D is for: Disorientated

I made the mistake of going for a walk in Oaxaca City. As it turns out, the maps are sometimes accurate and sometimes not. So I make my way somewhere OK, then walk back without the map – but as it turns out also, all streets in this town look the same! There are some roads I get to and they are just not on the map. Another thing I am shortly to learn the hard way is that some of the streets are so long they have 2 sets of numbers. So there are 2 numbers 103 on Tinoco Y Palacious, both quite far away from eachother.

To add further to the complexity, I have 3 versions of a map of the city, each of different levels of detail, and only using them all in conjunction can I begin to find my way around.


This, plus the uncertainty around when I am going to get to wash myself and avoid the distinct discomfort of cold showers in a quite frankly, cold place, plus the fact people keep talking at me in Spanish and I just nod and pretend I know what they are saying to save embarrassment (it doesn’t work), PLUS the fact that my face has for some reason erupted into a severe bout of acne, the likes of which my chin has not encountered since 1994 – (its like a spot monster has crawled onto my face and chewed its way across my skin (this makes a hot shower even MORE important)) – mean I am doing things I normally wouldn’t. Like losing stuff, and getting LOST!

I am standing on the corner of the street where I think my hostel is (I’m right but don’t realise), trying not to pick at my face, turning my map this way, then that, and most likely whimpering when I hear ‘You look lost’. ‘I AM lost!! And I keep losing things! Its not like me!!’.

There begins a lovely friendship with D. We hang out, we go out, we dance (guess what, he leads salsa (well), he speaks Spanish (well), we laugh. We maybe do some other stuff that’s none of your business. (You’re right, this is indeed astonishing given my ferocious acne flare up mentioned a mere paragraph but one ago).

But before all that happens, here is a really funny thing we did together. We attended the Mexican ballet to see ‘EL Rey Leon’ (i.e. The Lion King). YEP! I never could have imagined that morning that that by 7pm that very same day I would be sat in the beautiful 16th Century Teatro Macedonio Alcalá with a very tall, diva of a woman from Seattle (via Palestine) dressed in the most elaborate golden flowery outfit (a ‘break-up’ outfit apparently) who shall be known as P, and with my new friend D, awaiting this mysterious glory of a show.

img_0643The beautiful Teatro Macedonio Alcalá

Now this was funny on more than 1 level because, when I say P was a diva I mean like drag queen style diva – I’ve never really experienced anything like it. I met her in the hostel lobby and was pretty taken aback – I mean, she looked pretty amazing and when we set out was very striking also because she is about twice the height of the average Mexican man let alone woman. P immediately told me to carry her purse and phone in my bag – I obliged, I’m along for the ride here. She strides off & I go with assuming we will meet the others at the restaurant. When I mention it she had apparently forgotten about the others and its by chance they find us in the restaurant! Already I know I could not handle a whole evening alone with her… She asks me a question disinterestedly then makes no attempt to pretend to listen to my answer. Thank goodness D and pal find us then by chance…

P rushes us through the end of our dinner in case we are late, and I have to skip using the loo as someone in there is taking so long! (Maybe they like the food here as much as me…though to be fair it hasn’t yet made me sick).

In the theatre itself, a beautiful building, P is still busy telling us what to do, where to sit etc. We also now have instructions to get her laid. To me and D its funny, we keep giving eachother looks. She’s for real?! Quite a character – though later it turns out in her case that the line between ‘character’ and ‘bitch’ runs very thin indeed…

Level 2 funny was the ballet itself. When I had imagined it earlier (I love dance, and the last show I saw was Matthew Bourne’s the Red Shoes at Sadler’s Wells in London), I thought wow, Mexican ballerinas with their particular take on ‘El Rey Leon’ – what delight awaits us?!

It started with some OK dancers all in white doing a 5 minute show. OK, not sure what it was about -it certainly didn’t seem to feature any lions – but still. Then the curtain went down. We waited. After a more than adequate pregnant pause the side lights in the theatre came on. Someone starting making a phone call. It was already hilariously unprofessional and as time continued to pass and nothing happened, I’m afraid to say these 3 gringos in the back seats lost our shit. It was pretty funny.

The show itself turned out not to be El Rey Leon, but ‘La Sirenita’ (The Little Mermaid). Or at least this was the first show and El Rey Leon came afterwards. But as the show consisted of mainly children dancing badly and out of time to the music, and/or 7 year olds being choreographed into inappropriately sexualised positions (weird & wrong as it was entertaining) we didn’t make it to the second half and had to instead escape and get ourselves a beer to get over the trauma.

img_0670Poster for the Mexican ballet which I only saw after the event itself…

It was then that I got to do the salsa dancing. And I got a good story out of it – so all in all a pretty good night for me 🙂

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