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Farewell To Oaxaca

Yesterday Sonya and I left Oaxaca and arrived in Mexico City by bus.  The six weeks I spent there studying Spanish, making friends from Mexico, Australia, Brazil, the UK, Switzerland and Canada and having the new and interesting experiences that only an extended stay in another country can provide has created memories that will always be with me. 

After the nocturnal cemetary visit at the small town of Xoxocatlan outside of Oaxaca, on October 31, Sonya and I got into the full swing of Day of the Dead celebration in Oaxaca city.  The celebration  lasted for days.  Some impressions--parades with brass bands and kids as young as two dressed up as devils or skeletons.  Colorful and artistic carpets built of sand,  on the main squares.  Day of the dead altars full of food, drink and bright orange marigolds in every store, restaurant and public building.  A giant paper mache serpent god, Quetzecuatl, marching through the square held up by dozens of people.  There were almost a dozen skulls out of paper mache, big enough for a person to get inside, lining one of the main streets.  They were sponsored by various galleries and art schools and to call them each a work of art is an understatement. 

In the city, the graves in the main cemetary are decorated on November 2, in the day time.  We arrived at the entrance to the cemetary to find a carnival and a market place in front of the gates and a throng of people to get through.  This cemetary in huge compared to the one we visited two nights before.  Whole families sit at the tombs, cleaning and decorating them and eating, drinking, and talking.  Musicians rove the cemetary, offering to play and sing the favorite songs of the deceased.

Mexico City is an overwhelming kalidoscope of sights and sound,  an energetic city of 25 million people.  We'll keep you posted.     

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