Friday, January 23, 2009

why oaxaca? part 2

so i know i left you some pretty serious cliffhangers with that last blog (and based on the multitude of comments, i'm pretty sure you're dying for more). yet as i sit down to write, i'm realizing that i kinda summed it all up with those phrases.. as time wanes on, and i realize i have to be a mom again, its getting harder to remember all those incredibly funny, witty details that defined our trip. so bear with me, as i try to recount some good, interesting times...

1) "wow, latin men really know how to move their hips... a night of salsa dancing, i mean watching."

i'm kind of not sure what else to say about this. watching the salseros was truly something else. its no secret latinos like the ladies. i'm not trying to stereotype, but i'm gonna anyway (seeing as how i am a chicana- its okay). from the whistling while you get your car washed, to the groping you experience at your 7th grade dance... i've known my fair share of them. so its pretty cool to see what they just well might be made to do. when they said salsa club, i had flashes of me and b as polly and reuben just shredding the dance floor. but what happened was i pretty much sat at the table and marveled at these people's amazing god given ability to drop it like its hot!

2) "you just flew to the sun!" my encounter with a oaxacan medicine man.

so when everyone was going on and on about how we had to go see monte alban i was like, boring! i was thinking, i'm on vacation in mexico, why am i not in my bikini with a pina coloda on the beach? if i wanted to learn some history i would've gone to a museum. but fearing that i was acting like shannon from lost, i sucked it up and consented to go look at these breathtaking ruins. for those of you that don't know, ruins to mexico are like pyramids to egypt. they are kind of everywhere, and for the most part are pretty trippy. when we finally arrived at the top of the mountain that thousands of years ago was literally leveled (like with their hands) to build a city, our tour guide kind of just handed us off to some dude that was hanging around. this 'dude' had a pretty thick accent, so every time he paused i had to bug the people around me to explain further, cause i suddenly found myself totally entranced by the history of the place. i had like a million questions and our guide just kept going on and on about all the plants. seeing as how i have a B.S. in horticulture, one would think i would be interested, but all i really caught was him telling us that 'that plant is stronger than marijuana.' as we neared the end our tour we found ourselves in the middle of the ruins checking out this massive staircase. while i was tripping out on some of the hieroglyphs, our guide suddenly pulled my hand and told me he would now perform a ritual. hmmm. this is what i remember.
guide (in severely broken english): "now i want you to stare at the sky. take deep breaths. relax. deep breath." (me trying not to laugh- focus holly).
me: "ok"
g: "now close your eyes. what color do you see?"
me: (panicking- i don't want to get this wrong, but don't you only see one color- red- when you close your eyes cause you are looking at the back of your eye lids?) "ummm, i see red."
g: "uh-uh. (turns me to the side) what color do you see now?"
me: (did i get that last one wrong, maybe i should say another color) "uhhh, red."
g: (turns me again) "what color now?"
me: (i am so blowing it right now) "uhh, light red??"
g: "now blink real hard. open your eyes! everyone come look, see her eyes! see how red they are? they red, cause she just flew to the sun."
me: (flew to the sun? you gotta be kidding me)
g: "now i will make you cry. (what??) close your eyes. think of someone you love, someone close to you (how could he possibly know this!) now put your hand on your womb."
me: (tears stream down.) sniffle.

i honestly half expected ashton kutcher to jump out saying, "you got punk'd!" i mean why me? how could he even know i was pining for my babies?
he didn't, it was just another day in the life of a oaxacan medicine man.

3) "you are beating me with a bunch of herbs, is this really therapeutic" temazcal 101 (oaxaca's idea of a relaxing massage)

so when i think of vacation, the second word that comes to my mind (after bronze) is massage. sensual or not, its a necessary event for this latina. so having experienced a few mexican massage's in my day (hot rocks in los cabos), i kind of had an idea what to expect. when i saw the brochure for temazcal (yeah so i spelled it wrong in my last post... whoops), i thought, this is kind of like a massage, right? after booking the 'event' with our concierge (b&b lady), we got the scoop from the bride and groom who had already done it. their response, "most amazing thing ever, you have to do it!" so when the taxi came at 8:30 am to take us, we couldn't help but bubble with anticipation. our first clue should've been when the taxi driver was studying the map on the brochure furiously.. we start thinking, "has he really never been there before?" the answer would be no, he has not. so when the taxi pulled onto a dirt road in the heart of the barrio, we weren't sure good would come of this. we drove around these dirt roads for like 20 minutes stopping every 5 to ask every which child, mule, and beggar where this joint was. he finally seemed like he got the right answer, and we pulled up to this ...

