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Fiesta de San Pablo Huitzo

Saturday, my friend, Jose took me to the small village of San Pablo Huitzo for the celebration of Huitzo’s patron saint, Pablo (Paul)

I visited San Pablo 3 yearso ago, to learn about the Universidad de la tierra (University of the earth). It is a great program. It alone is worth visiting the little village.

At the fiesta, we visited a fair with organic produce, livestock, handicrafts, textiles and a demonstration of a solar powered water pump.

Like most Mexican villages, in the center of town, there is a church and city building. Between the two was an elaborate structure. It is a firework display that a team of people spent months to build and plan…all for the big event of the fiesta.

The structure was not just covered with fireworks and moving parts, but also with lights, which illuminated the night, as we waited for the firework display.

After much bell ringing from the church, the priest started leading the congregation through singing vespers. Not far from the church is the city hall, where a rowdy group of young people played loud, toe tapping secular music, while people danced.

Jose and I were standing between the church and city hall. Some of the older people were complaining because the ‘barrachos (drunks)’ were making too much noise and racket…they couldn’t hear the music coming from the church.

I thought it was perfect symbolism. Paul is one of my favorite saints, because he had a dramatic change in his life…so much that he changed his name (he was originally called Saul—back when he was bad). I thought the barrachos dancing in the streets symbolized the life of ‘Saul’…the devoted people in the church represented ‘Paul’

I tried to take some photos of the firework display. In my opinion, photos of fireworks are never as good as enjoying them in real life. I put my camera in my pocket, and enjoyed the beautiful display. It was one of the most expressive firework displays that I have ever seen!

Shortly after the fiesta, I experienced a radical change that changed the way I think about things (not as dramatic as Paul’s conversion…but big enough for me). I thought San Pablo must have been watching over me.

Thanks Jose and San Pablo Huitzo for the wonderful experience!

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Shoe Repair in Soledad, Etla

n Mexico, the simple things in life are big adventures. I spent the morning looking for the village cobbler (shoe repair). the first one I visited, could only sew tennis shoes, so he told me to go to the next street, where there is another cobbler, who can sew leather shoes…i was a little disoriented because I didn’t consider the dusty alley he was talking about a street, but eventually found the other cobbler–even though there was no sign.

I had to ask people in the street. it turns out, you go through a gate, into what looks like a residence and there is a window where you can tell a woman what you want done, and leave your shoes.

she is going to restitch the seams in my shoes, give them a fresh stain, and new insole. they will be ready on Friday and will cost approx. $3 USD. the last time I went to a shoe repair in cincinnati, the repair was twice as expensive as the shoes!!! one of the many things I admire about Mexican culture is the way they repair and reuse things… in the USA, consumerism rules, and it’s designed to be easier to buy another than repair when something is broken.

FYI. Here in Mexico, they also have people who do TV repair

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¡Que rico es Soledad Etla!

Breakfast in my neighborhood’s cocina…mexican eggs, black beans and hand made tortillas (corn, of course)…a little different from the pop tarts I am used to eating for breakfast.

I love how the old fashioned ways of cooking still live in soledad etla. these men bring the wood for cooking to the kitchen.

there’s nothing better than a fresh cooked tortilla!
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Soledad Etla – First Impressions

My friend Leticia Gomez-Salinas is a Spanish teacher, who lives in Soledad Etla, a small village north of Oaxaca. She offers her students a unique opporunity to live with her family, in her village.

This is going to be a different experience, because her village does not have as many english speakers visiting from all over the world (compared to the capital city, Oaxaca) So I find myself using Spanish more often.

It’s also a small town, which has a different dynamic than a bigger city. As an artist, i love the art in a big city, but prefer the relaxed and tranquil small town life (i’m the same way in Kentucky)

Here’s a short video I made with my first impressions of Soledad Etla. There will be more to follow! Enjoy!

