Sunday, November 15, 2009

Oaxaca Part #3..the villages.

Over the last few years I've become friends with Juan Montes-Lara.
He is our guide during the Oaxacan side trips. Students love him and so we keep inviting him back. I can't recommend this guy enough. A gentle soul who knows more about Meso-American history/culture/anything than anyone I have ever met. He knows of what he speaks but he also speaks from his heart about a culture he loves.
If you ever need assistance and want some extra insight when you visit the region give him a won't regret it. Here's his info
951/515-7731 or email at

Ocotlan Market Day

The one of the first trips he took us on was to the Village of Ocotlan
This is always fun. A busy little town with a bustling market...of coarse there is another reason to visit Ocotlan.
The Aguilar Sisters.
This is the world renowned family of ceramic artists
Each with a humble little home/studio right next to the other.

A bit closer to Oaxaca in the same direction is the black pottery village of Cotoyepec.
I love going to this little shop. This is Sofia and she is in her 80', she can really pound the clay...not to mention her amazingly charming laugh. What a treat.

Of course one of the main reasons people head to Oaxaca is for the amazing cemeteries during Dia de los Muertos.

Xoxocotlan Cemeteries Oct. 31st
Lately Xoxo has become a bit crazy. Thousands of people come here to visit the cemeteries...a littler overwhelming at times. Especially when the electricity goes it did this year.
Here's St. Sebastian
It is an amazing sight with all the candles and flowers.
And music


The next day we headed on down the road to the ruins of Mitla.
As well as a very different cemetery experience. The Mitla cemetery celebrates the return of the dead during the day of Nov. 1st. The living lead the deceased with incense.

And flowers.

No trip to this region is complete without a little (or sometimes a lot) of Mezcal. Similar to tequila but not really. I love it...and doesn't always have worms in it.

Our buddy Juan made a good bar tender at the Mezcal village.
..the supply seemed unending. I even had to bring some back with me. Notice I said "had to".


Jo Archer said...

It looks like you had another fabulous trip. The photographs are great, particularly the one of the woman wrapped in the shawl; that's beautiful.

Carmi said...

Those are great pictures! Thanks so much for posting. This gives me a much better idea of where the women are working on these clay dolls!

JonesMoore said...

Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos, and sharing Juan's contact information! He looks great. And, Sofia looks strong as ever! Feeds my soul...I must go back next fall!!

Sherry Goodloe said...

This looks like a place I need to put on my "Bucket List"! I think I'll start by saving Juan Montes-Lara's number and e-mail address. That's a good start *smiles*

Love your photos here Michael.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the images, the atmosphere is very surreal in some cases. Especially like the last image.

Studio Sylvia said...

Thanks for the tour guide, Australia is so far away. Great photos and commentary, Michael.