As time will do, this week flew. After visiting DF on Monday, I spent Tuesday at a water park with friends from my church. It's a large place with many interconnected pools, slides, rope swings, playground equipment, and grassy areas. It also has the pervasive odor of rotten egg because the pools are filled from natural hot springs. All of us who swam also ended up smelling like rotten eggs, but we had fun!
Midmorning Wednesday I took the four-hour bus trip to Oaxaca to spend a few days with a friend I'd met at Spiritual Emphasis Camp a few weeks ago. She met me at the bus station, and we drove about 40 minutes to the place where she works as a nurse. It's a compound, run by Foundation for His Ministry, where 46 children live, because their parents can't take care of them. The place is pleasant and beautifully tended. The biggest drawback to the house where Jennifer lives is the howling shower. Both hot and cold faucets howl, in different keys mind you, as soon as they're turned on. Moderately amusing but a bit disturbing when the howling commences at five in the morning when the earliest risers shower...
Wednesday evening we walked around the nearby town of Tlacolula. It's not a very big place, so after we'd eaten, we went to wait...and wait...and wait for the bus to take us back by the compound. Unfortunately, we slightly overshot our stop, so we had to walk in the pitch black night along the side of the rather busy road, trying to avoid acacia bushes that grew in abundance.
After helping in the kitchen all Thursday morning, we caught a ride with another missionary over to Mitla to see the ruins there. In Mitla there is also an artisans' market, and we spent quite awhile looking at the lovely handicrafts available for purchase.
A visiting couple had made small tables and decorated four of the five with mosaic. Jennifer asked to do the fifth table, so she and I spent several hours on Friday laying out the tile and cementing it in. Once that was setting, we caught the bus for a long ride back to Oaxaca City to explore. During most of the ride, we were entertained by a musician who somehow managed to play his guitar, sing, and sort of dance while standing in the aisle of the moving bus. I would have enjoyed the performance more perhaps if he hadn't been jammed up against my seat and shoulder.
Once in the city, we saw more artisans' markets, browsed in a bookstore, went into a couple cathedrals and poked around various shops. In the evening the children from the home came to the zocalo, and Jennifer and I spent the rest __________________of the time watching clowns with one of the kids.
On Saturday we passed the morning putting grout on the table, and Jennifer also showed me the rest of the compound. In the early afternoon a missionary couple drove us to Oaxaca and dropped me off at the bus station. Unfortunately, although I had arrived at 1, the next bus with room didn't leave until 4:30. I wheeled my suitcase behind me, exploring the neighborhood surrounding the station, but since I didn't want to get lost, I didn't go far. Soon I returned to read and pace around the station until the time had passed.
Without meaning to, I had bought a ticket in the Gran Lujo line - apparently better than first class. The good thing is, the ticket didn't cost much more than regular transport. The bad thing is, I prefer regular, because on the ordinary buses, once it gets dark, passengers can turn on reading lights. For some reason, Gran Lujo doesn't have that option. Since I couldn't read after the first two hours on the bus, I decided to watch the movie, but...the headphone jack didn't work. That left me with the exciting option of staring out into the dark for the next two hours. I was very glad when we reached Puebla!
The Capu station where we arrived is very large and kind of confusing. I followed a 'salida' sign and did indeed end up outside. However, instead of coming out into the parking lot where I could catch a city bus home, I exited to the area where the bus drivers' restaurants and altars to the Virgin Mary are. Deciding that following the outside of the building would eventually take me where I wanted, I continued. A bus driver hailed me, asked where I was going, and directed me in the direction I was going anyway, then told me to hurry. Well, I had been hurrying until he stopped me! Anyway, eventually I found the right parking lot, and after that I had no more "adventures."