Monday, July 28, 2008
my colourful days in Mexico
I feel like some cheery colour today so I decided to look in my archive of photos that I took while in and around Cholula, Mexico last June. These dogs were peeking out of a doorway in Cuetzalan.
Our Lady of Remedios altar. Our Lady cures all. This is a small shrine/chapel at the foot of the Cholula pyramid.
Tapestry on the wall in the weaving room of the living folk museum in Tlaxcala, The Musuem of Popular Arts and Tradition. An elderly male master weaver was working on a large loom below this tapestry; outside the door an elderly woman master weaver was making a sash on a very long loom, one end which was wrapped around her waist. When she saw me she got up and wrapped a very long bright red sash tightly around my waist. I could hardly breathe. I wondered, do the women wear these sashes this tight? How do they get any work done? I could hardly bend at the waist.
Weaving and textile arts in Mexico are outstanding. I bought a 5' long, 1' wide blue bird hand embroidered wall hanging from a peasant women in the market for $15. Its blue and white reminded me of the colours so beloved by Finns. I don't know the significance of the swan in Mexican symbolism or mythology, but in Finland the joutsen is the national bird, and figures larger than life in The Kalevala. A mystical swan swims in the Tuonela river, which is the boundary between this world and the next..
Alphonso, a grad student at the globalization and gender sessions (and the only male among us women!) invited us to his home one day for dinner. He lives in an old part of Puebla, in a gorgeous place that used to be convent, but is now a number of apartments. His home is on many floors. Between the kitchen and the living room you can see this mosaic and if you look up you see the sky. I laughed and told him if his home was in Thunder Bay, in the winter he wouldn't be able to get into his living room because it would be blocked with a wall of snow.
These are the stairs to the sky.
From the rooftop of Alphonso's home you can see the dome of the pink convent.
and right in front of it, someone else is storing their garbage on the roof.
Alphonso's kitchen, where he made a gaggle of women a very delicious meal.
One day a small number of us women went to Zochitecatl, where there are 3 pyramids and a small repository of artifacts, almost exclusively icons of women, found hidden from the Spanish colonizers. The place of the flowers pyramid, the place of the serpents, and the place of the spiral pyramid are together at Zochitecatl. The spiral pyramid is named so because pregnant women used to walk up to its flat top by spiralling along its outer stone path, which winds around and around; they did this when the time of delivery was near to birth their baby on top. Atop the spiral pyramid there was a magnificent jacaranda tree that cast a delicate shadow on the ground, and provided us some shade from the blazing sun. Someone had placed this bridal wreath onto its branches.
That's Abetha's bag in the corner. She thought she bought an authentic Mexican woven bag in the market; later she saw a Made in India tag inside. I laughed and said, like the red senorita skirt I found in a small boutique. It looked so authentic, but I too found "Made in India" inside. We were horrified, of course, thinking, I guess the Indian people make even less wages than the Mexicans. Both the bag and the skirt were cheap, as in a pittance.
Atop the place of the flowers pyramid at Zochitecatl. This portal is aligned to face Popocatepetl.
The garden of roses path I used to walk in the early mornings at the Universidad de las Americas Puebla.
A shop I visited close to The Place of Our Dear (Earth) Mother, or Tonantzintla.
A peasant farmer arranged these roses for sale on the sidewalk in Atlixco.
I have a story about my encounter with this peacock. It's waiting behind the Hummingbird of Hope and the Blueberry Time-bomb stories.