Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Vintage cars of Havana

In a time long ago, in a land far away, my mother bought a 1955 red and white Ford Fairlane convertible with red and white leather upholstery and a V8 engine.  What a car!  With top down, several road trips from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles ensued.  And, “Betsy” even bumped along dirt roads and forded streams on camping trips up to Mount Lassen.We had her for ten years before repeated repair trips had my mother saying, “Enough!!!” and trading her in.  It was a very sad day.  What almost 16-year old wants to learn to drive a boring pale yellow 1965 Ford Fairlane station-wagon?!

However, Betsy lives on the streets of Cuba!!!  Last week’s Havana vacation had me seeing her and her older and younger Ford brothers and sisters — even Edsel!

And, there were the cousins…  Most of the vintage cars are taxis and, once destination and price are agreed to, they ply the streets taking passengers from point A to point B.

Though often they just cruise up and down the Malecon seeing and being seen enjoying the sea breeze and spectacular setting.  An especially popular pastime among tour groups and wedding parties.

The Stills and Young wistful elegy to Neil Young’s first car, Long May You Run, keeps playing in my mind.

Long May You Run

We’ve been through
some things together
With trunks of memories
still to come
We found things to do
in stormy weather
Long may you run.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes
have come
With your chrome heart shining
in the sun
Long may you run.

Well, it was
back in Blind River in 1962
When I last saw you alive
But we missed that shift
on the long decline
Long may you run.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes
have come
With your chrome heart shining
in the sun
Long may you run.

Maybe The Beach Boys
have got you now
With those waves
singing “Caroline No”
Rollin’ down
that empty ocean road
Gettin’ to the surf on time.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes
have come
With your chrome heart shining
in the sun
Long may you run.

Stay tuned here and on Oaxaca-The Year After for more on the Havana adventure.  And, to the vintage cars of Cuba, long may you run!!!

Mi piña

Remember the pineapple growing in my rooftop container garden?  Upon returning from a week-long magical mystery trip (more about that to come) last night, I discovered mi piña was more than ready to harvest.

P1190258

The fragrance beckons… breakfast tomorrow!!!

Walls of Oaxaca

The murals may be disappearing, but the walls of Oaxaca continue to radiate with messages.

P1180042

P1170440

P1160805

2016_04_26 Blog Walls of Oaxaca

P1170834

Oaxaca, never a dull moment and never a dull wall.

 

Women of red clay

A few weeks ago, blogger buddy Chris and I returned to Tlacolula de Matamoros for the 5th annual Festival de la Nieve, Mezcal, Gastronomía.  Besides yummy food, ice creams, and drink there were vendors of textiles, baskets, and barro.

P1170971crop

These are the women of San Marcos Tlapazola and their elegant and functional pottery.  I already have several oft used pieces, including a comal.  However, the girl in the red dress and blue apron above, talked me into a little salsa dish.  How could I resist?

P1180125

You can always find these women of red clay selling their wares on Sunday market day in Tlacolula and, if you are in the market for a comal, they stroll the aisles of the Mercado Benito Juárez in Oaxaca city almost everyday.  That’s where I got mine!

P1070490

And, if you want to see these gals in action, check out the video Mujeresdelbarrorojo.

Taste of India in Oaxaca

As you know, I love the food of Oaxaca.  However, having spent most of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area, home to cuisine from all over the world, there are times when the palate craves a little international flavor.  So, I was delighted to finally try the Indian restaurant, Mini Taj, located in the Plaza Bugambilias building at Garcia Vigil 304, between Matamoros and M. Bravo.

P1180160

Opened in 2012 (yes, I’m late to the party), it is the delicious creation of Chef Ramesh Chawla.  Originally from Haryana, India, he was born into a caste of chefs and has been cooking and refining his talents since he was twelve years old.  Chef is very exacting in his flavors and travels to the USA every two months to personally source the herbs and spices needed for his recipes.

P1180165vert

It is well worth it.  The Chicken Tikka Masala that I had last week and the Lamb Korma and Lamb Rogan Josh that my amiga J and I shared today were all exquisite.  The Steamed Basmati Rice and Naan were perfectly prepared and the Mango Lassi is one of the most refreshing beverages one could ever hope to drink.  If you don’t believe me, check out the rave reviews on Trip Advisor.  So get thee to Mini Taj and never mind the current road construction.

P1180162

Mini Taj is open 11 AM to 10 PM, Monday through Sunday.  Spread the word and, as their website says, “Be prepared to be blown away.”

