Last evening we went into town, something we almost never do unless we are accompanying family or friends.
But 'Oaxaca' is here for a visit. A cultural event on tour, visiting us here on Isla Mujeres. I could not find any recent information on the internet, but here is something from 2008.
Oaxaca is Miguel's homeland...where he was born and where he says he plans to die (hmmm...does that mean we'll be moving someday?).
Miguel comes from the mountains of Monte Alban. Miguel is proud of his heritage and his culture, and anyone coming from Oaxaca is his paisano (countryman). Luis, our Cancun taxi driver, hails from Oaxaca, and they talk paisano-talk all the time - either that or they are talking about their pets (they both have big hearts for animals).
Anyway...back at the zocalo on Isla Mujeres, we strolled amongst the vendor stalls. Miguel chatted paisano-talk with his country men and women. I detected pride, and yearning. Even though Miguel has been part of Isla Mujeres for more than 30 years, Oaxaca tugs at him.
I was hungry, and the fried cheese quesadilla looked yummy. So I ordered one. They topped it with mole and grated cheese and hot sauce. Yup...Yummy! Washed down with a glass of delicious pina colada from another stall, and I was full.
They were making even bigger empanadas stuffed with cheese, and Miguel insisted I try it. So I did, and it was good too. But I was too full, and we brought most of it home. Miguel finished it off this morning at breakfast.
We also bought some coffee, some linens (made from cotton), and some grasshoppers. The latter was not for me, sorry, I don't eat bugs on purpose. But Miguel does, he loved them, and there is now a bag in the fridge.
After the visit to the stalls, we headed over to the stage, where a couple dressed in traditional garb were dancing. Various dances, most with stories, and some with a take on the Mexican sense of humor. The woman played the part of a bull, and pushed her partner all over the stage with head-butts to his body. A couple of times the man fell back onto the large sign; it wavered but stood tall. He recovered his balance and was assaulted again. It was cute.
There was a female singer, and she sang some great songs, and at one point she danced with a man from the crowd. I tell you - his feet could move! He danced with one hand behind his back and the other waving a hanky at the woman. Great fun to watch.
One of the last dances was called "Tira la Fruta" (throw the fruit). The couple came out on stage with the man carrying a basket of fruit. As they danced, they got to a chorus and the man pulled out a handful of fruit and started throwing one piece at a time to the crowd. Gently at first, but then he tried to get to the people at the back, and the fruit was whipping by. The woman wanted to throw some fruit too, but it was bad timing because she pulled out a handful just as the man decided to start throwing fruit to the other side of the crowd. And her technique was different - she threw handfuls at time; between them there were probably 5 or 6 oranges, apples, and bananas zinging by at any one time.
Some people were grabbing at the fruit. Some people were ducking. Some people were grabbing as they ducked. Everyone was laughing. One piece smacked me in the leg, but it rolled away before I could get it.
A man near us ate his apple, and then he ate another one. And then a banana, and he had an orange in his lap. I never saw him reach for a single thing; I must have been too busy ducking.