Archive for the ‘Oaxaca’ Category


Radio Mixteco

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yesterday, The New York Times ran a nice article on “La Hora Mixteca”, a weekly radio program broadcasting out of Fresno, CA and directed toward the Oaxacan immigrant farm workers in central California.  The host, Filemón López, is Mixtec and the program regularly features Spanish, Mixtec, and other languages of Oaxaca.  The NYTimes article includes a sample.  The program has also been picked up by Radio Bilingüe, the only Spanish-language public radio network in the US, which allows for the show to be picked up over the Internet as well on Sundays from 10-2 (unclear is that is PDT or EDT).  But independently, Radio Bilingüe seems worth checking out.

[hat tip: Pam Munro]


Springtime in Oaxaca

Friday, March 20, 2009

Today’s the first day of spring, though in Oaxaca it has been quite summer-like for a good month more.  It’s been quite warm here and dry.  Very enjoyable I think.  Come summer, it actually cools off here somewhat and rains a bit.

To commemorate the first day of spring, there is a children’s day environmental parade going on through the centro of Oaxaca.  Various daycares, including Benjamin’s, are participating in the parade.  The children are dressed up in various costumes with a spring/environmental theme: mostly as animals, but some were decked out as things to recycle and as trash that shouldn’t be thrown out on the street.  There are a couple of bands leading the parade through the streets of Oaxaca, starting off at the Santo Domingo church, and wending their way through the streets of Oaxaca.

Benjamin and Margarita in the Spring Parade

Benjamin and Margarita in the Spring Parade


A Little Bit o’ Shaken Goin’ On

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Margarita’s sister and I were just watching one of our favorite shows, House, on DVD on my computer when we felt the familiar rumble of an earthquake, something I’ve been missing since I moved out of LA 4 and a half years ago.

This was a nice one, not too strong, but noticeable.  There was a good deal of rumbling and the entertainment center rattled nicely.  I thought of moving my laptop away from the entertainment center in case anything fell, but in the end, didn’t bother moving off the couch.  After maybe 15 seconds (if that) it was over and done with.

Margarita had been in the shower and hadn’t noticed anything when we told her about it later.  I did get to hear some discussion of the situation in Zapotec though, as she and her sisters discussed that biyhuu’ looyuu ‘the ground shook’ (from biyhuu’, the past tense of shake, and looyuu, ‘ground, earth’).

Since I haven’t been running into as many earthquakes of late, it’s been a while since I looked up earthquakes on the USGS earthquake site, and wow, do they have some cool displays now.  First, of course, there was the standard information.  It was a magnitude 4.7 earthquake that occurred in Eastern Oaxaca, near the Chiapas border at 11:41 pm local time on February 17th (which if my cell phone is keeping accurate time (actually it seems to be a minute fast) means it took about 2 minutes for the shaking to reach us in Oaxaca City).  The coolest new thing (new to me at least) that I saw on the USGS site though was that the location was pinpointed on Google Maps and even on Google Earth, and all within 15 minutes of the earthquake.  Using the latter, I was able to determine that Oaxaca City is about 165 miles almost due east of the epicenter.

And since according to the USGS site the epicenter was 67.4 miles underground, it means the seismic had to travel about 180 miles to reach us.  For them to have reached us in two minutes they would have been having to travel over 5000 mph, which if Wikipedia is to be believed is not an unreasonable speed (P-waves are claimed to travel 5000 m/s (11184 mph) through granite and S-waves about 3000 m/s (6710 mph).  They both travel more slowly through less dense material).  All the info on the USGS website is just too much fun!

I’ve always enjoyed exploring a map.  Now, I just hope Oaxaca doesn’t fall off it.


Citizen Benjamin

Friday, January 23, 2009

Well, Benjamin became a Mexican citizen today.  Actually, I guess he officially became a Mexican citizen on Monday when the government finished his inserción document, which is basically a Mexican birth certificate for those who weren’t actually born here.  But today it seemed more real, because we got his Mexican passport.

