This past Sunday Dorothy and I took a local bus (7 pesos each, about 40 cents) to the city's biggest market, Abastos, which is in a poorer section of town and famous for the number of gringos who get robbed there. From there we had to wind our way through a cavernous mercado to find the "collectivo" site. These are vehicles which look just like taxis that go out to the villages surrounding city. They don't leave until they're full - usually four or five adults and a couple of kids. We rode with a mother, father and an infant. About a half hour ride ($1.50).
The air polllution was bad and it seemed worse as it poured into open windows when we were stuck in traffic. (Both Dorothy and I have had some respiratory issues while here and we think the poor air quality is a big contributing factor. We fear that this may be the "fly in the ointment" re future trips.)
Area surrounding city core marked by lots of trash on side of road and grafitti scrawls on any available space. Steep hillsides with houses piled on one another looked very vulnerable in this seismically rich area.
Eventually turned on to a bucolic road with plowed fields and wooded glens leading to San Agustin de Etla. San Agustin is well known for its Center for the Arts (CASA). This 1883 textile "hacienda" was recently restored with the help of a major grant by Francisco Toledo. (Toledo is an extraordinary contemporary Mexican/Oaxacan artist. I encourage you to click on the link to see samples of his work)
Here is his "Death of a Monkey" painting.
There were no Toledo works on display at the CASA unfortunately but there was an exceptional photography exhibit of the works of Mary Ellen Mark who died in May of last year. Ms. Mark was a world class photographer who called Oaxaca her second home. I was deeply moved by her photos. Here's a link to her obituary in the New York Times and a copy of a photograph she took of the Damm family in Los Angeles in 1987
Dorothy and I left the CASA and decided to reach for even higher cultural heights by trying to find the golf course. We eventually got a collectivo to drop us off at the entrance to the "Club de Golf Vista Hermosa". The driver said that when we were ready to go back to Oaxaca all we had to do was to stand in the road to wave down a passing collectivo. No problema.
The golf course/club was underwhelming. The parking lot was empty and the club house virtually deserted except for a man counting money in a darkened office and two women in white uniforms standing behind a snack bar counter. Their beautiful, welcoming smiles seemed out of place. The course was mainly a dried out brown and the lone tennis court suffered from a torn, dripping net. The whole operation had clearly seen better days. We shared a bottle of Victoria beer as we stared across the barren ninth hole fairway. I decided to pass on golf while in Oaxaca.
|9th fairway at Club de Golf Vista Hermosa|