learning things

i finished my cellphone photography workshop!
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There were battles and duels here, hangings, weddings, and before then, healing rituals and gathering and art that derives from a spiritual, balance-full relationship with nature, the soil, the cactus, sun and tree syrup.
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I watch kids practice their dance for the Guelaguetza, trotting in circles and spinning, and I think of the folkloric dances I know so well in Galicia. But these are different, these don’t have bagpipes but drums, and these aren’t my own dances. Being a lone spectator is lonely.
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The sensation of loss and infinite possibility is around me. This is a place that as a history so rich and varied: lime stoned streets, Dominican churches, huge cloud formations, ironwork on the windows, chingones and cabronas.
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This little girl, 5 or 6, malnourished with orange stains on her shirt and loose teeth approached me on the steps of the Santo Domingo church. She asked me Chicle? I said No, Thankyou and she said Anda, Señora, don’t you have some pesitos for me? Buy some chicle or a chocolate bar. Buy me an elote? She had the mannerisms of a grown woman and was squirting anti bacterial all over her hands and arms as she spoke. I gave her two pesos and a yellow rose a passerby had given me (it’s for free! I just want to make people smile, do little nothings that make someone’s day!, the man had said). She was suspicious of the rose, “Take it! It’s a pretty flower, you can put it in your hair or in your basket.” “It pricks.” I took the thorns off and handed it back to her. “I’m going to destroy it.” “Don’t! A very sweet boy gave it to me!” “Your husband?” “Yes!” She looked at me and proceeded to take off each petal, delicately, and then in chunks. She through the fistfuls of petals at my face. I took the blows.

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I bought mole tamales from an older woman. She seemed so old I don’t know how she was standing. I asked if I could take a picture of her in her makeshift booth (plastic table, spices, an array of cookeware), expecting a blatant No, which is okay, because I’m still figuring it out how and when and why it’s okay to take pictures of strangers. I was surprised by her “Si, si!” and she proceeded to pose like a pin-up, holdling up a tamale.

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