March 24, 2010

Glimpses from Our Last Saturday in Oaxaca

The Waiting Car.
A shiny white car with an orange floral arrangement on hood and trunk waited beside the Iglesia Sangre de Christo. I peeked in the open church door. The front aisles were full, while a young woman in an orange gown sat alone in a straight-backed chair before the priest, her full gown spread wide about her. There was quiet, beautiful music. It was a quinceañera ceremony, the coming of age event eagerly awaited by 15 year old girls.
A Peek at the Glamorous.
As I walked into the gallery district, I wondered where a man and two elegantly dressed women ahead were off to. By the time I reached the Iglesia Santo Domingo on my roundabout route, stopping at a couple of galleries and artisan displays, a gorgeous wedding party filled the pews.
This historic church seems a particularly prestigious location for an elegant wedding. Every woman was dressed in a fabulous traditional long gown with ruffles, pleats, silk embroidery on satin, brilliant colors and lace, many with hair in formal braids and ribbons.
Two young married women with infants remained outside. The one with a baby boy held him to kiss the tiny girl…Beso, beso! Many tourists AND locals were sneaking pix at a distance. What a contrast between the tourists and the beautiful women!

An Old Woman Fills a Need.
No picture but the one in my memory! Walking north from the zocalo on a street of quiet residencs and closed offices, I passed an old, simply dressed man who ducked his head and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. A few doors down, an old woman sat on a narrow concrete stoop in front of a closed door, clutching a large un-marked bottle. Another old man sat beside her. Heads together, she tipped a bit from the bottle into a small cup he held. A third man stood a few steps away, waiting his turn.

Contemporary Art with Traditional Metates!

The Home of Benito Juarez.
In 1818, Benito Juarez, a 12-year old Zapotec Amerindian orphan who spoke no Spanish, left his work as a goatherder and walked down from the mountains into Oaxaca to find his sister, who was working as a servant. He was soon taken into the home and family of a bookbinder, who adopted him and supported his education. Juarez learned quickly, went to seminary and to university, became a lawyer, and rose to serve five terms as President of Mexico. His leadership transformed the country, and continues to inspire her people. Our visit here provided an awesome insight into this amazing man. His home and street have not changed (though we don't know if it was blue and red back then!).

Saturday Afternoon in the Zocalo. 

The Oaxaca Zocalo is two large squares joined at the corners, filled with towering trees. On such a fine Saturday afternoon it was packed with people of all ages – families, sweethearts, young people, shoeshine stands, musicians, and vendors selling toys, clothing and more. A group on a platform drew a crowd with a rousing speech, Tempting aromas filled the air: coffee candy, carnitas, pizza, mole, fish, hamburgers.

Difficult Highway Signs.

By the time I sound out the town names, we could easily fly by our turn!

However, we traced our way back up the highway to the northwest, past Mexico City, through Cuernavaca, and are now in one of our favorite cities - Patzcuaro, in the state of Michoacan.


Sue and Brian said...

Love the pictures - looks like you're having a very interesting adventure in places we hope to get to one of these days. We loved Patzcuaro and are sure you will as well.

C and G Taylor said...

Thanks! We already love Patzcuaro! Have had two long visits previously...and think Easter season will add a new dimension.