Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oaxaca adventures

Every year, I turn to Steve and ask, "What if we were in Oaxaca just for a year? What if it was almost over?" Because we're on our fourth year here, and I can't imagine leaving.

It sucked when we got back during rainy season to see our house wet, green, and stinky. It sucked to move out, figure out repairs, and keep the kids happy through all the changes. But we spent those rainy days walking to the Biblioteca Infantil, or watching old Pink Panther cartoons under the aqueducts of Pochote. We ventured to Huayapan, where Taller Colibri, our school is located, and learned more and more about the pueblo, like who makes the best, frothiest tejate and which corners hide the twists and turns of the river rushing down from the mountains.

I never knew when I moved to Oaxaca how certain details off the beaten track would captivate me, how I love a cobblestone bridge and a waterfall surrounded by carrizo more than going to the zocalo, or how I spend more time at my favorite tianguis then I do in el centro.

Our visitors come to town and we still take them to Yagul and Hierve el Agua, but we also take them to tiny puestos in the market and mezcal shacks at the side of the road, loving the small, daily Oaxaca as much as the guidebook Oaxaca.

So, somehow, simultaneously, our itineraries for the year get smaller and bigger. We have to buy Elvida's coffee beans, grown at her plantation in the mountains, every Saturday, but we also have to see the surreal limestone cave formations near Zachila. We must follow our secret river trail up to the treehouse our friends discovered, but we also must see the turtles liberated at Mazunte. I am due at my free hip hop/Zumba class in the neighborhood park every Monday, but am also reserving time to get down to Juchitan for the annual intrepid seekers of danger muxe vela. Here's to another year of adventures.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Oaxaca Dead Dog Zine

Day of the Dead in Oaxaca is in full effect. I've just added the finishing touches to our family shrine, remembering my sister Jenny Makofsky, Steve's brother John Lafler, my Nana and Papa, Grandpa Abe, Uncle Mike Tanzer, Steve's Aunt Mary Jane and other loved ones who we hope can transcend the boundaries, rise from the elements, and visit us, either through the songs we sing, the dreams we have, or the stories we tell.

Our altar goes beyond the traditional orange and purple flowers, candles, copal incense, papel picado, jicaras of water, and Oaxacan chocolate. We have bright orange plastic jewelry, Hello Kitty hair clips, screen-printed stickers of punk Aztecs, a book of Tim Biskup's paintings, a Tibetan tangka cloud painting, a glass coke bottle of tissue paper flowers, a Japanese toy, alebrije wood carvings, Buddha statues, a collage I made of beasts in the forest, witchcraft powder and blue glass stones (for the ocean, which holds the ashes of some of my family members).

I'm paying extra attention to Muertos this year, as I'm writing a "Have You Seen the Dog Lately" zine about it, and stashing good luck charms, artwork and funky Oaxacan finds within its pages. If you'd like to order a copy, send me 5 bucks through Kickstarter (details below).