Doing a lot with a little

Stone, brick and concrete: In southern Mexico, where wood and steel are costly, homes and offices are built with materials from the earth. The oldest buildings are constructed of quarried stone, traditionally a green-tinted limestone, or sun-baked coffee-colored adobe bricks. These were used to ... Continue reading


A Mexican friend was talking about the differences between the food he grew up with and American fare. There are hardly any similarities at all, but one of the things he said stuck with me: "Unless I'm served tortillas, it doesn't seem like a meal to me."And he's right. Tortillas are an ... Continue reading

Dangerously familiar

We call them "foreign" countries because they're different.I am in Oaxaca, Mexico for about a month. I'm out of drinking water at present, which means a walk down the block later this morning to buy a 20-liter garrafón for my water dispenser. Or, I could just boil water from the tap and let it ... Continue reading

Jambalaya joy

Goodbye Joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou My Yvonne, the sweetest one, me oh my oh Son of a gun, we'll have good fun on the bayou — Jambalaya (On the bayou), Hank Williams I love Louisiana Cajun music. Zydeco is high energy dancehall music, full of ... Continue reading


I stand out on the streets of Mexico. I'm tall; they're short. I'm light-skinned; they're dark. I speak with a strange accent — they see lots of German tourists in this little Zapotec town, so most people figure I must be German.Jawohl!When I walk down the street and see someone approaching, ... Continue reading

Street faith

It was getting on towards 6 pm. I was walking down the main street of this Zapotec Mexican town, looking for the turquoise store that sells roasted chickens.I smelled incense. I've smelled a lot of things here, but this was new. There on my left, in front of the pharmacy, was a small table ... Continue reading

Language diversity and taxis

Public transportation takes many forms in the little Zapotec town where I have been living for the past week. There are buses to carry you to nearby cities and collective taxis that squeeze in 5 passengers at a time, the cost split between them all.For local public transport there is the bicycle ... Continue reading

Oaxacan Valentine

This was the scene in the Zocalo (town square) in Oaxaca, Mexico on Valentine's Day. I'm here on a long business trip and had a chance to visit Oaxaca's famous gathering spot for young and old.The Zocalo was severely damaged in the recent unrest, but now that peace has been restored this ... Continue reading