Thursday, February 9, 2017

Artful Greed

I haven't been writing despite a fairly serious commitment to do so.  Been blaming it on various culprits- Tropical heat and humidity induced sloth and torpor (Buddhist hindrances).  Hesitancy to face and perhaps surface barely repressed fear and anger re you-know-who. Plus a whole slew of other hollow excuses..

 My rationale for avoiding the keyboard seems to change with the mood du jour.  Today I think my writing is a pathetic, hollow gesture,  signifying nothing.  I'm  convinced that my progressively more desperate search for a true, personal, authentic voice will once again end up in a blind alley.   And how can anyone justify such self absorption during these dark days.  Yadayadayada.

I think this swirling down the toilet mindset has a lot to do, ironically, with our wonderful trip today to Merida's Museum of Contemporary Art. (MACAY).    It left me feeling, once again, staggered by the power of art and again convinced of the personal and social redemptive power that can be found in true self-expression. These artists were able to capture something fine and rare and then set it free to thrill the rest of us earthbound slobs.  What a gift to receive and give.  Why can't I leave it at that.  Having the opportunity to experience and be deeply moved by art should be enough. But here I am sullenly pecking at these keys, hoping for a shortcut to the transcendent.  Desire leading to dukkha once again.

Here's some of the art we saw today.

This was entitled "Torres Gemelos" (Twin Towers)

Sunday, February 5, 2017


Arrived in Merida Tuesday evening. Balmy, breezy 72 degrees at 7:30 PM. Dorothy said it felt like Hawaii..  On walk into terminal airport employees smiling and saying "Welcome" in English..  Airport terminal  all white marble, minimalistic, modern, sparkling clean. Visa process, customs, taxi to hotel all smooth and easy. Taxi driver, Julio, making point of how safe it is to walk streets of Merida.  Check into Hotel del Perigrino,  Walk a few blocks to Mercado 60 for late night snack and beer. Mellow, low-key vibe. Probably related to tropical climate.

We spent the past four Februarys in Oaxaca and that wonderful city is quite different.  Merida is almost at sea level with a tropical climate.  Oaxaca is much more temperate at about 5000 ft.  Merida's population is about 60% Mayan.  Oaxaca mainly Zapotec..  Streets here seem cleaner and better maintained with much less graffitti and street art.  More orderly and prosperous feeling.  People seem very open and friendly. Oaxaca more dynamic and edgy.  Food much more interesting in Oaxaca.

On Wednesday while walking through the centro historico we came upon the spectacular Teatro Peon Contreras. This ornate concert hall opened in 1907 when Merida reportedly had more millionaires than any city in the world  Fortunes were made through the henequen trade. Something I was totally unaware of before this trip. This "green gold" wealth came at the expense of Mayans who worked as slaves on the henequen haciendas much like the slaves on the plantations of the American South.  Many of the henequen millionaires built ornate mansions along the Paseo de Montego in Merida.  (you can see many of these if you scroll through the photos of the link).

We bought two tickets to a Sunday concert of Beethoven's Piano Concerto #1 and Gershwins's An American in Paris.  We then noticed an art exhibit at one end of the teatro.  This exhibit by Roy Sobrino was great fun and seemed to capture the vitality and passion of Mexico.  Here's a video about the art show with Linda Ronstadt music.

Well it looks like my commitment to not write a travelogue type blog isn't quite working out.  Oh well,

By the way,  Most people we've met from the states don't want to talk about Trump.  Kind of how I"ve been feeling too.  Tired of walking around with a knot in my stomach..I think this picture of the news being delivered fits pretty well.

Next post - Uxmal.