Estuve tomando las fotos esta tarde cuándo comenzó a llover. [I was taking photos this afternoon when it began to rain.] Llueve esta tarde en junio en Oaxaca. [It rains every afternoon in June in Oaxaca.] I got under an overhang and waited it out. Normalmente [Usually] the rains last 20-30 minutes tops, and those who don’t have a place to be wait them out. Unfortunately I was in the middle of nowhere, but there was una cochera agradable [a nice driveway] to wait in. Since many of the buildings here are built as compounds, the driveways enter through a tunnel into the central courtyard.
Walking this morning, I saw another Vanagon, this time a white, air-cooled passenger camioneta [van]. It was right outside my door, and I got so excited that I ran back a mi apartamiento and grabbed mi cámara. (I’ll send the picture separately to post on the web site.) Dos Vanagons en una semana!
Once you get out of the centro [central district], the streets become a twisty maze, with streets of rough cobbles. I came across a district election office, and two soldiers were standing in the door, one holding a huge automatic rifle. I was about 6 feet away when I saw the gun, and I wondered if the soldier would see the black tripod slung under my arm, think it was a gun, and panic. Of course that didn’t happen, but my heart did speed up considerably.
The walls of many of the houses are adobe, a type of mud sun-baked and cut into bricks. After the wall is completed, it is plastered, which gives protection against the rains. Further protection is given by overhanging eaves. When the plaster is allowed to deteriorate, the wall quickly follows. In the poorer neighborhoods, the tops of the walls are exposed and irregular, with plants growing from the exposed adobe.
There is also an alarming amount of graffiti in the poorer neighborhoods. The tagging style is amazingly similar to that of the states… semi-artistic squiggles identifying an individual. Unfortunately people in the poor neighborhoods probably can’t afford to repair the damage, and it builds up. You see much less graffiti in centro.
I saw two Mormons today. They both looked mexicano, but I didn’t ask. I wondered how Elijah is doing on his mission in Phoenix. In case you’re wondering, Mormons in méxico look the same… white shirt, black name badges, black pants, and in a pair. I didn’t look close enough to see how ‘Elder’ is translated.
Tomorrow I start my second week of classes. After one week, I feel like I haven’t really learned anything. I know that’s not true, but a language is a huge thing, and I’m starting to realize how much there is to learn. One month is hardly enough to speak fluently. I’m still hoping that my month in mexico will give me the foundation for further absorption and volcabulary-building on the Caravana.