December 11, 2009

I haven’t talked about Aurora yet. The easiest way to describe her is that she sparkles. From the inside, she just emanates this light that draws you in and lets you know you are in the presence of someone really awesome. I want to be her when I grow up. Seriously, Aurora is the type of lady I have always wanted to be — always happy, always pleasant, upbeat, with a wonderful sense of humor and old-school grace that comes from a combination of good manners and just plain grace. Plus she’s just flat-out gorgeous.

Today Aurora has decided to leave work in the morning and give me a little tour, and I am delighted. I enjoy her company immensely, her Spanish is easy for me to understand, and she’s just uplifting to be around. Even though she is originally from Mexico City, she’s lived here 20+ years with Ruben and knows Oaxaca well.

Today is a special day: The Virgin of Guadalupe is the patroness of Mexico, and tomorrow is the Fiesta. It is a BIG DEAL for Mexicans.

I ride into “town” to meet her at the blood bank. (note Ruben’s little “City Bike” parked out front…

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One of the local customs is to dress up the children like campesinos, and bring them to the church to be blessed. Aurora has told me about this, and I’d like to see for myself.

I see my first decorated child on their way to church

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This is big business for entrepreneurs, and next to the church are many, many stalls where, for $150 Pesos, you can have your child photographed in your choice of scenes–some even including live burros!

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A young girl taking her reluctant goats to a nativity scene

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The church where the wee ones are blessed

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On a cement burro

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I am shy, and do not want to be a gringa sticking my camera in people’s faces. Aurora explains also that many people are scared that pictures will be taken of their children, and then they will be kidnapped and sold. I do not want to scare people.

Aurora steps in and asks some mothers if I can take pictures

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These kids are just darling with their painted mustaches and beards

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Some are not so happy

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The girls get dressed up, too

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Sometimes the burros cooperate

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And sometimes the little boys do not.

This little guy was priceless

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We walked through a small market where they sold local drinks

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And to a store Aurora knows the owner, where they make more “modern” handcrafts

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I fell in love with the Katrinas

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Too bad I have no room to carry anything.


Next she took me to the Camino Real Hotel

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all decorated for the holiday.

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The hotel has had many past lives–monastery, jail, municipal offices.

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Next stop, an outdoor market where they sold more “modern” traditional clothing

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and traditional Oaxacan carvings

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Then it’s time to go back to the house for la comida and SIESTA!!!

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