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Posts Tagged ‘Valles Centrales de Oaxaca’

Friday was a delightful day… a late morning and early afternoon spent in leisurely conversation with one of my closest friends over desayuno at Cocina Economica Isabel, a stop at the Merced mercado to pick up some pan dulce, and a stroll through the Zócalo, before returning home.  I envisioned a late afternoon and evening of visiting with my neighbor before she is heads north for a USA visit, catching up on email, and watching a movie.  Perfection, I thought!  Who could ask for more?

“More” came via my email inbox; notice of the 10th Guelaguetza Infantil, with a calenda (parade) from Santo Domingo de Guzmán to the Zócalo beginning at 6 PM.  This definitely called for a change of plans!  And, sure enough, as I got closer to Santo Domingo, there they were; delegations of children representing the regions of Oaxaca.

Girl and boy in costume of the Istmo.

Istmo de Tehuantepec couple (a young Frida Kahlo, perhaps?) posing for photos.

Girl in Istmo costume covering her ears

There were several bands playing and it got a little too loud for this girl from the Istmo.

Girl in Tuxtepec costume holding basket of candy.

However this girl, representing the Papaloapan, didn’t seem to mind and was ready to toss candy to the crowd. She wasn’t alone — once the calenda started, candy began flying fast and furious and the pockets of the kids watching on the sidelines began bulging!

Girl wearing a costume from the Costa regionGirls from the Costa region received last-minute instructions.

Boys in white shirts and straw cowboy hats holding school banner reading "Cervantes"

Costa boys were charged with holding up their school banner.

Close up of girls in the costumes from Tuxtepec

The girls representing the Papaloapan clutched plastic pineapples, ready for the always popular Flor de Piña dance from Tuxtepec.

2 girls standing together; one in Istmo costume and one in Tuxtepec costume

A little cross cultural comparing of notes (actually, cell phone games) was happening between the Istmo and Papaloapan.

Girl in Mixteca costume dancing.

All the while, the dancers from the Mixteca danced their way down the Álcala.

Closeup of boy with Danza de la Pluma head dress.

And, the young Danza de la Pluma danzantes, representing the Valles Centrales, carefully balanced their penachos (headdresses).

Tonight at 5 pm, these 300 kids from 52 preschools, will perform traditional regional dances in the auditorium of the Universidad Regional del Sureste, Rosario campus in San Sebastián Tutla.

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This morning, I was awakened from a sound sleep by the insistent siren and recorded voice alerting the neighborhood of an impending earthquake.  I bolted upright, moved to the side of the bed and slipped on my flip-flops — ready to head out the door if shaking commenced.  As I’ve mentioned before, I think Mexico’s Earthquake Warning System is terrific and something the US should emulate.

However, this time, no rocking and rolling occurred, but I was left wide awake and wondering if and where an earthquake had occurred.  So I pulled out my iPod Touch and opened my iEarthquake app and found that at 5:10 this morning, there was a magnitude 5.7 earthquake about 105 miles WSW from the city of Oaxaca in the mountains near the coast.  The epicenter was 6.2 miles northwest of Pinotepa Nacional, in the Costa region of the state of Oaxaca.

So, I decided to use this event for a geography lesson.  The state of Oaxaca has 8 regions (it used to be 7, but not too long ago the Sierra Region was split into two):

These regions are home to 14 distinct ethno linguistic groups and the regions vary dramatically in topography, vegetation, and climate.  One can catch a glimpse of the unique costumes, dances, and dancers of each region during the Guelaguetza celebration in Oaxaca in July.   The city of Oaxaca is located in the Valles Centrales (“Centro” on the map below).

Color coded map of the regions and districts of Oaxaca

Map from Wikipedia

For a painless way to learn more about the geography of Mexico, you might want to take a look at the Mexican States games.

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