Two weeks in Mexico: What I found
It felt like passing through a portal — arriving in rural Oaxaca. That first evening, Joseph recorded the sounds that arrived to us on the porch of our friends’ house where we would spend our two weeks. Dogs, turkeys, cows, goats, insects, a loudspeaker advertising a new butcher and strains of ’80s hits in Spanish and English from the other side of the valley.
It was familiar and welcoming to me. I had done this before. It was new and mind-bending for Joseph, and fortunately he is no stranger to adventure, as there is no way to go slowly into Mexico. From the first jolt of the taxi in Mexico City it was clear that this vacation would be a bit of a lurch. At least we would sleep late each day.
We climbed the ancient steps of Monte Alban, ate roadside tacos dripping in salsa picante, breathed in vistas and valleys — lushly green and spiked with agave. We weaved through crowded markets redolent of roasting corn, fresh pineapple and moles. We drank midnight mezcal on our porch, surrounded by two snoring dogs and a blue-eyed Siamese we wanted to take home with us. We drove over rutted roads, changing lanes with the new-found agility of a Mexican taxi driver. We sat in the shade of a portico and drank mineral water with lemon, and a handful of peanuts with chile while watching grandmothers draped in rebozos and young kids with green hair. We had warm connections with friends, both Mexican and US. I even held a lively presentation of my book at the library, where a friendly audience plied me with questions that reminded us all of the complexity of Mexico — so rich and so problematic.
And I found that Joseph and I travel well together. It was hard for us to put everything together to take a break from this life we love in Fort Collins. Hard to leave our home and cats and garden and work to go into the unknown for two whole weeks. But on the other side of the portal was a chance to remind ourselves that we each have the other’s hand to hold as we zig-zag wide-eyed through a market crowded with men pushing crates of mangoes, women pouring half-gourds of tejate, dogs waiting for something to drop and the merchant cries of “what do you need-fresh today-you won’t find it anywhere else.”
What I know I will not find anywhere else is just that hand, that assurance that we are experiencing all this abundant life–together. Fresh today as it was four years ago when we met.
The young woman at the flower stand in the Ocotlan market gifted me a sunset-colored rose, stripped of its thorns. She twinkled a bit, wouldn’t take any pesos for it. We like to think she recognized love.