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Old 12-28-2010, 07:06 AM   #151
tricepilot OP
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Originally Posted by Antontrax View Post
Love all the maps and "extras" TricePilot, great work
Thanks. I treat it as a journal. Soon, I'll be the only one going back over these to remember the good times. All RRs fade away except the über-epics. Erge, I'm creating a reference book for myself. Always learning. For example: the Moto Sueño YouTube video above......I did that with an IPhone 4, and uploaded directly from the phone to YouTube. I've picked up a lot of silly hobbies. But Mexico is a love.

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I was so briefly in Oaxaca that I can barely remember.
Sounds like your bottle of mescal was bigger than you thought
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:36 AM   #152
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I was so briefly in Oaxaca that I can barely remember.
One night for me after a long hard day from Veracruz. I was an idiot and in a hurry. If I ever get to go back, I'll make it my destination, for sure.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:13 AM   #153
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¡Totalmente increíble!

Dude!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FucbvoFFy0
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:47 PM   #154
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TP,

thanks for the detailed, personal journal on Oaxaca..I'm very much enjoying it, and plan to be down there for the first time, soon.

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Old 12-28-2010, 05:47 PM   #155
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Love the report, Tricepilot!

That home tree is beyond words (just finished watching "Avatar" with the kids last night). Thanks for the history lesson.

I've had the Oaxaca region on the radar for some time now, and remember my mum telling me her stories of living (for a few months) to the south in San Cristobal de las Casas in the 50's.

Can you tell me some of the differences between the Oaxaca region and the Chiapas region (as far as landscape diversity/culture/interesting things to see)?
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:56 AM   #156
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This is Óscar R. Benavides, President of Peru 1914/15 and 1933-1939:



So what? What does a former President of Peru have to do with this?

His grandson, Francisco Benavides, below, and I rode together on the way to Oaxaca. While I stayed in Oaxaca, he went further on to San Cristóbal de las Casas for the Mexico BMW rally. After the rally, Frank came back to Oaxaca and we rode north to the border.



One of the nicest guys around, excellent rider, good story teller, and quite often hilarious
Now that's interesting !! How incredible.
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:52 AM   #157
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Going back to the Veracruz drumming group, it sounded like Brazilian batucada. I wonder if this is a current or historical adaptation, or perhaps something indigenous.

Great report. I was in Oaxaca a couple of times in the late 80's and would love to return.
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Old 12-30-2010, 05:17 PM   #158
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilot
One night for me after a long hard day from Veracruz. I was an idiot and in a hurry. If I ever get to go back, I'll make it my destination, for sure.
I'm ready to go back when you are!

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Originally Posted by Jimmer
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Jimmer!


Quote:
Originally Posted by JIMMER
thanks for the detailed, personal journal on Oaxaca..I'm very much enjoying it, and plan to be down there for the first time, soon.
Glad you're enjoying it Scott



Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripod View Post
Love the report, Tricepilot!

I've had the Oaxaca region on the radar for some time now, and remember my mum telling me her stories of living (for a few months) to the south in San Cristobal de las Casas in the 50's.

Can you tell me some of the differences between the Oaxaca region and the Chiapas region (as far as landscape diversity/culture/interesting things to see)?
Thanks mang. Part of the reason for picking a destination and digging a little deeper than passing through affords you. I'll try to address the Oaxaca/Chiapas comparators in the next bits.

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Now that's interesting !! How incredible.
[Speaking of Francisco, grandson of a Peruvian President] I thought so too, but Frank was humble about the fact. Made me like and respect him even more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tlaloc View Post
Going back to the Veracruz drumming group, it sounded like Brazilian batucada. I wonder if this is a current or historical adaptation, or perhaps something indigenous.

Great report. I was in Oaxaca a couple of times in the late 80's and would love to return.
I have no idea about the drummers. You could be right. When you want to go back to Oaxaca, let me know. I'll probably want to go too
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Old 12-30-2010, 05:25 PM   #159
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The Grateful Dead

Día de los Muertos in Oaxaca



Giant paper maché skulls. The scent of burning copal oro and marigold flowers. Parades and celebrations. These are the impressions I have from Oaxaca during the Day of the Dead observance. I was so fortunate that this trip took me to the city where it is celebrated like no other city in Mexico. The closest I have seen first-hand to what occurs in Oaxaca is in Pátzcuaro. The Day of the Dead is one cup each of Mayan and Aztec heritage, one scoop of Spanish invaders, with a topping of Catholicism. One thing is for sure, this isn’t Halloween!

Officially, the Day of the Dead is November 2nd, but the observance begins on October 31st. These days are known as “Todos Santos”. The Spanish, with their well-meaning intention of merging indigenous beliefs with that of the Catholic Church, attempted to get rid of the festival and then resigned in an attempt blend Day of the Dead with All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The idea was to turn away from individual family celebrations and to more of a time of prayer focusing upon saints and martyrs. It didn’t work as planned. In Mexico, especially in former times, life was difficult and death often an early visitor. Instead of feared, it was embraced (perhaps as a way of coping?) and almost expected at every turn. In a society where embalming is uncommon in the rural regions, bodies are often placed into the ground after a short 24 hour mourning period. Therefore, the grieving process is often incomplete. Having an opportunity to welcome back the souls of the dead once a year helps in the coping process. One of the most interesting things I’ve read on the topic is the concept of the Three Deaths: The first, the physical death of the body. The second, when the dead body is placed into the ground. The third death, considered the most definitive death, was not what I expected. It is when “there is no one left alive to remember us”.

