Congratulations to the Mexican men's soccer team for their 2-1 Olympic victory over Brazil on Saturday! With this win, Mexico celebrates its first Olympic gold medal in men's soccer. …
Mexican archer Aida Roman won the silver medal in Woman's Individual archery after loosing a tense sudden-death shoot-off to Korea's Ki Bo Bae. 18-year-old Mariana Avitia beat American veteran Khatuna Lorig 6-2 in the bronze match. These are the 3rd and 4th metals for Mexico in the London 2012… Olympics.
Mexican divers Paola Espinosa and Alejandra Orozco follow in the steps of their male counterparts by winning Mexico's second silver medal in Synchronized 10m Platfrom.
Synchronized diving duo Iván García and Germán Sánchez made history today by winning the silver medal in Men's Synchronized 10m Platform. This was the first time Mexico participated in this competition.
Izamal is a place of exemplary balance, due in many ways to the mending of hearts that continues within its yellow walls today. For it is here, not far from where I write, that the great pilgrimage shrine to Itzam-Na, the Mayan god of healing, was built. It is also here, in 1553, that the… invading Spanish forced the Mayans to take it apart, stone by stone, to fashion the church of San Antonio de Padua.
Healing comes in many forms, with forgiveness at its foundation. Itzam-Na and the sun god Kinich Kak Mo must have forgiven this and more, for it was also in Izamal that Friar Diego de Landa burned all the Mayan texts he could find, then spent the rest of his life regretting his actions.
It is surely a result of this turbulence, that a spiritual reconciliation of sorts has taken place – there is, in this somewhat sleepy town, an abiding peace, and a strange energy, the source of which is hard to locate.
For all the efforts of the Spanish, Catholicism has, as in many other places in Mexico, seamlessly blended with indigenous beliefs, and it is at this intersection that the legend of the “Cristo Negro” was born.
For some, he represents the worker, or the native, for others, he might be a symbol of what it means to be a “mestizo.” Whatever the interpretation, just as there is no doubt that the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Virgin Mary, and this town's own Virgin of Izamal share many of the same qualities, there is no doubt that a figure projecting an all-encompassing forgiveness for human weakness has a universal appeal.
We have only a few hours in hand, but they are rich with impressions, a whirlwind of stolen moments on foot, and quick glimpses across the cobblestones from the driver's seat of a “calesa,” the town's signature horse-drawn carriages.
Couples flirt in the shade near the ruins of Hun Pik Tok, grandmother hobbles along with a long fruit-picking pole to the tangerine tree in her backyard, faded photographs and locks of hair are tucked into a wooden picture frame, hundreds of roses made into arrangements wait to be moved into position at the convent, boys finish their work in the dry yellow grass by an enormous skein of firecracker fuses, and wait for the moment they can wield their lighters.
And this they do, the town beginning many days of October festival that very night, leading up to Hanal Pixan, Yucatan's Day of the Dead. Fireworks light up the darkness, from our last stop all the way at the edge of town, signaling the way for a procession that started in nearby Sitilpech at 5:00 AM.
Twelve hours later, after the 5:00 PM mass at Capilla de San Jose, hundreds of devotees, linked hand-in-hand to protect the image, round the corner into Izamal's "zocalo," with brass band and drums, flickering candles burning hands in the evening breeze.
In the legend, two indigenous brothers came to town, and through their hard work and attentiveness to the church, earned the great respect of both the locals and the Franciscans. Over the years, there were mysterious circumstances, though, like unexplained disappearances, where one would be gone for a time, the other appearing at will.
I had come upon the “Cristo Negro” by chance, all alone, around 4:00 PM, in an alcove on the left, just inside the great wooden doors of San Antonio de Padua's main entrance. Without knowing what the order of events was, I took a few moments to photograph the cross and its otherworldly companion.
What I couldn't have known is that the Black Christ had also been on the other side of town all day, under watchful eyes, and I would later see him borne into the main square on the shoulders of an adoring crowd that evening.
How was this simultaneous appearance possible? Maybe there are two figures. Maybe not. Part of me doesn't really want to know the answer. But I had my moment of peace at 4:00 PM, and if you ask any of the people in the procession today, I likely had my miracle, too.
Jay Dunn, Izamal, Yucatan
For a beautiful slideshow of all the images in this photo-essay, go to http://bit.ly/pxO9ml
Please note: As a Contributor to the Mexico Today Program, I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content. All photographs and essays are strictly my own.
One of the most surprising things about Mexico City is that it is easy to find calm in the middle of twenty million people. In the cool silence of a church interior, in an unexpected public garden sheltered by high walls, on a thoughtful bench along a quiet back street, there are plenty of peaceful… harbors in which to rest.
The crazy colors that are part of life here – they are indeed deliberate, jaunty, reverential. The vivid hues of the street blend seamlessly with the muted tones of places of worship - rather than clashes, there are complements: crimson and gold, amethyst and aquamarine, all a symphony over windowsills and archways. With spaces hushed as a prayer, shade trees everywhere, and all of a rainbow's possibility, from delicate to garish, from iridescent to serene, this is a good place to have a conversation, or be a lover by the fountains.
Mexico City is renowned as one of the most important, and densely populated, cities in the world. To add to its credits, however, it also seems a place of civility by nature, where in our frenetic world of high culture, international business, and people on every corner, it is still possible to have public places that soothe the anxiousness of being urban.
