Travels with my Family

Travels with my Family by Marie-Louise Gay, David Homel Read Free Book Online

Book: Travels with my Family by Marie-Louise Gay, David Homel Read Free Book Online
Authors: Marie-Louise Gay, David Homel
were lying like enormous spaghetti on the main street. Which reminded my little brother that he was hungry.
    It’s not easy finding a restaurant in the middle of a power failure. There was only one place open, but the food was great. We ate tacos and burritos by candlelight.
    â€œHow romantic!” my mother said, as she bit into her taco.
    There was a double rainbow as big as the desert hanging in the sky. I wondered whether the tumbleweeds were tumbling into the sunset, like in a cowboy picture. The day ended like a movie, with red and yellow and orange rays of light in the west. All that was missing was a cowboy riding off into the sunset on his horse.
    â€œLook at the colors,” my mother exclaimed. “They’re so beautiful!”
    When she starts talking about how beautiful everything is, it’s a sure sign she’s feeling better.
    Oh, did I mention it? We actually got a motel with a swimming pool that night, just outside the town.
    â€œFor being so brave,” my father said.
    The next day, we finally did see the Painted Desert, on the way to the Canyon de Chelly. The rain had mixed up all the colors, like in a giant paint box.
    When my brother and I grow up, we’re going to the Grand Canyon. You can count on that!

SEVEN We are nearly shot full
of holes on New Year’s Eve
in the town of Tehuantepec, Mexico

    My mother decided we would have a different kind of Christmas that year. An original kind of Christmas. With no tree, no Santa, no turkey dinner, no stockings and no Boxing Day sale.
    What was our present? A trip to Mexico.
    We started out by flying to the city of Oaxaca. The name is easy to pronounce.
Wah-hah-cah.
Simple, right?
    People do some pretty strange things with food in Oaxaca. They make a black sauce out of chocolate and hot chilies and spread it on chicken. They eat fried grasshoppers, too. Grasshoppers taste a little like potato chips. The only thing I didn’t like about them was that the antennae get stuck between your teeth.
    My brother didn’t like that, either. He would sit in the restaurant, plucking the antennae off each grasshopper, and placing the bodies carefully in rows on his plate. Then he would eat them one by one, with his eyes tightly closed.
    Then there were the radishes. In Oaxaca, people grow huge radishes, not to eat, but to make sculptures out of them. There are monsters, churches, musicians, villages, saints — all sculpted out of radishes. Then a few days before Christmas, everyone meets up in the main square to look at the radish sculptures. Of course, the best sculpture wins a prize.
    Now that’s what I call playing with your food!
    Every night there were parades with people on stilts and floats made out of crêpe paper, and fireworks going off everywhere.
    And piñatas, too. It was just like the stories we read in Spanish class. The piñata hangs from a pole or the branch of a tree, and a kid who’s blindfolded has to hit it with a stick to break it open, so that all the candies and little presents fall out.
    It looks simple, but it’s not, because the adults keep pushing the piñata just out of reach of the kid who has to hit it. I know — I tried it.
    After Christmas in Oaxaca, my parents decided we should go somewhere else for New Year’s.
    â€œHmmm,” said my father, squinting at the guidebook. He needs glasses, but he won’t admit it. Sometimes we even get lost because he can’t read the road map. “It says here that Tehuantepec has one of the most famous markets in Mexico.”
    â€œI think I’ve eaten enough grasshoppers for one trip,” said my brother.
    â€œNo, no, it says here that the specialty is
iguana,” my father went on. “Sounds interesting.”
    â€œWell, I guess we’d better go there,” I said as a joke.
    â€œGreat idea! Tehuantepec, here we come!” he yelled.
    And he went right out to look for a car to rent.

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