Domingo 29 de Julio ‘A Day In the Life of Oaxaca’ PARTE TRES: Domingo en Oaxaca

Sunday morning was a little slow to get going, especially after a Saturday night during Guelaguetza – a few sore Mezcal heads me thinks. However, being Domingo, all of the churches were ‘packed to the rafters’ – truly – I mean, not a pew to be had and spilling out onto the streets and squares as the long service proceeded.

Many of the restaurants took the morning downtime to replenish their water supplies which comes in the form of a 10,000 litre tanker parked outside that pumps water straight in. Since we first came to Mexico some 26 years ago there’s been a marked improvement in the quality of the water – not quite ‘drink out of the tap’ but it seems most mainstream facilities are using filtered water of some sort. Street vendors too conspicuously use water from commercial bottles – presumably ‘purificado’.

But by midday it was once again in full party mode and yes, dancing in the streets, indigenous performances on stages throughout town and incredibly loud brass bands competing with the usual roaming minstrels – Incan pan pipes of course, guitars of all sizes (and players of all competencies) strumming vaguely familiar Paul Simon songs, trumpets belting out Mexican fanfares and our particular favourite, two players on a portable wooden xylophone accompanied by a solo trumpet – a true Oaxacan sound. At one point it was a deafening cacophony with no particular sound cutting through – but then delightfully the xylophone did.

On a couple of streets around Santo Domingo, a few enterprising kids were quietly drawing and painting with a discreet bowl for any passing donations. Impressive. Locals were very generous. People truly in need get nothing.

Guelaguetza will be no longer be come Tuesday, after the crowning of the Festival Princess on Monday evening, in a re-enactment ceremony of the life of Princess Donaji, the last Zapotecan Princess. Will we miss it? Hell yes, but perhaps some peace and quiet might be in order.

Oh, and Michael (son of Yoko) one of our house Chihuahuas, still hasn’t quite come around to us. Apparently, he’s been freaked out by recent earthquakes and flinches at the slightest sound or movement. Perhaps I need to get the big guns out, some slices of Chorizo. Will report.


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