Sunday, December 25, 2022

¡Feliz Navidad!

Amy packed the piñata until it was almost bursting. I found a tree in our backyard with open space underneath, then hung the piñata from a limb. A piñata is a container, often made of papier-mâché, pottery, or cloth, that is decorated, filled with candy, and then broken as part of a celebration. Ours was decorated to resemble a pineapple. A rope attached gave enough length to pull the container and make it jump at the end of the line. 

The vecino kids began arriving at 3 PM. We had a group of ages ranging from 3 to 13, with one mother. I offered the duty of yanking the rope to one of the strong boys. The littlest child, a wide-eyed girl went first, taking the bat and hitting the Piñata with a tiny tap. I laughed and she became very shy and walked away. The kids took turns, youngest first, while Eber yanked the rope. 

Too soon, after about 12 strikes the piñata burst. A mad melee immediately ensued, with kids diving for treats. Big kids grabbed the most, but we made sure everyone went away with plenty in the bags we gave them.

Some of the children with their bags of treats.

¡Feliz Navidad!

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Fireworks for the Virgen


We are almost getting accustomed to explosions in the air. At all times of day or night. Rockets that whistle up into the sky and then explode into a puff of smoke, causing deafening shock waves, bursting through silence, like a rock thrown into a pond sending ripples outward. 

Mexico sees more than 5000 traditional festivals and events celebrated each year. And then there are birthdays, weddings, and such.

If transplanted foreigners complain, they are often rebuffed for attempting to interfere with cultural tradition.

Last night Amy and I went with our neighbors to an event in our pueblo barrio. Three days in remembrance of the " Virgen Patrona” of our village, La Soledad. We arrived around 8 PM to a compound with a small capilla, or church. Food was being served and an enormous construction rose from the center of the grounds. 100 feet in the air, it had multiple arms attached with wheels that were able to spin. 

We stayed close to our friends, and mingled a bit. A brass and percussion band played off and on. Not many people had arrived. After an hour, Amy decided to go back home when our friends daughter decided to leave . Amy has been trying to recover from an injury to her ankles and leg. I stayed on, determined to witness the spectacle about to unfold and take photographs. It took awhile, but around 10 PM, music became more strident and young men began coming into the arena with papier-mache bulls, "toritos", loaded with fireworks. It became a game of tug of war to see who could arrest control of the bull. All the while it was exploding. At one point my neighbor came to pull me back and tell me it was dangerous.

Eventually, the arena was crowded and someone climbed up the scaffolding to light the big structure and set the explosions off. It cackled, whirled, sparked and spun. Everyone was dazzled.

Monday, December 05, 2022

A Slice of Life


Almost as a lark, I looked online at houses listed for sale in the area of the famous south central Mexican city Oaxaca. Most of the better homes listed in town were too expensive, but one, on the outskirts jumped out at me. It seemed everything I wanted in a house and entirely affordable. I showed Amy and she liked it too, agreeing it was splendid.  I had been ready for a change of living. Amy and I visited and liked what we found. 

We have been living in our home 2 ½ years now. It is in San Pedro Ixtlahuaca, population 3800, a pueblo a few miles west of Oaxaca. Our “pueblo” has municipal offices, a church and smattering of businesses. The drive 7.5 miles from our house to the center of the city takes about 40 minutes. In the USA it would take 20 minutes. The difference is because Mexico is the land of “topes” or speed bumps. We have to cross over about 50 to get in to town. But they play a part in reducing traffic accidents. I notice fewer accidents than in the USA. 

Our property has beautiful plant life. The German woman who built the adobe house with her Mexican architect husband was an agronomist. I spend considerable time tending the plants, but admit to enjoying the chores. 

San Pedro Ixtlahuaca does not offer much entertainment or other such opportunities, so Amy and I paid for a membership to an established hotel in the city. Hotel Victoria has extensive grounds. I gained access to a marvelous outdoor swimming pool. It is just right. Amy can lounge poolside reading a book while I swim. Food and refreshments are served up and usually the area is almost to ourselves.

So this is a slice of life here.