Vendors all over Oaxaca make big business getting ready for this holiday. Candy skulls and other skeletal images (Calaveras), candles, flowers, special breads, puppets, and all manner of essentials are made available. However the essentials remain skulls and skeletons. This is serious business in Oaxaca. And the sales are not only for the indigenous locals. Tourists from all over the world make reservations to be here in late October/early November. Hotel space can become a hot commodity. At the hotel Maela, all the rooms were sold out. Oaxaca had a buzz to it. I sat on the balcony of the Maela and could hear distinct and separate bands and parade music. Walking downtown, it seemed every other person was face painted and/or costumed. Spirits, of the mortal kind at least, were high. The Day of the Dead is indeed a celebration.







The manner and intensity of the Day of the Dead celebration can vary widely in Mexico as a cultural event. It can be a deeply religious ceremony or more of a public celebration with costumes, special food and candy. In Mexico’s south, obviously including Oaxaca (the state), it is more of the former (although Oaxaca the city the party atmosphere would confuse you). Since in Mexico’s southern states the observance seems to be most intimately expressed, I felt lucky to be in Oaxaca during this time.

And although I’ll never know for sure, the dead are probably grateful. After all, once per year a party is thrown for them, and their spirits are expected and welcomed back to seasonal alters both semi-private and public. The former, in the home, the latter, in cemeteries and even places of business. There was an alter in the lobby of the Maela, with photos of the deceased former owners and employees. Fortunately, no guests, as far as I could tell.



Copal Oro: Tree resin, yellowish in color, burned for incense. No longer “sap” and not yet amber, it is sold in chunks or carved from blocks. It has an interesting history. From ancient times, it was considered the “blood” of the tree and burned as an offering to the Gods. Copal comes from the Mayan word Copalli and is Nahautl for Incense. As yellow maize was food for people, copal was a yellow “food for the Gods. Cuts are made into pine trees, the resin collected and pounded into shape and stored. Later it is boiled and hardened, and ultimately sold in chunks or kept as a block and pieces cut off for sale. I saw a lot of this stuff for sale in and around the 20 de Noviembre Market place as well as at Mercado de Abastos.







Marigolds: (Cempasúchil) The Flower of the Dead. Among the most well-known symbols of Day of the Dead festivities and remembrances. The scent of the Marigold is said to attract the souls of the departed and draw them back. For ages medicinal tea has been made from the marigold, and the flower itself has been hung around the neck for its medicinal powers.



Food and Drink: Prepared in houses and served there and brought to cemeteries. Not just for offerings but also to share with family and friends. And if you’re lucky, motorcycle travelers. Pan de los Muertos (bread of the dead) is a type of flatbread baked in the shape of skulls. In an interesting bent, folklore says that the dead spirits are “picky” and that inferior offerings or no offerings at all will bring revenge upon the living. Sometimes, family members will participate for this reason alone.

Alters: Include portraits of the departed, and often selected items from their past. The “ofrendas” include candles, marigolds, incense de Copal Oro, and favorite food of the deceased, among other things. One candle is placed on the alter for each departed ancestor, with one extra so nobody is left out. Water, salt and bread are included. Underlining this cultural celebration is the recognition of “the cycle of life and death that is the human existence”. The alter is a welcome to the souls of the dead. The belief is that they return to enjoy the pleasures they once had in life and to be with their relatives for a few brief hours. The souls of children are welcomed on November 1st and then on November 2nd the souls of the adults. This is why there are two nights of alters and cemetery celebrations and observances. Sometimes paths of marigolds are laid from the cemetery to the family house to help the ghosts find their way. No one ever sees a ghost, of course, but spiritually their presence is felt. Nothing like this outside of the Latino culture in the U.S. exists. I think we tend to avoid the subject as much as possible, at least publically, much less making it an annual celebration.




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Old 12-30-2010, 05:49 PM   #160
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:06 PM   #161
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Very nice dia de los muertos write-up, TP. One day, I'll have the time to take in well this city and others in Mexico and beyond...for now, I'll enjoy your RR.
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:02 AM   #162
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Love the big decorated skulls.

They remind me of Louisville. Every year at Derby time they have full size fiberglass horses around town that are decorated and painted by businesses and individuals. Great RR.


John
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Old 12-31-2010, 10:17 AM   #163
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Cool pics, Bob.

Happy New Year!
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Old 01-01-2011, 01:12 PM   #164
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Excellent RR, trice.

cold weather up here has me needing another ride south...

Say.... if I'd trailer the GS to San Antonio...... you know any good parking places?
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Old 01-02-2011, 11:19 AM   #165
miguelito
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Great report amigo! This:


reminded me of some of the great street art I found in Chiapas. Hope you don't mind, but I saved a copy of this photo for my archives. Cheers.
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