San Cristobal and the children

A lot of children wander around San Cristobal selling trinkets their parents have made–or just outright begging. If you frequent a tourist area and if you have the right touristy look, you will be approached by children asking for money. This can be uncomfortable, because it sticks the unfair disparity between you and these children […]

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San Cristobal de las Casas: a mecca in Chiapas

  San Cristobal de las Casas doesn’t feel like Mexico. For one thing, the city is located in the state of Chiapas, which is more green and jungley than Mexico’s arid north. For another, the architecture looks different with its layers of red tile roofs and stout, bright plaster walls. I recall San Cristobal as […]

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Oaxaca: Mitla and other places I haven’t mentioned

  The city of Oaxaca is one of those places that gets under your skin–pretty but not prettified; vibrant with a twist of grit. It’s a place where ordinary people rub shoulders with tourists on the plaza and in the markets. A parade or street dance may pop up at the least provocation. Women wear […]

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Field trip #2: Mexico’s fantastical creatures

  One day, a man fell ill, and in his dreams he was visited by fantastical creatures–brightly colored mashups of real animals and mythological creatures. Suddenly, they all came together and began chanting, “Alebrijes, alebrijes, alebrijes!” It was enough to scare away his illness, and when he recovered, he began to recreate the dream-creatures in […]

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Oaxaca field trip #1: Teotitlán del Valle

  My sister and nephew had come to visit me in Oaxaca, escaping the icy grip of the polar vortex in the frozen north. When you have been on the road for months, a visit from home is sweet. You may have gotten used to being solitary and invisible, but it’s nice to finally have […]

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