Oaxaca, Mexico: school and life here


I need a holiday! Nearly 5 weeks of school, 4 intensive hours a day. Or a change. 

And, while not a holiday, I’ve got a change! My teachers changed today so after 11am I had Marco back. Alfonso gets a break after an intensive few days with me: every week day since 11am last Wednesday, in fact. 

Alfonso and Marco are very different in a few ways. I think Marco has more experience and he doesn’t hesitate to interrupt and correct me. It’s good. Alfonso has introduced various readings along with the spanish tongue twisters, so good for focussing on specific sounds like ‘c’ and ‘r’. I like that too. 

Last Sunday Marco rode his bike in an important event and, based on his performance, is now in the Advanced level, just below the elite riders. Very impressive, especially if you’ve seen the hills around here. Even more astounding, I’ve now seen some bits of videos showing the ride he did. The terrain was very tough in the sections for which he had footage. Very impressive.

Anyhow, off to a different market tomorrow, to the southwest of Oaxaca this time. With Marco it won’t be a holiday. He is great at keeping the conversation going, at ensuring no class time is wasted. In fact both guys are great. The only way I think they’d allow a lesson to end early is if you passed out, died or physically walked out of it! Not once have they shortcut a class. They are there on time and we typically finish a little after.

Most students are apparently over 50! Marco had one aged 82! So there is hope for us all, assuming that guy did successfully learn Spanish.

One more week of school, this one with other students

Good things this week

Finally I found a shop with chocolate that is unsweetened! Guess what’s to drink here later? Yes. And if I don’t like it I have some of the lower (just) sugar version to mix in. 

Mary Jane was here this afternoon and she was speaking with me in Spanish. I’d like to say I answered in Spanish but, not so. Still, I was chuffed. If I can find someone to keep up my language with at home I’ll be very happy. Especially someone from here or Castello Leon. 

Thinking of Spanish, I was watching a great program in that language as per most nights. It was on foods eaten in South America that are taboo in other places. We’d covered rats eaten in a part of Mexico, tarantulas in Colombia. And we were heading for cats, eaten here somewhere. The screen suddenly threw up a test pattern which changed only for sets of ads. And after the scheduled end of program all reverted to normal with the usual excessive number of ads. Hmmm. Most odd. Censored by the ‘cats are best’ society or mere coincidence? You choose. 

Ohh look. Fingers caught in a blender. Blood everywhere. Yes, another Accident and Emergency show is on now. Obviously they are cheap to make, easy to dub and show all over the world and relevant to us all. Oh, a moment later, the reduction of a testicular torsion, fixing a gastric haemorrhage in a heavy drinker and I was sorry I didn’t have enough Spanish to help with the strange uni hemispherical cerebral changes in one poor woman. They did contrast tomography and she had no blockages in her cerebral or neck vascular system. So, why has she got such an awful change….. Apparently she has a very unusual arterial layout! This version of an A and E in Spanish is good. 

People in my new lunchtime coffee shop now know me, and my name, well. Without asking today one brought coffee over for ‘Jane’. Yes. Sigh. I cheated. It’s an easier name than my own. And I don’t have to spell or justify it every time. 😊 I was too cowardly to completely change my name while mum was younger and fiercer and would have been hurt by it. And then it was too late to make a dramatic change. The small edit I made improved it but using ‘Jane’ is easier. 

The wonderful pool in Casa Murguia: yes, that garage and driveway at home are for the chop. Could we park cars over a pool? Hmmm. Something to think about. I will miss the pool here. 25m by 3 (by 6m just near the steps) and with wonderful tiles, colours and designs. I love it! Sorry. You’ve heard that before? 

I have a chance to buy a tonic that will improve kidney function; fix rheumatic, sexual, liver and heart problems; strengthen bones; and cure all sorts of illnesses. Yes, listen to Radio something or other here in Oaxaca and you too will know how good that herbal tonic is and how you can consult with the wonderful man who has developed this amazing cure for all illnesses and problems. However, when people ring and speak to him on radio he cuts them off so rapidly that you may be better to actually get an appointment rather than to ring him. Best case scenario: it’s an advertorial but I’m not sure!

Oh no! He, or another guy perhaps, is now being interviewed about transplants! I heard this same interview last night. And the night before so it’s clearly an advertorial.

And one day I saw another example of the use of water here. Presumably a remnant effect of the influence of the Moores/Arabs on Spanish culture. The pools here are typically very shallow, often looking muddy. They’re not.

 Remembering the Tlatelolco massacre 

Mexico is today remembering yet another time the government, via its police and army, killed its people. Second of October 1968 between 30 and 300 students and members of the public attending a peaceful meeting in a part of Mexico City were killed. Unbelievable! This happened just 10 days before the Olympic Games held in Mexico City. 

I learnt about this massacre in part through an exhibition on genocide that I visited on the way home tonight, a special show on TV tonight, and through various conversations. I’m shocked. The number of dead is apparently still contested. Imagine. Imagine living under a government in which this is even possible!

Finally I realise why there have been so many police in this region in recent days. I’m used to seeing police here as I’ve said before. But in this region of the centre? I’m surprised. Clearly people management to avert any incipient political activity. What does paying so many law enforcement agents do to a national budget? Is it perhaps necessary in the short term in certain regions or, not?  


The great news is I have another appointment with Ester, the wonderful masseur in Oaxaca. Yes, Saturday week, just days before I leave. I’m just back from my second visit to her. This time we spoke for the whole time. Yes, in Spanish. Sometimes Spanglish! She is really good. At massage plus, interestingly, she is a Buddhist. Can’t be usual here.

Coffee shop

I like my new spot but.. The 2 Americans on one side are loudly speaking about the early USA presidents and I can’t tune them out. They are up to Lincoln in the 1860s. I’m trying to read, in Spanish, a edited text on the history of Zaachila. Marco lent it to me yesterday and I want to get into it. 

One day the light will be right and I can get pictures of some of the posters in the best coffee shop here. My current favourite is a comment on its chairs, not its coffee. Anyhow, I like the idea “sleep when you are dead”. 

Out the back, near the toilets is a nativity scene. Early? Permanently ready? I’m not sure but I do like the baseball players that are in the present layout.


And the penguin? I agree, it needs to explain what’s happening with the shark!  


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