snapshots of mexico, literal and figurative


The Passion, Part 2
April 20, 2009, 11:17 am
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Arandas, Jalisco, Passion play on Good Friday.

Near the end of the procession

Near the end of the procession

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Arandas
April 18, 2009, 3:11 pm
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Bigger Church, still a small town

Bigger church, still a small town

The final town we visited in Jalisco was Arandas, also in Los Altos de Jalisco.  It was very clearly a wealthy town, with a massive church, higher end stores and restaurants, well maintained streets and plazas, and one of the nicest hotels I’ve stayed in in all of Mexico.  While unfortunately much of the town was closed for Holy Week, our timing did allow us to see a passion performance in the street on Good Friday.  Expect photos over the next several days.



Atotonilco el Alto
April 17, 2009, 10:36 am
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Small town, Big church

Small town, Big church

We unintentionally spent an afternoon in the town of Atotonilco el Alto, another tequila town.  I say unintentional because we had only planned on grabbing lunch and connecting to another bus.  The other bus, it turned out, had decided not to run because of Holy Week, leaving us with a bit more time than we had planned for.  While waiting for another bus (which also didn’t come), we wandered into what I can only describe as the ultimate Mexican bar.  Swinging doors?  Check.  Dudes in cowboy hats openly gambling on the bar?  Check.  Bull horns on the wall?  Check.  No women anywhere?  Definite check.  Pretty great experience, even if everything momentarily screeched to a halt when I walked in.

Eventually, we ended up splitting a cab to our next destination with a woman who had also been stranded by the non-existent bus.



Taxco Church
March 22, 2009, 10:41 am
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Taxco Church, 2007

Taxco Church, 2007



Happy 265th Birthday!
March 1, 2009, 10:19 am
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Morelia's Cathdral, still going strong

Morelia's Cathdral, still going strong

Out of sheer dumb luck, Zach and I managed to be sitting at a sidewalk restaurant/bar across the street from the cathedral when this celebration began.  The magnificent building took over 80 years to build and–as an odd English announcement said during the ceremony–is “the embodiment of Morelia’s culture and traditions”.  With any luck, they’ll still be celebrating here in another 265 years.



Battle on the Bufa
January 19, 2009, 12:08 pm
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On the Bufa

Chapel on the Bufa

One of the major turning points in the Mexican revolution was Pancho Villa’s victory at the “Taking of Zacatecas”, culminating by his improbable capture of La Bufa, the giant hill overlooking the center of town.  The chapel and monastery on the site are now a museum dedicated to the battle, and giant statues of Villa and two of his captains look over the site.



God: Thou shalt not hoard
January 17, 2009, 9:00 am
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Throughout much of Mexico’s history, Zacatecas was a source of unfathomable riches thanks to its prodigious mines.  Also throughout Mexico’s history, these riches attracted daring and ruthless bandits willing to risk their lives for the precious metals extracted from the city’s mountains.  Finally, once again throughout much of Mexico’s history, the Catholic Church was the largest, richest, and most powerful institution in the country.  Put these together and what do you get?   A very very wealthy, very very nervous clergy in the Silver City.

In the town there was a large, incredibly wealthy monastery (what ever happened to vows of poverty?).  The monks who lived there were scared that they would be robbed and their vast collection of gold and silver would be stolen, so they hid it away, keeping its location a secret among themselves.  Perhaps they should have used some of this money on building maintenance as one day the roof of the monastery collapsed, killing every last one and leaving the treasure lost forever.

The ghosts of these monks still haunt Zacatecas, encouraging young Zacatecanos to search for their riches, but instead luring them to their deaths.

So to recap, greedy paranoid monks are haunting and killing people hundreds of years after their untimely deaths.  Not the Church’s finest bunch…

Remains of the collapsed monastery

Remains of the collapsed monastery