Tag Archives: courses

Oaxaca: Beauty is Everywhere — And It’s Safe, Too

Oaxaca is beautiful and safe, says Elliot Stoller, who visited in December 2011.  He recently wrote to me and ordered the self-guided tour map of Teotitlan del Valle to prepare for his trip next year.  Elliot’s photos are so beautiful that I want to share them with you (with his permission, of course).  And his testimonial about safety deserves attention.

Oaxaca: Beauty is Everywhere

Oaxaca: Night of the Radishes

Oaxaca: Mitla

” I felt as safe in Oaxaca as I feel in any city in the USA. The people are friendly and helpful. In fact, in the evenings, I felt safer in Oaxaca than I do in Seattle because there were so many people out and about… socializing, eating at sidewalk cafes, watching performances of folk dancers or taking part in Las Posadas (religious processions) and enjoying the wonderful weather.

Oaxaca: Chocolate

Oaxaca: Rodolfo Morales Museum, Ocotlan de Morelos

“I know about 40 words of Spanish but I always found that the Oaxaca people would be patient and we found a way to communicate. Once, I was in a restaurant and I couldn’t read the menu. I was trying to order tortillas with different fillings. The cook motioned for me to come up to where everything was cooking and she took off the pot lids so I could point at the fillings I wanted.

Oaxaca: Ethnobotanical Garden

Oaxaca: Monte Alban

“A guide we hired took us to Teotitlan Del Valle but we stopped at only one workshop/home. I returned to Teotitlan on the Fundacion En Via tour (a non-profit that fights poverty through micro-finance) so I was able so see more of the town and a more realistic picture of the townspeople.

Oaxaca: The Churches

“I love Oaxaca. I plan to go back again in December  this year for two more weeks. And I’m fantasizing about retiring there. I fell in love with Oaxaca as you can probably tell from my photographs.

“Thank you for your wonderful blog,”

Elliot Stoller,  Seattle, Washington


Upcoming photography workshops in Oaxaca:  Portrait Photography, Market Towns and Artisan Villages, and Day of the Dead


Where To Go Next? Oaxaca, Of Course!

Oaxaca Cultural Navigator is your GO TO source for value-added, budget travel that combines educational workshops, cultural immersion and travel.  Where to Go Next, an online travel magazine that features travel news, information and resources, including advice and tips, has just recommended Oaxaca Cultural Navigator.  Check it out!


New Oaxaca Workshops in the Works

Behind the scenes, we’re busy!  I’ve talked with writers, artists, and designers about new workshops to offer in Oaxaca in 2012.  I’m happy to say we are in the final planning stages for the following programs:

  • Making handmade books and journals with Lisa Gilbert.  We’ll go to the paper studio in San Agustin Etla to see the process and buy our journal paper, then learn a variety of bookbinding stitches to put together a travel journal.  Coming Summer 2012.
  • Silver jewelry making with Brigitte Huet and Ivan Campant of Kand-Art.  You will learn how to carve beeswax and use the sling to make a sterling silver jewelry pendant using the ancient pre-Columbian lost wax technique.  We’ll have one, two and three-day workshops starting in February 2012.
  • Travel writing workshop will be held in March 2012 for about one week.  We’ll be based in both Oaxaca city and Teotitlan del Valle. You’ll learn what it takes to write a compelling travel article and get it published.  With Carolyn Patten of Portland, Oregon and San Miguel de Allende.
Interested?  Contact me and get on the waiting list!
Plus, NEW DATES for Oaxaca Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat: Lifting Your Creative Voice.  We have moved the workshop to March 2-9, 2012.  A perfect time to get away from winter be in Oaxaca with Robin Greene, MFA and Beth Miller, yoga instructor.

Witness For Peace in Oaxaca Works for Sensible Policy

Tonight, Stephen and I are going to hear a Witness for Peace (WFP) presentation at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Church in Chapel Hill (106 Purefoy St.) about their work in Oaxaca.

Tony Macias is one of four WFP team members  in Oaxaca and former assistant director of North Carolina Student Action with Farmworkers. He and his co-worker Moravia de la O arranged for a local delegation — Sharon Mujica, Alan Young, Eduardo Lapetina and Jane Stein — to visit the region and they just returned.  They will be sharing their experiences and points of view about the economic conditions, immigration issues,  and community survival in Oaxaca.

Witness trips seek to equip both travelers and their audiences to press for sensible and humane economic and immigration policy.

This is important work!  We see the impact of the severe international economic crisis on the streets of Oaxaca — there are fewer visitors than usual, and this is having a huge impact on the ability of crafts people and artists to sustain themselves.

My goal is to help bring affordable travel to Oaxaca and bring visitors in contact directly with artisans who create extraordinary work.  We are all in this together!  Abrazos fuerte.  -Norma

This is the flyer I’ll be distributing tonight. Please pass the flyer!

Leaving Oaxaca: Notes, Lists, Preparations

For the past two days I have been preparing for the trip back to the U.S.  Taking it slow.  Doing laundry.  Meandering the village.  Saying goodbye to friends.  I forget that even under an overcast sky clothes will dry on the rooftop line in several hours.  It’s easy to gather them up before the afternoon rain burst.  The sheets, towels, and clothes are washed, folded and stored for the next visit. There is satisfaction in this ritual of doing laundry.  Another sign of endings and beginnings.

Last evening, before dusk, Tom, Lori, Chris and I took a walk along the path to the dam in the foothills above the village.  There is serenity and a deep sense of wonder, mystery and history in this place.

As plows begin to clear wider roads and the cow paths become vehicle lanes to bring vegetables and fruit down from the mountain, pottery shards of the antecedents are unearthed.  We examine the pieces in the last moments of daylight connecting to the traditions of the people on whose land we walk.

As we re-enter the village, the sounds of the feria (traveling carnival or fair) replace  the quiet of the countryside.  The annual celebration of the Dance of the Feather continues in the church courtyard.  Regional buses filled with people from villages throughout the Tlacolula valley cycle back and forth.  The streets are jammed with cars.

I continue to walk back to where I am staying.  I walk alone now.  Safe, content, down the cobbled side street, to the end of the lane, down the alley to the iron gate.  Alone and safe.