As the year winds down and we look forward to a brighter 2009, I am full of hope for the future. I am excited for the inauguration of the new U.S. president, and for the Mexico By Hand Art and Culture Tour in the summer of '09. And so I begin this blog with "New beginnings"...my desire to share my love of Mexico: the art, culture and the people. I hope to share information, provide encouragement, and maybe offer a bit of inspiration to those who are curious about getting to know what I call "real Mexico". Perhaps the election of President Obama will not only bring hope to those immigrants struggling in the U.S. but move us towards improved relations with Mexico. Perhaps this multicultural man who is now our leader will be a role model for many Americans to visit the Third World, or maybe even learn another language. How is it that so many in this country-- even those just a few hours drive away-- never consider visiting our neighbor to the south? Or if they do, it's only to the gringo-filled resorts where everyone they see, including those who serve them, speak English so that they are spared the discomfort of having to negotiate a different culture and language. Why is it that so many of my fellow travelers will spend thousands of dollars to travel half-way around the world to "exotic" destinations, where they are one of a zillion tourists to visit that country that year, when they have never even considered venturing beyond the usual packaged tour locations in Mexico. You want exotic? Check out Michoacán, baby. It's got it all: natural beauty (mountains, beaches, lakes, volcanoes) indigenous people who still speak their native language, the most beautiful traditional crafts in all of Mexico, the amazing colonial architecture, nightlife, restaurants, and culture of Morelia its capital city, plus the warm and generous people who live there.
It starts with the people, and especially those who make the art. After living in Michoacán for a year, I became hooked. I go back twice a year-- to buy crafts and folk art and to lead small tours in the summer. I know the best places to eat, the nicest hotels, and the must-see historical sites. But I REALLY know a lot about the amazing art in Michoacán...so I'll be talking a lot about that here. I've worked as a journalist, love photography, and because I am a teacher by profession, I am compelled to share my knowledge with those who are curious.
I hope that's you.