Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hiking, Carnage, Views of the Lake, Hovels, Good Dogs, and Magic Mushrooms June 2011

A recently laid gas line,
that extends all the way from Manzanillo on the coast
to Guadalajara,
has opened up some really good hiking
trails for us.

Larry and I set out to explore one of them yesterday.








Monday, June 27, 2011

Yes, We Have No Bananas Today! June 2011

I have a pretty nice little banana patch in my garden,
sporting several different delicious varieties
that generally keeps me in bananas almost year 'round.

Not so, this year.
Well, I've had lots of bananas,
but I've had a lot of these guys too!
So, I donated some bananas to nature
and bagged the rest of the stalk for human consumption.

All together now. . .EEEEUUUUUWW

According to my friend Larry, who knows all things botanical,
the irridescent green ones are June Bugs and the others are . . .
ba dump bump. . . 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tales of Chiapas - Part 5 - A Weaving Co-op in Zinacantán June 2011

I had an opportunity to visit a weaving co-op
in the Mayan village of Zinacantán, in the state of Chiapas.
What a feast for the eyes - and as it turned out, the taste buds.

Later, after we had a chance to shop, this
 woman offered to make us tacos.
She took us into her kitchen where she had started
a fire and began to pull balls of masa out of a bucket
and press them into tortillas.

Into these hot tortillas we spread roasted and ground
pumpkin seeds and chunky sea salt.
Umm, yeah, they were really good.

Abuela supervised.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Friend Wil June 2011

I have a friend, well, first she was my mother's friend,
but now it's just us.

We email often, I ask for her advice and opinions
and always get spot-on thoughtful answers.
She's my most supportive friend.

She lives in Hawaii.

Isn't she BEAUTIFUL!

Guess what!!!!!!!!
She just had a birthday. . .

. . .yep, 102 years young.


I love you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tales of Chiapas - Part 4 - ALEX!!! June 2011

Alex Aranda is da man!

Because Alex can jive.
Not only can Alex jive,
but Alex can jive in (at least) 4 languages
English, Spanish, Tzeltal, and Tzotzil!
Alex is cool.

Here's what people look like when they
see Alex coming:

Even the kids come to the fence to see him:

I had heard about Alex from friends.
He has a small, personal tour business
out of San Cristóbal and will take people
to outlying Mayan villages for the day.

So, I shot him an email and he responded promptly.
We set a date, gathered up a few friends,
and he picked us up at Bela's
for a day exploring Aguacatenango,
 a small Tzeltal village famous for
embroidered blouses.

We headed out of San Cristóbal and down
into the countryside surrounded by interesting and
beautiful rural landscapes.
Alex, peppered with our questions,
answered each one with knowledgeable
thoughtful answers.

We started at the church and plaza.

 "Come on," Alex said, "lets go inside, we cannot take
pictures inside the church, but we will meet the
mayordomos after and have a chance to explore."

The church was beautiful inside, primitive, filled with flowers,
little white candles, and Mayan and Catholic statues and carvings.
No pictures. . .
Around back we had the pleasure of meeting 3 mayordomos,
the men who are currently in charge of taking care of the
church and performing rituals.
A highly regarded honor.
They don't like their pictures taken either.

"Hey", Alex said, "you guys want to climb up the bell tower?"

So, mayordomo in the lead, we went back into the church
and started up the centuries-old, worn slick,
rock encased, tunnel-like climb.

From the private collection of Suzanne Plaskett

And here was our reward!

How cool is this!

The mayordomo explained that in order for the bell-ringer
to keep track of how many times he has rung the bell,
each time he rings the bell he puts a little rock in one of the little holes
of this stone.

After descending we went out into the plaza
where we were mobbed by the village women
selling their awesome embroidered blouses.

Bela bought!

None of this would have been possible without Alex!

Stay tuned for more on Alex and Aguacatenango,
as well as Amatenango del Valle, Zinacantan, Chamula,
and much more.

Don't even think about going to Chiapas
without spending a day or 2 with Alex.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm. . . June 2011

Can you see the face?

Click to enlarge photo.

  Here's another shot.

Click to enlarge photo.

This one has 2 faces, looks like a man and a woman.

These were taken a couple of evenings ago on the Jocotepec Malecón.

We were talking to one of the tourist cops 
who suddenly pointed at the sky and said
how beautiful it was.

Wasn't until I put these photos up that I saw the faces!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tales of Chiapas - Part 3 - The Mayan Medicine Museum June 2011

One of the first places we investigated
was the Mayan Medicine Museum,
a short hike up from Bela's and the Templo Santo Domingo on 
Avenida General Utrilla,
past the Mercado Municipal José Castillo, through a small barrio,
and on the left a little before reaching the Perriferico.

 The museum is a fascinating place
surrounded by gardens of culinary
and medicinal herbs, inside are wax-figure exhibits,
demos, videos, informative signs,
live healings taking place,
and a very helpful and informative staff.

While the figures are wax, they look real enough
to give you a start as you wind you way
through the dimly lit museum.

The part I liked the best was a video
of a Mayan women giving birth.

They do not undress or lie down,
instead they kneel while leaning on their husband
who sits or kneels in front of them.
In back is the midwife who helps deliver (or catch) the child
and attend to it when it emerges from under the mother's skirt.

Due to the presence of other visitors in the museum
and the Indigenous Shaman conducting healings,
I respected the wishes of the Mayans
and did not take their photos.
These photos are internet photos,
thank you to Trip Advisor, Travel Pod,
and the MMM.
A word to the wise:
Cameras are forbidden in Mayan rituals,
in their churches, and face to face (without permission).
It is life-threatening to take out a camera and start shooting
during any of the above mentioned situations without permission.

The Maya are very superstitious and believe their souls
can be stolen with a picture or it creates an evil eye
producing long streaks of bad luck.
They don't even like to make eye contact with strangers.
One woman told us cameras them feel like monkeys
in a cage.