Saturday, October 31, 2009

Noche de Muertos: The Cemeteries

Visit in images cemeteries of the pueblos around Lake Patzcuaro. On the night of November 1 to dawn of November 2, families gather in the flickering light of hundreds of candles,  amidst a profusion of offerings, remembrances and pungently scented flowers, to commune with loved ones who have died. Trails of marigold petals help the returning spirits find their way. Over centuries these observances have blended Catholicism and Purhepecha cultural traditions.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Noche de Muertos: The Flowers

During the week before Noche de Muertos, people buy armfuls of zempasúchitl, a species of marigold. The golden blossoms are used to set up altars and decorations in homes and businesses. Many elaborate arches and decorations are made to take to the cemeteries, where tombs are also decorated. A profusion of flowers perfume the street with their pungent fragrance on Calle Serrato beside the Basílica. People cart away loads of flowers.

Visit this street of flowers.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Patterns and Textures of Michoacan

Click for slideshow: Images of Michoacan.

The order of patterns is visually pleasing to the eye, and the eye can also evoke palpable texture.

Live in Patzcuaro.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Artisan Teofila Servin - Tzintzuntzan

This gifted artisan embroiders complex scenes of celebrations and life around Lake Patzcuaro, and many incorporate Purhepecha tradition and legend as well. Friday evening, 24 October 2009, her exhibit at the Antiguo Colegio Jesuita opened. Included were some unique embroidered vignettes, approximately 5"x5", that to me evoke pre-hispanic motifs. They are exquisite.

See more images.

For Patzcuaro living.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Purhepecha String Quintet

Most Friday nights at the ex-Colegio Jesuita bring performances of some sort and/or an art or folk art exhibit. Entry is free--we are spoiled.
Last night we enjoyed seeing Grupo Erandi perform.  The group's full name is El Quinteto de Cuerdas Erandi de Paracho, Michoacan, Mexico (The String Quintet Erandi of Paracho, Michoacan, Mexico). The quintet of four brothers and a son describes its music as a fusion of  traditional Purhepecha with chamber music. Javier Bautista directs the group. Here are some excerpts.

Live in Patzcuaro.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Guillermo Cordero Enriquez, Artist

A walk to the Centro Histórico always yields gratification. I like these paintings I discovered today, hanging in La Surtidora on Plaza Vasco de Quiroga. I will watch for work by this artist, Guillermo Cordero Enriquez. La Surtidora regularly displays art inside.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What's Cooking at La Jacaranda

Today for our comida at 2:00 pm, we will eat these Chiles Rellenos, poblano peppers stuffed with a picadillo of meat with raisins, and smothered with a sauce of tomatoes. Agua de guayaba, rice and a salad will nicely complement this dish. We will, as usual, eat outside on the back portal overlooking the garden. Hummingbirds come to the Flowering Maple all year long.
I popped the Chiles in the oven to finish off the cooking. They smell good!

For Patzcuaro living.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hotels versus Motels

In Mexico (as in Brazil, and as in most of Latin America, I suspect), hotels are for sleeping and motels are for, well....illicit dalliance. The buzz around Patzcuaro has been that the gringos have discovered motels. But the word is not that they are using them for clandestine assignations, but rather for very practical purposes.
Motels have some very specific features. They are enclosed by high walls with an attendant at the entrance. One pays first, usually at a drive-through window, then drives straight into a garage with a garage door. One gets out of the car inside the garage, closes the door, and enters directly into the bedroom--seeing no one and not being seen, except by the attendant inside the compound. No friends or neighbors will see your car to recognize it. And there is an abundance of newly built, nice motels everywhere.
The advantage of all this privacy for gringos coming back from the U.S. with border orders, or traveling with a car full of gifts to take north, is that overnight parking is very secure. The accommodations are also very cheap.
We have now been initiated. It was late on a Sunday afternoon and we were tired. We saw no one inside, it was very quiet and we heard only one car. Family meals are traditionally scheduled on Sunday afternoons, so that apparently is not rush hour at motels. I think we paid about US$20 for the night. The room was comfortable and the cable TV was good (there was one surprising channel). And I must say we had the best reading lights and mirrors ever on our cross country travels.
Caveat: There is no in and out. Once you are in, you are in. Eat first.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Galería La Mano Gráfica

Artémio Rodriguez, talented Tacámbaro print maker, and his wife, Maestra Silvia Capistrán, recently opened an art gallery in Pátzcuaro on Plaza de la Basílica.

