Monday, December 26, 2022

The Radish Festival - Oaxaca 2022

La Noche de RĂ¡banos (or Night of the Radishes) is a traditional contest that takes place every December 23 in the town square of Oaxaca. It starts at three in the afternoon with the assembly of an exhibition that starts at five and the display of radish figures entered in the contest.

We went early while they were still setting up.  The stands are lined up around the perimeter of the plaza with an elevated walkway.  There is a fence that cordons off the walkway.  The lines start forming early and can go on for blocks.  It is truly an amazing event.  Some of the radishes weigh several pounds and are carved into various designs and the scenes displayed are all quite different but many have a religious theme.

In 1897, the municipal president of the city of Oaxaca, held the first contest. The purpose was to measure the progress of floriculture and horticulture in the area. They used the stalls of the Christmas Eve market.

This was my favorite!  It is a representation of all the popular places around Oaxaca City.  The detail is incredible.  As they are setting up and during the event, the artists are busy spraying water and constantly rearranging their radishes. 

There were three winners and the first place won 30,000 or $1,500 USD.  After, of course, we were hungry and thirsty from all the walking and gawking so we found a place to sit down for dinner.  Actually, it was a light snack.  Good grief, we have been eating now for five days!  It's been good but time to go home on Tuesday and settle back into our eating and drinking routines.  A lot of Christmas cheer has been had.

More to come.  We took a day trip today.  It was really nice to get out of the city and visit a small town with some history and of course followed by another "light snack".

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas In Oaxaca

We took off for Oaxaca Tuesday morning.  There are no Ubers around where we live in the campo.  We took a nice travel bus from our house to the edge of town for 38 pesos each.  We ordered an Uber at the Soriana which was just two minutes away.  Nice car, is a great driver, and is interesting to talk to.  A young guy 24 years old studying engineering at the state university.  He has a small tech business developing platforms for sales and marketing.   A true go-getter that doesn't mind putting in the hours to gain in the long run. 

Considering the traffic, we arrived in about 45 minutes and Uber gave us a discount from the original price because the driver took a shorter route.  369 pesos versus 740 for a taxi from our house.  You know my take on using taxis with platforms and the advantages for the driver, the passenger, and the government.  We had an hour and 15-minute delay but with holidays and airport construction we were happy.  Retired and not in a hurry, people-watching, and a snack to start off the trip were good enough for us.  We purposely paid a bit more for the trip to 1) fly direct to Oaxaca and 2) avoid a stopover at the new dictator's airport.  I refuse to use it.  

We arrived on schedule making up air time.  The plane is not the most comfortable but for two hours no pain no gain.  I hope flights to Europe have better seats.  We wore masks the whole flight as did others.  Covid is on the rise and in parts of Mexico, like in Monterrey, masks are becoming mandatory again.

We had a great Airbnb the first night.  A great setup with a wonderful roof terrace.  It was so quiet and we had a nice dinner out.  We shared a plate of five different mushrooms all stuffed with different fillings from cheese to creamed eggplant and a couple of cocktails.  It was two blocks away and very reasonable.  The streets were packed with families and tourists from all parts.  Festive lights, Christmas cheer, and a place that is very well maintained.  Good foods on every corner, ice creams, tamales, fire dancers, singers, and musicians.  A great start for a week-long holiday.  We had a change in our reservation which we had made a couple of months ago.  With that we also changed our Airbnb and lost one night but the owner had this apartment available only a block away.  

Paula, Jerry, Sal, and Barb arrived the next day and we've been out and about since.  As the days pass I will be posting more.  We are planning some side trips out of town but there is so much to see and being together, the conversations and laughter are good enough for us.  

We planned the week here which coincided with the 50th-anniversary party and also the Festival de Rabanos   (Radish Festival).  I post this weekend about the festival but in short, it is a competition for radish growers.  They take radishes and carve them into Christmas and religious scenes.  Very detailed and a truly huge event here in Oaxaca.  

We are on the go everyday and it lasts until midnight.  I'm pooped already and we still have four more days to go.  Stay tuned, I have some wonderful Christmas photos to share.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Boondockers Stop By For A Visit

I'm behind on posting this.  We are now in Oaxaca arriving yesterday.  The weather here is fantastic and the Christmas spirit is truly alive.  I wasn't in the mood but that changed the minute I got off of the plane.

We are hosts for Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Host.  We received a request from Greg and Duwan to stay for a couple of nights.  They were such great guests they stayed another day.  They are full-time van dwellers and have done a wonderful job of outfitting their rig.  I wish we could have traded!  

They were interested in a tour of Cola de Caballo and the town of Santiago.   They are well-traveled and are ex-sailors having had a sailboat they used off the coast of Florida.  We shared several happy hours and went out to La Anfora Italian restaurant for dinner.  

In Santiago, Christmas is in full swing.  Lots of decorations, festivities, events and snow!  We were shocked when it started snowing.  Well, artificially.  

We hope Greg and Duwan come back on their way out of Mexico or stop by anytime in the near future.   

Saturday, December 3, 2022

First Happy Hour At The New House - And Good News!

Since my last post, we have returned back to Monterrey.  It was a busy week with rvers and traveling to Matehuala and San Miguel de Allende.  

We received the furniture we had ordered along with some other odds and ends we brought.  With rvers in town, we invited everyone for a happy hour.  It was a success and a chance for friends to see the house.  

The king-size bed we ordered came with two twin bases.  Those went up the stairs easily.  The delivery guys said they wouldn't bend the mattress as it could void the warranty should something happen.  So with thick ropes in tow, they hoisted it up from the patio and onto the roof.  From there, it went down the stairs easily.  They were relieved and we were happy.   It does fit in the bedroom with a little room to spare but not by much.  We are now ready to have guests when we are in town.

Some other good news as well.  This week I received my Mexican social security pension.  With it came four months of retroactive pay and a one-month Christmas bonus!  All the paperwork snafus this year and the additional payments I made for four years to increase my benefit have paid off.  I can say that I am fully retired with two pensions, Medicare and IMSS medical as well.  I believe it is time to celebrate a little.  

OTOH, Juan should be in the same position come the middle of January.  He was off of work with a permit for two months which we took advantage of but has to return to school until December 16th.  There are no classes so they sit around and use the internet and prepare semester grades.  

We are so looking forward to our trip to Oaxaca.  We had planned on driving to avoid the use of the military airport outside Mexico City.  We were lucky though and changed our departure and return dates by one day.  With that, we were able to find non-stop round-trip tickets.  I can see the trip to Spain slowly materializing.   We'll need backpacks and some other items for that trip and what better time to prepare for that than now.