Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Settling In

Concierto de Campanas
It has been over a month now since I arrived in Cholula, and poco a poco things are falling into place.
Nuestra Señora de los Remedios
I have rented a casita in San Andrés Cholula, the home of the UDLA (Universidad de las Americas) and La Piramide, an archeological site of much historical significance. It was here that Hernán Cortez slaughtered over five thousand Cholultecas Indians, mostly unarmed civilians, in less than six hours. Of course, they built the miraculous "Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios" over the Cholulteca temple (La Piramide) that was there first. ¡Viven los cristianos!
San Andrés is a tranquil pueblo with a nice zocalo and beautiful old church. It is said that the city of Cholula has 365 churches, either one for each day of the year or one for each pre-Hispanic temple that used to be here.
La Piramide - Cholulteca Temple
 In  reality, there are only thirty seven churches; 159, if all the small chapels including those on local haciendas and ranches are counted. But that is still a lot of churches for a relatively small town. November 19th was the "The Concert of the Bells", a forty-five minute, all percussion concert, which incorporated some of the church bells. The concert was the finale of La Festival Vaniloquio, a six day music festival which was a mix of musics: classical, folklórico and jazz. All performances took place outdoors around the zocalo and were open to the public. As the poster says, "The Arts are alive in Cholula!"
Iglesia de San Andrés Cholula

Enrique y Hortensia on duty
201-B 4 Norte, San Andrés Cholula
As for mi casita, it is a newly finished, cement block house that is quite empty for the moment. I have the essentials, stove, fridge, bed, two tables with eight chairs (but no one to invite to eat with me!) and a work station for my computer. An added special service that I did not expect is the round the clock service of two very efficient Mexican guard turkeys! So far I have not been robbed, and the ducks, chickens, dog and cat that roam my front yard have not dared to enter the house when my door is open! All this for $300 a month. With the turkeys, it is well worth it.
Street Children
  In my last blog entry, I wrote about the preparations for el Día de los Muertos. The results of those preparations were quite impressive. Families that had loved ones die in the past year set up ofrendas in their homes and provided food for all those that came to pay tribute to their departed friends. In the market in San Andrés, there was a very unique display of ofrendas that has some very special dedications. Below are some example:
She did not stop being a woman because she had only one breast
Sanitation Workers
And to conclude, I will mention La Feria Internaciónal de la Literatura Infantil y Juvenil that I attended in Mexico City (DF) last week. It was a three day event that focused on children's literature and the importance of reading in Mexico and the rest of the world. There were excellent presentations and a far too tempting book fair that I could not resist. It was a real treat to see the side of Mexico that we do not see often enough in the States, A nation of readers. I will post a few photos that demonstrate my point. If you made it this far, thanks for staying until the end. Abrazos amigos!
Deaf readers
Fernanda con su mamá