My stomach pain wasn’t that bad, just enough to keep me up. It didn’t get bad until I god have more of that sweet yogurt from the day before, but the closest I could find was some avocado sauce that didn’t help.
I was riding waves of nausea during the Check-In, which was too bad, since it involved one of the highlights of the trip. Eric, the avid birder, admitted to falling in love with Graciela, our guide at the mezcal distillery, within 10 minutes of meeting her. (Full disclosure: I thought she was pretty darn cute too.) That broke up the crowd. He went over and gave his wife, Debi, a hug. Then she admitted to falling in love with her too, and the circle was complete.
I didn’t think my stomach could handle the visit to the Center for the Orientation of Migrants (COMI), a migrant shelter, so I told Maggie I’d be staying behind. She understood and gave me directions to COMI in case I felt better.
Charlie went to the guy at the front desk, Felix, who did a lot of our cooking, and asked him to get the Coke and lime for me. Felix came back after the group left, went to the kitchen and squeezed 3 lime halves into a little plastic bottle of Coke (smaller than I’d seen in the U.S.). He flipped it upside-down (slowly) and handed it to me.
I paid him 10 pesos, insisting he keep the extra 3 pesos for his troung, inconvenient habit of using the dollar sign for peso amounts. I wonder if they call it “the peso sign.”)
I was chillin’ in the atrium, looking up the news on Democracy Now! and getting a little freaked-out about the violence at the Trump rallies in Chicago and Kansas City. It felt like things were coming apart in the U.S. in our absence, to the point that I wondered if we’d be safer in Oaxaca than back home in a few months.
I wrote some true Morning Pages (the stream-of-consciousness exercise) in my diary. By the afternoon, I was feeling well enough to take a cab to COMI. I tried out some español on Felix at the front desk: “¿Puedo llamar un taxi en esta calle?” (“Can I hail a cab on this street?” I think.)
I was let into COMI through a substantial gate. The courtyard was dirt. Next door was a construction site or a building in a late stage of collapse. Everyone was chatting over the remains of lunch at folding tables outside. I met the most casually dressed priest I’ve ever seen, like no one I’d encountered in my Catholic Lite upbringing.
Our destination was an amaranth farm run by Puente a la Salud Comunitaria (“Bridge to Community Health”). Amaranth was a staple in pre-Hispanic times but was outlawed by the Spaniards. It’s being encouraged now as a substitute for corn and beans, traditional crops that are no longer profitable.
We listened to the farmers near a big bush, which offered some much-needed shade. But I was feeling a bit weak and dizzy and seeing tracers, so I sat on the ground. The others went out to inspect the fields, while I stayed behind, lacking the energy or interest level to pursue such knowledge.
|City hall (?)|
Paul talked a big game about hoopin’ it up and taking on all comers whenever we came across a basketball court, but he never seemed to have a ball handy. (For the record, I would’ve gladly had his back in such a scenario. I think he would’ve been quite pleased with my Larry Bird-esque game.)
Liz and I bought some water and Coke for the ride home from an old man running a tiny, hole-in-the-wall store near the steps to the city hall. We sang some random pop hits on the ride back into Oaxaca City: John Denver, Milli Vanilli, that one Buffalo Springfield song no one could remember the name of. You know, the standards. It was a smaller, hotter bus than our usual ride; that may’ve encouraged a greater esprit de corps.
For the first time in what must be years, I went a whole day without eating. (Unless you count the avocado sauce, which I don’t.) But eating held no appeal for me that day, so I turned in early and slept very well.