Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Interlude: cultural and anthropological, off the bikes: Oaxaca city and Mexico city; (April 7- 11, 2010)

In the Pochutla bus station, en route to Oaxaca

Oaxaca city festival

This grub measured about 4 inches long

This blind fiddler was busking on the steps of one of the cathedrals

The Museum of Contemporary Art, currently undergoing remodeling...

some interesting Oaxaca architecture

Oaxaca-style construction

our first view of Emiliano Zapata on this trip.  Legendary Mexican revolutionary war leader, symbol of indigenous rights and land reforms to this day.

the ruins at Monte Albán, the precolonial Zapateco city found close to present-day Oaxaca city... 

in this photo we are shown with three Irish surfers with whom we visited Monte Albán: Cillian, David and Steve.

The following images feature archaeological objects found at Monte Albán (but now in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City):
the part human/ part animal shapes are remarkable here:
...and often portray zapateco deities.

The jaguar is a common motif at Monte Albán:

And this is a whale bone instrument, like a washboard!:

More jaguar images, this one a funeral urn:

A church seen at Tule near Oaxaca:

...and the enormous cypress tree next to the church:

This is what Irish guys do when they see green grass in Mexico:

Jason gets some late-nite tlayuda before a night bus to Mexico City

The following morning in Mexico City, we had a hard time fitting on the subway, or even boarding, for that matter...

In the suburb of Coyoacán, we visited the amazing Trotsky Museum, a monument to the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, and his days of exile in Mexico in the late 1930's.  The site was the scene of several attempts on Trotsky's life...

These are bullet holes in the wall of Trotsky's home, in what was to be an unsuccessful attempt on his life...

outside view of the Trotsky house.  Trotsky was indeed murdered here by a Stalin agent who had infiltrated his circle of confidants.  The murder was performed with an ice axe to the skull.

Also while in Coyoacán, we visited the Blue House where Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera lived for many years.  It is only a few blocks away from the Trotsky museum...

The following photos are from Teotihuacán, the site of a massive precolonial and pre-Aztec city just north of Mexico City, famous for its pyramids:
The Temple of the Moon as seen from the main avenue of Teotihuacán.
Jeff contemplates the scene from on top of the Temple of the Sun, the largest of the site's pyramids.

We also passed through the adjacent museum, one of the most amazing displays we have ever seen, with statues of anthropomorphic beasts and deities, and macabre burial scenes:

ceremonial incense burner
human burials from the morbid and fascinating Temple of the Feathered Serpent...

one of many feathered serpent heads found at the temple of the same name:
The Temple of the Feathered Serpent

the two of us some ways up the Temple of the Moon

The Temple of the Sun

Tlacoyos, a street food gem found in San Juan de Teotihuacán.  They are corn pockets stuffed with black beans, and cost us 25 pesos a dozen, or about 16 cents each.  The spicy green salsa completes the snack.

the cathedral in Mexico City

The Mexican flag flying high above the Zócalo.

this clock is counting down the minutes until the 200th anniversary of Mexican independence from Spain.  Similar clocks are found in every major Mexican city as we traverse the country.

plenty of indigenous people dancing in the squares...

...while some people cooked and sold street food nearby.  These hot coals are sitting directly on the main plaza's flagstones...

beyond words

the Zocaló seen from the rooftop of Hostal Moneda, where we stayed for a few nights.

Political demonstrations are common in the Zócalo.  This banner is zapatista.

...These images are of the famous Diego Rivera murals in the National Palace.  They tell the story of the violent history of Mexico, and lean heavily towards the artist's own political bent: communism and socialism...

guard standing near the Rivera murals

A strange event at Hostal Moneda.  Moments earlier, a Frenchman clearly out of his mind and probably on strong anti-depressant drugs threatened Jeff with a machete, leading to this surreal scene at the doors.  We accompanied the police and the Frenchman to the police station, where we attempted to file a report, but instead were asked to pay the police for their time!, which Jason reluctantly did with a few ounces of Mescal from Oaxaca that we had recently been given.

they continue finding precolonial ruins even in the heart of Mexico City.  This is from a subway station.

The following images are from the amazing National Museum of Anthropology, a comprehensive display of nearly all of Mexico's vast archaeological and cultural treasures:

This anthropological museum is something of a theme park:

This is the legendary Aztec sun stone.  It is enormous, taking up half a gallery wall in height and width.

the immense size of these sculptures is clear in this frame

a Mayan jade mask.  We will be heading towards Tierra Maya shortly...


Babs said...

I was moved "beyond words" when I saw your picture of the woman weaver.

donna cunningham said...

Hey, Jim and I were in Mexico last month looking for you guys! I guess you wern't at the beach in Reveria Maya