"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Visit to La Mixteca Baja

Oh how annoying it is not to be able to upload photos! Bro, if you read this, please tell me again how to do it on my iphone. Doesn't blogger have an iphone app?

Yesterday we went on a daytrip to a tiny village in the mixteca baja region called San Pedro Nopala. Our good friend Crecencio is from there, as is his wife and cousins. When they heard we were going to Oaxaca this christmas, they asked us to bring gifts for their family. This always hapens, by the way. If you know any Mexicans and you are going anywhere in Mexico, expect to be regaled with backpacks and cellphones, jewelry and cameras and such to deliver to your friend's loved ones.

In our case, we were convinced to bring a backpack full of gifts and an electronic piano, which must have weighed a hundred pounds, in a hard case. The relatives would have sent someone to Oaxaca city to pick up the gifts, but Crecencio was excited for us to see his village and meet his parents. "If you think I can barbecue a g
oat, "he said, "wait until you try my father,s barbecue. No, hombre!"

About an hour north of Oaxaca, we turned off the autopista at Noxchtitlan. We stopped at an incredible ex convent that happened to be ooen at a place I can't remember, but it was pretty incredible. The caretaker there told us it was started in the year 1550 and that 600 men worked for 25 years to complete it. Six hundred poor indians, I thought, but did not say. And though I feel terrible for even thinking such a thing, it occurred to me that through force and torture had emerged a thing of eternal beauty and power. Though surely the means does not justify the end, I couldn,t help but marvel at the finished product.

We only got lost once on the way to the village, which lies some twelve kilometers off the paved road. We stopped and asked an old man resting next to his burro in the fields and he set us straight. As an aside, this particular trip was an eleven donkey trip. Whenever we go on a roadtrip in Mexico we count the donkeys we see by the side of the road. There are fewer now than there were a decade ago. When i first came to Oaxaca, this would surely have been a twenty donkey journey.
e a goat," he said, "Wait untik you have my father's barbecue. No, hombre, no hay nada asi."