Tag Archive for 'bike work'

Final Weeks in Oaxaca

Our six weeks here have flown by, as our lack of posts has demonstrated. The folks at our school have become as much friends as teachers. Our family feels like family. We have favorite popsicle stands, favorite cafes, and we know where we can use the bathroom for free downtown. We’ve had shoes repaired, knives sharpened, hairs cut, and prescriptions filled. This last thing involves going to any pharmacy, telling the on-call doctor what kind of medication you need, waiting while he searches on his giant desktop, and walking out with a prescription good for an infinite number of refills. We also saw a movie being filmed in the square outside of Santo Domingo. The extras were being trained for a battle scene.

During our stay there was a classical music festival, a film festival, and a book fair. We went to events for all three. Many of the concerts were free, and the films were 30 pesos (a little more than $2) each.
We did do some touristy things too – we visited the Museo de Santo Domingo downtown that has an enormous permanent exhibit of pre-Spanish artifacts of the ancient cities of Oaxaca state.

We spent a day with our friend Steve and his daughter Liv, visiting sights outside of Oaxaca city. We went to an ancient Zapotec city in the pueblo of Mitla, where there is amazing masonry and architecture more complex than in the other ruins we’ve visited. Mario likes to say “Monte Alban es un lugar grande y impressionante, pero Mitla es la joya.” (Monte Alban is a huge impressive place, but Mitla is the gem.) We also went to a market in Tlacolula famous for the bartering that happens there between sellers. Lots of people come from the surrounding areas to sell their goods, but also to trade among themselves. The market is also well known for its barbacoa, which is meat (usually beef, lamb, or goat) marinated in an amazing sauce of chiles and herbs and cooked in a very hot fire for several hours. It can be served in a soup or in tacos. Andrew ordered a bowl of said soup that smelled delicious and contained things like stomach lining, intestines, and other parts of the animal we’re not used to eating. He ate the whole bowl without too much help from Aran. She did eat the barbacoa, but more familiar parts of the animal, and stuffed in some of the best tacos we’ve had in Mexico. Before heading home, we stopped in the pueblo of Tule, where there is the world’s largest tree. It’s about 2500 years old.

It is hard to face our very last weekend here, but we feel good about our Spanish, and we know we’ve built a solid enough base to talk to everyone we meet as we travel. We’ve replaced a’s bottom bracket one last (we hope) time. Today the plan is to bake a few more pies with Paty and Mario. We’re also pretty sure we’ll be back in Oaxaca someday. Right now we’re looking forward to biking over some mountains toward Puerto Escondido!

¡Vamos a México!

[this post was written on Friday, 23 September]

We have done it! We’re in Mexico with our bikes and panniers. Here’s how we did it:

On Monday, we got a ride to Washington with Andrew’s parents, and then we chased down a part for Aran’s bike, and delivered our bikes to the Nova Bicycle Doctor in Falls Church on Tuesday afternoon, with the help of aunt Lois. On Wednesday evening we packed our panniers and then packed them into two boxes from UHaul, and picked up the bikes from the doc. TSA had a look in each of the 4 boxes and passed them all on to Air Canada, who got them to Mexico City at the same time as us, even though we had been rebooked by the time we made our connection in Toronto (they re-rebooked us, and loaded the bikes).

Once in Mexico, we breezed through Immigration and Customs, and found our friend Oscar waiting just outside the doors of Customs. He helped us drag the boxes to a corner of the hallway where we were more or less out of the way, and we reassembled the bicycles, reattaching forks, stems, racks, fenders, and pedals before loading up the bags and walking over the highway. Oscar led us to his home on bike, and we’ve been touring the city on foot with him since. Yesterday we saw the Zocalo, National Palace, opera house and downtown, and today we went to the market a Merced and bought enough food for 5 days, which we’ll help our hosts Oscar and Rebecca cook into delicious meals.