Hi Garden Club members. Happy new year and I hope you can make it to the first garden club meeting for 2013, which will take place, Wednesday, January. 2nd, 11am to 1pm

We will be visiting two 2 gardens sites in Teotitlan de Valle. The two locations also have dogs — and it would be best for those who might like to bring their dog companions to these visits –plan to have them stay in a vehicle during our visits to the gardens.

Our first visit will be to the organic garden of Minerva Gonzalez and her husband Ismauel Martinez. Minerva and Ismauel grow organically and she sells the produce at the mercado in Teotitlan. They grow a large variety of produce and we will learn how they tend their plants, fertilize the land with different strategies including using compost, some of which is provided by their worms. She also raises chickens which produce eggs that she also sells at the mercado.

We will meet at their garden at Matamoros #11. The street side of the building is a family grocery store and you can enter into the garden area further back from the street through the store.

When you open the link to see the map of Teotitlan there is a marker at Ave. Juarez, which is one of the main intersections for the center of town–2 blocks (towards the hills) heading north of this marker turn left (east) onto Matamoros and Matamoros #11 is located on the left (south) side & in the middle of the street.

The second garden is located at the home of Ani Burns, a long time resident of Teotitlan. Her small (truck) garden is located next to her small casista. Ani lives very simply yet her home is very warm and inviting –and some of the features of the home include an outside solar heated shower which also has a backup of an on-demand heating system, and a composting toilet. Her home site has a wonderful view of the pueblo and she will explain how she deals with insects and issues related to living on the edge of the campo.

The directions of where she lives will be given out during the visit to the 1st garden. It is strongly advised that people car pool to her location, take a moto taxi, or walk the 4 or 5 blocks. She lives on the east side of town at the base of the mountain. Parking is limited on her property and also on the street. Preference parking on her property will be given to those of us who might have limited walking ability. If parking on the street in front of her home, there is a slight grade to walk up the driveway to her home. Comfortable walking shoes are advised.
You are welcome to contact me with any questions–aomestl@gmail.com or 951.148.3215.

This email is being sent through the website service at mailchimp.com which I hope will provide an easy way for people to unsubscribe if they which to not receive messages of the Oaxaca garden club activities. This is my first attempt at using this service so please give me feedback on how it works for you.

Aome St. Laurence

Pres. of the Garden Club of Oaxaca

Certified Permaculture Consultant, Designer, Educator–currently living in Oaxaca, Mexico

Join the “greenoaxaca yahoo group” a communication tool for those who are interested in gardening/ permaculture/green/sustainable and healthy living in and around the city of Oaxaca, MX.




Since 2009, archeological work has been taking place in an area just south of the town center. A number of significant constructions have been excavated including structures called the Casa de Oriental (East House) and Casa de Altares (House of the Altars) and the Central Shrine of Atzompa which is larger than its counterpart in Monte Alban proper. Next to these is a complex of domestic units, sunken patios and a pyramidal platform.
However, the main find has been a 45-meter-long Mesoamerican ball court with two smaller courts next to it. These courts are surrounded pyramidal structures. The 45-meter court is the largest ever found in the Monte Alban area and investigations indicate that this was the principal ball court for the city, rather than any of the ball courts that are in the Monte Alban site itself. This ball court is situated such that players would have full view of the city located above them. The two smaller courts are secondary and probably used for training ball players.

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The site was initially explored in the 1930s by Jorge Acosta. He was only able to examine the ends of the large ball court. He speculated that the constructions at this site were ceremonial and defensive in nature, constructed in the 7th to 9th centuries to protect a growing Monte Alban.[ Formal excavation was not considered for the site until recently due to its distance from the main Monte Alban site. The site is still being excavated with plans to open it to the public in 2012. Starting in 2010, work has intensified in building the infrastructure needed for the Santa Maria Atzompa archeological site, to be opened to the public in 2012 as an adjunct to the Monte Alban site. A laboratory and security booths have been built, paid for by the INAH. The laboratory is for the testing and dating of ceramic pieces and other artifacts. Walking paths are being constructed by the state government. The archeological work displaced about 100 people from their homes, but the promise of tourism in the future has satisfied the community. As of November 2012 this site is open to the public.
For more information Google “Atzompa” or see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Mar%C3%ADa_Atzompa.
Except as noted, all photos by Alan Goodin


Dear Vagabundos,

The second trip is a go… Vagabundos on the waiting list for the first
trip with a paid deposit have already gotten in and we have plenty of
space left. So…

Let’s go to Chiapas!  We’ll experience the magical Palenque ruins,
visit the thundering cascades of Agua Azul, enjoy the magnificent
views around San Cristobal de las Casas, and boat up the Sumidero
Canyon.  We’ll shop for the most incredible crafts made by the
indigenous artisans from the different villages and learn about the
age-old customs of the people from this wonderful region.

