Monday, April 15, 2013

Hasta Luego Oaxaca

Benita, Deek, 7 Braulio - Oaxaca
Leaving a place that holds a special place in your heart is often melancholic. Oaxaca is that way for me. As my departure is almost upon me, I reflect back on a wonderful five months, full of fine people and memorable events. My time here has been well spent. I have made progress on my writing, hopefully having found a direction that allows my voice to mingle with Marie's. My camera has been clicking away happily and I have hopefully found a way to juxtapose my photographs with Marie's sketches. I have been able to give many people portraits that they have been very grateful to receive, and new friendships have blossomed because of it. So this entry is a combination of photographs and words that recap a few of my favorite things and people that I would like to share. Perhaps it is more of a personal therapy session for me than a blog post for you. You can decide that and read on or not. I will feel better having done this, no hay duda. (Excuse the photo layout, very hard to control.)
Fernanda & Adelina
Daniel & Fernanda playing "Lucha Libre"

The people who were most present in my Oaxaca life were Adelina, the owner's domestic helper, her daughter Fernanda, and the owner's son, Daniel, who Adelina considers as one of her own. I was almost part of the family, and loved every noisy minute of it! I am so amazed at the joyful, "love life" temperament of Adelina & Fernanda. Thirteen hour work days, six days a week, and always laughter and fun. Much to learn here. No retirement plan in place, no union benefits, just hard work and a love for life.
Nuns being serenaded
Balloon vendor - zocalo

And then there is the zocalo, a non-stop circus performance all the time. No matter what time of the day you venture out, there is non-stop action, and a large audience to appreciate whatever is happening. I often go out for an after dinner walk when the heat of the day has subsided and the air is cool. I am not the only one out enjoying the evening breeze. There are always the mariachis working the sidewalk cafes and park benches. They always seem to find someone willing to pay for a serenade or a few nostalgic songs. Sometimes it appears to be divine intervention that makes their music permeate the evening calm.

Festival de danza contemporanea
There are the constant colors parading across the zocalo, shimmering, neon colors that the children love.
Classical street musician
And the talented, colorful people who work the streets and create a cultural collage for a peso or two in their violin case or tin cup. If it happens to be Wednesday, then you have Miércoles de Danzón, the older generations version of a "rave". Men in Panama hats and dangling watch chains, and women in heels and fancy dresses sway to the beat and "dance" like you are supposed to, with rhythm and feeling. Makes a person proud to be over 50!
Miercoles de Danzón
It seems that every outing has its special surprise waiting. I like to go  to La Michoacana" ice cream shop in the evening for a delicious guanabana or mango nieve, and in doing so, often find myself sitting down to a free performance that always keeps me there until the show is over. Culture flows in the street, and the quality is outstanding. And free!!

And most importantly are all of the wonderful people that I was able to photograph and share those photos with. If you photograph people, it seems the only fair thing to do; they are so grateful for it. Thank you George Ancona for showing me how important that is. The portraits below are some of those people that are now friends. Click for a larger view, because they are all larger than life people. Adios amigos, ¡nos vemos pronto! You have taught me so much. Mil gracias!
Benita & Braulio
La Familia Perez-Nochixtlán
Domingo & Kevin Racoon
Doña Angela - Teotitlan
Doña Rosa Maria - Bread vendor

Jazmin-Weaver, Teotitlán

Doña Aurora-Arte Seda
Don Fernando - baker

Oscar & Octavio - Café Morez

Last years wrap up:


Quena said...

Happy to see that Kevin made it into the final blog post! It is such a wonderful place and we will return next year! We have special Navidad plans papito! Safe travels!

Carolyn Blocher said...

Love your pictures. Love your writing style. Love to know you are incorporating your and Maria's art forms . . . she is still here in the butterflies. Next time I drive south I'll make time for a stop in Corvallis, Dick, I think I need a hug.

Unknown said...

I really love your pictures. This blog post is really very nice. Thank you!
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