My phone rang in our hotel room at 4:15am Tuesday morning. It was Francisco: “Como estas, Kim? Voy a llegar at 4:45 ok?” We think he called to make sure we would actually be awake when he arrived to pick us up at our Tapachula hotel. I met Francisco the day I arrived in Tapachula because he was the taxi driver who took me from the airport to my hotel. On that ride, I told him I was there to support the Caminata, and he replied “Todos somos iguales bajo dios.” We are all the same under God. Then he said he wanted to help too.
Yesterday, my San Francisco friend Diane and I arrived in the unassuming, humid and hot city of Tapachula, in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. It’s definitely a weird choice for a visit — unless you want to support the people of the Caminata de Migrantes, referred to in the English language press as “The Caravan.”
My visit to Oaxaca, Mexico, has been fun and interesting in all of the ways I expected. But it has also involved a mystery that has connected me to a lot of people in ways I could never have expected. The mystery involves a water color painting called “El Jaguar.”
The state of Oaxaca has many folk art traditions, many centered in the small pueblos (villages) outside the city. Learning about local folk art is a great way to learn a little bit about local communities so this week I visited a few of them. Each village I visited seemed passionate about its art and happy to have visitors. Continue reading
The first time I visited Oaxaca almost 30 years ago, a friend asked me why I would choose Oaxaca for a vacation because “it’s the Fresno of Mexico.” I’m Armenian so it wasn’t a good choice of insult but the cities are similar in a few ways. Both have a lot of poor people and strong connections to the ethnically diverse rural communities outside their city centers. But only one has world-class colonial architecture, a prominent arts community, and a spirit of political activism. Also a lot of mole and mezcal. Continue reading
You have probably heard the phrase “If you remember the 1960’s, you weren’t there.” Well, Anado McLauchlin was there and he remembers a lot. He hung out with the Grateful Dead in San Francisco, Rajneesh in India, and the literati in Greenich Village. And then 17 years ago, Anado (not his original Born-in-Oklahoma name) settled down in the countryside outside San Miguel de Allende to pursue his passion for art. Continue reading
“Cielito Lindo” is that song we all know with the refrain “ay ay ay ay….” I heard it every night in Guanajuato, as the three part harmony of local singers and happy visitors wafted up the hill to my house in Cerro Del Cuarto. “Cielito lindo” is a term of endearment that will always remind me of my six weeks in Mexico, where I leaned a little Spanish and did a little writing and, most important, met a lot of wonderful people. Continue reading
I have been in Guanajuato at Casa Palma for almost a month now. The house is beautiful, with walls of tiles and murals, and a veranda that offers a view of the city. There is something special here, the colors and the kindness and, of course, the sounds. Guanajuato is the noisiest city on earth! But it’s the good kind of noise. Dogs and roosters, music, children laughing, music, fire works, dogs, church bells, goats, whistles, sheep, and music. More music. Dogs. Continue reading