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drink the water

Travel Update: I’m still in. cdmx, waiting bus to Oaxaca. I have noticed that a lot of USA people warn me to “not drink the water” when I tell them I’m going to visit Mexico. I always let them know that I love Mexican water.

this brand of naturally occuring carbonated water comes from a spring in Mexico. and is one of the most delicious waters I have ever had… plain or with the salt and lime. I have already had 2 liters, and I feel better than ever! so my advice if you ever visit Mexico is: drink the water!

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My first experience with Mexican health care – mi primer experincia con la atencion medica de Mexico

I got sick while in Mexico, so I got to experience their version of health care.
Estuve enfermo cuando en Mexico, entonces tuve la opportunidad ver su manera de atencion medica.


Nothing serious, but I had a cough for over a week, and thought I should see a doctor about some medicine. I was nervous, because I don’t have health coverage while in Mexico.
No fue serio, pero tuve un tosa durante mas que una semana, entonces piensé que debe ver un medico sobre algo medicina. estuve nervioso porque no tengo seguro de salud cuando en Mexico.

doctor's office in Oaxaca, MX
I went to this small clinic, where a doctor checked my temperature, blood pressure, eyes, ears, nose and throat. He asked a few questions about my symptoms and allergies, then wrote a prescription for 4 different medicines.
Fui a este clinica pequena, donde un medico vió a mi temperatura, presion de sangre, ojos, oidos, nariz y cuello. Me pidó unos preguntas sobre mi enfermadad y alergias, entonces me escribó un nota para 4 distinto medicinas.

Pharmacy in Oaxaca, MX
There was a pharmacy next door, where I bought an albuterol inhaler, a decongestant, antihistimine, and antibiotic.
Hay un farmacia al lado, donde compré los medicinas.


This might look a little rustic compared to US health system, but it was professional, and sufficient, I am already starting to feel better—especially since the doctor’s visit AND medicine cost less than $20 USD.
Quizas parace poco rustico comparado con atencion medica de EEUU, pero fueron bastante y profesional. ya comenzo sentar mejor–especialmente porque la consultorio medico Y medicina costo menos que $350 MX.


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Some things I missed about Oaxaca – algos que extrañé sobre Oaxaca

I want to share some things from my first day in Oaxaca.
Quiero compartirte algos de mi primer dia en Oaxaca.
street art in Oaxaca, Mx - flor de pina

In Oaxaca, art is part of life. It is not only in houses and galleries, but also in the street
En Oaxaca, arte es parte de la vida. No es solo en casas y gallerias, pero tambien en la calle.

statue in corner of road in Oaxaca, MX
It is easy to find inspiration in such a beautiful city. Here is a quick sketch I made during my walk:
Es facil encontrar inspiracion en una ciudad tan belleza. Aqui es un dibujar rapido yo realizado durante mi caminar.
animated gif of progress sketch of Xochimilco-oaxaca


The sketch is a view from Xochimilco, a neighborhood with an organic market (every Friday and Saturday) in it’s church courtyard.
El dibujo es una vista de Xochimilco, un barrio con un mercado organico (cada Viernes y Sabado) en la patio de la inglesia.pochote organic market in Xochimilco

Oaxaca is world famous for their food. I was too busy to take pictures, but it could be the best in the world.
Oaxaca es famoso sobre el mundo para  su comida. estuve tanto ocupado grabadar fotos, pero es comida mejor en el mundo.

hospitality in oaxaca
It is great to see my friends again! They have welcomed me to their country, and it feels good to be at my home away from home.
Es grandioso ver mis amigos otra vez. Ellos me han dado bienvenido a sus pais, y siento bien estar a mi casa lejos de mi casa.


I also love the chance to speak Spanish. I was quickly reminded that I still have much to learn.  I hope the next 3 months will be  a great learning experience for me.
Yo siempre encanto la oportunidad hablar espanol. recordé muy rapido que todavia tengo mucho aprender.  Deseo que los 3 meses proximos estaran un experencia grande para me instruido.