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Archive for the ‘Neighborhoods’ Category

I felt like I was being watched, as I walked through Barrio Xochimilco this morning…

Mural of creatures painted by SCOM on wall

Stumbled upon, what could be, the stairway to heaven…

Outside stairs at Templo Santo Tomás Xochimilco

Just passing through…

2 women in front of mural with2 dancing skeletons

Aren’t we all?

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Walking home today…

Besides walls of street art (which will no doubt appear here when inspiration hits or I can’t think of anything else to post), I came across this view.

Looking down street, red domed church mid ground, mountains in distance

Looking over rooftops at red domed church in mid distance and mountains in background

Looking over rooftops at red domed church in mid distance and mountains in background

Red dome of church in foreground with mountains in background

View of Templo del Carmen Alto from Crespo, near the Escaleras del Fortín.

There is beauty out there…

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They say, “politics makes strange bedfellow.”  Rivers do too, as US, Mexico reach pact on Colorado River water sale.  Hopefully, Mexico isn’t getting the short end of the stick, like Southern California’s Imperial Irrigation District is accusing its SoCal neighbor, the Metropolitan Water District, of handing it.

Having grown up and spending most of my life in Northern California and suffering through a couple of major droughts that included water rationing, while water flowed south to fill LA’s swimming pools and water its lawns, the only answer to stave off the upcoming worldwide “water wars,” is the recognition that water is a precious resource that must be conserved and not wasted.

Hmmm… I wonder how these neighbors on the 500 block of Avenida Morelos get along?

Front of Iglesia Evangelica Bautista

Outside of vegetariano Flor de Loto restaurant

Sign on building, Mezcalería In Situ Torrentera

The mezcalería is the newest addition to the ‘hood and for some reason it tickled me that the vegetarian restaurant is the only thing standing between it and the Baptist church.

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an offering.

Apples, corn, beans, pinecone turkeys, marigolds

an integral part of the Day(s) of the Dead celebration.

Sand painting surrounded with apples

filled with meaning.

Carved owl and garlands

a beacon to the departed.

fruits, photos, flowers

an ephemeral work of art.

Marigolds, photos, fruit, vegetables, skulls, drum, baskets of nuts

the sum of its lovingly chosen parts.

Day of the Dead altarThis is another ofrenda from the previously mentioned “altar decorating” competition on the plaza in front of Santo Tomás in Oaxaca’s Xochimilco barrio.

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Living and being in Oaxaca during the Días de los Muertos is hard to put into words.  There is so much to experience and to think about.  Sensory overload challenges the limits of heart and mind and my emotions are running the gamut from extreme exhilaration to a quiet joy to being moved to tears.

The latter occurred a few days ago, when I walked up to the Templo de Santo Tomás in Oaxaca’s Xochimilco barrio (neighborhood) where an “altar decorating” contest was in progress.  Altars were to be judged on authenticity, originality, and creativity.  When I arrived, friends and relatives were in the midst of putting the final touches on their altars.  Some were elaborate and some exhibited real artistry, but one really touched my heart.

He was alone — no one to help, no playful banter.  When I first arrived, he was carefully etching a cross with a piece of charred wood on a stone.

He worked silently and with purpose, pulling items out of a well-worn sugar bag and carefully placing them on his altar.

When the bag was empty, he walked over to a cart and pulled out another one.

Slowly, his vision emerged, with symbology I have only a cursory grasp of and won’t presume to explain.

I don’t know who won the 5000 peso first prize or second or third place purses, and I don’t know if he was doing it for the money (he certainly looked like he could use it).

All I do know is he and his ofrenda moved me deeply.

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End of rainy season?

Hmmm, no rain for a week, cool nights, and warm, clear blue-sky days.  Even concrete boxes beg for a photo…

Concrete boxy buildings against clear blue sky.
I’m thinking the rainy season has ended!

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Rain or shine…

Flags aren’t the only things flying from the rooftops of Oaxaca…

Laundry hanging from rooftop clothesline.

A 2004 report, Measuring Inequality with Asset Indicators [pdf], by McKenzie, confirms very few households in Mexico have clothes dryers.

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No, I didn’t have to ford a raging river… just make a harrowing 5+ second dash, while dodging speeding cars in an effort to cross Calzada de la República, which used to be a river that formed the natural boundary between Oaxaca and the village of Jalatlaco.

Today, Jalatlaco (“sandy embankment” in the Aztec language of Nauhatl) is a barrio (neighborhood) of Oaxaca, but República and its traffic continue to provide a daunting barrier and some colorful street art.

Colorful street art on wall with female skeleton, bird, and serpent

However, once beyond República, the atmosphere changes.  Cobblestones from the old riverbed line the streets and slow the pace;

Doorway on a cobblestone street.

color and foliage, not to mention crowns, add to the character;

Green wall with gate with crown and palm tree.

and stone walls line the narrow streets, shielding the neighborhood from the bustle beyond.

Stone wall

By the way, my breakfast of huevos divorcíados at El Biche Pobre was colorful and delicious!

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