ARMCHAIR MEXICO : : : THREE eBOOKS

Arrazola wood carvings, Oaxaca

While we all await the return of safe touring, I invite you to encounter the enthusiasm for Mexico of a recently-minted PhD in archaeology, Dra.Marina Aguirre.¬† I’ve enjoyed traveling with Marina on several of her well-researched tours, especially her signature tour starting from the Olmec stone heads at the La Venta sculpture park in Villahermosa,

 

Olmec stone head, ~25 tons.

thru the Lacandon jungle, where we stayed at an eco lodge and visited the ruins at Yaxchilán by canoe on the Usamacinta river, and then onward by bus to ruins at Bonampak and Palenque, before spending several days in San Cristóbal da las Casas, Chiapas, exploring the folk arts and textiles of that Mayan region.

Marina’s ebooks are an excellent way to sharpen your appetite for the robust culture here.¬† She knows her stuff, having done field work to locate the characters, talents and stories that make Mexico so compelling.¬† There are three ebooks in her collection, covering archaeology ruins; mural and plastic arts; and folk and textile arts.¬† They are pointing you to future adventures. And a visit to her blog shows some of her past destinations, which are possible repeats.¬† (The caliber of fellow travelers was astonishing.) She often visits artists’ workshops where folk art is being made. Details of these sites are shared in her books.

Ruins at Mitla, Oaxaca. photo by Teobert Maler, 1875

 

Masks of tecuanes, at the mask museum

 

Ceramic dolls which model Fridha Kahlo outfits

 

Guachimontone, Jalisco

Ascending Mexico’s highlands: Part One. Subiendo el altiplano: Parte Uno.

Stone heads of La Venta . The Olmecs.  (Walker is well-behind 20-ton sculpture)

We’ve just returned from a wonderful trip, commencing at the Gulf of Mexico, near Villahermosa, gradually moving upland to about 7000 feet, at San Crist√≥bal de las Casas, in Chiapas ‚Äď the southern-most state. ¬†

Up front, I want to tell readers what a peaceful experience we’ve had, living and traveling in Mexico. ¬†Yes, all countries have violence. ¬†(Look at daily¬†mass-shootings, of four-or-more victims in schools and churches in US, and compare that to cartel corpses hanging from bridges in Mexico ‚Äď along with some violent robberies ‚Äď asking which is worse ‚Äď not that anyone wishes to compete in these categories!) ¬†O, may equality of opportunity come soon, to both lands! ¬†AMEN.¬†¬†

From the sculpture park at La Venta, our attentive and thorough tour-guide, Marina Aguirre, took us to the Lacandon jungle where a small number of Mayan families have governed the jungle, and retained many of their ancient cultural practices. ¬†We stayed at a welcoming but modest inn, called TOP CHE¬†run by one of these families, and we also visited nearby ruins on the mighty Usumacinta River, by boat, not by “rafting”.¬†

TOP CHE Camp, Lacandon jungle

Grandfather Enrique, & clan : grandaughter Top Che, biggest smile, back row.

River boat, to Yaxchil√°n ruins.

Our sturdy, steady, river pilot ‚Äďhe looks like a La Venta head! no?

Marina addresses group of 17 at entry of protective maze to Yaxchil√°n.

Great mound & stele, along “superhighway” of river.

More to come, in Part Two : Palenque, and San Cristóbal de las Casas.