Monthly Archives: November 2010

If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be “Buy Your Plane Ticket” Day

I watch the cost of plane tickets to Oaxaca like a hawk.  My inbox flashes when I get news from Kayak, Airfare Watchdog, Vayama and Trip Advisor (okay, just kidding about the flashing inbox).  But my eyes flash.  Tuesday is the day the airlines put their best prices out on the internet.  If you are not buying your tickets online ON TUESDAY then you are missing out on great deals and paying a premium.

Last Tuesday prices to Oaxaca round-trip dropped over $350, down to $545.  So did my stomach.  The day before, the cost of a RT was over $900.  I called my friends Tom and Sam Robbins who are teaching/leading the photography expedition next summer and said “buy.”  I can only imagine what it’s like when you are on the stock market floor and an instant bargain presents itself.  I bought a ticket for next summer, too.

Have you ever played craps in Las Vegas?  That’s what buying a plane ticket is like these days.  Last month I panicked because the price kept inching up and we had not yet bought tickets to get to Oaxaca for the women’s writing retreat set for March 4-10, 2011.  Robin, our instructor, bought her ticket on a Sunday and paid almost $950.  I gulped.  I hadn’t seen a low price for several months.  Then, the following week, on a Tuesday, I found a $745 fare on AeroMexico leaving Raleigh-Durham at 6 a.m., going to NY-Kennedy to Mexico City to Oaxaca.  Not what you call the easiest or most direct route, but the price was better.

Then, the following Tuesday the price plummeted to under $600.  Why?  I attribute it to multiple factors: airlines playing havoc with our minds, fewer seats being sold on planes to Mexico these days, the gambling mentality of waiting for and offering fare bargains.  If you have a better answer, please let me know.  What I do know is that each seat on the airplane I will be taking to Oaxaca has been sold for a different price.

This week, the cost to travel to Oaxaca is back up to over $700.  Keep your eyes open.  When it gets down to close to $600 or less, it’s the moment to buy and the gamble to wait has paid off.  But, if you have no choice around dates, then you pay what they ask for and swallow hard.  Me, I just want to tear my hair out and scream that I was impatient and paid so much.  I gambled and lost.



How Safe is Oaxaca? Update December 2010

Oaxaca de Juarez, Oaxaca, Mexico at night. Tak...

Oaxaca de Juarez at night

Daily, this question comes to me in some form or another:  How safe is Oaxaca? I answer without equivocation: as safe as your own home town.  Oaxaca is 375 miles south of Mexico City and far from the U.S.-Mexico border where the drug violence has dominated media coverage and individual concerns for safety.  Here is a letter just received from my friend Roberta Christie who lives between her apartment in the village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, and her U.S. home in Tallahassee, FL.

A letter from my friend, Roberta Christie. 

My friend Norma tells me that there is concern about traveling to Oaxaca, Mexico . . . . Just as I do in my other home – Tallahassee,  FL – I read about reports of domestic violence and drug shootings in that town – roughly the size of Oaxaca, and I go about my business.

In no way do I minimize that there is risk — but there is risk everywhere.  There is mafia and drug violence and political discord virtually everywhere.   I would encourage you to come see for yourself the wonderful, peaceful, joyful, colorful, inspiring ordinary daily life of people here in my village and in the city of Oaxaca.
We have had 2 festivals recently – the Days of the Dead and the Dia de la Revolucion. Both here in the village and in the city I was struck again by how the people of Oaxaca celebrate with music, art, food and leisurely hours spent with family and friends — very often in wonderful public squares and parks.   (I invite you to see 2 sets of photos on Flickr: And perhaps you can understand that headlines and revolutionary rhetoric does not equate with chaos in the city.)
There are other reasons why I am happy to be in Mexico.   The drug trade and its consequences are largely BECAUSE of the US market for those drugs.  Add the total absence of gun laws that allow powerful arsenals of weapons into Mexico and the hypocritical exploitation of “so-called illegal” workers in the US — NOT coming to Mexico as a tourist is just another blow to the people and the economy of this fascinating place.
We have much to learn from Mexicans – especially those in this village that has been inhabited by these same families for centuries.   They are planting the same crops (corn, beans, squash) in the same still productive fields, using the same methods (wooden plows pulled by oxen).  They harvest by hand, the women process the corn which feeds them and their families for the year.   Their food, their crafts, their markets, their rituals … all follow age-old traditions that we would do well to incorporate into our own “modern” lives that largely distance us from the earth and its natural cycles of life and death.
Asi es la vida for one ex-pat living in Teotitlan del Valle.
A friend years ago gave me a subscription to a daily meditation listservice.   Here is today’s meditation which you may (or may not) find useful as you contemplate this or other a new experience.
Roberta Christie

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Let go of limiting beliefs

You have the power to change your life. You have the power to
change the world.