Cactus flower

How could I have missed three flowers on my night blooming cereus a few nights ago???  I don’t know, but I did.  However, yesterday afternoon…

P1180131

My opuntia microdasys surprised and delighted me!

Follow the arrows

Everyday, I see something new or different or odd or…  Yesterday, at the corner of Av. de La Independencía and Calle Xicoténcatl, a couple of unfamiliar signs caught my eye.P1180113

High up on the corner of a building, in the middle of the city, road signs pointing to the Istmo and Tuxtepec.  Just a word of warning, you are in for a long and winding drive, no matter which destination you choose.

P1180113crop

The Istmo de Tehuantepec region of the state is approximately 250 km southeast of the City of Oaxaca.  Though if you decide on Tuxtepec, it’s only 220 km northeast.  Either way, head east on Independencía.  ¡Buen viaje!

Those ubiquitous tinacos

Old school…

P1180078

New school…

P1180035

Art school…

P1180088crop

For those dying to know what the heck a tinaco is and how the water system in Mexico works:

At my apartment complex, municipal water is regularly (or, not so regularly — as the case may be) delivered though a pipe under the street into a cistern (storage tank) located under our driveway); a bomba (pump) is run daily for an hour (más o menos) to bring water from the cistern up into tinacos sitting on the various rooftops of the complex.  In case you are worried, float valves keep them from overflowing (most of the time).  When we turn on the tap, courtesy of gravity, water flows (or dribbles) from the tinaco into and through our faucets.  ¡Ojala!

By the way, drinking water is a completely different story…

The poster announces, Lanii xh’tee búul (La fiesta de los abuelos)  — the annual Festival of the Grandparents in Teotitlán del Valle that occurs five days immediately following Easter.  Pre-Hispanic in origin, masked “ancients,” in ritualistic, lively, and hilarious fashion, impart their “wisdom” to the village leaders at a grand “Danza de los Abuelos” on the municipal plaza.  (If only I could “get” the jokes!)

However, prior to each evening’s merriment, a home in one of the five sections of the village hosts a feast with enough food and drink to feed an army.  And, like the world over…

P1170824

…we know who are the behind-the-scenes heroes of fiestas like this.

P1170826

It is the abuelas with their hands, hearts, and mouthwatering recipes (like the mole amarillo, above) handed down from their grandmothers.

P1170820

Even while bouncing nietos (grandchildren) on their knees, with good humor, grace, and their elaborately embroidered aprons, they make certain everyone is fed.

P1170825

And, they keep a strict accounting of all that is spent!

All against Dengue

Mosquito borne diseases like Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika continue to plague the planet.  Today’s good news is a Dengue vaccine proves 100% effective in human trials.  Let’s hope so!

In the meantime, understand the life cycle of mosquitoes and follow the instructions on a wall in Tlacolula de Matamoros…P1180034

Wash, cover, turn over, and eliminate!

Procession of Silence

Late afternoon on Good Friday (Viernes Santo), the people began gathering along the sidewalks of the Andador Turístico (aka, the Alcalá), Allende, and Garcia Vigil, staking out a favored spot to watch the Procession of Silence.  Not to worry, the Girl and Boy Scouts were there to keep everything and everybody in order and to remind one and all to “please, keep silent.”

P1170768

And, lest you misbehave, there were a couple of drones hovering above the fray to record the action, both good and bad, and offering an interesting juxtaposition against Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán’s colonial architecture — the old and new of Oaxaca.IMG_1083

Daylight Savings Time hasn’t yet begun in Mexico and the setting sun offered dramatic light as Señor de La Columna emerged from Santo Domingo to take his place in the procession.IMG_1074

However, the light was fading fast as the high-pitched tones of the chirimía and the rhythmic beat of the tambor at last heralded the start of the procession and Señor de la Humildad y Paciencia made his way from Templo de la Preciosa Sangre de Cristo.IMG_1110

As darkness fell, the street lights proved challenging and my photos of the 50+ religious banners, as they slowly passed my vantage point on Allende, left a lot to be desired, except for this littlest of standard bearers.IMG_1156

This year the faces of Jesús and María seemed to be lit from underneath and that helped a bit.IMG_1172

However, perhaps the darkness was whispering to me to stop making photos and just “be” with the experience.IMG_1189

This was the thirtieth year of Oaxaca’s Procesión del Silencio and so I suspect there will many more to come.

 

Jesús y María

Jesus and Mary up close and in color from their Viernes Santo (Good Friday) morning meeting in front of Oaxaca’s Cathedral.

