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...and they lived happily ever after. Smith & Lady: poets, artists, photographers & adventurers.
Our relationship was forged to the soundtrack of Yoko Ono's magic,
frenetic, love-laden song, "Walking On Thin Ice." ( play song )


looking north from front porch, Tanetze, Oaxaca

a friend called me “amazing smith” for carrying a heavy weight with a forehead strap up a mountain the way the Zapotec men and women have done for thousands of years.
i replied “call me amazing senor smith – that would equal ass – after all, i was a beast of burden.”
lady said “i don’t get it.”
“A(mazing) S(enor) S(mith). i’m a little too subtle for some.”
“write that down, it’s poetic.”
as i did, she inquired “is that how you spell subtle?”
“Yes. Why, is subtle too SUBTLE for you?” i laughed maniacally, sprayed spittle on her laptop screen.
“you just spit on my screen. that wasn’t very subtle.”

welcome to another episode of the smith & lady comedy hour. but first, a word of our adventure.

lizard among coffee trees – foto by smith

we’re back from the mountains, two days traveling, two days picking coffee. or rather back from their mountain to our mountain with many mountains in between.

Lady and i stayed 3 nights with a Zapotec couple named Alvira & Tomas in Tanetze de Zaragoza, an indigenous coffee village in the mountains 50 kilometers away. but those 50 kilometers are in a straight line. and there ain’t no straight lines in the mountains. bus took four & a half hours there, 5 hours back. that’s 7 miles an hour. except we went 150 to 200 miles up down in out mountain roads to traverse those 31 miles. our speed frequently was under 20 miles per hour, and often less than 10 – both going up and going down.

the sun set before we hit the real curves. i watched out the driver window as green growth and stone wall took turns whisking fast past the glass one way, then the other, 10 minutes at a time. stone and tree too close to be real. looked like a fake back-lit amusement park video ride – the Bump Bus Back Bounce Lurch-O-Rama.

that was the good road. the pavement ended, and we went down the mountain in the dark. when we got to our Zapotec village of Tanetze de Zaragoza, the bus had to back unstraight up a slanted slope tilting one way, then thread itself into an opposite tilted downward road to make the turn.

coming back in daylight, we saw where the paved road had “disappeared” – stone wall touchable out left window, nothing but straight down out our side. way down. but o so beautiful. looked back and saw the road had washed or worn or avalanched away, and they used it as a dirt road anyway. the roads seriously switchbacked – i’d look across a quarter mile chasm to the road on the other side going the opposite way and know it was ours.

bus was big school bus sized, full with passengers standing. it had a see-through excruciatingly suffering Christ carrying the cross religious screen behind the driver, and Jesus on the sunshade, and sad upbeat mexican pop music blaring from the cd radio. the driver was amazingly adept, the bus named Indomable – Indomitable. bus leaves Oaxaca for Tanetze 4:40 p.m., leaves Tanetze for Oaxaca 5:30 a.m. – one bus a day each way.

our hostess Elvira makes the trip every thursday with her fruits, vegetables, coffees, spreads, etc, sleeps thursday on a friend’s couch, sells friday, couches friday night, sells saturday, buses home saturday night. once home, she and her husband work 12-14 hours a day every day of the week.

to be continued . . .

2 large vulture-like birds at dusk in Tanetze, Oaxaca – foto by smith

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