Monday, June 3, 2019

2018 Oaxaca, Mexico, with Michael deMeng, Day Twelve, Thirteen and Fourteen

Dream Monsters and Alebrijes: deMeng de Los Muertos

October 23rd to November 5th, 2018

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Had breakfast with the gang who are still here. Hanging around the hotel lobby, I had a chance to say goodbye to Michael deMeng and thank him for a great workshop.

This morning I went on a walkabout with Marilyn Werst.


We visited the Iglesia del Carmen Alto.

We went to the Rufino Tamayo Museum of Prehispanic Art.

Coincidence, I don't think so.

Snarky Aztec codex

Next Marilyn and I headed over to the Berber Jiménez Museo.

OK, this was on a wall on the way to the museo.

Marilyn and I ate lunch at El Jardin on the zocolo. Then we walked over to get ready for our afternoon tour.

We bought cool bookmarks from this artist.

My favorite street busker in Oaxaca


This afternoon a group of us signed up for a Traditions Mexico tour that we met at in front of the Jardin Etnobotanico. This was a Dia de los Muertos tour that would be guided by a gentleman named  Toño who also served as our driver.

The tour allowed me to take some Out of the Window shots.

Our first stop of the tour is the Nuestro Palenque mescal compound in Santiago de Mazatlán. This mural is on the outside walls of the estate.

Back in the van, it was time for more Out the Window shots.

Sonia, a seamstress who makes aprons in San Miguel del Valle, was our next stop.

Remember the crazy fireworks on your head display we saw the other night in Xochimilco? Well, Sonia's kids gave us an up close and personal display in the courtyard outside her studio.

Sonia's ofrenda

The community church was gorgeous from a distance

Our last stop of the day was a visit with Dahlia Morales, a chef in Santa Anna. She and her family hosted us in their compound and showed us their cooking skills.

The family is cooking food that will be taken to the pantheon on the last night of Dia. Tonight I heard about a Dia tradition I was not aware of. Well aware that families gather in the cemeteries to invite the spirits of their dead ancestors to their homes for Dia, I was not aware that they spent this night inviting the relatives to go back!

So off we went to the pantheon.

In all my trips to Mexico and Cuba, I never got a chance to ride in one of the three-wheeled taxis. Dahlia called for a taxi to take her and the food to the pantheon and I invited myself along for the ride. None of my pictures of the taxi, the trip or my hanging out the side of the taxi yelling "perro" with my tongue hanging out survived (perhaps for the best).

Dahlia and her family to us to her father's graveside in the pantheon where the food was put out for our enjoyment.

Her father's grave dressed for Dia

In the cemetery, a group of local folk artists played the role of the deceased. Given a last chance this year to dance, they then are guided back to the other side and Dia closes.


The last event of the night for me involved a man named Juan who I met wandering around taking pictures. The discussion started with his dead relative, moved through photography, and ended with a discussion of the sad state of Mexican-American relationships.

As our group was leaving the cemetery, he asked if I could take a picture of his relatives at the grave site of their family member. 

I was pleased to do this for them (and only wish I had taken multiple pictures to get the best one). 

Juan (on the far right) received this photo from me via email and I got a nice thank back. If only all international relationships could be that smooth.

This tour was an absolutely fascinating look at Oaxaca and I was so glad we went on this trip.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

This morning I had a chance to say more goodbyes as we are getting smaller and smaller as a group. However, that does not mean I cannot go power shopping with my friend, Marilyn Werst.

Wanted to but did not buy

Wanted to but did not buy

Wanted to but did not touch

Did not buy

Did not buy

Did not buy

Stood in this hallway while Marilyn bought so took a picture of a door

Muerte, Marilyn is still buying stuff

Staring at walls

..and more walls

Wanted to buy but will get at Home Depot at home

Probably art of a woman I could buy but did not ask

No comment

Praying the shopping trip will end

Waiting outside while Marilyn shops

Kicking myself for going shopping with Marilyn

OK, enough of that. Marilyn Werst is my art buddy, international guide and good friend. She will thinks this is funny (I hope). 

Just sayin' our President is not popular in Mexico except as the butt of joke

Marilyn and I met Sue at the Tierra del Sol restaurant for lunch today. Then it was goodbye to my last two contacts and I was on my own in Oaxaca for a last walkabout.

Having looked at this artist's work all workshop, I finally bit the bullet and bought this piece. It is a drawing on vintage paper that was stained with coffee. 

I spent some time in the art museum. 

Repeating myself: the butt of the joke 



At the local gym I took in a basketball game. 

This guy paints with thread. 

One last comparsa

One last band of street buskers

Tonight I ate dinner by myself on the alcala. Then it was back to the hotel to pack for I have an early day tomorrow. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Up at 3:30 and in the lobby by 4:30 because I have a 6:45 a.m. flight to Mexico City. Then at 9:05 a.m I am on my way to Detroit. I have no idea why I booked the 8:35 p.m. flight out of Detroit to Milwaukee as there was a 4:00 p.m. flight that I could catch stand-by.

The good news was I was home in O'Hare by 4:00 p.m. (CST) and caught the Coach USA bus to Milwaukee where Denice picked my up at our airport. After dinner and some mush-mouth recounting of this trip, it was off to dreamland back in the USA.

My travels with Colleen and Michael are always an adventure and I want to thank them both, as well as all my art companions especially Marilyn Werst, for making this another great collection of memories.

Adios, Oaxaca,

Rare self portrait of me contemplating all things Dia de los Muertos in Oaxaca.

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