Galeria La Mano Gráfica faces the Basílica.
La Basílica

On Friday, October 9, La Mano Gráfica presented a collection of photographs titled "We are Different, We are the Same." Richard Geoffrion's photographs depict wonderful faces and personalities of Cuban people. Monsieur Geoffrion is of Montreal, Canada.

Photographer Richard Geoffrion

Personalities in Print

Well-known and much appreciated musicians Diego (son) and Hector (father), of Patzcuaro added to the pleasure of the evening.

Artemio Rodriguez, Linocut & Woodblock Prints
La Mano Gráfica
Your Patzcuaro Home.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tacambaro Artist

Artemio Rodriguez: Linocut and Woodblock Prints

Artemio expressively talks about his work.

Yesterday six of us spent the day together with the Patzcuaro Birding Club. We had an ambitious and successful plan. First birds, then comida, then art in Tacambaro. Our visit to meet Artemio Rodriguez was rewarding. He is hospitable and talented--and I have always been particularly partial to the mediums of woodblock and linocut prints. His work is shown in the Davidson Galleries in Seattle, Washington. Also see Print Making by Artemio Rodriguez on YouTube. (I had heard about a print maker in Tacambaro for a year or so, but had never seen his work. Thanks from all of us to Georgia Conti for this introduction.)

Artemio shows us some of his prints.

A framed print in the Galería.

The Galería has a wall of children's art.
One of many such pieces, the colors and imagery of this child's painting
are clearly based in Mexican culture.

Galeria La Mano Grafica, Patzcuaro
You can live in Patzcuaro.

Digital Donations to Patzcuaro Library

Muchísimas gracias for the generous response from residents of Travis Country, Austin to our appeal in TC Notes. We have delivered your donations of computer equipment to the library in Pátzcuaro, Mexico. Maestra Gloria Blancas López, Director of the Biblioteca Pública Federal Gertrudis Bocanegra places a hand on a newly acquired CPU. On the far left is Hilario Martinez Onofre, her technical assistant.
We also brought your donations of books to benefit the library. Spanish language books are placed in the library; English language books are used to raise money for the library. They are sought after by ex-pats who live here.

The Biblioteca is an invaluable resource for the education of Patzcuaro's students of all ages.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Farmer's Market

Ibo, formerly of Switzerland, now of Erongarícuaro, makes fine breads. I have purchased the whole wheat and multi-grain loaves, which are particuarly good toasted. Ibo's little pizzas are also very tasty.
Shannon's almond-basil-cheese pesto was a treat on toasted Ibo bread. We had this for lunch with a green salad.

Some of the items available.

One can also purchase garden fresh herbs and tender fresh greens for salads.
The market is open 11:00 am to 4:00 pm Friday.
It is located just above the Tanganxuan roundabout on the main tree-lined Avenue Lázaro Cárdenas that leads to the Centro Histórico. It is between the Hostería San Felipe and Galería Vicky-Rafael, on the right hand side going uphill (South).

Friday, October 2, 2009


I have been crowned. After unexpectedly losing, in the middle of nowhere, a beat-up old gold tooth crown dating back to an unlikely time and place, I now sport a modern porcelain replacement. Adding to my enthusiasm over action I was forced to take is the total cost of the dentistry: 3500 pesos (USD$265.00).The whole process took about two weeks. I am grateful to a friend for referring me to her excellent dentist in Morelia--an easy drive from Patzcuaro.