Sunday, January 03, 2010

More pictures from Oaxaca (by Cindy)

Happy 2010 to all.

I hope you each have a good year and keep your New Year's resolutions. My resolutions haven't changed, just been renewed - keep healthy with regular exercise and a good diet, keep practicing Spanish and the piano, read more nonfiction, and don't pass up any travel opportunities that come my way. The last resolution is, of course, the easiest to keep and we ended 2009 with a trip to Oaxaca in southern Mexico for the Christmas holidays. The state of Oaxaca has many beach resorts but our interest was directed toward the center of the state - primarily the city of Oaxaca (the capital of the state) and the ruins and villages near by.

Christmas and kids

We enjoyed several Christmas traditions, especially those where children took an active role.

These two cuties were in a procession on it's way to the Basilica.

There was a parade on Christmas Eve with floats and bands from each of the churches in town. Not surprisingly, every float was a live creche scene using kids. The shepherd is holding a real lamb.

This wise man is looking especially wise.

Is she pensive or just tired? I think riding around and around the zocalo can get pretty boring after a while.

Pyramids and tombs

Of course we had to visit several archaeological sites in the area. I think I read that there are more than 3,000 sites in Mexico. That could take us a while. We visited 5 on this trip.

Monte Albán sits on a mountain high above the Oaxaca Valley and the city of Oaxaca. The top of the mountain was leveled off to allow for the creation of this Zapotec ceremonial site.

I made Jim pose in one of the tombs discovered at Monte Albán because it's the first time we've ever been allowed to enter one.

This funerary statue was found in one of the tombs in the area. It intrigued me because it was female and human looking in a museum room full of fantastic creatures (animal gods perhaps?).

This shot of Yagul was taken from a fort on the hill. You can see the ball court in the lower left. Above that is a patio with an administrative building overlooking it. And in the center right are the maze like remains of the walls of a large residential complex called the Palace of Six Courts, named for its 6 porticoed courtyards (duh).

The tomb entrance above was at Yagul - too small to crawl into though I tried.

This mask of the Zapotec god of rain and thunder, Cocijo, decorated an altar at the nearby Lambyteco ruins and was still on site. I can't believe it wasn't put into a museum.

The buildings at Mitla are famous for the superb stone friezes that decorate their facades.

Here is a close up of some of the geometric designs. Imagine these brightly painted - awesome.

Streets, courtyards and crafts

We didn't spend the whole trip walking around ruins. In fact most of our ramblings were around the streets and parks of Oaxaca.

Bright sunshine, vivid colors, warm weather - who needs snow to celebrate Christmas?

I have no idea what this is or why she was standing in the street but we had to get a photo.

Latin America means courtyards - from the old and picturesque ...

... to the restored and stylish. (Our hotel)

And shopping - always lots of opportunities to shop. The area is famed for woven rugs, textiles, black pottery and wooden toys. I bought a blanket from this street vendor, made in his family's workshop he assured us.

We saw an unusual type of arts & crafts at Noche de los Rábanos (Night of the Radishes), an annual fiesta held two nights before Christmas. Locals compete to carve radishes into people, animals, and occasionally, churches.

A third of the displays were flowers and people made from corn husks - like these. Maybe they should change the name of the fiesta.

And more churches

But my favorite tourist attractions are still the churches, especially anything decorated in bright colors ...

... like this pulpit in the Templo de Santa María de la Asuncion in El Tule.

The church itself isn't bad either. (Templo de Santa María de la Asuncion in El Tule)

This is one of the bell towers of the Virgen de la Asunción in the village of Tlacolula.

The church of San Jerónimo in the village of Tlacochahuaya ...

... is decorated in vivid floral murals by local artists. Very unusual.

San Matías Jalatlaco in the city of Oaxaca was one of my favorites because of its simple altar accented in bright red and gold. Notice all the fresh flowers - we see lots of flowers in every church we visit.

The bigger churches often use bronze or richly gilded plaster to glorify God. Not exactly my cup of tea - still one cannot help but be impressed. This gilt-covered altar ...

... and pulpit are in the Church of Santo Domingo de Guzmán.

We were back in Guadalajara in time for a New Year's Eve celebration with friends. Who knows what 2010 will bring? I think we'll have some visitors and a trip to Bogota, Colombia. I'm sure there will be other adventures as well. We wish you all health, happiness and prosperity in 2010.

(To see more photos and a brief video of our trip check out Jim's blog entries in Dec. 2009.)

No comments:

Post a Comment