When the Caravan was traveling through isolated territory where we could find no accommodations between Huitxla and Juchitan de Zaragoza, Diane and I spent a few days exploring the Mexican state of Chiapas. Continue reading
After two nights in Juchitan, the Caravan members woke before dawn yesterday to clean up the garbage at their encampment and then headed north at 6am. They had originally planned to take the route to Oaxaca City but at the last minute decided to trek through Veracruz — less mountainous but more dangerous because of the cartel criminals. Some will hop the freight train, also dangerous.
We arrived yesterday in the town of Juchitan de Zaragoza along the coast in Oaxaca where the Caravan was scheduled to arrive this morning. We had heard about Juchitan, known for its matriarchal social structure and large community of gay and transgender residents. Turns out there is plenty more here that makes this community special.
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 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