I took this photo during the Worldwide Photo Walk on October 1. Thousands of people in communities around the globe gathered in groups to walk around and photograph their communities. Ajijic was one of these, and about 20 or so photographers gathered in the late afternoon around the kiosco in the center of Ajijic's plaza. The idea was that everyone would submit their best photos for a world wide competition. Due to a technical glitch, my name never got properly entered, so I didn't submit my work, but I didn't really care. It was a beautiful evening, and I was joined by good friends who are fellow photographers. It seemed like a fun occasion. The photos in this posting are some of those I took during that golden fall afternoon.
Bruno Mariscal, whose murals and other public art can be seen all over Ajijic. I have done some other postings showing Sr. Mariscal's work, as well as on the egrets, both Great White and Snowy, that inhabit the shores of Lake Chapala. Sr. Mariscal has perfectly captured their essence, both in motion and standing still. The Great White Egret in the foreground is actually a relief sculpture set into the painting, giving the whole work a three-dimensional appearance. The Jardin Restaurant is one of the chief "watering holes" for expats in Ajijic. If you should visit the restaurant, take a moment to closely examine Sr. Mariscal's work. I guarantee you will be impressed.
siege of Mezcala Island, about 20 miles east of Ajijic, a couple of kilometers off the shore of Lake Chapala.
Tabachin tree (Delonix regia) exemplify the wonderful colors that surround us here. When foreigners first encounter Mexican art, crafts, or textiles, they are sometimes startled, even a little put off, by the vibrant and often wildly contrasting colors. This is especially true if the objects are encountered out-of-context, perhaps in a Canadian or US gift shop. The effect can be jarring. However, a visit to the source is revealing. Mexicans create vividly colorful objects because the natural colors of Mexico are riotous. Where we live, the climate is perpetually spring, so flowers bloom year-round. Bright colors that in a north-of-the-border context would seem to clash with each other blend easily and grow around us everywhere, in gardens and in the wild.
colors of murals in ancient sites I recently visited. The twisting edge where the broken plaster ends and the brick begins reminded me of a winding river seen from a great height. The bricks themselves, covered and recovered by successive plaster layers, suggested a long history partially revealed. I also liked the way the bricks abruptly end and deep shadow begins. Had I passed this spot any other time than late afternoon, with its slanting light and deep shadows, I probably would never have noticed it.
Quetzals are found in the high humid forests and woodlands of Mexico and Central America. They were considered sacred by the ancient people, and the creator god Quetzalcoatl is half Quetzal bird and half snake. The bird's feathers, especially from the long tail, were often used in the huge head dresses worn by the nobility and priests of ancient times. The Quetzal is considered so important by modern Guatemalans that they gave its name to their basic unit of currency.
Pictographs, in which the artists used paint, are not to be confused with petroglyphs, in which the artist carves into the surface of the rock.
Clay tiles just like these have been in use since the time of Mycenaen Greece (700 BC-650 BC) when Homer wrote his epic poem about the Siege of Troy. They became popular throughout the Mediterranean area, and were eventually brought to Nueva Hispaña from Old Spain. The condominium where we live is roofed with similar tiles. The rich and brightly contrasting colors seen here are typical of many homes and businesses in Ajijic and elsewhere in Mexico. The Old Posada itself has a long history. Hernán Cortéz awarded what is now Ajijic to his cousin, a man named Saenz (Cortés liked to keep things in the family). Saenz used the site where the Old Posada is now as a mill, and called the indigenous people to work with a trumpet made from a conch shell. The mill operated under various owners from the mid-1500s to the 1950s. Eventually it became a hotel, under the ownership of the Eager family. Later they moved the hotel further east on the lakeshore and called it the Nueva Posada. The Old Posada became a restaurant, as it is today.
back-strap looms, a technology that goes back thousands of years. Other pieces are woven using foot-powered looms, relatively unchanged since the Spanish introduced them into Nueva Hispaña in the 16th Century. Notice the bright, wildly contrasting colors on some pieces, a style that mimics the natural world here in Mexico. The women usually arrive in the late morning and hang their goods from the huge old eucalyptus trees that grow in front of the Old Posada, and Yves, a neighboring restaurant.