Attached you will find,

— The itinerary with specific dates, times, and schedules for side trips.
— The links file that you might find useful in your research for the
places we will be visiting.
— The bus layout that will help you decide what seat to choose.
Please be wise with your selection as you will keep the same seat for
the entire trip. Please give me alternative seat selections in case
the seats you have chosen have been taken by the time you reply. I
— The payment options file which informs you of the ways you can get
the payment to me. PLEASE READ IT CAREFULLY.

I’m also pasting the information below in case you have any problem
downloading the files.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me for questions or reservations.

I look forward to seeing you on our bus (and plane)!


David Rico Olalde
Los Vagabundos
Centella No. 28
Fracc. La Lejona, 2a Seccion
San Miguel de Allende, Gto.
(415) 152-3013

Los Vagabundos Explore Chiapas!

March 12-20, 2013

Double Occupancy USD $875 *
Single Occupancy USD $1070

Your payment includes transportation to and from airports, airfare,
transportation in Chiapas on a first class bus, hotel for 8 nights,
side trips to Palenque, Cascadas de Agua Azul, San Juan Chamula, San
Lorenzo Zinacantan, and the Sumidero Canyon, a city tour of San
Cristobal de las Casas, and tips to bus driver, hotel maids, and
baggage handlers. The entrance fees to museums and ruins are not
included. You are responsible for your own food and your own

Tuesday, March 12 – Leave from Central de Autobuses at 10:30 a.m. for
the Mexico City airport where we should arrive around 3:00 p.m. Our
flight departs from Mexico City at 5:00 p.m. and arrives in
Villahermosa at 6:30 p.m. Our hotel, Hilton (993) 313-6800, is
conveniently located close to the airport.

Wednesday, March 13 – Leave our hotel at 8:00 a.m. for Palenque where
we should arrive around 10:30 a.m. Our hotel, Maya Tulipanes (916)
345-0201, is located in the ecological and touristic area of La

Leave the hotel at 12:00 p.m. for the Palenque ruins (entrance fee not
included). We’ll spend about four hours exploring this archaeological
site and its museum. There is easy transport to the hotel for those
who would like to get back earlier (or later).

Thursday, March 14 – Leave our hotel at 9:00 a.m. for San Cristobal de
las Casas. We will stop at the Misol-Ha waterfall for about 30 minutes
and then on to Cascadas de Agua Azul where we should arrive around
noon. We will stay for about two hours so you will have time to eat
and swim. Bring your bathing suit! We’ll leave for San Cristobal at
2:00 p.m. and should get there around 7:00 p.m. Our hotel, Best
Western La Noria (967) 678-6878, is centrally located.

Friday, March 15 – Meet in the lobby at 9:30 a.m. for a 2-hour guided
walking city tour. The rest of the day is yours! Start touring the
city and its surroundings. Visit Casa Na-Bolom, Museo del Ambar, Museo
de la Medicina Maya, Café Museo Café, Templo de Santo Domingo, Mercado

Saturday, March 16 – Free in San Cristobal.  Explore the places where
you might have a special interest like the pottery village of
Amatenango del Valle, Reserva Ecologica Huitepec, and Grutas de San
Cristobal, or go shopping for some of those wonderful crafts being
sold all around town, or take a trip to the caves and lakes nearby…

Sunday, March 17 – Leave the hotel at 9:30 for a guided visit of the
San Juan Chamula and the San Lorenzo Zinacantan villages. We should be
back to the hotel around 3:00 p.m. The rest of the day is yours!

Monday, March 18 – Free in San Cristobal. Enjoy your last day in this
picturesque town! Take a trip to another village (I will help you make
arrangements) or just go wild on last minute shopping.

Tuesday, March 19 – Leave the hotel at 10:00 a.m. for Chiapa de Corzo.
Bring an overnighter. Our hotel, La Ceiba (961) 616-0389, is centrally
located and has a swimming pool. Meet in the lobby at 11:30 a.m. for
our trip up the Sumidero Canyon. We will get on boats and enjoy its
magnificent view for a couple of hours before a lunch stop. We should
be back to the hotel around 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 20 – Leave the hotel at 10:30 a.m. for the airport.
Our plane departs from Tuxtla Gutierrez at 12:45 p.m. and arrives in
Mexico City at 2:30 p.m. We’ll then head on home, stopping at Parador
San Pedro for dinner and getting to San Miguel around 8:30 p.m.

* Prices are per person.

IMPORTANT: Departure and arrival times may change due to flight schedules.

Los Vagabundos

Payment options
Pay at least half of the total amount when you make your reservation
and the remainder by the end of January. If you reserve six weeks or
less before the trip, you need to pay in full at the moment of

There are three easy ways to get the payment to me:

1)     Come to Centella No. 28 in La Lejona (behind Mega) and give us
your check (USD). If we’re not home, please place it in the mail box
located on our door. You cannot miss it. It has a sign that reads,
“Los Vagabundos Mail”. If you don’t see it, you are at the wrong
place.  Please don’t leave cash in our mail box. If you need to pay in
cash, please call me to make an appointment.

