Monday, October 29, 2007


This whole week is Muertos, really. Yesterday we went with Flor (the lady who runs the school we are going to start going to. Oh yeah, today is our first day.) to the huge market so she could buy stuff for her alter and we could mill around and ooh and ahh. Building the altar was fascinante. We put walnuts and roasted peanuts and apples and nìsperas and tiny apples and marigolds and big red borla flowers and beer and mezcal and skeleton figures. Candles, incense, cut tissue paper banners hung all over. Also fotos of her parents and their names. Names are important. And so is a glass of water and salt. For purification. And the incense so the dead know where to go.
Anyway, the picture is of one of the street paintings. It's made out of flowers and rice and beans.
We got flowers and stared making our own altar as well. I'll post a picture when we finish.This is Joel on our way back from the Mercado de Abastos getting stuff.

Money Trap

So here is our new apartment! Isn´t it cute? If you want to see the other pictures you have to go to Joel's blog. We split them up. Like a baby in a divorce settlement.
I really like it. It is super nice on top of a lady's house with a big bouganvilla and tons of succulents in pots and lots of hummingbirds (colibrís) and puffy birds and sunshine. Very relaxed and open non-cavelike, compared to our other house. With white walls! Straight white walls. So anyway, anyone who feels like coming down to visit us is more than welcome. This is a cool town and I think it would be a great place for us all to come for vacation. Much better than Mexico City.
Mom, you could fly down here and write!


Helicopter let your long rope dow-how-ow-ow-own.
Check out this sweet Volvo! It is in the Carrera Panamericana which is a race that is going on right now and Joel has written about. It was very exciting to see them all start off! It was just like the great race! I was looking around everywhere for Tony Curtis, but maybe he got there late. He probably had an engagement at the Emerald Queen Casino. But anyway I teared up a little bit to see them all racing around the corner and waving to everyone. Actually, now that I think about it it was more like It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World because taxis and cop cars and fire trucks and buses kept getting caught up in the spirit of things and driving fast down the street too.
But before they even started there was lots of drama. All the cars were set up in the Zocalo, it was pretty typical car show angled parking and oglers and all that. One couple was talking about how long it took to decide the starting order the day before and how they had changed it all at the last minute that morning. (Or maybe they hadn´t? We weren´t clear)
Oh, and then the next guy we walked by was talking about how his engine blew up! "And what did they say?" "Oh! Our engines don't do that!" "Typical!" He was pissed. He was up half the night taking it out and he had spent fifty gazillion dollars to get down there and now look. He has to wait around for a new one. Anyway.
I should go look and see who is in the lead now. There were lots of other cool old Volvos too, but if they have the same pickup that Inga has I'm not sure they stand a chance.

Anyway, so after that we went to Arrazola (which took some doing to get there) and looked at Alebrijes, those famous Oaxacan wood carvings of animals painted bright colors. Everbody there makes them. And they are beautiful. But after about forty minutes I felt like I would puke if I saw another one. Luckily we got some icecream and caught the next collective out of town and now I am enamored of the ones I got once again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


So this is the girl who made our hot chocolate this morning. She was super nice. She knows how to make the chocolate, but her boss won't let her. She just has to mix it into hot chocolate. So we were there drinking when the brass band marched in and started playing. It was magical. And loud.

Es puedo resistir!

People just do such cool artwork on the street.
So anyway, speaking of that, there is a center here where maybe I can do some artwork of my own. Maybe some ceramics. I'm looking into it. Also we went to look at an apartment today. It is pretty typical. Of us. And in a roof garden. But cheap. But there are tons for rent so maybe we will find something else. And we are pretty set on taking some spanish classes here. The lady was just so nice and cool and totally sold us on it, but without even trying.
So the mole negro is pretty much delicious and I will try to learn how to make it. Joel doesn´t like the chocolate stuff here very much because he's kind of a snob about it, but I am so psyched to be in a place where everybody has huge mugs of hot chocolate all the time. More on that above.

Dogs on Roofs! (or) ¡Perros en el Techo!

How it brings back Peru! A house isn´t a home without a dog wandering around on the roof.

Còmo me acuerda de Perù! Una casa no es una casa sin unos perros vagabundo por el techo.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Oaxaca: Un estanque koi?

I like Oaxaca! I really do! It has a big colourful market with good huevos rancheros and a guy who talked to us about Día de Muertos, it has some pretty building in pretty colors, it has families picking their little kids up from school and it's full of chocolate! Big piles of chocolate being extruded from grinders and mixed with hot milk and given to me in pretty ceramic bowls. It also has a spaghetti western film marathon going on! ¡Qué coincidencia!

The film thing is being held in this cool walled in courtyard with pretty trees and an "estanque koi" which means koi pond and which I learned from watching The Simpsons here. I talked with the gardiner who told me the names of the trees and flowers and also talked about how he wants to go home to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, because there everyone is like family (¡Orale!) and the people don't stab you in the back like here in Oaxaca. And also the women know how to cook. And he has two nietos gemelos, twin grandkids, who live there. They younger one is a cabròn for sure, according to him. He owns 10 hectacres there and do I know how much that is? It´s a lot. For sure.


