Exploring Mexico

Images of Mexico Part IX

Photographs and Text by John Todd, Jr.

Mexico is a Big Country
It can only be described as a sensual mosaic of different scenes of people, food, and landscapes. Soft pastels and hard colors are seen and felt in the emotions of the people.

Beautiful as the soft music of a romantic trio in the evening or a hard ranchera. The laughter of a people who love their children and celebrate life in the streets and their homes.

If you look at a map of Mexico and the US, you might describe the US as the mind and logic, and Mexico is the heart.

Antigua Virgen

Antigua Virgen
Antigua, Veracruz
The Virgin of Guadalupe
You see statues and pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe everywhere.

One day we were in the little church in Antigua, Veracruz.

I always try to drop a couple of coins in the box labelled "Limosnas", which means "Alms".

Then, I say to myself a little prayer of thanks for everything I have.
La Banda
Rancho las Norias, Zacatecas
La Marcha Zacatecas
The first Mexican song I remember hearing as a kid was the "Marcha Zacatecas" on a radio show in San Angelo, TX.

Youīve probably heard it. For years I didnīt know the title until I came to Mexico.

One time I was invited to "lunch" at a remote ranch in Zacatecas called "Las Norias", which means the "water wells". At Las Norias, out in the middle of the desert, there isnīt much water.

As I listened to the notes of "La Marcha Zacatecas", I could just imagine Pancho Villa and his gang riding up on their sweating horses.
Los Jaraneros
Cempoala, Veracruz
The music of Veracruz has an interesting set of unique instruments.

The harp, and the 5 string guitar called a "jarana" are the heart and soul of the music of Veracruz.

Una Jarocha
Cardel, Veracruz
The Dance of "La Bruja"
A "Bruja" is a witch, or in Mexico an enchantress.

The Dance of the La Bruja is a haunting, slow melody in which the lights are turned off, and the dancer carries a lighted candle.

Later she delicately places it on her head and dances the slow dance of the Bruja.

The dance is full of symbolism and balance, especially with 8 dancers.

It is a story of someone in love which is like being in a daze where you are paralized and canīt go about your daily business.

Itīs hard to believe these are just high school kids having fun entertaining others from out of town who come to visit.

Hereīs a short video clip of La Bruja
Juquila, Oaxaca
Markets in Mexico
Markets in Mexico are quiet respectful places.

The people who come to sell their wares are very careful.

This lady was kneeling down to pick up something while others around her carried on conversations or attended their children.

This is the market in Juquila, Oaxaca.
Cempoala, Veracruz
More Music
Many of the important dinners I have been invited to in Veracruz feature live music before the meal.

Itīs a time to forget about the everyday pressures of work and problems.

And to think about enjoying the life we have for today.

Itīs a Sunday dinner, and Monday is another day.

After all, you canīt dry today, the clothes you wash tomorrow, as a friend once told me.


Fresh Coconuts From a Wheel Barrow
Veracruz, Veracruz
Counting His Money
On the Malecón in Veracruz you can buy a lot of things.

Fresh coconuts from a wheelbarrow were in season that day.
Chapel of the Rosario
Puebla, Puebla
The Church of Santo Domingo
The Church of Santo Domingo in Puebla, built in the 16th and 17th century, is magnificent.

Every detail of its baroque interior is covered with gold and silver and gives a feeling of opulence and faith.

On Sunday evenings when they sing the Rosary, I saw a lot of poor people in attendance.

The wealthy give of their money, and the poor give of their time.

One time someone told me that each service to the church is personal and is valuable in the eyes of the Lord.
Celebration at the Pyramids
Cempoala, Veracruz
A Celebration at the Pyramids
In Mexico, sometimes you can reserve the pyramids for special occasions.

I was invited to a celebration at Cempoala the shade of the swaying palms trees.

There was no alcohol at the party and the tamales were great that day!
Cempoala, Veracruz
In Mexico Music is Everywhere
Music is not all that expensive.

Just about every school in Mexico has its own dance troupe.

They practice long hours and buy their own costumes.

And give very good performances, and a very reasonable price.

The performances of these young people are enthusiastic, and come from the heart.
Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca
(Donīt take pictures of Soldiers)
The Highways in Mexico are Safe
Along the highways are infrequent searches by the authorities.

Most of the time they are pleasant and efficient.

Their presence makes me feel safe, especially in the remote areas where I might have a flat tire or car trouble.
Cempoala, Veracruz
I Never Get Tired of the Music of Veracruz
The harp and drums are enough.

I think the guitars and jaranas were taking a break.

If you enjoy the music of Mexico, you can find more here: The Sounds of Mexico.

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