Monkey at the Cattle Market

While in Southern Mexico recently, Kongo visited the village of San Antonio Castilio Velasco to attend the monthly cattle market.  Ranchers from the surrounding area converge on a giant square with little corrals built to hold the animals.  It’s a big day. Buyers and sellers mingle and discuss the livestock for sale.  It’s easy to spot the buyers.  They have a bit of an attitude about them as they survey potential purchases.  When the deal is struck, it’s a cash only transaction. These cowboys are carefully studying steers in a small corral. Once a cow is purchased it doesn’t always…

NatGeo Photo Workshop Review: Oaxaca — Day of the Dead

  Kongo is back from a fabulous Photo Workshop with National Geographic in Oaxaca, Mexico to capture the Day of the Dead celebrations.  This is a review of that workshop and National Geographic workshops in general.  Previously the monkey has attended NatGeo workshops in Santa Fe, New York, and San Francisco. Overview: The workshop was held in Oaxaca, Mexico from October 29 through November 4.  The format included daily classroom sessions that critiqued the results of shooting assignments, workflow methodology, photography techniques, and the National Geographic “way of doing things.”  The rest of the time was spent in the field…

Cemeteries of Day of the Dead

During Kongo’s week in Oaxaca over the Day of the Dead festival he visited several cemeteries in the city and surrounding villages.  In Oaxaca, visiting the grave yard is a happy occasion.  Sure there are some somber moments but overall the mood is happy.  And the later you stay the happier it gets! Grave sites are decorated with candles and tons of flowers.  October is harvest time in Southern Mexico and flowers are plentiful.  Everyone goes to the market in the morning to get a full supply of floral decorations to take to the cemetery. The photo above shows women…

Standing Tall

In the village of Zaachilla outside of Oaxaca City, Mexico is one of the strangest dance troupes this monkey has seen for a very long time.  That’s the famous stilt dancers of Zaachilla that perform Danza de los Zancudos, or Dance of the Stilts. Over 100 years ago, the story goes, St. Peter appeared to an old man in the village.  Eventually the apparition was captured but it escaped and appeared again to the old man and told him that he wanted a church built in his name.  He also wanted the people to dance on stilts on the the…

Spooky Parades

Kongo spent last week in Oaxaca, Mexico participating in a National Geographic Photo Workshop themed after Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead.  The monkey’s hotel, the Parado de Alcala was a great little boutique inn with only 21 rooms and suites.  Kongo lucked out and got one of the three rooms with a balcony overlooking a pedestrian only street in the center of historic Oaxaca City. The really cool thing about this balcony room was that the monkey got a better than birds eye view of all the activities going on below.  In Oaxaca they ought to rename the…

Children of the Dead

There are dead children in Oaxaca.  Hundreds of them.  They hold parades, hang out on street corners, and run wild in cemeteries.  These little ghouls are coming to get you.  They are adorable! Of course these kids aren’t dead dead.  They’re dia de muertos dead.  Day of the dead dead.  They’re actually very much alive.  If you think that kids in America like Halloween then you need to visit Oaxaca, Mexico during the Day of the Dead celebrations.  This is Halloween on a sugar high and it lasts for an entire week! Children everywhere love to dress up.  In Oaxaca…