oaxacan streetI have to keep reminding you, and myself, that this isn’t called an Intensive Spanish Immersion Course for nothing. It’s been really intense and I’ve been neglecting this blog. But after school from 9 to 5, homework and dinner, there hasn’t been much time left for anything but collapsing at my posada and listening to my Mexican playlist on my iPod. (At one point I had illusions that merely listening to Linda Ronstadt’s Canciones de mi Padre CD would quickly make me fluent.) So this post will be the quickest I can throw up just to remind the world that I’m still here. Hopefully the beauty of Oaxaca will distract from the lack of anything resembling a coherent narrative.

I did find myself with a few hours of free time on Sunday, which also happened to be one of the rare days during this trip when it hasn’t poured with a ferocity we seldom even see in Sonoma. I managed to stumble over a couple of dance performances near one of the cathedrals. As near as I can tell, this was a performance by the dancers of one specific village, who were here for the upcoming annual dance festival known as the Guelaguetza. There were two particular dances I watched, both of which were clearly traditional but obviously needed a lot of explanation to a Gringa. I never got the explanation, so I’ll just post the pictures.

The first dance involved masked characters mimicking an exaggerated imitation of old people dancing, complete with canes and bent backs.

Oaxacan dancer at rest

Apparently being an old person is hard work. This dancer flopped down on the sidewalk immediately after his show and didn't budge for an hour.

oaxacan dancer

The second dance, I'm calling The Dance of the Beautiful Young Girls in White, although I did manage to glean from the MC's patter that it is a traditional wedding dance.

The best part was when the women unwound their long headdresses and, with their male partners, started weaving knots with them while dancing.

oaxacan street vendor

I believe the vendors at the market surrounding the dance also came from the same village. Look at this great Zapotec face.

oaxacan parade

Meanwhile, in another part of town, another parade.

colorful costumes in oaxaca

Colorful costumes were everywhere.

concert in the zocalo, oaxaca

Down to the Zócalo, where a Mezzo Soprano and a woman dressed as a lady bug were singing with the Oaxacan State Orchestra.

protest in the zocalo, oaxaca

And the perpetual Teacher's Protest was still in force.

balloons in the zocalo

And a million balloons were for sale.

More pictures here.