Sep 9, 2008

People listening

i've discovered a new pastime, not people watching but people listening. not eavesdropping, mind you, but sitting on a balcony listening to the sounds of a small town come alive in the morning, or go to sleep in the evening - or not go to sleep as the case may be. sounds of life. i guess i've been doing this along the way - sounds of muslim prayer call, sounds of the ocean roaring, sounds of tibetan buddhist prayer wheels spinning or markets bustling, but i once again had a revelation of how eye (or ear) opening it is to just sit, and listen, in stillness. sometimes i'm so focused on the visuals and making photographs that i perhaps forget to hear on top of see.

this particular rural town is called Teotitlan, in the Oaxaca Valley, Mexico known for its weaving - literally every household has at least one loom (yes, I've switched continents since my last blog entry). a brief and likely incomplete list of the town rumblings: roosters (of course), packs of dogs barking, donkeys, sheep, children's chatter, church bells ringing, public service announcements over a loud speaker delivered around town via a pickup truck, marching bands and fireworks (both of the latter literally at all hours of the day).

speaking of fireworks, adrienne and I happened upon an nighttime saint's day celebration outside a church in the city of Oaxaca. Adrienne spontaneously bought a plane ticket to join me in oaxaca for 2 1/2 weeks 5 days before departure - i adore spontaneity! Anyhow, we joined the crowd close to the action, the action being men taking turns putting a roughly built wooden donkey over their heads like a giant mask and dancing around. the kicker is that the donkey was adorned with fireworks, spinning an crackling - on their heads! they would swoop in close to the crowd and we'd all instinctively lean back, hoping the sparks wouldn't land on us. wild. i'm greatly looking forward to what daredevil acts will occur on Sept 15 - independence day.

i can't write about oaxaca without mentioning the mole and chocolate (tortillas, mango, avocado tambien). oaxacans drink bowls of hot chocolate & dip bread for breakfast. you have to experience both yourself, that's all i can say. oh, and the markets - crazy. oh, and the catholics here are some of the most devout I've witnessed.

we're now at the beach in Puerto Escondido, a surfer's haven. while neither of us surf, we certainly enjoy watching and falling asleep to the sounds of the waves breaking.