Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas in Oaxaca

Kate has a beautiful post up over at Broken Windows describing the Dia de la Natividad festivities in Oaxaca.
Afterwards, Jonathan took us to a nameless clandestine cantina on the north side of town. The cantina is run by Enrique and his wife. When we arrived, the women of the posada were still eating and drinking chocolate. The posada is a religious function, a sort of parade of its own, that goes from house to house on holy days and ends at a host house that serves food and chocolate. Gathered along the front part of the little courtyard of the cantina were a dozen women eating dressed hot dogs. Just beyond them were a few little tables and a bar (which in traditional cantinas like this one serves more as a buffet table). Enrique served us mezcal from old Smirnoff bottles and one of the young women gave us each a little plastic bag filled with Christmas cookies and candies. They offered us some of the posada hot dogs, but we were all completely stuffed. Later we were served beers, queso fresco, salsa, and tostadas, which are crisp, baked tortillas. The cantina is really a part of Ernesto’s house, with a public outhouse in the center of the courtyard, potted plants, and a corrugated metal door held shut with a couple of rusted steel bars. Some of the family’s clothes were hanging to dry on the clothesline near our table. Jonathan told us that it is not uncommon for there to be copal incense burning in the front while Ernesto’s devout mother and wife pray just feet away from the cantina tables where customers drink mezcal and beers and tell all matter of stories. It’s just pure, beautiful, Oaxacan complexity in one little house.

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