin stayed with Africa’s family. The 3 year old, Amir, likes to scare Chris with his dinosaurs. The two are quite a pair. Efrin, Africa's dad, works 2 jobs to make ends meet. He works at the school during the job, and then on Friday and Saturday nights works at a bar until 5am
The weather has been amazing….in the high 80’s each day and 50-60 at night. We have our fans and soft sheets and just about everything else from the Pop-up with us at the Posada. It’s only sprinkled once since we arrived which is a bit dry for this time of year. There was a 6-4 magnitude earthquake the other day that woke everyone else in the city but the Ruges. We all slept like babies through it. Evidently Oaxaca is very near a fault and they have tremors every day. This was the biggest they’ve had in a few years, but did not damage anything.
Here’s Cassidy for a two sentence bird update:
I’ve seen lots of interesting birds around our posada including Gray Silky-flycatcher and Bridled Sparrow. We are going to a place in Oaxaca called Teotitlan this Saturday and I bet it will be great birding! So….this is what I’ve seen: Vermillion and Tufted Flycatchers, Rufous Capped Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow Rump warbler, Berylline and Dusky Hummingbirds, Orchard and Bullock’s Orioles, House Sparrows!, Nashville Warblers, House Finches, and Great-tailed Grackles, Inca Doves, orange-crowned Warbler, Turkey Vultures, Robins, and 1 black and white warbler that mom saw. That’s all! Cassidy.
Feb 16th, 2008
It's Saturday and the boys are on an all day birding trip with Roque and us girls are having one big long siesta. Another home schooling family arrived yesterday with a 13 year old girl and will be here for three weeks. That should be a lot of fun for everyone. Yesterday morning there was a huge demonstration of the teacher's union. I was told that there were 20,000 people demonstrating, from the city of Oaxaca and outlying villages. They started at the ministry of education on the edge of the city and walked down the main street to the Zocalo. They were going past the school for almost 2 hours. Demonstrations are very common here and an accepted way to express sentiments. We talked quite a bit about it in class and my teacher (who is quite liberal) feels that it is an outdated and ineffective form of protest. There are not a lot of options it seems, and it is a welcome change to what seems like collective passivity in the States. There is much frustration with the government here, but very few way to express it and even fewer ways to affect change.
Teslin and I are on the veranda at school. It is a huge garden area with palm trees and flowering plants and trees I am not familiar with. One side is on one of the busiest roads in Oaxaca, but you rarely notice once you enter the school. It is surrounded by a high wall with ivy and plants on it. However, when the traffic gets stopped for some reason folks just lay on their horns. It's even worse than NE cities! Even when they can see the reason for the stop, people honk and honk. That coupled with the lack of pollution devices on any cars makes walking on busy streets very nasty. for the most part you can avoid them and there are many pleasant parks and small streets to wander through. The school is the only place we know of that has any stretch of grass to it, and we always bring a frisbee with us for breaks. Oaxaca's main plaza or zocolo is beautiful, with gorgeous large trees and seasonal flower beds (now they are all poinsettas). It is a large pedestrian only space, but all cobblestone and pavement with lots of places to sit and enjoy things. An enormous cathedral borders one side of the zocolo and has its own beautiful open area. The rest of the zocalo is edged with cafe's and shops.
Well...the school is shutting so we have to go! more to come! Anny