You can take action, you can make a difference, and you can
respond in a positive, creative way to any situation. You
can do whatever must be done to live the life of your

Yet in order to do so you must first believe that you can.
In order to do so you must let go of the limiting beliefs
you use to hold yourself back.

Each limiting belief you have is nothing more than a thought
that lives in your mind. It is a thought that has power only
as long as you continue to hold on to it.

What do you believe you cannot do? Though it may be a
comfortable and familiar part of your life, that belief is
constantly working against you.

Just as you have chosen to hold that limiting belief, you
can choose to let it go. One by one, let go of your limiting
beliefs, and free yourself to make the very most of every

Ralph Marston

This is the Daily Motivator email edition.
Copyright (C) 2010 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. All rights reserved.
Visit The Daily Motivator web site at for an archive
of more than 3,000 daily messages, inspirational photos and more.

Ikat Rebozo (Shawl) from Tenancingo, Mexico

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Ikat Shawl (Rebozo) From Tenancingo, Mexico, $85

Price includes shipping in continental U.S.

This deep navy blue (so deep it is almost black) shawl or rebozo is handwoven ikat from the village of Tenancingo in the State of Mexico about two hours from the city.  It is 100% cotton and has an intricate, hand-tied fringe called a punta.   Women use this shawl for many purposes: to drape around the shoulders or cover the head, to hold babies or carry bundles.  It is a traditional shawl worn in many parts of Mexico.  It is unusual because of the ikat technique:  the warp threads are dyed before they go on the loom.  The result is a beautiful pattern of white dots and dashes on the dark background.  The fringe is the warp thread, hand-tied in a diamond pattern.  The shawl fabric measures 76″ long and 31-1/2″ wide.  The fringe, a beautiful lacy effect, is an additional 12″ long on each end.  It is beautiful.  Definitely a one of-a-kind piece.  If you like this scarf, it can be yours by clicking the “Buy Now” link above that will take you to PayPal.     Thank you.  Norma

Cochineal and Pomegranate Dyed Wool Scarves: Oaxaca Textiles for Sale

Two Cochineal-Dyed Wool Scarves: Oaxaca Textiles For Sale, $65 each

These beautiful scarves are woven at the Bii Dauu weavers cooperative in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca.  They use only the finest wool and natural dyes.  Their philosophy is based on sustainability and organic agriculture.  Cost is $65 each and includes mailing in continental U.S.

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For an unusual and satisfying holiday gift:  The scarf on the left has deep purple stripes and is interwoven with pomegranate dyed wool that is olive green in color as a contrast to the cochineal that is yielding a mauve-purple color.  The scarf on the right is more tomato red and the stripes are almost black in color.  It is also interwoven with pomegranate dyed wool that results in olive green.  The choice is yours! $65 each.  I can accept payment with PayPal — just click on the “Buy Now” button above.

Oaxaca Folk Art Sale: Handwoven Handbags

Cochineal on Opuntia cactus, La Palma

Cochineal on a Prickly Pear Cactus

My collection has grown and overtaken me!  It’s time to offer a few pieces for sale.  I have also listed these on eBay, so if you want them please contact me directly to confirm that they are still available.

Cochineal Dyed Hand Bag, Handwoven, $60

This bag has a zippered closing, is lined and an internal pocket.  It was woven at the Bii Dauu cooperative in Teotitlan del Valle.  Bag is 13″ wide x 10″ high.

Cochineal & Wild Marigold Flower Dyed Wool Handbag, $60

This gorgeous bag has straps that are braided and attached to the bag with grommets.  The green leaf embellishments are sewn with beads.  The cochineal ranges from red to deep purple, a gorgeous contrast to the golden yellow derived from wild marigold flowers.  This bag is woven by Pastora at La Vida Nueva women’s cooperative.

ZigZag Motif Handbag, $60

This lovely bag was woven by my friend Rocio at Casa Santiago.  It also has a zippered closure.  Handles are high quality leather.  The luscious purple color is from the bark of the Palo de Campeche tree.  (Photo shows pink, but the color is a softer mauve purple.) The white and grey contrast is from undyed wool.   Bag is 10″high x 14″ wide.

Shoulder Bags by Erasto "Tito" Mendoza, $125 each

These are stunners!  Tito just won an award at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Festival this summer and has been invited to be part of a big Vancouver, B.C. folk art festival.  Choose one or the other bag (or both, if you please) priced at $125 each.  They are woven with 100% wool in the Saltillo style — 20-22 warp threads per inch.  Very intricate and labor intensive.  These are selling in Oaxaca now for over $200 each.  Very collectible.  Specify blue or gold diamonds.

Red + Black Shoulder Bag w/Coin Purse, $50

Deer, pyramids, turkeys and eagles, and flowers are the design elements on these cotton bags woven on a backstrap loom in Santo Tomas Jalieza by the Navarro Gomez sisters.  Price includes two pieces.

Payment:  I am happy to send you a PayPal invoice!  You can use your charge card or bank account.