I “met” Polly Klinefelter about six months ago via this website/blog. She was planning a trip with friend Kate to Oaxaca and Chiapas and asked for advice. We started an email communication back and forth about textiles, where to see the purpua dye that comes from the caracol (snails) along the southern Pacific Ocean coast of Oaxaca, and more. Polly is a textile artist from England who was born and raised in the U.S. but moved to the U.K. over 30 years ago with her husband, a Brit.
I actually met up with Polly in real life in early March when she and Kate had arrived in Oaxaca on bus after an adventure traveling through Chiapas. I invited them join us on some of the optional activities we had planned as part of the Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat. And, I introduced them to textile designer Sheri Brautigam who took them under her wing!
Here’s what Polly writes about the experience of independent travel, safety and how much she and Kate enjoyed their time in southern Mexico.
“I had the good fortune to travel with a friend to Guatemala and Mexico in February and March of this year.
We enjoyed our time in Oaxaca with the kind help of Norma (Oaxaca Cultural Navigator) who included us in some of the activities she had organised for the participants of the writers workshop. We were able to participate in a Oaxacan traditional cooking class with inspiring demonstration by chef Reyna Mendosa Ruiz. We also joined the writers group for an interesting talk and demonstration on traditional rug weaving with naturally dyed yarns given by the talented Chavez Santiago family of weavers (Federico Chavez Sosa).
Norma introduced us to jeweller Brigitte Huet from whom we were able to purchase beautifully made, unique silver rings and bracelet based on indigenous Maya arts at reasonable prices.
One of the best gifts from Norma was the introduction to textile connoisseur and blogger Sheri Brautigam (http://livingtextilesofmexico.wordpress.com) who took us under her wing as Norma had done, sharing her expertise in Mexican textiles as well as her experience of living in Oaxaca. One of our best experiences with Sheri, Norma and the wonderful women on the writers workshop was our visit to the Tlacalula market just outside of Oaxaca. Fabulous!
Is it safe in Oaxaca?
Both Kate and I enjoyed walking around Oaxaca early in the morning and late at night. We felt completely at ease both together and on our own at times. Most everywhere is within easy and flat walking distance and there is much to see and do including talks and book discussions at the local English books library, definitely worth a visit to find out some of what’s on in Oaxaca.
Oaxaca feels a very safe place for women travellers. I look forward to my next visit!”
Polly Klinefelter, United Kingdom