Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I love the Mexican architectural tradition of the inner courtyard, the covered patio, or the giant porch. It's part of this blurring of indoors and outdoors that makes living here so pleasant, because you can sit or eat outside, everywhere, throughout the seasons. Some courtyards are elegant and rambling, lined in stone or carisso, or with adobe walls and exposed bricks. Other courtyards are just an opening cut into the middle of a concrete block. Both are a building's secret buried treasure, where light pour in, and a fresh breeze can enter. If you have a little awning, you can watch the rain from underneath. Our courtyard is a little stark, with tiles and a brick wall, but we have three sliding glass doors to access it, and can basically open up the walls of our living room, dining room and entry way to blend them in with the courtyard. We've filled it with plants and bouncy balls.

Monday, September 29, 2008

What is a Play Groud?

Many of the businesses in Mexico just paint their store's name on the side of the building. Some of them use beautiful artwork, too, such as this little cartoon guy advertising a video game parlor.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

More neighborhood art

Loving all the hating of Chedraui.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Boo, Chedraui

Chedraui is evil!
Ah, Chedraui, that dirty, dirty supermarket chain, is up to some nefarious tactics. They wanted to open a store in our neighborhood, but the lot was filled with gorgeous, historic trees over a century old. So they set workers with chainsaws at the trees at 4am.

Neighbors rushed out of their houses and tried to stop the massacre, to no avail. They called the police, to less avail. And then, these street art signs started popping up around the lot, slamming Chedraui and Oaxaca in general for killing off beautiful natural resources.

For once, this story of Mexican corruption has a happy ending. There will be no Chedraui. The neighbors succeeded in blocking them. But the reason why they succeeded? My neighborhood just happens to be full of lawyers, politicians, and ex-politicans who had the pull to pull the plug.

These days I'm just happy to walk by the lot and peek in and see trees still standing amid fabulous undergrowth. Onto the next battle!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Street art glory

Oaxaca is full of graffiti, some of it really boring. Tons of tags and anarchy symbols. But how lucky are we to have this beautiful painting of a lucha libre wrestler playing guitar/mandolin with a mariachi at his side, just one block from our house? So lucky.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm Back

I'm so happy. We finally got a new digital camera, so I can start posting images here again. I find that this blog is the best way to remind me to see Oaxaca in a fresh way, to consider the everyday something beautiful again.

So I'll begin with this charming smiling ant, some sort of mascot for Itanoni, a restaurant that I love so much it haunts my dreams. Steve and I have lunch there every Friday while the kids are still at school, and that's part of the fun of it for me.

Itanoni is on Belisario Dominguez street in the Reforma district. They serve Zapotec cuisine. They are politicized and determined to maintain the many diverse species of corn that are indigenous to the Oaxaca region. So the tacos tend to be very textured tortillas, kind of nuggety, and the Tetelas are just crazy incredible. They fold some thick corn masa into a triangle and stuff it with wild mushrooms and Chiapas cream which, since I'm supposed to be a vegan, is quite the decadent thing. It's fun to get an agua de Jamaica to go with it--my favorite hibiscus flower tea--and they serve it in a charming little glass bottle.

I first heard of Itanoni in "1491", a book Steve was reading. They showed a picture, but gave no name or address. It was a terrible tease. But I posted to some Oaxaca forums and *blink* someone kindly sent me their name. Itanoni.