domingo, 31 de marzo de 2013

Lupe II

I've already discussed the Mexican virgin Guadalupe in another entry, so I won't be re-hashing that.  I just love the intensity of this photo; the sheer volume of religious iconography, the prominence and centrality of Guadalupe and the brightness of the colours and in particular the flowers.  What else is so great about this is is that it was located in a small, roadside restaurant in Oaxaca.  By small I mean that while it wasn't small in size, it did have a definite quaint feel about it, particularly in the way that the waitress/cook/owner (I guess), an elderly woman, would simply come and ask you what is was that you wanted to eat, without providing a menu.

Such intense and concentrated imagery in such a relaxed, everyday setting.  Religion is a funny thing sometimes.

martes, 19 de marzo de 2013


I have talked about Cuba before, in other entries.  But today I want to talk about feelings (oooooooh).  Cuba is, above all else, confusing.  In a lot of ways you feel like you've gone back in time: 1950s cars, horse and carts being legitimately used as taxis and in towing, the casual attitude, kids playing with tops in the street...  But then sometimes you come across something and it is completely disorientating.  For instance, you can find Internet access in Cuba (although it can be difficult/impossible at times), once I saw a new-looking Audi (excuse my lack of knowledge about car models... but it was shiny if that helps) or the fact that they are meant to have an amazing medical system.  Added to these temporal confusions are social ones, and in particular, economic ones.

In some ways, the confusion I'm feeling now is the same that I experienced in Cuba.  In some ways I feel like I've gone back in time - I'm back in the same city, attending the same university and I have the same friends (who have not at all changed from when I last saw them).  But then I get disorientated: I'm doing Honours now, my schedule is different, I live in a different neighbourhood.  There are also added social and economic confusions.  But really, in the end, it all boils down to the fact that I am different.  I wasn't sure that I was completely compatible before, but now I know I am not.  I have come to the conclusion that I really need new friends, to make my current ones become old friends.  I am not compatible with them, and I feel that being around them makes me into a worse person.  I need my freedom back.

viernes, 15 de marzo de 2013

México en una cajita...

I went to a function today, a homecoming celebration/debrief here in Melbourne, Australia, for students who had recently returned from exchange.  It was about reverse culture shock, using the exchange experience to sell yourself to employers and future directions, basically.

When I think of how Mexico seems to Australians, this picture is what I think of, as well as Taco Bill's, drug cartels, tequila and sombreros - as in ridiculously large, straw hats.  Although that had never been my summary of Mexican culture, there is no way I want to revert to someone who even makes those distorted associations, let alone believes them.  I was shuddering internally when the speaker even mentioned 're-assimilation' and 're-integration', but maybe that is in part due to my studies in Anthropology.  Ideas of a culture should never be condensed into a mass-produced package and shipped off for consumption.  Ironically, I took this picture for my boyfriend, who had set me the task of taking photos of normal, everyday things in Australia that would not seem normal to him.

Part of my aversion to ideas such as 're-assimilation' clearly stem from not wanting to give up ways that I have changed, to revert back to the 'original me'.  But, on the other hand, seeing again how Mexico is portrayed in here, makes me cringe at the ways that similarly I, as part of my own culture, am represented in some packaged-format as well.  I mean, this was obvious to me when I was in Mexico, and basically whenever I would mention Australia to a Mexican I would get a comment about kangaroos.  Maybe in this way I feel double packaged: originally in Australia, then shipped off, adjusted, and shipped back in a shiny, new Mexican wrapper.  I just wish wrappers weren't necessary.