Chistes y Chismosos: Is This Like Shopping in Atzompa?

When I go to Oaxaca what do I want to do first?  You guessed it.  Hit the streets and fill my eyes with the splendor of all the art and artisanry that Oaxaca has to offer.  I can’t get enough of the tactile and visual pleasure I derive from exploring shops, street arcades, and village markets.  Get me a taxi to Atzompa to explore the folk art pottery of fanciful figures painted with garish, glorious primary colors and to me, this is heaven.

Turn about is fair play.  Or, does my experience equate with Eric’s, Janet’s and Elsa’s desire to immediately get to Target, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, the Mall at Streets at Southpoint, and the recently opened Nordstrom Rack?  It is as if they have been deprived of any and all semblance of shopping as we know it in the United States.  Jeans, tennis shoes, kitchen gadgets, stainless steel cookware, designer label discount sweaters, perfume, make-up, dresses, wristwatches, underwear, kitchen dishtowels are stuffed into plastic bags and piled high in the back seat of my second car that I have lent them this week.  And, you should see the bedroom!  I wonder how the 50 lb. luggage limit will accommodate all this.

This is a shopping marathon.  On Sunday, they left the house at 10 a.m. and returned at 7:30 p.m.  Yesterday, Monday, they left the house at 10 a.m. and returned just before 10:30 p.m.  They out-do me, and when I go to Oaxaca I can disappear for hours on end into the depths of handwoven textiles from Juchitan, the Mixe and Mixteca regions of Oaxaca and our local villages.  Is it the same?  I can hear Federico whisper in my ear:  Why not?

The difference between common and exotic is derived from our own experience, cultural awareness and origins.  Am I to say how my love of pottery, art, textiles, alebrijes, and mole is more important and valuable than their love for good quality and affordable clothing?  Eric tells me that these good that we are so used to here in the U.S. can cost twice or three times more in Oaxaca IF they can find them.  So, go figure.  And, Who am I to say?  I’m just happy they are having fun.

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