In theory, citizens can get a passport in one day here; it’s standard procedure, you don’t even have to pay extra for expedited service.  In practice, it may take a little longer to make sure you have all of the documents you need plus various photocopies of these and other documents, especially when you’re dealing with a minor since you need the mother’s documents, the father’s documents, and the child’s documents.  In the end, it took us about four trips to the passport office (with several more trips to various other agencies to get his citizenship established):  an initial fact finding trip in October, two trips yesterday, and finally, success today, although Margarita still had to run to the shop next door a couple of times to make some more photocopies.  But at last, we had everything turned in just after 1pm and by 3 we had his passport.

And there it was:  Nacionalidad:  Mexicana.  So, just like that he’s a Mexican citizen.


Around Oaxaca in 80 Seconds

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I’m back in the US today. I’m going to hang out a while in LA, collect some things (such as books) I’ve been needing in Oaxaca, run some errands, and then attend the annual meeting of the Linguistics Society of America up in San Francisco.

I caught the Continental Express flight that goes directly from Oaxaca to Houston, which I like, because it means I get to avoid the Mexico City airport. We had a spectacular flight out this morning. When flying out of Oaxaca, you should try to grab a window seat on the port side of the plane, which for the Continental Express flights is the side with a column of single seats. I had one at it afforded spectacular views of the city.

After sitting in the plane for a while to burn fuel–the captain said we were near our weight limit–we took off and circled the city (perhaps to slowly gain (because of our weight?) enough altitude to clear the mountains north of Oaxaca?). I never recall being on a flight that did this before. I had seen Monte Alban from the plane before, but this time , we circled all the way around it. It was great seeing it from every side. I could easily make out Building J, which is set at an angle from all the other buildings, see the jutting arm of the site on the north side, and the terraced mountainside. It was great.

Then we essentially came back over the top of the airport and headed north. Coming back over the city, I spotted the Guelaguetza amphitheater, the baseball stadium, and the Zócalo.

A wonderful way to start a trip.


El Día de Pavo

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Well, El Día de Pavo, i.e. Turkey Day, is not actually a holiday in Mexico, although immigrants to the US do celebrate it.  I’ve had some delicious turkey tamales for the day back in LA.  But I did notice one American tradition making inroads (or possibly just trying to make inroads) into Mexico, and that’s football–yes, American football.  I caught a commercial saying that one of the stations here will be broadcasting (one of) the annual Thanksgiving day game(s) here in Oaxaca.  We’ll get to “enjoy” the Tennessee-Detroit game, even if we won’t be doing it while shoveling turkey into our faces (I’m not sure how exciting a game between a 10-1 team and an 0-11 team will be).  Unfortunately, I think the channel it’s being shown on here doesn’t make it to Macuil, so they’ll be without the game, unless, of course, they catch it on Sky.  So far though, I haven’t heard anyone in Mexico express much interest in football, except one person who said he enjoyed watching the Super Bowl.  But maybe it is succeeding here.  I wonder how the ratings are for a regular game here, especially one being broadcast during the day, when nobody has the day off?  Does American football here beat soccer games (in terms of ratings) there?  Something to discuss at the dinner table, unless you want to argue over politics.  Enjoy!



Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Today, we returned to Macuil to see if we can finally get settled in there.  Before catching the bus, we headed to the 20 de Noviembre market in downtown Oaxaca to pick up some things for Margarita’s aunt and uncle and to the Zócalo to withdraw some money.

Unfortunately, we were racing against the clock and didn’t really get to enjoy either place, but it was nice to see that the Zócalo seems to have returned to normal after all the protests and construction and whatever else that had been going on in the previous years.  I personally don’t really understand everything that was happening to know how well-founded the protests were, how legitimate the construction was, etc., but I am happy to see the Zócalo back like it used to be; it is such a pretty spot.  And it was completely packed with people when we were there.  I look forward to going back during our next trip to Oaxaca City and enjoying it at a more leisurely pace.