Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How to celebrate Mexican style.....

Over the past couple of weekends I've managed to wangle my way to some Mexican fiestas.

0One was for a wee girl who was turning three and apparently here it's a big deal because it's their presentation to the church. Or I just reckon a damn good excuse to get a whole bunch of people together to down the bevvies as quickly as possible and have a laugh.

The second was a farewell do for a mate. Mexican dude headed off to France to study English and practice his French. The party was at his boyfriend's place and strangely enough we were the only foreigners there! Hmmm...

Both fiestas involved food, booze and music. The wee one's had a cake that I swear was bigger than her! It were ginormous! With hot pink icing and a Cinderalla picture on it. The picture was closer to the size of the young thing than the cake was. There were also two piñatas that the kids got to try and bash all hell out of, before the paper-machier burst and spilled all it's goodies. The kids enjoyed it and the adults were having a good ol' laugh.

I tell you though, these Mexican fiestas are just like the Maori ones back home. Too much food, lots of laughs, loads of alcohol and enough of the right kind of music to get you singing or dancing (or both).
And if you drink the locally brewed drop (as my fellow foreigners did- silly, very silly) the hangover the next day actually has you believing you mean it when you say "I'll never drink again, this time I mean it, I'm never drinking again"...

After seeing all the fun the kids had with the piñata, I've decided that's what I'm having for my birthday next year. I mean why is it that the kids get to have all the fun huh?! (My Mexican friends think that this is very strange by the way- a grown woman with a piñata??? What is the world coming to?)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Witchcraft and Wizardry

Brujería. That's the Mexican name for it and it was an exhibition that I went to visit last Friday.

There were gruesome pictures of devils and demons, witches and goblins, the odd mummified fairy and a fair few potions thrown in for good measure.
The confessions of witches (women undergoing torture) were an interesting read- well what I could understand at least, nothing like being dipped head first into water for days on end or being strapped to a nail studded chair to induce even the most innocent of people to confessing to whatever is thrust in front of them.

The whole exhibition was interesting, but what held most people's interest was the phallic display. Yep, a whole bunch of dildos and other sexual pleasure apparatus. The array of dildos was intriguing, mostly made of wood, some with church leaders carved on them, others bearing a striking resemblance to bike pumps or tree branches. Then there were the statues with scrotums where the chin was supposed to be and well... you can figure out the rest.

It wasn't all about sex however, there were the love potions, the potions to help heal, the potions to bring on death, lots about the relationship between nature and women. Oh, and a personal favourite- something to do with "black magic"- it was a "trap" with a lizard/gecko crawling out of it. The trap was a very hairy representation of female genitalia, displayed alongside an example of a vagina with teeth. Ok, so maybe there was a lot of sex stuff going on...

Nevertheless it was interesting and if it's ever in your area, check it out. It's an example of how the view of women has changed little over the years.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Little Green Men

Every country has "crossing the road" etiquette. Whether it be as a pedestrian or as a motorist.

Vietnam and Japan provide a countdown to let motorists and pedestrians alike know how much time is left before they can cross the road or intersection. In Japan the pedestrians dutifully wait for the counter to reach zero before crossing the road. In Vietnam motorists cross when they deem it safe enough, countdown be damned.
In Nepal and India there were lights for the pedestrian but they were largely ignored. Foot traffic crossing whenever they pleased, very reminiscent of the hugely popular eighties game "Frogger". Dodging traffic becoming a necessary skill in order to cross the road.

However, the best crossing the road indicator is to be found here in Mexico. You have your bog standard looking "Little Green Man" who is lit up when it is safe to cross the road. He is not just some chump tho', this Mexican version.
He starts out with a very nonchalant stroll, almost a strutt, much like John Travolta's from Saturday Night Fever. As the time for you to be across the road draws near, he slowly picks up speed. Almost as if he's looking over his shoulder to check where the traffic is for you. Then just before the traffic lights turn green, he breaks into an all out sprint to the finish line, as if the hounds of hell are chasing him. And you can just picture him, hands on knees gasping for breath and dreading the next inevitable round. Makes you feel sorry for the poor wee fulla!

It's worth crossing the road just for the entertainment. Yay Mexico and it's little green men!