Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

christmas in Oaxaca

Saludos a todos!
I am in the lovely city of Oaxaca Mexico. I have been here since first of December and will be staying until January 30. i am renting a room from a family here whom I rented from before (in 2006). It costs 2000 pesos a month ($150.00 American) and it includes a private bathroom with hot water(solar heater) and use of the kitchen with stove and oven and free purified water which is necessary here in the Mexican United States(Estatos Unidos Mexicanos). Here Oaxaca is a state as well as a city. Like New York.
I am having a slow time. Reading a lot, meditating in my room I have set up my normal little shrine (relicario) with my little wood statue of Buddha and an assorment of stones from the garden and a clay bowl filled with sand for my jah sticks. It is very comfortable here. I am content for the most part. i miss my friends and family and of course Estelita. but I am happy and content on my own. It is a normal way of life for me. After I leave here at the end of January I will head on down to Guatemala and stay a while at Lago Atitlan and meet up with some travellers I know there, Neal and Merry from South Africa and Grant from Australia (british colombia)from there to El Salvador and from there to South America and Vilcabamba.
Not a big update this time just a little holiday hello to you all. So i will go now and let you go back to your merry making. I am alive and doing fine and still on the road following the path less travelled...
Peace and Love to you all in this year and the next

"Ordinary riches can be stolen from a man. Real riches cannot. In the treasure-house of your soul, there are infinitely precious things that may not be taken from you." - Oscar Wilde
"I wish that I was where I am." - Gertrude Stein

"The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the others willing to let them." - Robert Frost

Friday, December 04, 2009

travel update from Oaxaca

Saludos a todos,
So, when i left San Miguel de Allende, i went to Mexico city (here it is called "DF"which means "distrito federale"). this was my second time to visit this city. I was here about 9 years ago for a few days with a traveling buddy of mine the old cowboy Sahnnon. At that time I was a working restaurant owner and stayed in a $100.00 dollar a night hotel in la zona rosa and didn't do much except the kind of decadence that defined that time of my life. I will spare you the details.
This time of course things are different. I stayed in a very good hostel called Hostel Amigo which cost me about 9 dollars a night and included free buffet breakfast and buffet dinner. both meals were said to be vegetarian but it pays to ask(good thing I speak Spanish). I for one didn't know that "turkey ham" and "tuna fish" were vegetables...That being said, the food was plentiful and delicious. I especially enjoyed a creation called calabeza relleño (zucchini or courgette stuffed with cheese and fried in a fluffy egg batter. it is a variation of the classic chili relleño but with squash instead of chili) served in a mild and watery tomato sauce which was perfect for this dish!
Last time I was here for some reason (probably drunken stoned obliviousness)we never did get to see any of Diego Riveras wonderful fresco's This time that was my primary aim for the visit. I managed to see quite a few of them. Most impressive were the huge murals in the Palacio Gobierno. It is free to enter and look at the murals.
This is the building where the government does all its business. It is surrounded by guards and soldiers, and they make you go through some xray machines to enter. One must present a picture I.D. and fortunately for me, my bien amigo RB sent me my new California Drivers license to my old buddy Tom in Mazatlan and I was "ready Freddy" when they asked me for something to hold while I strolled the gallery!!
Just across the zocalo (plaza) from the palacio govierno, is the supreme court where there are also some absolutely stunning murals by more Mexican artists. same procedures, are required to enter.
I also went to the Rudolfo Lopez market and saw all the fresco's there. This was particularly interesting. They were all done in the 1930s and depict workers struggles against evils of capitalism and fascism. These murals have a more international quality to them and some of the artists were from USA and Japan. Fabulously fun market to hang around in. Unfortunately the hostel had no kitchen so I couldn't buy and cook food., but the two meals they provided were so filling I didn't need to.
There was some Mexican political holiday coming up and at night in the main zocalo there was a free laser light show. DUDE!!! This was the most awesome light show I have ever seen!! it looked like the government palace was melting!! Too great to only see once, I went back again a second time and was equally impressed.
The other high light was the Museo Antropologio in Chapultepec (grasshopper) park. My good buddy and travelling mate Jan from A-Dam who I met in Nicaragua and Mexico in 2006, recommended me that I go and so i went. Wow, this is the best museum of its kind I have been to (well, not better than the Cairo museum of history but just as good) in my 6 plus years of travel! I recommend it most sincerely to anyone who is traveling to Mexico and likes museums. I had only one negative experience the whole 5 days in Mexico city.
I was in a big park like a central park called the aAlmeda (poplar grove). I had to pee in the worst way. so I found a tree that I thought would be a good place to hide out. But alas, two policia on bicycles saw me and told me I was in big trouble.
They could take me to the comisario (police station) where I could pay a fine of 1,100 pesos (about $100.00) or stay in jail for 36 hours. This being Mexico, of course, there is always an alternative...
Its a good thing I speak spanish. we settled on 300pesos ($23.00) I bribed them on the spot and they let me go. I am just too old, small, and cute, to stay overnight in jail and I didn't want to waste a day at the comisario where I would have had to pay more anyway so...still it ruined my otherwise lovely day.
So upon leaving Mexico City, I went to Cuernavaca. It is only 60km from the DF but it is like another world. The DF is so crowded and the air is very dirty. It gets rather chilly at this time of year at night too and Cuernavaca is not any of those things! i am staying in a cool hostel about a kilometer walk down hill from the centro and the zocalo. It has a swimming pool and a language school. It is called Experienca and the weekly rate is cheap, about 8 dollars a night. They have a well equipped kitchen and they are real friendly. Cuernavaca is a good little city and I like it here. I will stay until end of November and then go to Oaxaca for December.
And so it is and it is so, I am in Oaxaca, I arrived early morning of 30/11. I am staying in a vecindario called colonia reforma not far from the beisbol stadio, but there is no beisbol at this time of the year. bummer. I am hanging around with my Danish travelling buddy, Carsten and I have met a few new friends here as well. I will be here all of December and at least part of if not all of January.
I hope this letter finds all of you happy and well. Here, then are a few parting thoughts till my next travel update.
Peace and Love,
Rambling Robert
"If you think you can, you are right. If you think you cant, you are right" Henry Ford
"So and so and so this must be it, one should not sit long where one should not sit" Mullah Nasser Eddin
"According to Buddhism for a man to be perfect there are two qualities that he should develop equally: compassion on one side, and wisdom on the other. Here compassion represents love, charity, kindness, tolerance and such noble qualities on the emotional side, or qualities of the heart, while wisdom would stand for the intellectual side or the qualities of the mind. If one develops only the emotional neglecting the intellectual, one may become a good-hearted fool; while to develop only the intellectual side neglecting the emotional may turn one into a hardheaded intellect without feeling for others. Therefore, to be perfect one has to develop both equally. That is the aim of the Buddhist way of life: in it wisdom and compassion are inseparably linked together." Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught