Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato, 2009. So many clowns, so little time.
My college friend Carolyn, with whom I almost got into lots of trouble many moons ago, recently visited Oaxaca for the first time with her husband Tom. She reminded me of the off-the-charts emails that I used to send select friends who I thought wouldn’t freak out and try to airlift me out of Mexico after reading them, which turned out to be a fairly small number. I actually have a whole file of emails and notes marked “Mexico Book Chapters.” Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of how I ended up in Oaxaca:
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.
Yanet and Manuel celebrated their first Valentines Day as a married couple last month, after seven years of dating. (Though here in Mexico, February 14 is the “Day of Friendship and Love,” softening the blow of what my friend Michelle calls “Singles Awareness Day” in el norte. But back to Yanet and Manuel, whose wedding must have surely been the highlight of the season in Teotitlán del Valle, just east of Oaxaca City.
Newlyweds Manuel and Yanet, Teotitlán del Valle
We three Susans always bought T-shirts and stuff with three women on them, but being corn goddesses trumps them all. Though honestly, these blocky-headed broads look as though the weavers were documenting a visitation from The Others, who came in peace bearing corn stalks. Wearing skirts, no less.
In the last five years that I’ve traveled in and around Oaxaca – in planes, buses, cars, collectivos and mototaxis, even once in a cattle truck when the bus broke down – I’ve packed a lot of bags. I don’t backpack any more but I like to have what I need without toting too much.
Jumpsuits for travel?
I’m also always amazed at what people wear to travel, and since I almost always have a layover in Mexico City I have ample time to peruse the passengers. I wouldn’t have thought to wear, for instance, a tiger print jumpsuit (never mind the pattern, how do you manage a jumpsuit in an airplane bathroom?) with four-inch stiletto heels. Continue reading
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