Monday 11 September 2023

1987 Travel Journal: Oaxaca Evening

I returned back to my hotel room in Oaxaca in the late afternoon and started reading the stupid “Artifact” novel I had brought along with me on my trip, but mercifully, I was overcome by sleep and took a nap.

I woke up to something happening outside, and discovered that there was a demonstration going on.  It was the noisy street march of teachers demanding a contract, who slowly proceeded past the hotel.  Several older North American women from the hotel were throwing flowers and blowing kisses to signal their support for the teachers.  

I walked to a nearby outdoor cafe for supper and as I waited for my meal, I was confronted by another sort of parade; this one was made up of a variety of young street vendors, all hawking their wares.  A small group  of four little girls gathered around my to my table as I was eating.  The tallest girl in the group, who I assumed was a sister, asked me something in Spanish, which of course I didn’t understand.  She recognized my lingual disability, and reached over and took the blue ballpoint “Province of British Columbia” pen from my shirt pocket and began to write something on the palm of her hand.  

Before she could finish, a waitress came over and shooed the girls away.  Immediately after the waitress had left, the girls were back and the older girl held out the palm of her hand and I saw that she had written, “A Song”.

I pointed to the girl and asked, “A song?” and she nodded her head “Si.”  I held up my hands, palms toward them and fingers spread, to indicate, “Wait a minute.”

Beside lugging my camera equipment along with me on the trip, I had also brought a small pocket-size Aiwa cassette tape player/recorder.  This seemed like a perfect time to put the very cutting-edge, high tech piece of equipment, to the test.  I fished it out of my pocket and taped the song that the girls sang for me.  After I paid them for their performance, I let them listen, one by one, to their first recording session through the earphones of the cassette player.

They were of course enchanted to hear what they sounded like, and pretty amazed at the tiny machine that enabled them to do it.  The  girls giggled loudly as they listened to themselves and their enthusiastic  reaction attracted a few other kids who were around, and they came over to take a listen.  Fortunately, there were no others in the area, so I was finally able to put the cassette player back into my pocket.

I left the restaurant and wandered over to where the teachers were holding their rally.  A trio, accompanied by a guitar player began singing and so I recorded them.  After they had finished and I was standing there listening to the recording of their song, and a man with his family motioned to me, indicating that they too wanted to hear the recording, so I shared the song with each of them.  As they listened, a nearby policeman got curious and so he wandered over to also have a listen.

When I got back to my hotel room, it was still not quite time for bed so I reluctantly picked up my paperback and read about the stupid Greek artifact with the black hole in the middle that was going to burrow through the Earth to meet its twin and blow the Earth up.  I wished it would quickly do so and be done with it, taking out all of the Rightwing schemers  who are the central characters in the novel, with it.

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