Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Goodbye Mexico, Hello Lorenzo

Last night in Mexico. Guanajuato city. Wonderful place with underground tunnel roads, serpentine above ground streets, colours and roving minstrals.

My beloved new nephew, Lorenzo Michael Recchia, born March 11, 2011.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sierra Gorda - The very very deep hole

Left at 4am atop two very impressive mules, accompanied by 5 dogs and a Mexican, up the mountain To the massive hole - 500 feet across and over 1000 feet straight down - YIKES! Awaiting dawn when the magnificent military macaws emerge noisely. Large magestic birds of lime green, turquoise blue and red. A stunning site.

Just a green fence in the very remote mountain village of Santa Maria de Cocos.

Sierra Gorda - Puente di Dios

Bridge of God

The terryifying part of the trail.

Sierra Gorda - Extreme Nature - Ayutla

Acamaya for supper. Fresh water kind of like a shrimp, kind of like a lobster. Muy Muy bien.

The Sun and the Stars Align

This is one of the beings watching over the entrance to the ancient ruins of Canada de la Virgen, just opened to the public after 12 years of excavation. On March 3, the sun set in exactly in the notch at the centre of this pyramid. Only a few people where invited to witness the event, believed to be a sign to begin the spring planting. One of the witnesses happened to have an ipod with an astromy app, which told him that not only was the sun perfectly lined up but also 3 planets. The archeologists did not expect that.

In order to build the pyramid here, the ancients traveled to the distant mountains that ring the site to calculate its positioning. Markings were found in these sites as well. Their precision was awesome.

The resessed courtyard at the base of the pyramid may have been flooded and used as a water mirror to study the stars without craning one´s neck.

The steps are terribly steep and shallow. Some say it was to facilitate the rolling of heads (literally). But also, this construction forces you to climb the steps sideways and with your head down, a position of reverence to the gods.

This is the temple of the wind, built like a whirlwind. My favourite part.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Aztec Conversion

Yesterday was a big festival officially commemoriating the Aztec conversion to Christianity. But to us it seemed to be about celebrating Aztec culture, drumming and dancing! There was a small ceremony with a black crucifiction and a moving ceremony in the church involving a skull, lots of incense, chanting, the blowing of a conch shell and other christian icons.

Meanwhile outside it was a party. Over 100 constumed dancers and drummers. It was deafening and exhilarating.

There were many men dressed in skull masks and\or animal heads. Skulls were very prevalent as masks, face paint, on dresses and flags. There were also some costumes with the Virgin of Guadalupe, sometimes with skulls next to her. Spirituality here seems deeply complex.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Strange and Wonderful Plants and Foods of Mexico

For my birthday we went to a cactus garden.

Besides cactus there are an aweful lot of these yellow-flowered acacia trees. We didn't take much notice of them until the night we went on a little night hike on the trail by the house. We kept passing by something releasing a beautiful perfume. We were searching with our flashlights to find what wonderous flower yielded this fragrance. After a while we figure out that it was the acacia trees. During the day there is no fragrance at all, but at dusk they transform into perfume factories. We love to sleep with the windows open and breath it in.

A quintinsential mexican still life.

Ok this may not look like much but it is. This is a gordita ('a little fat one'). It is a chubby corn tortilla, blue corn in this case, filled with spicey cheese, then cut open and filled with stews of meat, tomatoes, chiles, and sometimes cocoa. I eat them for breakfast every tuesday at the big open air market. My favourite trip each week.

Another delicacy from the Tuesday market, a deep fried whole fish. The teeth on this thing where fierce, we wondered if it was a piranha. Delicious.