All posts by The Eye

July in Oaxaca is Synonymous with The Guelaguetza

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 8.04.55 AMBy Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D.

The Guelaguetza is the most colorful and exhilarating of the multitude of festivals in Oaxaca, with pageantry unrivaled in all Mexico. In a state with 16 different indigenous cultures, each with unique traditions, language, food, music, dress and dance, it should come as no surprise that the annual two-week July extravaganza draws both Mexican nationals and tourists from all corners of the globe. Continue reading July in Oaxaca is Synonymous with The Guelaguetza

Rotary/ Rotaract Huatulco

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 8.00.21 AMBy Elizabeth St-Germaine

On May 9 Rotary hosted a Mother’s Day breakfast at Cosmo’s Ocean Bar to help raise funds for various projects currently being conducted by the club. A fashion show was presented by Ms. Evelia Copka, with original designs of unique Mexican style clothing, manufactured in Mexico and made with high quality materials, perfect attire for our beloved Huatulco. The models for the event were beautiful, longtime residents and well known women from our community. Continue reading Rotary/ Rotaract Huatulco

Blowin’ in the Wind

By Neal Erickson

The need for renewable energy sources has been high in the collective world consciousness for quite some time. According to some, as Bob Dylan wrote: “The answer is blowin’ in the Wind.”

As you drive toward Chiapas from Oaxaca on highway 190, you enter the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and will pass through some of the biggest wind farms in Latin America. On both sides of the road, at times seeming to stretch out as far as the eye can see, are acres and acres of futuristic-looking electricity-generating windmills. The Isthmus is only approximately 200km wide at it’s narrowest, and separates the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. Also at this point, the Sierra Madre Mountain range flattens out to a plateau before rising to the Sierras of Chiapas, creating a natural funnel for winds from the Gulf to pass through to the Pacific, and vice versa. Continue reading Blowin’ in the Wind

Passionate Readers: Who Are We?

By Carole Reedy

“And she is the reader who browses the shelf and looks for new worlds but finds herself.” ― Laura Purdie Salas, Poems about Books

If you are browsing through this issue of The Eye, you are probably a reader, traveler, or adventurer, or all three wrapped into one. There are as many different types of readers as there are moles in Oaxaca. Some read for information, others for facts about travel, the weather, politics, and the state of the world. Some read to pass the time-in the doctor’s office, on a plane or bus, or while waiting in one of those long Mexican lines at the bank. Some people read for adventure and to escape the day to day hum-drum routine. Some read for beauty or emotion. Emily Dickenson once said, “If I read a book and it makes my body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that it is poetry.” Continue reading Passionate Readers: Who Are We?

Señorita Manners

“Her godmother simply touched her with her wand, and, at the same moment, her clothes were turned into cloth of gold and silver, all decked with jewels.” Charles Perrault

It is the time of year for school graduations and you may be fortunate enough to have been asked to be a madrina or padrino. In pop culture godmothers turn pumpkins into horse drawn carriages and godfathers make sure anyone who crosses you is sleeping with the fishes. In the Christian tradition godparents are whom parents choose to have legal guardianship in the event that something happens to them. Given all these expectations, when you are asked to be a madrina/padrino de graduacion you might be a little unsure of  how to respond and all that this entails. Have no fear! Being a madrina/padrino for a graduation ceremony can be a one time deal but his does not diminish what an honor it is to be asked. Parents chose someone close to the family or someone they have a great deal of respect for. It can also be a way to honor a person who has helped or had an influence on the child’s education.

Mexicans love a good fiesta and schools are no exception. There are elaborate graduation ceremonies starting in kindergarten. Students often spend weeks practicing dances to present at the graduation. As a godparent you will be expected to attend the ceremony. You should bring a gift such a gold jewelry or something having to do with education. Money is always appreciated and is an appropriate gift. After the ceremony you will be invited back to the house or a restaurant for a meal. It may expected that you will help to contribute financially to the clothing your hijada/hijado will need for the graduation ceremony- especially in poorer communities. If you are unsure, just ask or offer.

The level of commitment required after the event is entirely up to you. You can check in on you hijada/hijado’s progress at school, acknowledge birthdays and you may be asked to attend future events as madrina/padrino. However do not be offended if you are not asked at the next graduation. If you are unable or uninterested to perform this service it is entirely proper to decline.

Salchi’s Artist in Residence

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 7.44.44 AMBy Liz Healey

When Beltran Arenas, a reporter/photographer from Oaxaca City first arrived in Salchi 5 years ago with his friend, Meghan Wood, he couldn’t imagine what a life-changing visit it would be. Beltran wanted to learn English, and he was soon adopted into the Wood family.

Meghan’s mother, Annie, is an artist, and Beltran became fascinated with her projects in Salchi, especially the tile mosaics that she was creating. He worked with Annie to refine his artistic talents and was soon designing and creating his own tile masterpieces. He created the Salchi logo and did several large pieces in homes. Continue reading Salchi’s Artist in Residence

Into the Wild

By Brooke Gazer

Parque Nacional Huatulco is one of 67 National Parks in Mexico. Having recognized its value for eco-tourism and conservation, the Mexican government set aside 29,000 acres of land and sea as a protected reserve in 1988 and the area was officially designated as a National Park in July 1998. The establishment of PNH was a major coup for both local and international conservationists since the area hosts several species of plants, birds, amphibians and sea life that are unique to the region.  Continue reading Into the Wild

Beyond the Guelagetza 10 things to do in Oaxaca City

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 7.36.35 AM

By Jane Bauer

  1. Art Classes at Frida Kahlo Art Store Saturday mornings from 10am-3pm FREE oil painting art classes are given at the store. Bring your own material or purchase on the spot. Frida Kahlo Armenta Y Lopez 503 Oaxaca Centre, Oaxaca 951.514-5349
  2. Cooking Class with Pilar Cabrera – A delicious way to explore Oaxacan culture. Start off with a shopping excursion in a local market and finish with a family style meal you prepared. http://www.casadelossabores.com/
  3. Streets in Historical Center Closed for Bicycling – With an ever growing bike culture there are lots of places to rent or borrow bicycles. Ask your hosts or hotel for the nearest location. Sunday 9 am to 1 pm – Free Independencia to Reforma to Conzatti Park to García Vigil back to Independencia.
  4. Mushroom Festival – July 21st & 22nd San Antonio Cuahimoloyas Tel: 951 175 6762 micologica.oaxaca@gmail.com
  5. San Pablo Cultural Center  – This beautifully open renovated space has a café, an area with children’s books and bean bag chairs for lounging. Stop in and rest. FREE Antiquo calle jonde SanPablo (Independencia 904
  6. Xochimilco Organic Market– Held in the courtyard of the local church this open air market is full of organic delicacies from sopes made with nut butter instead of lard to vegetarian sushi. Come hungry and leave happy. Fridays and Saturday mornings.
  7. Touring villages with Alvin Starkman – If you missed the Mushroom Festival but are interested in exploring the area, Alvin Starkman is the go to guy. With a wealth of knowledge from mezcal to chapulines to barro negro he will give you the inside on the villages around Oaxaca. oaxacadream@hotmail.com
  8. Danzón with the Marimba Band –  Although danzón is the official genre and dance of Cuba it is also an active musical form in Mexico. Enjoy this vibrant outdoor music show. Wednesdays 6:30pm – Free Zócalo
  9. .Ethnobotanical Garden  – The only way to see this wonderful garden is on a tour, come prepared with water and sunscreen. Arrive ten minutes before the tours to purchase tickets. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 11am – $100 pesos Entrance Reforma & Constitutión.
  10. Museo Filatelia de Oaxaca (Stamp Museum)  – The permanent collection houses letters from Frida Kahlo to her doctor Leo Eloesser. It is fascinating to read about the spinal injuries whose pain had such a huge influence on her art. Museo de Filatelia de Oaxaca, A.C. Reforma 504, Centro Histórico, Oaxaca, www.mufi.org.mx 10am-8pm

Land of the Maguey

By Julie Etra

Maguey or Agave comes from the Greek word Agavo, which means magnificent, noble, admirable. Other common names are pita, cabuya, fique, mescal, toba (in Zapotec) and ki (Maya). One of the 9 bays of Huatulco is named for this plant. They are abundant in the Mexican landscape and form a dominant portion of the vegetation in many parts of Mexico, especially in semi-arid regions. Distribution is from the Canadian-US border to Bolivia, including the Caribbean. The greatest diversity is in Mexico, home to 76% of the world’s population or 157 species of which 71% (111) are endemic, meaning they occur nowhere else. Fifty-two species occur in the state of Oaxaca. The origin of this group of plants dates to the Miocene or about 15 million years ago. They flower only once, after about 10-12 years and also reproduce vegetatively which is how they are generally cultivated. They have lifespan of about 25 years and are pollinated by bats and hummingbirds.  Continue reading Land of the Maguey