how does this place not scream massage? no sign, no nothin. so we walk in... the lady truly does not speak any english. what we gather is take off all your clothes.
she leads us into a room where we see the sweat lodge. she disappears, so we think maybe we should just go in. bad idea. we suffered 5 or so minutes basically just inhaling some nasty smelling smoke, not to mention possibly soiling the place by early entry. she comes in, leads us out and has us stand at the entrance. she then brings out some sort of nice smelling incense and wafts our entire body with it. then she grabs a handful of herbs and starts beating us with it. with not much time to process... we just kind of went with it. before we knew it we were creeping backwards into a little hut, totally naked, with just one tiny light. she asked us if we wanted it on and we said, "yes on!" she says okay, then turns around and turns out the light.
so then we just start steaming it up. "its getting hot in here, (so hot), i'm gonna take my clothes off!" b just kept pouring water on the rocks and we are roasting! it actually felt really good and before we knew it she opens the door and has us douse under a freezing shower. we closed the experience out with a decent massage, paid her $100 bucks and left the barrio like a bat outta hell.

4) "this stuff is really hallucinogenic? it tastes like tequila, cheap whiskey, and charcoal." why mezcal is not a friend of mine.

i mean are words even necessary right now? i kinda feel like this picture sums it up.
but for those of you that don't know... mezcal is to oaxaca, as tequila is to the cabo wabo grill. all the oaxacans kept telling us we had to try it.. so sunday night, we went to dinner with two other couples from SLO to kind of a fancy dinner. we all agreed it would be necessary to at least try the stuff. we were prepared to order a round of a median priced mezcal (they say that you should sip/pound a shot before your meal, cause apparently it helps eliminate all the grease you'll be ingesting with your meal). however when we told the waiter, he graciously offered to let us try it first. and gracious it was, cause seriously, when that stuff hit my lips, i knew that it was quite possible that i wouldn't come back from it. thankfully i wasn't alone in my sediments, and saved us all 70 pesos- and thus ended our fleeting affair with the drink of the gods...

i hope you enjoyed this segment of why oaxaca... its my intention in part 3 to tell you about the reason we were actually there.. we'll see if that actually happens.


mom&popfoote said...

I wanted to comment to encourage you to keep up the story, I'm hooked. we've had some great times there visiting the "real" Mexico with David's brother, and I love your wit!

Kristen Borland said...

i've been following along, and it's totally entertaining. it's almost like watching a movie--hard to believe it's real. :)

kris pollard said...

honestly, when i first scrolled down and saw a lot of writing in your last two posts, i felt a little overwhelmed and considered passing (like i often do in most other people's blogs- i just get over it even though it really only takes a few minutes). but you knowing you have a way with words, i gave it a shot and was thoroughly entertained.

we just got back from our kids first trip to the snow. 5 days in big bear. we had a really great time and for the most part it felt like a true vacation. some good friends met us up there on night 3 and on the drive home si said, "the rodgers are definitely the best family to travel and stay with". this girl is my best friend (like a sister, we go back to 6th grade) and...i agree with si. :) miss you guys.

Holls said...

thanks for the comments guys. i know its long, but what can i say... i can be a bit long winded. ahem.
foote's- thanks for the encouragement. i'm almost ready for some more gummi vitamins (i think b is eating all of them)
kristin borland- thanks for the shout out... you must be one busy lady - congrats on the baby girl!
pollard's (kris)- you guys are awesome to travel with too! its always nice to be missed. wished we coulda had a snow vaca with you. we really want to get down to SD one of these long weekends. so i'm just dying to know! i keep asking emily- what are you guys having????? i'm thinking boy, cause i'm thinking you would've made a big announcement if it was a girl- not to say a boy isn't worthy of an announcement! in any event, we excited for you!

Mama G said...

Holly, can you PLEASE take us with you next time you go on vacation?
Oh, and why did they choose Oaxaca for their wedding- and how do you pronounce that word?

Anonymous said...

Mezcal = Diesel + jet fuel