There she was, on the stage facing the zocalo, doing sound check with her orchestra at 5:45 p.m. The “real” concert wasn’t set to start until 8 p.m. We meandered over to the corner sidewalk cafe La Primavera to enjoy the music and a refreshment. Luckily for us, a table opened up immediately on the curb that we grabbed before anyone else could get there. This became our front row seat for the next four hours! as we paced our food and drink. Street life became our intermediate entertainment until the concert began.
A steady stream of textile vendors, small children selling candies and gum, a Cuban guitar player-singer belting out Chan Chan, an elegant woman poised with a basket balanced on her heads filled with bouquets of roses and gardenias, macho teen boys selling mini-wood motorcycles we conjecture are imported from China, a dazzling girl-woman who wraps a string of beads around my neck and smiles asking for 10 pesos. Who can resist?
After finishing two delicious Margaritas (me) and Negro Modelos (Stephen) and a bowl of spicy roasted peanuts, we decided to order appetizers and shared a plate of quesadillas stuffed with Oaxaca cheese, flor de calabasas, and sauteed mushrooms. The food at La Primavera is good and reasonably priced and they are very generous about not turning the tables quickly. Ha, after nearly five hours esconced there, we had spent about $26USD and had a great time.
Of course, what couldn’t be great with my favorite chanteuse Susana Harp right there in front on me on the stage in her native Oaxaca giving a free concert to thousands with an orchestra that is extraordinary. I got her latest album, which I’m listening to now as I write this, and stood in line (short by the time we said goodbye to all our new friends at surrounding tables) for her to sign. The album, with the Orquesta Sinfonica Del Instituto Politecnico Nacional, is called De Jolgorios Y Velorios. Magnifico!