Sunday, December 15, 2019

Zacatecas, Mexico, el cuince de Deciembre, 2019

It was another beautiful day in paradise.  My goal was to visit two museums and to be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to that so I put it off until after lunch.  Anyway, very nearby is a huge park where the aqueduct still stands-

I could hear music so wandered over to see what was going on.  I had no idea but soon a man approached me and led me to where the congregation was sitting and placed me right in the front-

All the women were wearing scarves draped across their heads.  I was wearing my ball cap!  Soon, the woman beside me asked if I wanted to go up on the stage.  I was a bit unsure because I certainly didn’t want to get involved in whatever they were doing.  Was it human sacrifice?  Nudity?  I wasn’t sure and I didn’t know what they expected of me.  Anyway, away we went and soon I was standing right in the action-

I had a glance in the box and there was about two feet of water in it as well as rose petals. There was a lot of praying going on and responses from the crowd. The young man in the blue standing on the ladder seemed to be the centre of attention.  Soon he was in the water-

And after a few more words, he was completely immersed in the water - twice.  That was enough for me and I got the hell out of there.  The woman followed me and she talked to me about God and Jesus for a few minutes and then let me leave.

I walked to the Museo Francisco Goitia-

which was built in 1946 as an official residence for the state’s governor until 1962.  From then until 1978 it was used for a variety of things but got really run down until it was remodelled to be the beautiful place it is today-

  It houses works by Zacateca’s best artists including work by Goitia of himself-

Cabeza de Ahorcado (Hangman’s Head)-

and his most famous: Tata Jesus Christ, painted in 1927, which shows two women sitting in the night with a candle burning and marigolds that signify death.  The women are grieving deeply-

Other works include Desnudo No. 2 by Jose Kuri Brena-

And then there’s a very current exposition called Ausencias by Gustavo Monroy including Migrante-Border-

Suave Patria (Soft Patriotism)-

Desierto IV-

Fosas (Bones) -

I like this quote “Paintings do not change the reality of society but they can change us as spectators, therefore changing our world.”-


Guerrero Jaguar Fuego-

Desierto I-

Guerrero Jaguar Pieta-

I read a great book awhile ago called The Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant which was about Mexicans sealed in a water tank trying to illegally cross into the United States until the truck broke down and the driver ran away.  These paintings were quite disturbing and as a Canadian who lives the good life, I have no idea what people living in extreme conditions are willing to go through to have a better life.

I really enjoyed this museum and leaving it spotted this huge steeple nearby. It belongs to the Templo de Fatima which is in neo-gothic style and was just finished in 2000-

It was closed so I carried on towards Museo Rafael Coronel.  Along the way were more callejons decorated for Navidad.  Each one has a theme:  bells-

Bows and gingerbread men-

I stopped in Starbucks to see if they would regrind some coffee I bought a few days ago in Chihuahua.  The French Press setting on most machines grinds the beans way too coarse so little coffee flavour can be absorbed.  I always ask them to grind it very fine but obviously, and it’s not the first time, my Spanish wasn’t as clear as I would have liked it to be.
While there I started visiting with an American woman from Dallas who has been living in Zacatecas for a long time but right now she is in a bit of a bind.  As soon as her husband of 13 years got his U.S citizenship, which was just recently, he left her and their two children.  As part of the separation agreement, she gave up her U.S. rights until her children are 18 and the youngest is only 9. She was very upset and I felt so sad for her.  She teaches English at a local school as well as online so she does have an income.  Bastard!

The Cathedral was looking very fine-

As was La Bufa and the Teleferico-

The Museo Rafael Coronel is in the former Convento San Francisco-

and houses 3500 masks.  3500!  They come from Rafael Coronel’s private collection.  They’re from all over Mexico and I was so sick of masks by the end, but I still managed to take many pictures.  Masks are beautiful and interesting works of art used for celebrations, dances, cultural events, death, Semana Santa, Carnaval, religious events with Shamans, magic, witches, healings, mimicking animal behaviour, rituals, playing the devil and for fun.  They can be made from any material - wood, papier mache, porcelain, fur, leather, ceramics, hair -

Masks of hermits-

Masks of the devil-

There was room after room of masks-

Masks of old people-

Masks using porcelain and ribbons-

Masks of royalty-


Northern Mexican Indigenous do a deer dance, in fact I saw a man wearing horns on the beach in Mazatlan trying to make a living dancing/hopping around-

I’ve had enough of masks for quite awhile.  

There were marionettes in the next few rooms.  They were awesome-

A ballroom scene-

This one was on a stick, not controlled with strings -


An Englishman-

Supper was sopa - crema elote (corn) con calabaza (pumpkin)-

Enchiladas with pollo in a spicy salsa-

And bunuelos, like Taco Time’s churros-

Walking home, the streets were alive-

I’ve really enjoyed my time in Zacatecas and am wondering how much better it can get.  I’m off to San Luis Potosí in the morning.  

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