Sunday, January 25, 2009


"Estiercol" has become a huge part of my life in the past two months. It`s also knwn as: caca de vaca, cow poop, or manure. A lot of my work on both the farm in Oaxaca and the garden in Chiapas has consisted of collecting cow poop-which is actually a fairly enjoyable job (except when it`s windy and the powdered cow poop gets in your eye or sticks to your sweaty face). Anywya, the food here at La Casa del Pan is delicious! It feels great to collect the cow poo to build the beds, where we plant, water, care for, and then harvest the veggies we serve at the restaurant. I work in the mornings and eat the lunch buffet around 3. Lately I have been spending my afternoons in the kitchen with the cocineras, who are helping me with spansh and teaching me a bit of how to make tortillas, yoghurt, flan, and tons of other delicious treats!

There is a ton of live music here in San Cris, and I love going to the bar just next door to listen for a while before I get into bed. There is an amazing fandango (traditional music from Veracruz) band that plays all over town, as well as a dub reggae ban that`s really fun to dance to. Last week some friends and I went to a big fandango at Casa Blues, and by the time I left around 11pm there were over a dozen people playing percussion and the famout tiny little guitars, with women doing the amazing fandango dancing.

My 1st day off I went to Chamula as I already wrote about, and my free days have gotten better since then. My 2nd, I walked out to the periferico (the road that runs arund town) and down to ther river. I was just going to walk up the river and have a picnic, but ended up finding "El Encuantro" Ecological Reserve. There was an interesting trail with a great view of the city, and I stumbeled my way around for a while. My next weekend I attempted to take my one-speed bike out to the village of Zinacanta. It`s a steep 12km trip, and there was a lot of walking with my bike by my side involved. But I made it and it was a great day (the 1st day of sun after a solid week of cold, cloudy, rainy days-which I thuroughly enjoyed as well). Zinacantan is know for it`s textiles and I saw tons of beautiful weavings and embroidery. I bought hilo (thread) at the market there and embroidered an owl on my sweatshirt, attempting to do it in their traditional style. This morning I got up and took a colectivo out of town, past the garden, and to Huitipec ecological reserve, where I had a really nice 3km hike. It`s beautiful, peacefull rain forrest and I was absolutely the only one there. I`m going to spend the afternoon hanging out with a friend, and probably get to bed early.

A couple more days here, and off to Palenque.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

La Huerta

After spending an uneventful New Year`s on a 12-hour over-nite bus ride from Oaxaca, Oaxaca to San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas I am at La Casa del Pan (the restaurant whose garden I am working on). The garden is absolutely amazing-about 20 minutes out of town on a colectivo, and a minute walk up a hill- it`s a beautifully organized veggie garden overlooking the valley. We have every kind of lettuce I can imagine and tons of other delicious treats- snow peas, radishes, rhubarb, and more. Evey day after work at the garden (which consits of planting, harvesting, compost, digging, weeding, cleaning, and whatnot) we eat at La Casa del Pan. It`s an organic veggie buffet, home-made bread, a "plato fuerte," and dessert. The food is amazing, and the bread comes from our built-in bakery. We (a french guy and australian guy and myself) live in a room behind the restaurant/bakery, right next to an independent movie theater.

Leaving Oaxaca was hard (I almost rented a room in a friend`s house, and stayed to work a the print studio), but I love San Cristobal as well. Like I said, there is as independent movie theater in our "building" and there are tons more around town, the food is amazing everywhere-tons of international people, everyone is super friendly, there is a bit of art, the indigenous towns are really interesting, and the landscapes are impossible to explain-I love the weather here too!

Today we rode horses with one of the guys who works at La Casa del Pan to Chamula, a close-by indigenous town, to see their Sunday market and rituals in the church. Interesting, but a bit touristy now, so in the next weeks I`m going to visit at leas one of the other villages. Anyway, this place is beautiful!!!