We had been in Oaxaca for almost three months and we were near the end of our third bottle of mosquito repellent. I added water to it hoping that we could keep those bloodsuckers off our skin for a few more days with the diluted solution. Saturday finally came and it was time to pack it up and get ready for the ride up into the mountains to Córdoba, Veracruz.
It was perfect day for the toilet to clog, and so it did. Remembering the word for plunger from my previous encounters with plumbing problems in Oaxaca City, I took off for the market in search of a bomba para el baño. The woman who watched over the property we were renting would be there in less than an hour to say goodbye to us. On the way there I threw the last of our household trash onto the garbage heap at the end of the road. There was only one dog rooting through the trash when I passed through, but was sure a few more would be along soon to help him out.
The plumbing was in working order, the trash was taken out and the suitcases were packed beyond capacity. The only thing left to do was order a taxi for 7 a.m. the next morning. The bus wasn’t supposed to leave until 8:30, but I always like to arrive way too early to bus stations, train depots and airports. Our unreliable, hard-partying, techno-loving Belgian neighbor offered to call and order a taxi for us since we were sans cellphone. He never did. We were not surprised. So on Sunday morning, we wheeled our luggage down to the corner while dodging dog shit and squeezing past a dump truck that was left on our dead-end road overnight.
On the corner, loaded down with backpacks and suitcases, we tried to hail a taxi. Around 7:30 a.m., we started to feel a bit nervous. There was not much traffic of any kind and there was no going back. The door was locked and the keys to the apartment were on the kitchen table. We didn’t have the time or the strength to haul our possessions across the city to the bus station. Two men were leaning against the wall, looking at us curiously. They told us we might have better luck if we trudged over to a busier road. All of us stepped into the road and peered past the parked cars. Salvation in the form of a taxi for hire came driving over the hill. The men helped us load our luggage and we tore off for the bus station. We got there just in time to eat the worst ham and cheese sandwich I’ve ever had in my life and try to board the wrong bus.
We eventually found the bus to Córboba, climbed aboard and rode out of the city along the base of the Cerro del Fortin. We both waved goodbye to the towering statue of Don Benito Juárez that overlooks the city on our way out of town. I’m sure we will see you again, Oaxaca. Until then, I feel at peace knowing that women will be hawking wooden bookmarks to tourists, the trash guys will continue to announce their arrival by ringing cowbells in the street, ear-piercing fireworks will boom at all hours of the day and night and that guy who really does not know how to play the accordion will still be making a racket in front of Santo Domingo.
art museum in Oaxaca
the patio wall at Nueva Babel
Museo de Arte Prehispánico de México Rufino Tamayo
hopefully there will be a photo of me taking a photo of the Google van in Oaxaca
part of the Iglesia Soledad
political ad for Paco Reyes
ice cream shop at dusk
map of the market by our apartment