Sergio Pérez, together with Japanese teammate Kamui Kobayashi, displayed great skills at the Circuit in the Sauber C30-Ferrari, a high-speed, state-of-the-art vehicle with aerodynamic efficiency, performance through low-speed corners and mechanical grip. Branding of the car, uniforms for car… racers and staff, marketing collateral, and related website are part of a Premium Partnership signed between the Sauber F1 Team and Marca País – Imagen de México. Additional premium partners include Mexican telecommunications giant Telmex, the world renowned tequila brand José Cuervo, networking IT integration leader NEC Mexico, leading insurance group Interproteccion, among others.
Guadalajara’s new soccer stadium, Estadio OmniLife is the true definition of "green," both literally and figuratively. The Mexican city recently unveiled its volcano-like, green soccer stadium featuring a full exterior of green vegetation. In the environmental sense of the term, the stadium… also meets the requirements: the exterior serves to capture rainwater and distribute it through the wetlands.
Designed by French architects Jean-Marie Massaud and Daniel Pouzet, the stadium was built to resemble a volcano and blend into its surroundings. To this effect, the stadium features a cloud-like cover in addition to its green exterior walls. The architects kept sustainable design and construction in mind while creating the blueprint for the stadium and besides capturing rainwater, the parking garage also features energy-efficient lighting. Entrances and exits were also designed to avoid congestion.
The new stadium is an encouraging sign of Mexico’s commitment to green development. The stadium parking lot will be open as a public parkland when games are not in session.
You may be familiar with Selena, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, but the face of Latin Music is changing and at its forefront isn’t just another pop star. Emerging Mexican rock bands such as Caifanes, Cafe Tacvba, Molotov and Nortec Collective are becoming enormously popular, not only in Mexico, but also in the United States. …
At the Coachella festival in Indio, California, Caifanes had generated so much interest that they shot to second on the bill after the famed Kings of Leon, the highest profile a Latino band has ever had at Coachella.
Caifanes, like many American bands, grew up listening to the Beatles and were influenced by punk rock. Caifanes lead singer, Saul Hernandez, said he was delighted with the reaction at Coachella. “It is great to play so high up at such an influential festival that has long been mainly Anglo,” Hernandez said.
The late emergence and overwhelming enthusiasm for Mexican rock bands can be attributed to change on both sides of the border. Hernandez attributes this to both the rise of Mexican Americans seeking connection to their culture as well as changes in Mexico’s political structure and economic policies. Hernandez said. “In the concerts, I see a very strong energy. The crowd expresses a search for identity, a catharsis.”
Regarding rock and alternative music’s connection to Mexican politics, he says, “When rock music first emerged in the late 1960s during the days of one-party rule, police were sent to break up concerts and festivals.” With the introduction of democracy and free-trade, the market for rock concerts has followed. This month, U2 has three packed nights at Mexico City’s huge Aztec soccer stadium and Mexico City’s Vive Latino festival, where the Caifanes played its reunion concert, has exploded since 1998 to entertain some 200,000 people over three days this year.
Another alternative Mexican group gaining interest in the United States is the Nortec Collective from the border city of Tijuana. In the 1980s, Pepe Mogt, Nortec founder and producer saw bands such as Nirvana and the Ramones play in Tijuana underground shows.
Nortec Collective mixes an alternative electronic sound with norteno music. As a result, Nortec download sales have often topped Latin American music charts. Meanwhile, north of the border, the collective’s 2008 album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album.
By the end of 2012, the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico City expects to open a rare archaeological collection of approximately 300 pieces to the public. The pieces showcase Aztatlan culture from 200 to 1350 AD and feature ceramic objects, shell and greenstone beads, copper rattles and travertine zoomorphic urns. The archaeological collection was a gift from artist Vladimir… Cora, who collected the art over a 25-year span in Acaponeta, Nayarit, with the intention of saving the pieces from trafficking. He recently handed the collection over to the government for the registration, conservation and study of the items. The study of the objects will allow a deeper look into the ceremonial practices of the Aztatlan culture and is significant because it “constitutes an exceptional sample of the material culture of these ancient civilizations through time," according to archaeologist Mauricio Garduño Ambriz, from Nayarit INAH Center.“This information will allow completing the scheme about religious conceptions and ritual practices linked to the Aztatlan ceremonial complex of the Post Classic period," he said.
Mexico remains a wonderful destination for group tours. In particular, the southern state of Oaxaca City is a premier Mexican tourist destination. As this recent testimonial in the Arizona Daily Star illustrates, Oaxaca is safe and remains a beautiful and captivating destination for archaeological tours, walking tours of colonial architecture, and even mescal tastings. The… group toured the ruins of Monte Alban and the folk art market full of textiles, pottery and wood carvings.
This description of folk art in Oaxaca was particularly illustrative: “At the wood carver's, we were fascinated by a family group of a dozen people or more sitting around a large table painting intricate designs on finely carved pieces. And we were surprised that Oaxacan potters don't use a potters' wheel, but instead fashion their pots on a plate, which they rotate slowly by hand, atop another supporting plate.”
Tour organizer Bob Ring described the trip beautifully: “Oaxaca City is an interesting place to visit, especially for the archeological sites, the folk art and education in indigenous cultures. There was no hint of the problems plaguing the border areas of Mexico, and there is direct airline access from Houston.”