Oaxaca de Juárez, México – Today and tomorrow (Friday and Saturday, October 3 and 4) my favorite local market in the world hosts its 11th anniversary. Sadly, I will not be present, but my best thoughts are with friends at the market – vendors and shoppers alike who have made the Pochimilco the must-do and slow-do attraction in Oaxaca.
I had the good fortune of visiting the Pochote Market early on its inception in 2003 when it was first located in a quaint and picturesque ‘point of interest’ called the Arquitos. The market filled the courtyard of a one-time alternative cinema. I knew I was lucky to see first-hand the birth of such a market and I was even more fortunate to have the time (ten+ years!) to make friends with the vendors and document the goings on.
There were controversies and dramas major and minor in the first decade. There was considerable change of who was selling and who was buying. If I did anything right during my estancia in Oaxaca it was to befriend the people, and I’m still friends with a lot of people who left the Pochote to sell in other markets or who opened their own stores. There was also a great deal of continuity and visitors to the market this weekend are encouraged to look for familiar faces from a decade ago. (Tip: here are my personal collections of archived photos from Pochote 2003-2009 and Pochimilco (2009-).
This weekend’s festivities include the Guelaguetza cultural performance on Friday and a jamming Blandas y Tlayudas concert Saturday. If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is!
One of the many reasons I’m a fan of the market is for the opportunity to engage with indigenous Mexicans. The market was my classroom for learning Zapoteco, Mixteco, Chinanteco and Ayuuk. Mind you, I’m not fluent by any means but I learned the key phrases, including ‘Good Morning,’ ‘Thank You’ and ‘That’s delicious’ – a phrase that comes up frequently when discussing the available foods — the dulces cristalizados, memelas, tamales, caldos, aguas, nieves — and for the anniversary party, the options are bound to be even more diverse.
I call attention to the indigenous component of the market as this very weekend there’s another big event in town. On Friday and Saturday the Biblioteca Juan de Cordova hosts open panels focusing on Indigenous Language Digital Activism. Hashtag: #activismolenguasMX
In a way I will be present in my absence, so a request to those present on the ground — let us know what is happening by commenting on this blog or by tweeting me @ronmader or by sharing photos in our Oaxaca Today Flickr group. Record the music. Interview the vendors. Ask if you can record indigenous greetings! And please share. If you post videos on YouTube or Vimeo, let me know so I can embed the code on the Oaxaca Wiki.
For others who like me cannot attend in person, support the market by liking, favoriting and sharing the news with anyone who might visit Oaxaca in the near future.