Oaxaca Characters and Bystanders

My Introduction to Oaxaca was an open-air market where indigenous people from surrounding areas join city merchants to sell their wares. The market was huge and sold absolutely everything: from prosthetic limbs to live animals. From that first day, surprise, wonder, and spectacle dominated my experience of Oaxaca. There were festivals and parades every day. I watched locals prepare for a drag pageant; I photographed men and boys blacken their skin with motor oil and run through the streets, masked and ringing bells, to ward off evil spirits; and I attended the ultimate party: the annual gay pride ball. Every year people from the LGBT community travel across Mexico for solidarity and celebration. It was a night of unabashed partying with free love for some, mezcal for most, and music for all. And then, out in the countryside, it was as if time had stopped. 

 I experienced two Oaxacas: the colorful, costume-wearing festival participants, and Oaxacans who like tourists in their own country, stood on the sidelines and watched.

My Introduction to Oaxaca was an open-air market where indigenous people from surrounding areas join city merchants to sell their wares. The market was huge and sold absolutely everything: from prosthetic limbs to live animals. From that first day, surprise, wonder, and spectacle dominated my experience of Oaxaca. There were festivals and parades every day. I watched locals prepare for a drag pageant; I photographed men and boys blacken their skin with motor oil and run through the streets, masked and ringing bells, to ward off evil spirits; and I attended the ultimate party: the annual gay pride ball. Every year people from the LGBT community travel across Mexico for solidarity and celebration. It was a night of unabashed partying with free love for some, mezcal for most, and music for all. And then, out in the countryside, it was as if time had stopped. 

 I experienced two Oaxacas: the colorful, costume-wearing festival participants, and Oaxacans who like tourists in their own country, stood on the sidelines and watched.

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