IMG_0994

IMG_0959

IMG_0960

IMG_0979

IMG_1044

IMG_1005

IMG_0968copy

I know, some photos just beg for a caption.  Once all the Marys and Jesuses had gathered, prayers had been recited, and rituals performed, they all processed back to their home churches to rest up for the evening’s Procession of Silence.

IMG_1030

IMG_1025

IMG_1016

… including Soledad.  Since she was going my way, I walked her home.

IMG_1027

IMG_1056

IMG_1060copy

And, yes, she made it back to the Basilica safe and sound.

One life, two countries

In the last five years one million Mexicans residing in the US have returned to Mexico, including children and youth who were born or raised in the US.  Una Vida, Dos Países presents the stories of these transborder youth, highlighting their experiences living between two countries, cultures, languages and education systems, and exploring their parents’ decisions to return to their home country after living undocumented in the US.

Thirty seconds into the new documentary, Una Vida, Dos Países by Tatyana Kleyn, tears began welling up.  Set in Ciénaga de Zimatlán and Tlacolula de Matamoros, both in the central valley of Oaxaca, the places and faces were so very familiar and it hurt to hear the anguish in their voices and see the sadness in their eyes.

I love Oaxaca and, at this stage of my life, have chosen to immerse myself in a foreign culture.  However, these kids didn’t have a choice.  One day, they are normal “American” kids — going to school, playing with friends, speaking English in bustling towns and cities in the USA.  And the next day, they are uprooted from all that is familiar to find themselves “transfronterizos,” living in small rural pueblos bound by a millennia of tradition, surrounded by strangers who are speaking languages, Spanish and/or Zapoteco, they are either not fluent in or don’t know at all.  In addition, they are forced to navigate a school system that has little or no understanding of the culture shock they are experiencing.

What more can I say?

Early in the film, Melchor’s father says, “This is my family, this is my house, not a beautiful house, but when you want to come here, the door is open for you, for everybody.”  Oh, that governments would exhibit that same generous hospitality.

Good Friday faces in B&W

A few Viernes Santo (Good Friday) favorites from the morning’s encounter between Jesús and María in front of the Cathedral.

IMG_1031b&w

IMG_1043b&w

IMG_1045b&w

IMG_1008b&w

Faces that have become familiar.

Holy rainy night

Though rain began falling, clutching camera, umbrella, and my ten peso bag of pan bendito (blessed bread), I left the cozy dry confines of my apartment to join the faithful in a ritual promenade.  It’s Jueves Santo (Holy Thursday, Maundy Thursday), commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus, the washing of feet,  and the apprehension and imprisonment of Jesus.

P1170702

San José de Gracia, Oaxaca de Juárez

Tradition in Oaxaca calls for visiting seven churches (la visita de las siete casas) with one’s pan bendito and palm leaves.  The faithful use the latter to touch images of Jesús and María.  This year, I again committed myself to the mission.  My first stop was just around the corner at San José de Gracia and the second was even easier — the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, just across the Plaza de la Danza from the former.

P1170715

Watery entrance to the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, Oaxaca de Juárez

While inside, attempting (unsuccessfully) to get a good shot of Nuestra Señora, the heavens opened up in a downpour.  Needless to say, I hung out with Soledad until the torrential rain calmed to only a steady drizzle.

P1170717

Neverías at the Jardín Sócrates, Oaxaca de Juárez

However, the rain didn’t stop the faithful and tourists, alike, from stopping to enjoy a nieve (iced dessert) right outside the Basilica, before continuing on.  I kept on moving — down the steps to Calle Independencia, on my way to the Templo de San Felipe Neri.

P1170719

Exit sign at Templo de San Felipe Neri, Oaxaca de Juárez

By the way, Jueves Santo is such a big deal, to avoid gridlock from those coming and going, the churches designate one door as the “entrance” and another as the “exit.”  It’s a great idea in theory but in practice, especially on a rainy night, it was almost meaningless.

P1170727

Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, Oaxaca de Juárez

Next stop was across the street at the inconspicuous Iglesia San Cosme y Damián, then on to the very prominent Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, where the three front entrances were providing tourists, vendors, and believers shelter from the storm.

After navigating my way through the Cathedral, I exited stage right, dashed across the zócalo and into La Compañía (the Jesuit church).  On my way out the side door, I stopped briefly to buy a bag of homemade gingersnaps and, with umbrella raised, headed to my seventh and final church of the night, El Carmen de Abajo.  Though tempted by the aroma of some yummy looking food several “church ladies” were selling in the side foyer, I didn’t have enough hands to hold a paper plate, my camera, and my umbrella.  So, home I went, basking in the warm feelings I always have after being with my Oaxaqueño neighbors.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 600 other followers

%d bloggers like this: