Monday, January 25, 2010

digging deeper

I'm loving our third year here in Oaxaca, because we are slowly exploring different corners of the state. Our earlier trip to Juchitan, where we saw the Muxe vela, began with a catholic mass with the cross-dressers in attendance. My favorite part was seeing their signs painted on silk flags that they leaned against the church. There were images of a person half man and half woman and another of a man dressed in full traditional Isthmus regalia.

Steve and my dad had another adventure last weekend. They made the 5-hour trip to Huautla and sought out Ines, a shaman who lives near the village's Casa de Cultura. She leads ceremonies with the region's famous mushrooms. She also sings, chants, burns incense and speaks the indigenous language of Mazteco in an altar room set up for this purpose.

My friend Lauren introduced me to a couple jewels within the city of Oaxaca, including the red plush couches at the Teatro Macedonia Alcala's cafe bar. The scene is lovely and bohemian--I feel like I'm in an Audrey Hepburn movie when I'm there. And the margaritas are 35 pesos.

Then there's my to-do list for new places opening in town. La Jicara is at the top of the list. My friend Nina told me about this place. It is a restaurant as well as a lefty/indie bookshop. Steve dropped by and said the place is filled with handmade and hand bound publications with stenciled and screen printed covers. My mind immediately flies to the projects I could do within such a medium.

Other adventures I want to try: the Santiago Apoala region of glyphs, caves and a waterfall; the funky new tiny restaurant that opened next to the Art Center in San Agustin Etla; the soon-to-open Cafe Morocco near Parque Conzatti; the Sunday bicycle ride from the Alameda; and watching a big lucha libre match in a stadium setting.

What I'm learning is that, if you have the patience and the desire, you can discover Oaxaca's subterranean beauties. I am looking forward to showing off our finds to the next round of visitors.