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Purple Haze all around

The jacarandas are in bloom and there is…

Purple Haze all in my brain, lately things don’t seem the same,

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actin’ funny but I don’t know why.

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‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky.

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Purple Haze all around,

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don’t know if I’m coming up or down…

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Yeah, Purple Haze all in my eyes, don’t know if it’s day or night.

Jacaranda from my window

You’ve got me blowing, blowing my mind.  Is it tomorrow or just the end of time?

 Thank you Jimi Henrix for Purple Haze — THE jacaranda season soundtrack!

Tláloc is speaking

Last week, while in Mexico City, I paid my respects to Tláloc, the Aztec rain deity, both at the Templo Mayor and Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Anthropology Museum).

Templo Mayor, Mexico City

Tláloc — Templo Mayor, Mexico City

I’m now back in Oaxaca and, for the third day in a row, Tláloc is making his presence known.  And, rain is in the forecast for the next several days.

Fragments of a Tláloc brazier - Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City

Fragments of a Tláloc brazier — Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City

Thunder is rumbling and, out of the corner of my eye, I see flashes of lightning to the east.  It may be the “dry season,” but Tláloc is speaking and we are listening.

Pot with image of Tláloc -- Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City

Pot with image of Tláloc — Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City

Perhaps drought-stricken California might want to build a temple to this supreme god of the rains — not to mention, institute mandatory water rationing!

Oaxaca welcomes spring

Unlike many places on our planet, bees were plentiful on the streets of Oaxaca this morning…

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They were a little apprehensive, but moms, dads, and teachers were there to hold their hands and dry the occasional tear.

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There were other sweet cuddly critters…

P1080075and, even princesses.

P1080074Oaxaca opens her arms and welcomes spring with a parade of children.  How could one not smile and be happy?!!

Offering aguas

Yesterday was the fourth Friday of Lent and, if you are in Oaxaca, that means Día de la Samaritana, where, believer or not, you will be offered aguas from doorways and street-side tables set up in front of churches, restaurants, hotels, government agencies, and private homes.

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I got a late start; unseasonable rain was threatening and the grey sky had made it hard to leave my cozy apartment. 

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But, what can I say?  Horchata, sandia, guayaba, coco, chilacayota, chía con limón, and even tejate and nieves were offered with smiles, free of charge, to all passersby.

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Within a block, I happily and gratefully accepted a large plastic cup of horchata; another one followed, and later, a styrofoam cup of chilacayota.

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It had begun at noon, but by 2 PM, all that remained were branches of Bougainvillea, empty ollas (pots), ladles with nothing to dip into…

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and empty cups.

Loving the lampshades

Two weeks ago, we returned to San Juan Guelavía to pick up my new custom-made lampshades.  Again, Teresa and her family welcomed us with open arms.  A couple of plastic chairs were positioned in the shade under the tree and Dulce, Teresa’s daughter, snuggled up beside me, as abuela and abuelo continued working.

Teresa briefly disappeared, but soon re-emerged, from the gate hidden in the carrizo fence, carrying my new hand-woven carrizo lampshades!  After many oohs and aahs, expressions of “muchisimas gracias” by me over and over, and big smiles all around, blogger buddy Chris posed us for the requisite photo-op.

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After paying for my new treasures and many more “many thanks,” shades were put in the trunk and we slid into the front seats of the car, and headed back to the city.  Once home, I called Cristian, my electrician and scheduled the installation of the lampshades.  The smaller was hung outside my front door…

and the larger beneath the shade structure on the terrace.

I love how the light glows through the finely woven carrizo.  I’m a very satisfied customer!

A splash of orange

Pick a color, any color, and you will find it in Oaxaca, be it people…

Places or things…

Today, I choose orange.  Tomorrow, who knows???

Women of Oaxaca

March 8 is International Women’s Day — established by V. I. Lenin in 1922 (I’ll wager this is news to most), revived by women in the USA in 1968, and recognized by the United Nations in 1975.  We may have come a long way, but the struggle for equal rights, respect, freedom from violence, and control of our own bodies continues.

However, the hard work, warmth, strength, creativity, and dignity of the women of Oaxaca continues to inspire me.

¡Feliz día internacional de la mujer!  But, as news around the world and the Inequality in Charts reminds us, LA LUCHA CONTINÚA…

Keeping it clean

Tuesday morning, from the plaza in front of the Basilica de la Soledad, the sound of speeches, music, and explosions announced Día del Barrendero — a day celebrating the founding of the Sindicato Independiente 3 de Marzo.  These are the street sweepers, garbage collectors, and laborers of Oaxaca.

Earlier in the morning, a procession brought union members, their families, and friends from Cinco Señores to the Basílica, where a special mass was celebrated to honor the patron saint of Oaxaca, la Virgen de la Soledad.  Raul, a lifelong street sweeper whose work day begins at 3 AM, is quoted as explaining, “We have to thank our mother, the Virgin of Soledad, for the blessings every day gives us.”