2)     Put your check in an envelope and take it to the post office
(corner of Correo and Corregidora streets).  The envelope should be

David Rico Olalde
A.P. 611
San Miguel de Allende, Gto.

The post office opens Monday thru Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.  They will charge you 7
pesos because it counts as a local delivery. Please let me know when

3)     Call me to make arrangements for check or cash pick up,

David Rico Olalde
(415) 152-3013

Please make checks payable to “David Rico Olalde”

It is important that you write on the memo of the check, “Los
Vagabundos/Chiapas trip”

Please date USD checks in US format MM/DD/YYYY. (It can also be any
other format but spelling out the month)

If you are outside of San Miguel de Allende, ask for a fourth option.

If you decide to pay in pesos, please go to the link below to make the
conversion (the very day you pay)…


Cancellations and Refunds

Ø     Cancel 20 days in advance to get a full refund if our entire
trip is by land.
Ø     Cancel six weeks in advance to get a full refund if our trip
includes one or more flights.
Ø     If you cancel after these dates, we will be able to refund only
whatever we can get back from hotels and airlines. It is usually from
50% down, depending on your timing.

Please let me know if I can be of any help in making the payment process easier.


David Rico Olalde
Los Vagabundos

Links Chiapas trip

From The New York Times


Frugal Traveler: Old Time, and New, Amid Maya Ruins of Palenque
Frugal Traveler: Eco-Farmers in Soggy Las Guacamayas



Cascadas de Agua Azul


San Cristóbal de las Casas


San Juan Chamula




Chiapa de Corzo and Sumidero Canyon



Jim Cline is an award winning adveture travel phtographer based in San Diego, California. He always strives to transcend ordinary travel pictures and to convey a strong sense of place, and the spirt of the people in his photographs. Jin’s work has been displayed in galleries and the San Diego Natural History Museum, and his images have won numberous awards. Hi photographs have been phlished in books, newpapers, magazines, and CD covers. Jim now leads small group photogrpahic tours to carious locations throughout Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru. Jim’s phography and information on his tours can be found at http://www.JimCline.com.“I first traveled to Southern Mexico to witness the Day of the Dead celebration in 1999, and I was so moved by the event, that I have gone back and photographed it every year since. It is a time of a whole range of emotions – from joy to sorrow, and it’s a time to recognize death as part of the circle of life and face it head on. It is a challenge for a photographer, as most of the interesting events occur while it is dark. I’ve tried to capture some of the meotion and excitement of this special time in Mexico.” On November 5th, 2012, Jim presented an hour long photo workshop to 30 members and guest of the Oaxaca Lending Library. More information on Jim Clines Tours can we seen at < http://www.jimcline.com/&gt;.

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The Oaxaca Lending Library sponsored an EcoTourism trip to Llano Grande, March 28th-29th. The trip was out Highway 190 past Teotitlan. In Tlacolula, turn left on the highway to Villa Diaz Ordaz.
In Diaz Ordaz, turn left up to the mountains past San Antonio Cuajimoloyas and in another 20 minutes (mas o menus) you will be in Llano Grande, part of thePuerblos Mancomunados, Sierra Norte Organization.
Llano Grande is a Zapoteca village of about 130 persons. Our guide, Adelfo Luis Martinez, can be reached at adecordillera@hotmail.com or by phone at: 044-951-162-7442.

ON THE ROAD to Santa Maria Atzompa

Santa Maria Atzompa 

Oaxaca brings visitors many joys.  Besides centuries of history, culture, colorful people and almost year round perfect weather are the memories and magic found in the various mercados.  During your stay you may see handmade clothing and natural paper, tasty pastries, red and green salsas and gastronomic delights, colonial buildings, hand crafted gold, silver and other jewelry and in most shops, locally crafted pottery.  Much of the pottery comes from San Bartolo Coyotepec and is easily distinguished by it’s black color.  But the green pottery and crockery known as “auténtico Oaxacana,” is designed, created, and sold in Santa Maria Atzompa, only 9 km from the Zócalo.

Señor Mario Enrique Lopez, the fundador del Mercado de Artesanias,” says, “Pottery making started in the area in 1686, but we began our mercado in October 1988 when 12 artesanos and myself began a small workshop (taller).  We now employ over 90 people.”  The internationally famous “Mercado de Artesanias” has won awards in Houston, Mc Allen and Laredo, Texas and is open 365 days a year from 9 AM until 8 pm.  I asked Señor Mario’s sister, Señora Enedina Enrique when they were open.  With a serious smile she replied, “We never close.”

