Friday, December 26, 2008

Feliz Navidad

Where to start!?... I have finished my month on the farm out in Etla, which was an amazing experience, and am now staying in a hostel in Oaxaca city. Christmas in the city was amazing: The 23rd was Noche de los Rabanos, a night in which unnaturally large radished are carved into various scenes of Dìa de los Muertos, the Nativity, Jesus, the Cathedral, Virgins, and much More. The 24th I took a bus up to the outskirts of the city and had a vegan dinner with some other American I had met the night before, in a defunct mini-mansion where one of them lives. Then I came to the zocalo (equivalent of old-town square) and watched all of the calendas. Calendas are like mini parades-each church has one with it´s own band, float on a truck with the litte kids dressed up as angels or as the nativity scene, and people marching behind with candles. There are tons of fireworks, way too close to your face and way to loud, but it´s absolutely beautiful. It´s been so much fun to people watch.
One of the best things that´s happened to me in the city is that as I was walking down the street one day by Santo Domingo, I looked in a window and saw a print press. I asked to look around, met the "maestro," and have been there working on my prints everyday since! I love everything about being in a print studio and have been learning a lot (I have a degree in printmaking for those of you who don´t already know; but the different set-up and language difference has made a big difference)! We all ate Christmas lunch together on the big work table, and they told me folk stories.
I decided to skip my few days at the beach and am going to keep working on printmaking, visiting art museums & galleries, hopefully see a weaving studio, and eat more amazing Oaxacan Mole! The it´s off to another farm in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oaxaca (Wa-Ha-Ca)

I made it from Yelapa to Oaxaca, and took a little day and a half stop in Mexico City. I went to two amazing museums, one where Frida Kahlo grew up and another where she and Diego Rivera lived together (the house from the movie Frida, if you´ve seen it).
Now, I´m working at Divertigranja in Oaxaca. It´s serious physical labor, but well worth it. We spend the morning feeding the animals. Ready for the list?: mare, burro, turkeys, ducks, chickens, peacocks, dogs, cats, squirrle, guinnea pics, doves, monkeys, falcon, crocodiles, emu, ostrich, goats, rats, and I´m sure there are others I´m not thinking of. The other project I´ve been working on is a huge raised-bed garden. We have most of it double-dug and have haulled over tuns of vaca caca (cow poop) from the dairy-farmer neighbor. I´ve never shoveled so much or actually used a pitch fork before in my life, and my pussing, blistered hands are very attractive, I assure you. Now we just need to get some seeds going, and the garden will be well on it´s way.
I spent my day off with another volunteer from the farm walking around the zocalo and the markets. We had mole, tuna flavored ice cream (don´t worry, it´s a cactus fruit not a fish), queso oaxaqueño, a really good corn drink "tejate" (the kind we all had together out of the huge bowls, m&d), and sampeled lots of chocolate. I also bought a beautiful naturally died & hand woven scarf-thank goodness, because it gets Really cold here!
December it party central, so we´ve been to a couple already and have tons more on the way. Last night we went to a party, that was really a catholic mass with a meal following at the family´s huge home. Some of the other parties will probably be more party-party, with some mezcal involved (the local liquor).
Monte Alban next weekend with my friends, and I´m sure that amazing food will be involved!
Anyway, Oaxaca is just as wonderful as I remember it, it not more, and I´m livin´the dream.