Thursday, December 31, 2009

One More on Mexico

It’s the last day of the year and I feel compelled to write one last post about Oaxaca. I only showed examples of the radish displays at the Noche de los Rabanos in my last post but have to give tribute to the dried flower and corn husk creations as well. They were even more intricate than the radishes and the detail on the cornhusks was phenomenal, they also dyed them to add more color, though the natural and purple were some of my favorites.

Some of the displays had well over 100 different detailed characters shaped from dried corn husks.

The day of the dead theme is apparent in these finely cut characters.

How about this 300 piece band?

Each player done in minute detail

From dried flowers, here is Christ with his cross and I assume Mary Magdalene.

And a nativity scene with animals, all formed with strawflowers.

My last real day and night out, which was Wednesday the 23rd, was a classic schizophrenic Oaxaca experience. I visited the Rufino Tamayo museum of pre-Columbian art, a fine collection of pottery and other carvings from the Olmecs, Toltecs and Zapotec civilizations. I visited the Church of the Virgin of the Soledad, patron saint of Oaxaca, spent a couple of hours touring through the radish festival, and a couple more sitting on the zocalo drinking beer and watching the scene unfold. Then I went to the Museum of Oaxacan painters, a small but interesting exhibit of modern Oaxacan art, attended a performance of Balinese dance offered in the same museum. After that I headed over to the classical Macedonia Alcala theater, built in the 1850’s, where I checked out a fine orchestra performance. Then back out onto the street to see the lines of folks still waiting to view the radish displays and catch the firework show.

It was no wonder my head was spinning as I walked home that night but it turned out I was being hit with food poisoning, which was retched, but think I did pretty well to make it 24 days in Mexico before it struck. It wasn’t turista or montezuma’s revenge, but plain and clear I had eaten something bad that my body wanted out, via any opening as fast as possible. I spent the next couple of days recovering and then it was time to come home.

Naturally I picked up a cold in the airport so have now been spending my first few days home convalescing, but I guess that’s a small price to pay for so much travel and adventure packed into a months time.

I’ll close by saying that my trip to Oaxaca was all I had hoped for and more. My Spanish improved a great deal, I made some great new friends, saw beautiful natural places in Mexico and also enjoyed the cultural offerings of the city immensely.  I hope to keep my Spanish fresh as I move through 2010.  Happy new year!

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