I may have stayed out of the country just a tiny bit too long – I feel like I’ve landed in an alternate universe here in el norte. I think the cultural weirdometer is mostly due to this absurd political climate.
Downtown Dallas: only weird since Oaxaca has 3-story limits
Maybe it’s just context, like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’s McMurphy futilely claiming sanity in the psychiatric hospital. From my bi-cultural perspective, I now see the weird sides of both Mexico and U.S. — my definition of craziness changes depending on where I am. But it’s a close race, I’ll tell you.
Last night, they were dancing in the streets: a whirl of bright color to the brassy strains of bands passing down the stone streets of Oaxaca. A friend and I watched the parade over beer and guacamole from the rooftop terrace of Mezquite, which has a killer view of Santo Domingo plaza and some of the best wait staff in the city. It’s the beginning of Guelaguetza month, when Oaxaca’s 16 different indigenous groups get a chance to show off their native dress and dance here in the state capital.
At eight and with a personality as big as his voice, Mauricio is the next Mexico’s Got Talent. For now, he’s rocking a gig at his parents’ taco stand in Teotitlán del Valle, singing and dancing after he takes your order. It was all part of the magic at the town’s week-long holy festival that culminated in a jaw-dropping fireworks show on Sunday.
Mauricio el cantante
Sounds like a pretty easy lunch date: get some take-out pizza, pick up some friends, head over to another friend’s house to eat. In the US of A, it would involve jumping into the car, swinging by Domino’s and just, well, driving there. It’s a little more complicated in Mexico. Continue reading
The more time I spend in Mexico, the more dazed and confused I am re-entering life back in the U.S. Contract writing work, plus seeing family and friends, brings me back to Dallas several times a year. Part of me thrives on getting stuff done quickly and efficiently, shopping with incredible selection, and going into an office dressed in real clothes and shoes to meet with members of my work group. Another part of me is just plain freaked out now by north American life and culture.
To wit: television news, which these past few weeks has been fixated on deflated footballs, celebrity transgender transformation, the birth of an English princess and a violent biker gang war.
December 12 was a big day in Oaxaca. First of all, it was Virgin of Guadalupe Day – the day marking the appearance of the Virgin Mary to indigenous peasant Juan Diego in 1531, a huge deal in this state of 16 different indigenous groups. But it was also one of the few annual presentations of the Danza de la Pluma (Dance of the Feathers) in Teotitlán del Valle.
So call it fate, karma, the hand of God or the whim of the universe – I can see now that my lifelong love for all things Mexican was just the trailer for Living Real Life in Mexico. To wit: Continue reading