"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Vacation Photos, With Explanations

Ladies in traditional costume (below) dancing traditional dances for the Calendaria that opens the festival of Mezcal in downtown Oaxaca. For those who don't know, mezcal is a spirit distilled from blue agave, similar to tequila. In fact I'm not sure exactly what the difference is, but something in the method of production. Oaxaca state is home to many dozens of small distilleries which still make their mezcal the old-fashioned way - by roasting the agave hearts in a pit oven, grinding them in a stone pit by donkey power, fermenting and then distilling in a hand-built copper still. Once a year, these small producers have a chance to come to the big city and showcase their wares in a three day festival that begins with a big parade and ends with everybody staggering drunk passed out on the llano. Not really, but they DO give out unlimited free samples. I had a grand time visiting the pavilion with my mother-in-law.

My sister-in-law and comadre, Temy, with her pet parrot, Zair. Temy has been my sister-in-law for ten years now, but she only became my comadre a few months ago, when we had Paloma baptized and asked her to be the Godmother. The Comadre/Compadre relationship is very important and nearly sacred, and I feel very happy and privileged to be a real comadre at last.
Zair talks very well, and even speaks appropriately; for example, he says he is hungry whenever he sees someone eating.

The inside of the central dome of Santo Domingo, the largest and most magnificent church in Oaxaca. It was built as a convent in the mid-sixteenth century and now houses a very fine museum as well as, of course, still functioning as a church.

A painting in an exhibit in a gallery downtown. The exhibit was focused around the deadly train journey that so many central American migrants make on their way to the U.S. I haven't the time nor the heart to go into it now, but an excellent book on the subject is "Enrique's Journey." The exhibit, although it contained some fabulous art, was truly disturbing and gave my children nightmares. I shouldn't have taken them inside. I was only looking for a bathroom.
A typical street scene. A typical house on a typical day. Beautiful, isn't it?


Olive said...

What a lovely, colourful place for a holiday. If I was a few years younger (and fit and able) I would love to visit there.
Australia on the other hand has very little to compare. No really old history except for the Aboriginal culture. I'd love to travel to see some of the grand old buildings through Europe and America.

Aimee said...

Olive - Do it! Travel now! After all, you aren't going to get any younger or fitter, are you? We took my dad with us to Oaxaca a few years ago, even though he has had a major stroke and is paralyzed on the right half of his body. He was surely uncomfortable part of the time, but he enjoyed the trip and was very glad he went. I myself have taken some EXTREMELY uncomfortable journeys (Don't drive down the baja peninsula in high summer, especially with a baby, okay?) and although I did a lot of complaining at the time, I don't regret the trip for a minute and am so glad I went. Travel is inherently uncomfortable, and sometimes downright miserable, but the joys of seeing the world and meeting new people far outweigh the downsides.

AnyEdge said...

Olive, I must echo my sister. Travel is worth it, at nearly any inconvinience. I've been all over this world, with the exception of Africa, and I can tell you I am glad to have seen all the things I have seen: great and miserable, rich and poor. I puts me in the context of the world and teaches me humility.

Australia was amazing.