05 September 2007
Just a quick update from an internet cafe in Oaxaca, Mexico. We arrived early this morning - 5am - after our third long-haul bis ride of the day. It was Mexico City to Cauncha to Puebla to Oaxaca, and we´re just about to get on another bus that will take us 2 hours outside the city to visit another team! WHOA.
I had forgotten just how central bus journeys are to Latin American travel (remember that 46-hour jaunt in Argentina?). The whole sleeping 2 hours here then 5 hours here then 3 hours here bit has been taxing on my not-quite-100% Dengue body, but I´m hanging in. The 5 meals a day help (I just might explode).
Regardless of all that nonsense, the young people we´ve met are incredible and they make it all worthwhile. We (the entourage I spoke of earlier) spent the entire day at a cultural center in Cauncha that supports fringe youth by giving them a place to be themselves. The eclectic mix of gothic, hipster, gay and preppy youth was fascinating, as is the impact they´ve had on local politics - actually influencing governmental policy!
There were, of course, some amazing Ventures to be found as well, including a fully functioning restaurant that three youth -ages 18 to 21 - managed to start and run all on their own. They took out a 10,000 US dollar loan 9 months ago to buy the equipment and purchase the space and next week, they´ll be paying back their last payment. INCREDIBLE! They serve all organic foods and educate customers on healthy eating and growing while at the same time offer a place for local youth the gather and share in music, art and other festivities. Did I mention the food was delicious? They also allowed me to give them a hand in the kitchen. Good idea? You´d have to as them!
We then crammed back into public transport and headed to Puebla, the most adorable little colonial latin town on earth, for dinner at what has been called Mexico´s GREATEST TACO STAND.
I cannot disagree. With a name like Taqueria Los Angeles, how can you go wrong? Then it was back on a bus en route to Oaxaca, where we crashed this morning and are just about to head out on another team visit. In fact, the entourage just walked into the internet cafe and they´re tapping their feet, so I better run...More soon!
Final funny - Me in the chidlren´s center sitting in a tiny chair. This had them rolling in laughter for a good 20 minutes. I mean, it´s just a tiny chair...