Here are some photos and a story about a long day with a lovely Oaxacan family who adopted Lawrence (and Betty) and invited him to take some photos:
We are staying in a fabulous three bedroom architect’s house with modern furnishings and state of the art design with courtyards and deck just a couple of hundred feet from this tiny church, which looks like something you would see going up Vermont Avenue in LA. It started a few days ago when i stopped down the street and took a few shots of open doors revealing an altar. I had walked by it several times over 2-3 days and there was always a small service going on, with a few people sitting outside the doors playing music and singing. The inside can only seat 4-5 people. I sat down and a few minutes later the head woman brought me a hot drink with bread and a tamale wrapped in banana leaf. She spoke no English and all I could say was si and gracias. Someone hidden in the corner said to come back at a las cuatro for a parade or procession.
We figured out the procession would go to a large church (16th century spanish inglesia), one which we go to everyday to see what is happening. The woman said come and take pictures. All this happened in sign language and with us not having a clue what was happening. Beginning at 4pm we went and sat outside and watched a crowd materialize, bringing beautiful velvet banners of many different sizes, from 4 or 5 feet to maybe 15 feet tall, with pictures of saints and tassels and sparkle. Tiny shots of mezcal or tequila were poured, served along with a big glass of jamaica.
A parade begins with a loud band consisting of clarinets, horns and drums wailing their butts off. The cops shut down the streets and stop traffic and this thing proceeds to the 16th century catholic church where a statute of the saint is delivered to be blessed by a priest during mass. The band sits in back of the church and continues playing dirge-like haunting music all during mass, with the tuba shaking the walls of the church. it feels like we are in a medieval time and no one speaks English, no-one seems to care about me, and I am shooting all the photos I want.
Besides of all this, the rest of the area is going crazy with Halloween and Day of the Dead and it's like like Carnivále everywhere, with walking dead corpses floating down the streets, which are beautiful and crowded.