SAN AGUSTIN ETLA CULTURAL CENTER

        This  was the first time Halina and I have got together since last year. It was really nice to see Halina.   I met her and Sharon, an acquaintance I knew from last year, but Helen cancelled for some reason.  We walked all the way across town to the Abastos Market where the Collectives to the villages have a station next to it. We left right away and were in San Augustine Etla around 10:30 on what was to be a warm, sunny , and wonderful day.

      The village was on the side of a mountain overlooking the “Tuscan Hills of Oaxaca” .  It was truly breathtakingly beautiful.

      We walked to the Center, the site of one of two “paper mills” built by the Spanish toward the end of the 1800’s.  It closed when the workers started demanding age restrictions (very young children worked there) holidays, regular work week, decent wages, etc.  It was after the Mexican revolution, workers demanding anything before that might just disappear.  The company just left it and returned to Spain.  Eventually the workers tried to take it over themselves but didn’t have the money or the know all to maintain it and it was abandoned.

      Fairly recently a man named Toledo, the Federal and the State Government formed a partnership to convert  the one paper mill in San Augustine into a Center for Arts and restore the original structure.  This partnership has had it’s moments but the building provides a center for Art Projects and a gallery of sorts with a souvenir shop.

     We met Jeanne a friend of Sharon’s that I had met last year.  She returned but not finding a place readily in Oaxaca came to rent a room in a complex built within the last 20 years by an Mexican engineer that had been working and living in Vancouver with his family until he decided to return to Oaxaca and bought this property.  Here he built a this beautiful B & B called Amora and raised his children until his untimely death not long ago.  His wife manages the B & B while teaching at the University in Oaxaca City .Her daughter returned to Vancouver while her son works and attends the University in Mexico City.
      We did a self tour of the Center but no exhibitions were being held at this time.

 Jeanne had arranged for us to visit Amora and see her place then the owner was to have brunch ready for us at 1:00.  We had just enough time to visit an Artisan Paper Mill of sort called “Papal Oaxaca” run by Alberto Valenzuela a extremely talented intelligent artist who was an expert on the history and making of paper.

       We enjoyed a good hour of his presentation and company before taking our waiting taxi to Jeanne’s place for a fantastic brunch outdoors on the porch. Our host at ” El Rincon de San Agustin ” the official name of the complex, brought out some Bread just out of the oven that was heaven.

We had soup then an entree of fresh fish, salad, rice pilaf followed by some coffee and cookies….all fantastic!

 
      Our taxi returned at the appointed time and took us back to Oaxaca for 150 pesos..$9.  We paid $2.10 to get there by collectivo.  So ends another great day.  Tomorrow I was going to the Abastos Market in the morning for a tour of where the local farmers sell their daily harvests then attend two afternoon lectures by my Doctor Z and a local Dentist Dr Gomez.  I cancelled. Great Day!

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