Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Last Sunday Morning In Barrio Jalatlaco, Oaxaca

Barbacoa Sunday mornings at the corner of this wall outside of Casa Arnel
It's been said that there are No Stupid Questions, but what happened Sunday morning puts the lie to that cliché.
Note that no one is identified by name or description.

I was seated at the Sundays only, family operated barbacoa stand on the corner of Calle Aldama across from Hotel Casa Arnel, where we'd spent the previous two nights.

A couple of New York women stopped and asked me some questions. One women was considerably older and seemed to have acute failure of common sense. The younger (50's?) was sharper, yet even she nearly drove me into a surreal state of mind.

I'm sorry that I can't perfectly reconstruct the dialogue, but here are a few of the high(?)lights. Try to imagine their frequent interruptions to my answers as I tried to answer their questions.

NYW: "Is the meat hot?
DC—I took this to mean "is it spicy?". I asked the cocinera if it was picante. "No"
DC: No, it's not. But if you put these salsas and chiles on it, it's hot."
Older NYW: "What I meant was, is it spicy?"
Younger NYW: "That's what he means. 'Picante' is 'hot'.

DC to self: ¿¿¿WTF???

Not "hot"
NYW: "How do you get to the airport?"
DC: "I'd take a taxi."
NYW: "How did you get here?"
DC: "On the bus."
NYW: "Oh! There are buses?? How many? Where do they go?"
DC: "There are many. They go many places. We will leave for Mexico City in an hour or so. They have a website."
NYW: "Oh. What's it called?"
DC: "ADO.com.mx"
NYW: —writes it down with some difficulty and coaching by me.
DC: "The ADO website can be difficult to use. It's much simpler to just go to the station, which, by the way, is only 7 blocks up this street."
NYW: peers up street.. "Where?"
DC: To the end of this street, take a left, about 2 blocks, you can't miss it."
NYW: Are the buses safe? I mean, it goes on a road, doesn't it?"
DC: ~speechless~

There was more of this sort of inanity, and when I got away, I felt very sad for my native land and the city of my birth.

To their credit, they did remark on the charm of Barrio Jalatlaco, but I had to wonder how they managed to find it. I wonder if they found their way out.

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