Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Mexico: Day 4

by Kathy 8. May 2009 14:40

<< Day 3: Oaxaca; Monte Alban in the Heat | Day 5: Oaxaca; Santa Mariá el Tule and Hierve el Agua >>


Oaxaca; San Martin Tilcajete


The Oaxaca valley is scattered with small villages (pueblos) that specialize in various types of art. This morning we traveled to the small town of San Martin Tilcajete, which is famous for its colorful wood carvings (sometimes called "alebrijes"). The drive took about 40 minutes. Here is a view of the countryside we passed along the way:

I had read some articles about the beautiful wood carvings of Jacobo Angeles, who has exhibited his work all over the world, and who lives in San Martin Tilcajete. One of the articles mentioned that his studio was "at one end" of the town. I thought that perhaps there might be a sign in town, indicating where to go (silly me!). When we reached the town, we discovered that there were very few street signs or street names:

Although we didn’t find the Angeles studio, the main plaza contained a small market with other work carvers and craftspeople displaying their creations.

I saw this beautiful paper mache figure (shown below with the artist, Xochitl Fuente):

Normally, we do not buy many things on our journeys—we travel light, with only two small suitcases for the four of us, and we don’t have much room for souvenirs. Although I walked away, the figure kept calling me back. I tried to talk myself out of making the purchase; logistically, the figure would not fit in our luggage (and would be squashed even if it did fit), so I would have to carry her around for the rest of the journey—and since the figure was made from paper mache, I would have to be careful that she didn’t get crushed or broken along the way. The many reasons why not to make the purchase, however, were completely outweighed by the heart connection that I had made with the artwork. (Despite the inconvenience of schlepping this figure through the rest of Mexico—making sure that she didn’t get damaged in our teeny tiny rental car or in the overhead bins of two airplanes—she arrived home safely, and I now get great pleasure from viewing her every day in my home!)

We had lunch at Azucena Zapoteca, a restaurant that was located just outside of San Martin Tilcajete.

The restaurant had a small playground for the children, and Genevieve made friends with a girl on the swings.

Genevieve can speak a handful of Spanish sentences, so she was able to find out that the girl was six years old and that her mother worked in the adjacent store. And, as usual, Genevieve and Sebastian enjoyed playing together:

Back in Oaxaca, we discovered that the Museum of Contemporary Art had finally opened—it had been closed for the installation of a new show. What a fabulous collection of art—we wandered through all of the gallery rooms, saying "Wow!" over and over. This piece was really intriguing, with its folds of clay creating patterns and shadows (sorry, I didn’t write down the artist’s name):

The deconstructed chair (by Dámian Ortega) was a big hit with all of us:

While I was admiring one of the sculptures in the museum, I noticed that across the room was a man with a very large, professional-looking video camera aimed at me--my first instinct was to step back to get out of the camera's range.  (I don't even want to start psychoanalyzing what that instinct means about my personality--ha!)  When we had completed viewing all of the artwork, the man approached us, accompanied by a very beautiful, polished woman holding a microphone.  They wanted to interview us, in Spanish, about our experience at the museum.  After a brief hesitation, we decided, "Why not?!"  The woman asked us questions about how we liked the museum's artwork, where we lived, what was our impression of Oaxaca, how long we would be here, what else have we seen, and other related topics.  Ben did most of the talking--while I probably have a better "technical" grasp of the Spanish language and can read and write it on a decent level, Ben has much more bravado than I do when it comes to speaking (although I did overcome my shyness quite a bit during this trip!).  It was only after the interview was over, and we had said our farewells and were laughing with relief and a bit of wonder over the experience, that we realized we had forgotten to ask the woman what the interview would be used for.  We can only imagine . . . . 

We ate at a restaurant right on the Zócalo; there was a large band playing on a stage near the restaurant, so we were serenaded with classical and jazz music while we dined. Afterwards, Sebastian finally got to indulge in some cotton candy (he had kept his eye on the cotton candy vendors during dinner).

Walking back to the hotel, we saw some street entertainers . . . very similar to those that we have in San Francisco (and many other parts of the world).

We passed a church with the Holy Saturday fire burning outside.

Genevieve and Sebastian led the way:

<< Day 3: Oaxaca; Monte Alban in the Heat | Day 5: Oaxaca; Santa Mariá el Tule and Hierve el Agua >>

Back to Mexico Index Page

Back to Home Page



Add comment

  Country flag

  • Comment
  • Preview

Map of Our Journeys

(click the map to enlarge)
Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin