Monday, July 11, 2016

I've been procrastinating for weeks about creating this blog because

1. I'm lazy.
2. The world doesn't need another blog.
3. One of the things I want to be on vacation from is my computer, not that that's stopped me from playing video games or checking Facebook.

But the world is eagerly awaiting news of my adventures (yeh right) or at least everyone I know could use a break from reading about Donald Trump, so here goes.

We arrived in Oaxaca about 3 weeks ago, and until last week we were spending most of our time looking for a place to live. We finally moved into a 2 bedroom furnished apartment last week, and since then we've been buying dishes and rugs and extra furniture and fans and stuff. For those of you who live in San Francisco, I hope I'm not causing you too much pain by mentioning that the rent is about $450/month.

Mexico is just like it always is -- colorful, green, random; full of texture and life and flowers. The apartment is kind of falling apart, but the landlord has been fixing it up. (Unfortunately, that couldn't happen before we moved in.) So, this morning we were visited by the painter (who is returning Thursday to paint the whole house), the exterminator (who is dealing with the cucarachas), the plumber (this is at least his fourth trip here), the locksmith (replacing the locks whose keys were missing), and the house cleaner. (Finally! The place was a mess.) And sometime this evening (supposedly) some furniture will be delivered. It's fun, playing house.

Oaxaca has been in the news lately because the teachers here and in the state of Chiapas are on strike. They are blockading the highways, so most of
the first class buses between here and Mexico City are not running. The second class buses are running, but I'm guessing they don't go by the highway but rather through every little town. On the day we arrived, the Oaxaca state police decided to break up a blockade in Nochixtlan, just outside the city, and opened fire on the protesters, killing 8 people.
The reaction from people we talk to is mixed. Everyone we've talked to is horrifed by the killings, but also surprised. I don't know how common it is for the Mexican police to kill people, as compared to the police in the U.S., but Oaxaca is not generally a violent place. (All the drug-related violence is much further north.)

As a result, tourism is way, way down in Oaxaca, although it might have more to do with the blockades than the violence. People are generally at least as pissed off at the teachers as they are at the government. While no one here likes the government, they also don't like the fact that the protest is having a huge, negative economic impact on the area, which depends on tourism.

Aside from the fact that the protesters are occupying the Zocalo, the whole mess has really had very little impact (other than economic) on the city. I imagine that at some point the government will move in and throw the protesters out of the Zocalo and off the highways. I just hope they can do it without hurting anyone else. Sadly, that rarely seems to happen.

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