March 3rd — brought to you by the gals and guys who keep the city clean.

Glowing in Oaxaca

Sunrise brings a warm glow to the denizens of Casita Colibrí…

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Buenos días, world!

Fridays during Lent must mean the “only in Oaxaca,” Paseos Florales del Llano or Viernes del Llano, the Friday pageant through Llano Park by young female preparatoria (high school) students and their spear, oops, I mean flower, carriers.

Some will teeter on spiky heels (tacones, en español); others will opt for the less sexy, safer, maybe even edgy, and definitely more comfortable “flats” look.

According to this article, there was a tradition in Oaxaca to pay homage to women — to honor them for the important role they play in the support of the family.  The ritual died out, but was resurrected in the seventies by the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca (UABJO) to recover religious and family values.  And so, for five Friday mornings during Lent, action in Oaxaca centers in Llano Park.  Along with the young women, there will be fans…

and bands…

Monos and clowns.

But the stars of the show are the young women; this Friday from Preparatoria 6.  They ranged from the natural to the glamorous.

There are winners — I think based on the number of flowers they collect from their friends, families, and fans.  However, in what seems to be a popularity contest, there is joy and sisterhood expressed by all; that is where their beauty shines through.

If you are in Oaxaca, or will be in Oaxaca in the next few weeks, check it out for yourself.

viernes del llano 2015 ciudad de Oaxaca

Please note, the early start!  I arrived around 8:15 AM and, unlike previous years, couldn’t get close to the paseo.  Chris at Oaxaca-The Year After rolled in at 9 AM and it was all over but the posing, departures, and detritus.

Rebellion shout the people

It’s been five months since 43 students from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero went missing.  Their parents, the people of Mexico, and growing numbers around the world continue to ask, Who is Really Responsible?

A mural recently appeared along a very long wall at the entrance to Tlacolula de Matamoros.

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As I’ve previously mentioned, one of missing is Cristian Tomás Colón Garnica from Tlacolula de Matamoros.

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I realized, as I was processing the photos, each panel of the mural incorporates a letter.  One has to stand back (in the street) to see words materialize.  However, when we went back to Tlacolula on Sunday, there were cars and trucks parked in front of most of the mural and all we could see was, “Vivos 43.”  I would love to hear from you, if you know the full text.

Flags flying

Yesterday was Día de la Bandera (Flag Day) in Mexico.  Hmmm, I don’t think these were the flags they had in mind…

The flags that were flying on the streets of Oaxaca were those carried by the members of the Integrantes del Frente de Organizaciones Sociales, Campesinas, Urbanas, Pesqueras y del Transporte (FOSCUPT), an umbrella group of more than forty social organizations, peasants, urban workers, fishers, and transport workers.  Thousands marched from the Fuente de las Ocho Regiones (Fountain of the 8 Regions) to the zócalo.  Besides flags, there were banners and burros…

And Devils Dance street theater from an Afromexicano group, probably from the Costa Chica.

After marching and playing for miles, the destination was reached; the bote player took a break and gals from San Pablo Tijaltepec went and got something to drink.

According to this article, the mobilization was to reject bad structural policies and funding cuts being made in the peasant sector and requesting the federal government turn their eyes to Oaxaca.  In addition, Jesus Romero López, leader of FOSCUPT, among other demands, called for justice for the social and political leaders who have been killed and for better urban planning, stating that the city is growing in a disorganized way, often resulting in neighborhoods with no water, electricity, or paved streets.

If it’s Domingo…

If it’s Sunday, it must be market day in Tlacolula de Matamoros.

Women doing their marketing.

Women doing their marketing, and the men who follow.

Carne for the carnivores

Carne, right off the hoof, for the carnivores.

Delicious dining for the rest of us!

And, delicious dining for all!

Another delightful domingo in Oaxaca.

White limousine

We used to ride, baby
Ride around in limousines  P1060799We looked so fine, baby
You in white and me in green

P1050480Drinking and dancing
All inside and crazy dream

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Well now look at your face now baby
Look at you and look at me

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We used to shine, shine, shine, shine
Say what a pair, say what a team

P1060804We used to ride, ride, ride, ride
In a long [white] limousine*

Saturday is wedding day in Oaxaca.

*Lyrics from Black Limousine by the Rolling Stones.

 

Masked and anonymous in Oaxaca

Carnaval in San Martín Tilcajete means devils…

Pirates and clowns…

Unknown creatures from the imaginative minds of their creators…

And these masterpieces from this village known for its wood carving…

Carnaval in San Martín Tilcajete also means men dressed as women, a mock wedding, and young men covered in motor oil running through the village with belts of cowbells ringing.  Stay tuned…

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