I did something foolish the other day.
I decided that I was going to walk a quarter mile up the highway from the exit for Tlacochahuaya to take photos of the Beneva factory on the edge of the town.
This foolhardy adventure reminded me of when I was a child and I convinced the bus driver to let me off at the major intersection instead of at my (much closer) designated bus stop. I ran crying all of the way home. Today, I didn’t cry.
But as soon as I started on my way I realized that I had made a poor choice. There is no shoulder, and the cars zoom past — sometimes two to a single lane, and the semis and the busses! I made it to the entrance, snapped some photos under the burning sun, and headed back.
A man in a red truck saw me and stopped practically at the bus stop I was headed to. He waited patiently as I walked to him. He wanted to know what happened to me. Maybe I was lost or out of my mind. Maybe someone left me there.
I was just a stupid tourist taking pictures. He seemed relieved, shook my hand, and headed for Oaxaca.
I probably wouldn’t have been so foolish about another town. Probably.
The next day, in my Spanish class, in an assignment about the five senses, I found myself thinking about why the little city is so intoxicating. Here was the assignment.
The Five Senses – Los Cinco Sentidos
La vista (sight)
El oido (sound)
El olfacto (smell)
El tacto (touch)
El gusto (taste)
Verbs Associated with the Sense
ver (to see), mirar (to look)
oir (to hear), escuchar (to listen)
oler (to smell)
tocar (to touch)
degustar (taste), saborear (savor), comer (to eat), probar (to sample, try)
Adjectives Associated with Each Sense
linda (beautiful), hermosa (beautiful), feo (ugly)
ruidoso (loud), susurro (whisper), bajo (low)
fresco (fresh), podrido (rotten), floral (flowery)
suave (soft), duro (hard), mojado (wet)
amargo (bitter), agrio (sour), dulce (sweet)
It really took me a couple of minutes to figure out the word for taste in English. I was blank. Blank.
The adjectives were the easiest part to fish out of my brain.
Then, the surprise factor: pick a person, place, or thing.
Then, the creative element: mix the senses. I asked if this is called something along the lines of sinestesia (when in doubt, use a cognate: synesthesia), and my teacher looked it up and agreed, yes, that is the name for the rhetorical device.
I picked the little town of Tlacochahuaya because I have spent a good deal of time there and I like the intense quiet of evenings there. Here’s my little reflection:
Tlacochahuaya es un lugar del sentido olfacto, puedes escuchar la vista fresca en las tardes, puedes degustar del oido de madera suave en las chimineas. Puedes tocar el aire alla en el pueblito; no es ruidoso ni feo tampoco. Es algo floral y dulce. Puedes oler el susurro del viento del cerro.
El tacto de la villa es mojado con una sensacion de color, puedes soborearla.
Tlacochahuaya is a place for the sense of smell; you can listen to the fresh view in the afternoons, you can taste the sound of the soft wood in the chimneys. You can touch the air there in the town; it is neither loud nor ugly. It is something flowery and sweet. You can smell the whisper of the wind from the mountaintop.
The touch of the town is soaked with a sensation of color, you can savor it.