Here is me eating at our best vegetarian restaurant. See, I am eating a stuffed pepper in walnut sauce. The cold soup is also so good! It is made out of fruit in a blender! It's amazing I can keep it down though, with all the gross lovey-dovey business going on in this city. Mexico is the makeout capital of the world, apparently. In the Alameda Central, the park we like to go to, all the benches are full of couples making out. And they're not middle schoolers or something like that. They are old, or middle aged, or look like business guys with their mistresses. And they just lounge all over the benches everywhere or stand on the corners or walk down the street mashing. It offends my puritan sensibilities, let me tell you.
But you know what else is great about that park? All the cops (all 300 of them) are dressed like mariachis! Yep, with big hats and the buckles all down their pants and they ride around on fancy horses. Well, I say "ride" but what I mean to say is that they sit on their horses and talk on their cell phones. And text message. I was always worried they were going to ride into light poles or something, if they ever moved I guess they would.


Yet, so tantalizing. And useful.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ahuehuete (Ah-whey-whey-tey)

Ahuehuete is the Mexican cypress, or Moctezuma cypress. We have seen them in the National Palace and in Chapultepec. I like them. I even more like to say their name which comes from náhuatl (in náhuatl it's said āhuēhuētl)which was the language of the aztecs. It pleases me very much to say all these words. Here is what Wikipedia says about them.

"It means "old tree of water" because it grows in places where there is abundant water. They are long lived trees with trunks of considerable diameter (between 2 and 14 meters) and can be as high as 30 meters. The oldest, the Tree of Tule in Oaxaca is estimated to be 2000 years old. In 1921 to celebrate the centenial of the Mexican Independence it was selected as the national tree. Since prehispanic times it has been said to have sacred qualities and these trees have been part of the legends and the history of many different populations and places."

Quiere decir Ciprés mexicano, ciprés de Moctezuma o sabino. Vimos algunos hoy en Chapultepec. Me gustan. El nombre viene de náhuatl (āhuēhuētl) que era el idioma de los aztecas. Me da mucho placer decirlo.

Como dice Wikipedia, "Significa "árbol viejo de agua", debido a que crece en lugares donde abunda el agua. Son árboles longevos, con troncos de diámetros considerables entre 2 y 14 metros y alturas de más de 30 metros; el más antiguo, el Árbol del Tule en Oaxaca, se estima en unos 2,000 años de edad. En 1921 para celebrar el centenario de la independencia mexicana, fue seleccionado como árbol nacional. Desde tiempos prehispánicos se le han atribuido cualidades sagradas y estos árboles han sido parte de leyendas y de la historia de diversas poblaciones y lugares."

Chapultepec (Chaw-pull-teh-pec) The Crest of Grasshoppers


Is a forest in the middle of the city. We went to see the Anthropology Museum and they have tons and TONS of ceramics. Lots of the famous stuff. All I want to do is get into a studio and make some stuff. We didn't even see half of it so tomorrow we have to go back. So this is the fountain in the entrance. The square roof over it is held up by cables coming from a single pillar, which goes up through a hole and the water comes pouring down around it. Impressive. And also a pond with millions of turtles.
We went in the metro finally, and didn't get robbed. Actually, I don´t think it´s anymore dangerous than any other metro in the world.
I guess that's it. Tomorrow is some sort of parade for Day of the Dead, which has decorations up everywhere just like Halloween, and also a marathon of independent movies from Spain that I want to go see.
Oh yeah! We also went to see the Rivera murals in the National Palace and they are more impressive in real life. They are HUGE.
Last thing that was great was the Audioforo or something like that. It's just this little part of the park where there are many colored benches that put you in a reclined position and there are speakers all around that play music. They were playing Girl From Ipanima when we were there. Some people were napping and others were making out or reading. It was very peaceful.

Quiere decir "Cerro del Chapulín". Es bien bonito, no tan bonito como el parque de la ciutadella, pero bueno, no todo el mundo puede ser catalunya. Fuimos al Museo Nacional de Antropología y tiene un montón de ceramicas, muchas de las piezas famosas, pero no pude ver ni la mitad porque pobre Joel se aburrió. Así que vuelvo mañana. La foto muestra el fuente en la plaza lo cual es impresionante. También hay un lagito con milliones de tortugas.
Mañana hay un desfile para Día de Muertos. Todas las tiendas tienen decoraciónes. Parece igual a Halloween. También hay un maratón de pelis en el Centro Cultural de España y me gustaría ver algo. También vimos los murales de Diego Rivera en el Palacio Nacional y son más impresionantes en vida. Es raro estar aquí tan poco tiempo despúes de estar en España. Porque es tan differente. Ah, sí, también vimos el Audioforo o Audioforum o algo así. Es un rincón del parque donde suena música y hay donde tumbarse. Fue muy relajante.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mexico City D.F.

Here is what we learned today:

On the 15th of September el presidente de los estados unidos de México comes out of his palace and stands on his balcony overlooking the huge plaza and yells "Viva México!!!"
and then, presumably, goes back inside for another year.

Friday, October 5, 2007