Image

Monte Alban

I first came to Oaxaca in 2009, on an epic road trip from Tucson to Lago Atitlan in Guatemala and back. We descended into the town out of the mountains and stayed a week.  I was completely unaware of Monte Alban sitting nestled in the hills above town.

I came again in 2018, for Dia De Los Muertes.  On that trip I visited a smaller site, Mitla, but did not go to Monte Alban because my legs would not permit me to climb around (long story).

Then I was back one more time this February, but that trip was consumed by the search for the apartment where I now live.

Today, I finally got to see the site in all of its magnificence.  Well, almost all.  Because of Covid, access is closed to the tombs which contain some spectacular paintings. I’ll have to see those next year.

Here are some photos and a video from today, starting with the “discoverer” of Monte Alban.

montealban01smmontealban02smmontealban03smmontealban04smmontealban05smmontealban06smmontealban07smmontealban08sm

Image

Trash Collection In Mexico

In Mexico, you don’t put your trash bins at the curb to be picked up.  The garbage truck drives slowly down the street, honking its horn, and residents run out to put their own trash into it. The guys working the truck separate out some plastic bottles and cardboard by hand. I’m not sure where those go in the end. I’m not sure where any of it goes, actually.

Image

Reading

I’ve now been in Oaxaca for two weeks, and retired for close to a month. Friday, I drove back with a new friend from an overnight with another new friend in San Mateo Rio Hondo (pics later). As I pulled over for the 3rd or 4th time to let a driver who was in a hurry pass, I remarked to my companion that it is nice to be retired and free of time urgency. I feel blissfully relaxed.  Each day passes as I want it to, and if something doesn’t work out, there is always the next day. Of course this is an attitude that shouldn’t require retirement to attain, but hey, I’m retired.

I have been writing five days a week at Convivio.  Usually I spend between 3-5 hours on the first draft of Ocean. 

I have also been devouring other people’s books.  So much so that I have reactivated my Goodreads account. I have an author page there, with a journal that I occasionally post to. You can follow or friend me over there if you want. If you have read Atmosphere, I would of course appreciate a rating/review at Goodreads as well as on Amazon. Here’s my latest Goodreads blog post:

I am beginning the last of four days away from Ocean. Naturally, I have read a lot. I just finished The Dali Lama’s Cat, a delightful look into the life of, you guessed it, the Dali Lama’s cat. I imagine it will introduce many cat lovers to the elementals of Buddhism. Before that, I polished off Peter Kuper’s sketchbook journal of two years spent in Oaxaca during and after the 2006 uprising. It was an interesting, thoughtful presentation. I also read Roman Blood, by Steven Saylor. It is your basic murder mystery/detective novel set in ancient Rome. It was OK, if formulaic. Unlike The Skull Mantra, by Eliot Pattison, which delved deeply into and relied on the culture and history of Tibet and the Chinese invasion/occupation, Roman Blood was only superficially dependent on its setting. Next up, Barkskins, by Annie Proulx.

As soon as I download photos from my camera, I’ll post some pics of San Mateo, et al.

Image

Puebla

20210408_130421

The view to the left from my hotel balcony

20210408_130429

The view to the right

20210408_132050

The Catedral

20210408_135858

A cool shadow

20210408_135958

The zocalo was closed off for renovations

20210408_140345

The next few are of the interior of the Catedral. I spent my time in there marveling at the treasure which had been extracted from the people of this country to build dozens of palaces like this to an alien religion.

20210408_14071320210408_14093820210408_14111220210408_14160320210408_14190220210408_142532

20210408_142846

A model of the center of Puebla

20210408_144435

Pasaje Ignacio Zaragosa

20210408_145258

Gorgeous tile work

20210408_180452

Image

San Luis Potosi

20210407_120519

The Communist Party recruiting in downtown San Luis Potosi

20210407_120948

20210407_122658

Inside the Templo De San Juan De Dios

20210407_123251

20210407_123704

Street musicians are everywhere

20210407_141919

Visual Optical

20210407_142240

Plaza Del Carmen

20210407_142927

When the light is perfect, it’s perfect.

20210407_143500

I wonder who lived here.

20210407_150227

El Cofrade

20210407_150343

Templo De Carmen

20210407_150450

Nothing to see here.

That last image connects to the first.  When capitalism is unchecked, and income inequality becomes so extreme as to be untenable, Communism can gain a foothold.  Desperate people will take desperate measures.  The United States would do well to heed this warning, especially the corporatists within the Republican party.  Capitalism can work, and work well, but only with healthy regulation and a strong socialistic safety net.

Image

El Museo De La Mascara, San Luis

The first mask you saw is from Sonora. Beyond that, I didn’t bother to read any of the labels, I just enjoyed the visuals. The museum was very dimly lit, giving the whole exhibit a very spooky ambiance. All these photos were taken on my phone. The blurriest I didn’t include.

I have no idea why so many of the mannequins were cowboy themed, with chaps and whips or lariats. Well, I suppose the one with the horsey skirt makes sense… It really is a remarkable collection. If you ever stop in San Luis Potosi, I recommend a stop.