My ex-pat friend, T., has found his true home in Oaxaca. Not far off a highway headed toward mountain lakes is the tiny turnoff, an unbeaten path that wends its way past two lovely residences and one unlovely, unfinished, and uninhabited McMansion. A tall metal fence (soon to be covered by flowering vines, as everything grows fast here) shields T.'s tile-roofed, adobe house, workshop, and carport from view and prevents uninvited visits. The small, but charming, one-story house is ringed (rang?) by gardens: a chicken coop (housing three scrawny residents) and several raised vegetable beds in the back, flowers and a fish pond with marine plants outside of the kitchen door, newly planted flowers and trees around the front and other side.
We lounge on the porch. T., D., and A. down beers. I sip a bottle of water. Mountains and clouds create an ever-changing view. Birds (don't ask me what kind) fly by. A pit bull mix stretches and naps in the sun. A well-fed cat eyes me with interest, as I nervously try to ignore him. (I am highly allergic to and distrustful of cats, therefore, I am the equivalent of human catnip.)
Peace and beauty abound. I am so relaxed that I almost feel like accepting T.'s offer to stay here next time I visit Oaxaca. Except that I would probably go crazy. A city girl, I've always thought that nature is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.
We squeeze into the front (and only) seat of T.'s truck. Luckily, D. is skeleton-skinny, so he doesn't occupy a full adult-sized place. It starts to rain as we pull up to the trout farm where we will dine. The owner's son greets us and leads us to a pond. He nets the trout, gasping for water and flapping wildly, that will, within 15 minutes, be gutted, bathed in garlic, stuffed with chopped tomatoes, and enveloped in silver foil. Grilled, they will satisfy our hitherto unknown yearnings for fresh, tasty, and delicious fish.
As A. says, "Another day in Paradise!"