Monday, May 11, 2015

de Meng de los Muertos dia Cinco

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

For whatever reason, the camera and I are not in the same space on this trip so far.  That happens every once in a while to me.  Today I am determined to break the barriers between us.

So after a 7:00 a.m. breakfast, I set off from the hotel to do my first walkabout.  Hopefully I will not end up like the guy on this sign.

While I do not want to paint Oaxaca as some sort of backward, third world nation, it has some obvious weakness including its civic maintenance.  Check out the kind of sidewalk I often encountered on my walks.

My first goal is the huge and very white open-air amphitheater that dominates the skyline above our hotel.  

I believe this is called the Guelaguetza Auditorium after the big dance festival that is held there but I like to call it by its local nickname: The Diaper.  It must be spectacular to sit in this venue and see a musical presentation with the city as the back ground.  It appears to be designed so that the structural screen will block the sun for the viewers.  I am very curious to see what it is like.

Heading left out of the hotel and walking a 1/2 mile, I reached the Pan American Highway. The Pan-American Highway runs from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina.  At this point, it climbs a 45 degree angle up into the mountains surround the valley of Oaxaca.  The walking is slow, steep and wonderfully challenging.  At one point the sidewalk just ends and I have to walk on the highway itself as the traffic whizzes by.

One of the reasons for making this walk is to see the street art.  I remembered the last time I was here (2012) that the street art was unbelievable.  It ranges from dumb ass graffiti that no one likes to spectacular works of art that take your breath away.

The walk is straight up and hot but I am glad I did it this way because the amphitheater is everything I hoped it would be.  The view as I ascend to the amphitheater is awesome.

While I was there, many people were enjoying the view.  But also, many were either jogging on the paths or walking their dogs amongst the natural beauty that surrounds the place.

Outside the amphitheater stands a statute of Benito Juarez.

Having walked up hill, at times on the highway, I am rather dumbfounded to discover that there is a pedestrian way to approach the performance center.  A person on foot can arrive or return by crossing through a tunnel under the Pan American highway.

While I cannot exactly call this Street Art (in the sense of it done without permission),  the tunnel was filled with this amazing art:

Once on the other side of the Highway, it is time to plunge down the long staircase that cuts off quite a bit of distance for returning to the city streets.

Although the climb to The Diaper was long and hot, I decided to turn to my right at the bottom of the staircase head in the direction of  the Zocalo.  Mornings in Oaxaca are very similar to that time in any other city.  Buses of people going to work fill the streets.  Parents are dropping there children off at schools.  It was very interesting to be a part of it.

I am forming an opinion about the Oaxaca people and I state it now as my opinion only.  As you walk on the streets amongst them, they appear to be a sullen, worn set.  They walk with a somber look on their faces and often do not make eye contact.  I think this is true for a number of reasons.  First, they are busy themselves in a crowded urban area and need to focus on their task at hand.  Tripping on the sidewalk is an eventuality so walking itself is a hazard.  Michael suggests that they may not want to engage foreigners out of a reluctance to appear ignorant because they cannot speak the foreigner's language.  But here is what I discovered:  if I smiled as I walked and softly said either "hola" or "buenos dias," I would always get a complete transformation in the other person.  They literally would light up, smile back and return my greeting.  It was a secret I feel I discovered and I put it to good use on my walkabout.

As we spent more time in Oaxaca, we became aware of a situation in another part of this area. Here is the description from Wikipedia:  " On September 26, 2014, 43 male students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers' College of Ayotzinapa went missing in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico. According to official reports, they commandeered several buses and traveled to Iguala that day to hold a protest at a conference led by the mayor's wife. During the journey local police intercepted them and a confrontation ensued. Details of what happened during and after the clash remain unclear, but the official investigation concluded that once the students were in custody, they were handed over to the local Guerreros Unidos ("United Warriors") crime syndicate and presumably killed. Mexican authorities claimed Iguala's mayor, José Luis Abarca Velázquez, and his wife María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, masterminded the abduction.  Both Abarca and Pineda Villa fled after the incident, but were arrested about a month later in Mexico City."

I had seen the news broadcasts about this on the television in the hotel but there were stark reminders around the city that the radical nature of Oaxaca was not going to let this go by without comment.

Very tragic and very sad.

I have no idea the distance I traveled but it took 2 hours and 45 minutes to do it and I felt great upon my return at 10:00 a.m. as the workshop started.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, a Lois Trifecta.  

The break for lunch today was at Maria Bonita.  In a fit of useless energy, I followed a few would-be shoppers down to the Zocalo but the same restlessness made me head back to the workshop alone.

Word comes down about general strike in town to support the teacher strike and it may mean some lack of services or even blocked roads.  It is nervous to be in an emotional country like Mexico during one of its flare up times but it is also a little thrilling to be here as well.

Dinner tonight is with Marilyn, Tara, Kelly and Sue at La Biznagga.

I played in the workshop until 11:30 p.m.

View all the photos from this trip at 

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