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Puebla to Oaxaca


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I seem to remember that the chairs in Frida Kahlo's house were wooden. I wonder how many hours she painted there, and if her ass didn't hurt after a while.

The bus ride to Oaxaca was all through desert scrubland. At first it reminded me of California chaparral but with more cacti, but then it became something else--rolling brown hills, minor canyons cut into rugged earth, all covered in pole after pole of cactus as far as the eye could see. It was grand in a stark sort of way--a landscape for hard, dry living. Desperados. Silent men on horseback, their faces shaded by the brims of their sweat-soaked hats. Caballos trudging along in the dust, too tired to canter, much less gallop. Driving through I thought to myself, There is still much that humans do not own, do not preside over. The idea made me desperate to keep it that way.

When we got to Oaxaca it was all people again, of course. The Zocalo felt a bit like Puebla's--small, festive. Mexico City's was so large it got lost under the sky. It was the way I imagined Moscow's Red Square to look. I wonder how having a plaza changes a city's dynamic, or its politics. So much easier to hold a protest, a rally, a hunger strike in a central square. We lack these in American cities so we occupy parks instead, but it seems the statements get a little lost in the shrubbery.

We found a good place to sleep toinght--cheap, too. The mundane part of me is happy.

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Mexico

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