On days when Señor Mario is not too busy he will take you to his taller and show you step-by-step how the green ceramics, plates, bowls, vases and cups, are made.  If you can’t find what you are looking for, ask!  He will get it for you.

Standing in his workshop he will turn and point north across a small valley to las lomas above the Rio Atoyac where he gathers the material used to make his pottery.  At his taller the earthen material is pulverized, sifted into a fine material that is washed and strained.  This makes the barro (mud) that is used by his daughter, Rosita, her family and friends, who roll it into large cigar shaped dough, like fat tortillas.  The barro is then flattened out on large disks of different sizes to match the size of the article being created on potter’s wheels.

On the potter’s wheel, the barro is formed into the various sizes and shapes that make the many art objects (earthenware), seen every day in the Mercado, but probably best visited either Tuesday or Friday, market day in Atzompa.

This is also a good time to visit the zócalo and market located only a few blocks up calle Independencia, next to the Santa Maria Church, la patrona de Atzompa.  Many of the artists display their fine pottery on calle Independencia between el mercado and el zócalo.  But there are shops everywhere and you may find that ‘just right’ gift by merely wandering in and out of the many shops.  On calle Independencia you see the residents and artist of Atzompa bringing their art to town in baskets, wheelbarrows, cars and trucks and sometimes on their heads.  By afternoon the street is awash with their multicolored, hand-crafted creations

Once the barro is formed into plates, fruit bowls (fruteros), flower vases (floreros), crosses, picture frames or what ever you might desire (if you have time to return), the pieces are then sun dried for 8 hours, fired and painted.  While green (verde) is a primary color (auténtico Oaxacana), many of the bowls all the colors of the rainbow and are used on the more ornamental hand crafted vases, picture frames, figurines, yellow suns and silvery moons that adorn the many walls and shelves in the booths organized by each artist as a combined group of art by the artists that make the Mercado de Artesanias.

Allow yourself 3 hours for this trip, if your plan includes visiting a taller.  Otherwise 2 hours if you are only shopping and having a snack.  Eating of just have a snack at El Patio de Atzompa Restaurante in the “Mercado de Artesanias” will be a wonderful way to end your trip.  Meals are good and inexpensive.  Wear your sombrero, bring a shopping bag, enjoy the ride and eat regional foods such as Mole Negro con pollo y arroz, Tlayuda untada de aciento y frijol con aguacate, tomate y queso, tasajo, cecina enchiladas, o Chorizo or Sopas Zapoteca: tiras de tortilla dorado, Consomé Xóchitl o Crema de champinones and a cold beverage in the shade at El Patio de Atzompa in the “Mercado de Artesanias.” 

Santa Maria Atzompa can be reached by taxi from most anywhere in Oaxaca.  Atzompa is on the same road that goes to Monte Alban and seeing both in one day would make for a well-rounded and pleasurable trip.   Negotiate the taxi price before going and ask the driver to return and pick you up.  The bus trip from the secondary bus station to Atzompa is only 25 pesos.  Enjoy!

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Photographs: Senor Mario Enrique Lopez, Sr Lopez daughter Rosita at her pottery wheel, pottery from “Mercado de Artesanias,” Pottery “autentico Oaxaca” on Calle Independencia, Santa Maria scene behind the iglesia Santa Maria Atzompa.

“ON THE ROAD” with Janet Stanley to San Martin, Ocotlan, Santo Tomas and Coyotepec

On the Road” is a series of articles and photographs about what to do and see in Oaxaca. On March 7, 2011 Janet Stanley along with Oaxaca Lending Library (OLL) <http://oaxlibrary.org/Oaxaca_Lending_Library/Photos/Pages/On_the_Road_to_Ocotlan.html> hosted a day-long tour to San Martin, famous for it’s beautifully constructed and painted wooden animals and other figures ( alebrijes in Spanish) at the home and factory (see slideshow below) of Jacobo and Maria Angeles angeles@tilcajete.org.

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After leaving Los familia Angeles we dined in San Martin at Resturant Azucena Zapoteca.

After comida we visited Ocotlan, famous for being the home to Adolfo Morales, a Meixcan surrealist painter, who incorporated elements of magic realism into his work <http://www.google.com/images?rlz=1T4ADRA_enMX345MX346&q=Rodolfo+Morales&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&sa=X&ei=sRKBTZvvN5C2sAOg8N2OBg&ved=0CCcQsAQ&biw=1003&bih=539>. 

Next we stopped at Josefina Alguilar’s <http://www.aboutoaxaca.com/oaxaca/culture.asp> Ceramic Artisan in Ocotlan de Moreles. Home home is located just on the right as you enter Ocotlan. Photos from Josefina’s can be seen on my “On the Road” to Ocotlan, at https://morknme6.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/on-the-road-highway-175-south-to-ocotlan/  in Jaguar Speaks.