Monthly Archives: November 2007

Sunset at Las Cuevitas

What do you want to wish for in the New Year? asks my friend Eric.  It’s January in Teotitlan and the tradition is to go to the caves high up on a mountain top just outside the pueblo.  Everyone goes — madres y padres, abuelos y abuelas, primos, hermanos, los ninos — by foot, in the back of pick-up trucks, or jammed into cars.  A few go by 3-wheel taxi’s that I call “tuk tuk’s.”  Some even ride horses.  It is a parade going one-way up the narrow, cobbled, becoming earth-packed, path. We bring a picnic and find a spot we can call our own and begin to gather stones and small rocks to build our dreams.  Most everyone wishes for a new house and builds miniature versions, multi-storied with a grand central garden, walkways, a roof of twigs.  We make an offering of a few pesos at the altars at the foot of the caves.  It feels as if people have been doing this for generations.  Sunset comes.  It is chilly, glorious, a celebration  of dreams.  The photo you see is “Sunset at Las Cuevitas” that I shot in 2006. 

Uncategorized « Navigating with Norma

Uncategorized « Navigating with Norma

What Is Navigating With Norma?

An explanation:  Navigating Oaxaca (pronounced Wah-Hah-Kah), Mexico, is a cultural arts and history experience that requires a certain sense of exploration, discovery and adventure.  For me, it is going without a roadmap down the back alleys of a small village to see what I will discover next:  a master  weaver, an exceptional woodcarver, an accomplished potter or expressive painter.  I am open to the experience of creating relationship by appreciating artistic creativity, cultural history, shared values and vision, and the possibility for multicultural exchange.  After four visits of several weeks each over the past two years, and an invitation from Federico Chavez and his family to live and build a casita in Teotitlan del Valle, I begin to call myself “cultural navigator.”  This blog is a way for me to share my experiences with you with the hope that it will excite your interest to visit this extraordinary place and  appreciate the rich artistic and cultural traditions of Mexican immigrants.  There are great artisans who live on the back alleyways, don’t show up in the tourist guide books, and aren’t willing to pay hefty commissions to have  tour guides and tour buses pulling up to their front door.  I am motivated to support fair trade so that 100% of tourist dollars go directly to the families who actually create the art.  In the next weeks, we will be preparing to return to Oaxaca through the winter holidays.  There will be posadas and fireworks.  The ancient fife player will lead the village band in a Sousa march. Farmers will herd  cattle and sheep through the streets.  The guacalotes will chortle and the donkey next door will bray at sunrise.  We will hike to the reservoir along the river through the bamboo and cactus forest, beyond us Picacho rises above the 6,000 foot plateau with a promise of a new archeological discovery.  We will eat handmade tamales con pollo y salsa Coloradito with fresh nopales, and the adventure will begin anew.