We arrived in Oaxaca City at night. The streets were lit tangerine, small circles printed on stone. Just enough light to see the narrow cobblestone streets out the side window of our speeding van. Buildings fell away into darkness. Until we stopped on a side street where a delivery truck was parked and a man was carrying boxes inside. I looked around wondering where we were, when the driver said we had arrived. He pointed to a building adjacent to the truck. We stepped out into the street and walked up to the hotel.
It was 6 a.m. when we woke up the next morning. Still slow from jet lag, we dressed and walked upstairs to an open terrace lined with potted succulents. A self-serve breakfast was spread out in an ornately blue tiled kitchenette. Granola, yogurt, fresh fruit and bread, and coffee were laid out on the counter.
I sipped coffee with undertones of cinnamon and chocolate, it was the best I had ever tasted. Church bells rang nearby. A dog barked. A woman with a child walked up the street. Children wearing uniforms gathered in a schoolyard next door. Several teachers shouted through bullhorns to begin their morning exercises. One, two, three…jumping jacks.
We sat in awe of the view that was hidden from us the night before. That morning the city was sliced open and brushed thin with fog. The edges of the Sierra Madre de Oaxaca rose behind the center of the city. The sun pushed the stars and moon into our backs as the city came alive.
to be continued…