Arrived home on Good Friday from my Scottish photo shoot in time get some laundry done and then re-packed for a 10 day trip to Oaxaca in central Mexico.
I'm still moving very slowly; we hiked up hill and down dale for most of the Scottish location days carrying a tripod and 7 or 8 kilos of equipment as well as a large Pentax medium format camera and at 71 I'm not as spry as I'd like to be. We have lots of time in Oaxaca and are staying at one hotel for the whole time so hope to slow things down a little and move to a more relaxed and unstructured daily itinerary.
We visited Oaxaca on our first trip to Mexico about 15 years ago. A significant percentage of my impressions of Mexico were formed from having read "Under the Volcano" by Malcolm Lowery and while the book was not set in Oaxaca it, like Quauhnahuac the setting of the book, was an old colonial town in the central mountains and which shared much of the cultural context of the book.
I found the book troubling when I read it and it weighed heavily on me. I was frankly a little nervous when we first decided to travel to Oaxaca however, it seemed important to go to the source of the darkness to try and understand it rather than travel to a beach resort which could be located anywhere in the world and which would only be co-incidentally Mexican.
We were immediately charmed by the city and found it bright, interesting and not at all pervaded with the kind of dark colonial and indigenous overtones that I had expected. Virginia keeps reminding me that the world is not constructed like the sub-text of a novel, but as graduate in English Lit, my inclinations were formed at a very early date!
Since that first trip we have returned to Mexico on many occasions, often to Mexico City which we love, as well as to the mountainous, central, colonial cities of the country which continue to attract us. On one occasion we decided to try an oceanside trip, to Porta Villarta, but it was not a success, too humid and full of tourists and so we have continued to travel to the parts of the country, like Oaxaca and Chiapas, that we really enjoy.
This is our first return to Oaxaca after many years and we are very much looking forward to it.