Friday, June 12, 2009

Go Moto

One of the advantages of our strange location in Oaxaca (not quite in the center of things, not officially the municipality of Oaxaca) is that we live near moto-taxi country. Motos run on the back roads only, because taxistas have licenses for the main roads.

A typical moto consists of a motorcycle front with a little roofed cart attached to the back. Usually no doors. The windshield sports a nickname, possibly quite descriptive and sometimes in English, such as the man with the "Night of the 1,000 Loves" moto-taxi last week who asked for a Spanish translation of the nickname and then laughed delightedly.

When the car is broken (often), we grab a moto to get the kids to school, joining the legions of mommies and daddies hauling babies, backpacks and market bags into these lightweight taxis.

Paying for a moto is a fixed price affair, 5 pesos per person, although you never know what happens with kids. Some throw in the nena for free and others go for half price.

Since the motos have to stick to a pretty defined, limited area, the routes do not vary widely. I used to go into a long description of where Colegio Teizcali was located before a friend was kind enough to point out that all I have to tell the moto-taxista is that I want to go to "la posta", which, I believe, is the large post located on a corner across from the school. To get back home, rather than awkwardly trying to pronounce Rio Quiyotepec and then trying to direct us there, all I have to say is "a la antenna", which is a giant antenna structure two blocks from our house.

Moto-taxistas are big on swerving. They like to turn off the engine and coast down hills. They hook up CD players, Ipods and flashing lights to pimp their rides. They are often young, maybe pre-driving age, and there is a healthy portion of women operating them.

When we ride moto-taxis, my kids become puppies with their tongues flying out of their mouths in the open breeze. Every bump, ditch and turn is up for speculation--will we make it?--and conversation--we made it! Graffiti is brighter, the air a little less diesel-tinged and the markets something to avoid rather than to dive into. Whenever we take a moto up to Colegio Teizcali, the kids tumble out laughing and thrilled, like we just got off a roller coaster. And me, the one gripping onto Geni to keep her from jumping for joy, holding the backpacks between my knees so they don't get lost as we sail over a speed bump, trying to grab onto the driver's unbolted seat to hold us all in place, I love it all dearly, too.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Post Mastectomy Alternative Clothing

It has been a hell of a two years since my mastectomy, weighted down with a heavy silicone prosthesis and one of those very modest bras meant to hide the slightest hint that you ever had surgery but that show when I wear the slightest v-neck, scoop neck or skinny strap tank top.

Because these sturdy, practical items are in need of replacing, I've started doing some online research to find alternatives to the very modest, cover-it-all-up options for post-mastectomy patients.

I'm extremely happy to share a blog entry I found, addressing my challenge:

Post Mastectomy Supplies by Hester Hill Schnipper.

She talks about various options, and links to a wonderful website called BreastFree.

BreastFree, in turn, links to many places to order lighter, different breast forms, cool tank tops, and all sorts of stuff.

I wanted to share this information in case anyone else out there is searching for new options.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Super Seco

New dimensions of Oaxaca have been revealing themselves to me lately. Firstly, there's the wonderful ecstatic dance experience I've discovered at Casa del Angel yoga center. It's called Osho Moving Meditation, I believe, and it combines manic, freeform, barefoot dancing to live drumming with sudden, absolute stillness. It reminds me of the great Freeze Dance game you play with preschoolers, or that old statues game I can never quite remember all the rules for that I used to play with friends in the backyard at Vestal, New York.

I finally hit the other "big" organic-y natural market in Oaxaca, at the old railroad station. It's very lovely to see a market under the old signposts and waiting area for trains to arrive. I wish there was still a railroad system here. Our friend told us he and his girlfriend used to take the sleeper train to Mexico City, which included dinner served in the dining car and foldaway beds. Deluxe! The market itself was small, but there was a vendor selling organic seeds so I have now sourced the beginnings of our organic rooftop garden. And I also found a woman preparing fresh blue corn tortillas to make wild mountain mushroom tacos.

We also finally ventured to Atzompa, spurred by the incredible pottery show we saw at the State Folk Art Museum in San Bartolo Coyotepec. The pottery here is glazed, unlike pieces in other villages around Oaxaca, and it is phenomenally, shockingly cheap. We came home with a trunk load of plates, bowls, planters, garden boxes and dishes for catching water overflow, and we spent under 50 dollars.

My dad comes for a visit soon, and I'm already beginning a mental list of the places we'll go. Yes, of course, Italian Coffee Company, Oaxaca's version of Starbucks, my dad just can't stay away. And there will be the everyday things, too, like coming to Max's final presentation at school and his 8th (8th!) birthday party at Poing Poing, the super doble fiesta de Max y Inoa. Super-seco! With a Madagascar theme, in honor of gender neutrality.

But just in case you thinks it's all organic honey and bougainvillea over here, take heart: our new rooftop patio is sporting a split beam, the key supporting beam, and sagging dangerously. The connecting pipes in our water catchment system has fallen down due to, well, rain.