Visiting the Etlas

To get to one of the small towns around Oaxaca, we asked at the tourist office which bus to take. They put a dot on the map in the general area we needed to go for a collective taxi, so we snagged a local taxi and asked the driver to get us to where the ‘colectivos’ park. It was on the opposite side of the central district from where we started.

They park all along one street which is next to the second class bus station. All the taxis are painted alike (maroon on top and white on the bottom), but have their destination printed on the doors and the windshield. It looks like a used car lot, with the cars all alike (Nissan Tsuru model).

We waited only a few minutes for 4 or 5 people to fill a taxi going to Etla. In this case, it costs about one dollar per person to take a 20 minute ride up into the mountains.
First we visited San Augustin de Etla. There we wandered around the new Graphics Art Institute. It is in a group of buildings that have been renovated from a very old textile factory. There are pictures of how it used to be, and it is amazing what has been done! They have totally revived and made beautiful what was basically ruins. One of our pictures shows work still ongoing.There is also an old church next to the Art School where we climbed into the bell tower. There was nobody else around.

A view from in front of the art school.

Joy in a doorway.

Reflection pools in a patio area surrounding an old furnace.

Renovation continuing.

This is the upstairs main manufacturing area turned into a gallery. They left some of the old spools of cloth here.
There was an awesome exhibit of black and white photos from Haiti downstairs.

Looking toward the church next door.

A view from the administration building steps.

A street scene of San Augustin de Etla.

A view from the belfry.

From there we took the 5 minute ride to Villa de Etla, the largest of the ‘Etlas’. This was also in a colectivo, but it cost us much more because the driver went out of his way to take us there. We went there to catch the first of a three day celebration, the parade of flowers. After a wonderful concert by the town band inside the church, everyone gathered with costumes and flowers. With the band leading, the procession marched throughout the town. As they went, two men with exploding rockets would go ahead and fire off a few rockets. Following a long whistle, a huge explosion would mark the route. Women with bowls of candy tossed treats as they went. Men with mescal offered their ‘treats’.

On into the town of Villa de Etla.

Inside the church in Villa de Etla.
Looks like there occurred an axedent.

Another view inside the church.
Notice how thick the walls are. It isn’t just the archway, but the stones behind the gate!

Outside they were preparing for the parade.

And everyone was watching and waiting.

Then women and girls began to assemble with their flowers.

Now they waited for the Padre to give his blessing.

Now all has been blessed and the parade can begin!

The band played and the women began to dance.

This dance lasted about 20 minutes.

Everyone was really having fun!

Then off they went through the streets.

Rounding a corner going down hill.

Parade coming up another street with band in lead.

The streets are narrow and the crowd gets tight.

Two men with fireworks in front of them all shooting exploding rockets to mark the coming of the parade.

The rockets look homemade, but they sound like cannons!

Notice the man on the right pouring mescal. It was damn good!

We very much enjoyed the Etlas. We left the parade still winding through the town as we caught another colectivo back to Oaxaca.