Journals from Oaxaca
2010-04-15 Countdown to Chiapas
Riding in the back of a Mexican truck- something everyone should do once in their life.
This week has been pretty stressful for everyone- we've been working hard on our independent research projects as well as readings, homework, and in the case of my Spanish class, a 1500-word Spanish essay. Yikes! But, it's already Thursday, so after tomorrow morning, we'll all be packing to leave for Chiapas. We catch the 10:30pm night bus and arrive around 10:30 in the morning on Saturday.
Some things that have happened in the last few weeks:
Semana Santa: A week chock full of religious ceremonies, parades, and paraphernalia. As a group we went to the nearby town of Tlalixtac to see a reenactment of the Passion of the Christ. It was fairly crowded, and hard to see some of the reenactment, but seeing what we did was emotional. Actors played all the parts, and the man who played Jesus did a great job enduring the multiple beatings and the grueling walk through Tlalixtac carrying a cross. I thought this was pretty powerful until I returned home and watched the Itztapalapa reenactment (the main one for Mexico) on television. The Itztapalapa Jesus was covered in blood, looking like he was about the pass out by the time he made it to the cross where he was to be "crucified"(with leather straps luckily, and not with nails). It was horrific and amazing at the same time, and in any case you have to have a lot of respect for someone willing to voluntarily go through that much suffering.
I also went on a visit to 7 churches with my host parents- a tradition to reenact the 7 houses Jesus visited during his journey. Each church had a beautiful altar made by the attendees of the church. We finished the visits at the church right across the street from my house, and my host mom told me in a low whisper that she thought their altar was the best of all the others we had seen.
Visit to Mitla and Yagul: We visited Mitla (my second time there) and Yagul, and learned a lot about the sites from Professor Robert Markens. We also had our first experience riding in the back of a truck (actually fun) and one of our group even found an ancient bead at Yagul. I've become really attached to Mitla by doing my project on the mosaic designs found there, and I'll probably go back again before we leave.
It's crazy to think that after we return from our week in Chiapas, we'll have about 4-5 weeks left. We're all hoping to sign up for one of the many cultural classes offered by the institute, such as cooking, weaving, or salsa dancing. They mentioned one about Mexican cinema, and I'm crossing my fingers that it actually exists (probably not, though!).
Now off to the land of the Maya!