A great moment in a great chilly brilliant day in New York:
I stopped in front of the Punjab Deli on Houston St. on the Lower East Side to lean on an iron rail basking for a few minutes in the sunshine. A tiny ancient person, bent over a bubbe cart, passed and said, “It’s nice in the sun.” I said it sure was. She stopped, turned her head up toward me, and out of the side of her mouth, like she was telling me a secret, she said, “I’m going to the corner for cookies.”
About five minutes later, I headed the same way, and she had just made it to the corner, that’s how slowly she was going. I was surprised that she went into the fancy Union Market. I went in behind her, but the narrow lanes were crowded, so I hesitated as the old woman trundled on. Then came the highlight of the day: She shouted at the good-looking tall people in the way, “Get the fuck outta the aisle.”
I went on to Tompkins Square Park in the East Village where the most magnificent elm is shedding its leaves.
Last week, after three months in Mexico, we were ready to go home, but home wasn’t ready for us, still icy and blustery. So we came to Tucson, Arizona, where we are loving the desert. Every big saguaro cactus has a big personality. Cholla needles glow. Tiny wildflowers are beginning to bloom. Streams run through the dry landscapes. Here are some pictures, primarily from the marvelous Saguaro National Park, Catalina State Park, and Sabino Canyon, part of a national forest. Thank big government for preserving these beautiful places. Click on a picture to enlarge it and you can scroll through the photos using the arrows.
In Last Vegas, pathetic retirees Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline and Robert DeNiro run off to gamble and flirt. Why are terrible movies so good on the ADO buses in Mexico? It’s not the dubbing into Spanish–terrible Mexican movies are great on the ADO, too. We took the four-plus hours and two-plus movies bus from Oaxaca to Puebla before the New Year to meet our East Tennessee friends Ann and Bill. A few days later we moved to Cholula nearby, site of a giant, mostly unexcavated pyramid with a church on top.
Women line one street, cradling live chickens or hefting turkeys under their arms, waiting for buyers. On another street, women sell dried squash seeds and beans and corn and roasted peanuts. All around the square and inside the market building, vendors hawk bread and pastry, chocolate, meat, piles of peppers and tomatoes and onions. It’s Thursday, market day in Zaachila, a town about 12 miles from where we are staying in Oaxaca. It’s colorful, exotic, exciting. I don’t take pictures
I stand in line at the WC (2 pesos and you get a good amount of toilet paper to take into your stall). The ladies in line are mostly vendors wearing their aprons, braids down their backs. There’s no blending in for me in jeans and sneakers and straw hat and even at just 5′ 4″ more than a head taller than most of the women in line.
My oddness becomes even more clear when the tiny lady behind me taps me and in Spanish says, more or less, “This is for women.”
I turn and said, “Soy una mujer.” I am a woman.
The expression for utter embarrassment is universal. She cringes and looks horrified, and then giggles. All the women in line including me start laughing. I let her go ahead of me so she can get out of there, but I bet she’s going to be teased for awhile.
A quiet tomb
Above the market in Zaachila and behind the church is a small archaeological site–two Zapotec/Mixtec tombs. The only visitors while we are there were some policemen who come up to sit on benches under a tree to eat their lunch, and some girls in school uniforms who look like they were dodging grownups. If you click on any image, it will enlarge.
You know what you tell people to say in Mexico if you want them to smile for the camera? WHISKEY.
That’s one of the discoveries I made last week driving around for three days with the intrepid Yesenia Diaz Delgado, communications coordinator for Pro Mujer Mexico. Working as a volunteer, I took pictures of women who get loans and health care through the nonprofit. Here are some of the dynamic women working hard near Mexico City.
We stopped at a café/bookstore, El Péndulo, where Steve bought a puzzle of a giant Orozco mural in honor of the revolution. With my receipt, I received a discount card. You only get the discount if of scratch off the right answer to a quiz.
Here is the question:
“Born in Konigsberg, Germany, it is said that this great philospher never moved more than 40 miles from his birth city.”
A: Emmanual Kant
B: G.W. Leibniz
C: Arthur Schopenhauer
Who is it? I want to get it right so I can get my discount next time.