Oaxaca Vacation February 2001

In February, Sarah and I took a week to go visit my folks in Oaxaca Mexico. They were staying there for a month, lured to the Sunny South by Martha Mabey of Richmond fame. As is to be expected, we had a great time. While it was nice to get away from DC's winter mix of rain, drizzle, cool and cold temperatures, it was really the company and the arts and crafts which drew us there. Sarah and David at the Museum
Martha's Birthday Cake Martha, seen here at her Birthday party partaking in the Oaxacan custom of diving into the Birthday Cake face first, has been living there (with extended visits to Richmond and other parts of the States) for several years now. She was drawn by the arts scene and among many adventures she just published a book about one of Oaxaca's, and Mexico's, premier artists, Rodolfo Moreles. (Below, Martha is signing our copy -- which she may regret doing now that the other picture is also posted here.) She also has great contacts in the Oaxacan crafts world and arranged for us to visit several of the outlying villages where the crafts are made. We got to see several potters, weavers, sculpters and painters.
We had a great time celebrating both Martha's Birthday and my Mom's. When we weren't eating cake we spent most evenings walking from my folks apartment down the hill to the Zócolo, the central park where all sorts of odd things had a tendency to happen. Martha signs our copy of her Morales book.
Santo Domingo church During the days, we tended to run around trying to see all we could. The churches were astounding -- not surprising in such a strongly Catholic country, but somewhat scary in an area clearly not financially well off. Outside of the city of Oaxaca we saw the crafts people. From those who worked the big looms, to those who painted the most intricate patterns on the wooden sculptures.
Huge loom
Painting a wooden lizard Potter spinning a pot. We spent a lot of our craft hunting time with the potters, to me they seemed the most interesting because of the variety of work they did and the variety of styles they worked in.
Other trip hightlights: a visit to Yagul, one of the ancient ruins in the Oaxacan valley. One big benefit of Yagul over the more commonly visited Monte Alban is the shade. Also, because it's not the ruins there are hardly any people there and the setting (as was most of Oaxaca) is beautiful.
Ruins of ancient Yagul
One of the potters and her work
Sarah's weaving lesson Sarah's weaving lesson from the rug weavers was also fun. (None of the rest of us was willing to give it a try -- we were all sure it would be tough to do). The Tule tree (below) is spectacular. All the foliage on the left side of the chuch is one tree -- one large tree. The notes on the back of the ticket say it's about 2000 years old. Clearly, it has been around a while. For scale, keep in mind that the church steeple is about 3 stories high (in the larger picture you can just see someone entering the gate).
And the best part of the trip: the company (the dog is a loaner from Martha's neighbor).
Some of the best folks around
The Tule tree (and the baby Tule tree on the other side of the church
The DC and NC parts of the group
My Mom and her spider And I couldn't not add this photo -- note the spider on the door frame to my Mom's left.

There are several more photos of the trip, follow the links below to find them all.

Vacation notes: