BUILD UP TO DIA DE LOS MUERTOS!
It's Day 7 of my 100 day sojourn in Oaxaca and I've walked 4027 miles (more or less). I so love living in a "walking culture" because I don't even think about how I must get to the gym, my calorie intake, or how I'm going to get somewhere while avoiding clogged traffic. I do have to factor in how long it takes to walk somewhere but in a 500 year old city, walking is faster than maneuvering a car through narrow streets and praying for a parking spot.
My first tour group has arrived over the past two days, so we ten are watching the city get ready for Day of the Dead. It's different, of course, because of the pandemic, but much is the same, and for sure Oaxacans are focused on having something "back to normal." So I was thrilled to see the entire courtyard of MUPO (Museum of Oaxacan Painters) looking just like it did on Oct. 29 of past years. In a few nights all this will be covered in flowers and candles, but for now many hands labor moving sand around, carving, caring water in one's hands to get the texture just right, sprinkling slaked lime so the bed will be ready.
The loving, unhurried attention to detail that's so common in Oaxacan culture is evident in how the altars are constructed. Such reverence and care. It's quite humbling to someone like me who's looking for efficiency above all. Here's the altar at our hotel
The flowers, the food, the mezcal are all real so it is only intended to last a few days for the departed to have a place to visit, then be discarded.
My group ate swiss enchiladas for breakfast and seven moles for lunch. Both meals took 2+ hours, so we barely have time for much else but eating (and shameless flirting with some locals as you can see below.