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August 2006

I'm Home!

It is so nice to be home. I still feel a bit fuzzy and a slight head cold doesn't help. But I'm mostly unpacked and now need to reorganize my office again. Our internet isn't working so my electronic connection to the world is low, but maybe that's a good thing.

I still have a few more photos and comments to post, so they will trickle in over the next few days/weeks. Here are some random ones:

This is a photo I took quite a while back and never posted. It made me think of LMU days and JB in particular:

And here is a picture of me at work.

La Villa

Today was my last free day in Mexico. Two more days of work, then I fly home on Tuesday. ¡Milagros! Speaking of milagros, I bought more milagros today -- that's "miracles" in english. They are used as offerings, sort of like lighting candles and saying a prayer, you pin them to boards or cloths in the smaller chapels or areas in a cathedral next to a particular saint or Mary herself. They are (mostly) small. Here is a picture I snagged from someone else's website:

I'm going to send them to my mom and see what she might make of them.

Milagros have become popular folk art as well:

Okay and so now, back to La Villa. Milagros is a good start because the place is about the miracle of Mary coming to earth to chat with a guy in 1531 and she left her mark...well, you can read all about it here.

Did you read that? Good. So the tilma is hanging in the new basilica. Hang on, let me back up. Here are the churches -- the old old old one and the new one:

Notice that the old one is a bit tilted. It is sinking so the inside looks like this:

Still amazing to look at. When you walk in, the floor is all wrong, but it is deceiving because the place is so large you can't see the tilted-ness of it, so suddenly you feel drunk or off balance or both. (Or maybe it was staying up until 2:30 with the camera crew last night...nope, definitely the tilted building.)

By the way, you can click on all these pictures and get a slightly bigger version to see more detail.

Here is a detail from the outside of the old cathedral:

The new basilica looks like this inside:

Sorry that some of these pictures are a little soft, I was not flashing and trying to hold still. (Or maybe the pictures came out that way because I stayed up until 2:30 with the camera crew last night...nope, definitely the camera.)

It is huge and full of people. I'm not sure, but I think they have mass every hour. Hanging above the altar (above the giant mexican flags -- what is with all the giant flags?!) is the blessed sacred tilma with the image of Mary on it. You can get a closer look by going behind the altar (it was designed for this). When you get there, here is what you see:

That's right, moving walkways so that traffic doesn't stop and you can look up and see:

Again, no flash, slightly blurry. Here is a better image:

There is also a gift shop behind the altar. For all your catholic gift giving needs.

Back outside you go, and in between the two churches is this large statue:

Pope Juan Pablo II came to Mexico 4 times while he was pope. And of course he rode in style.

New reality series -- Pope My Ride (Anyone? Damon?)


After the Popemobile, I climbed up the hill to another chapel. The whole place is a big park and very pretty. Here are some shots from inside the chapel at the top. Nice tile work:

And more nice tile work and Mary again:

The catholic cathedrals I've seen in Italy and Spain and France are all very dramatic, but nothing beats the theater in Mexican cathedrals:

Okay, so maybe I need to confess my sins, getting some of this off my soul. Two type of confessionals to go to -- modern and classic:

Continuing the tour -- at the top you get a nice view of the skyline of Mexico. Well, as good as it can get most days.


Then down to another chapel:

Check out the statue on the outside of this chapel. First of all, he has a skull in his hand - skulls and skeletons very big here - and then a bird on his shoulder and a real bird on his arm. Kind of funny.

I enjoy that nuns are also tourists:

Then I went to the final chapel -- and to the sacred site where Mary appeared and the hermits lived.

What did I learn today? That these saints really know how to accessorize!

I know, back to confession for me.

As I said, my last free day in Mexico. And I'm about worn out.

(Or maybe I'm just tired because I stayed up until 2:30 with the camera crew last night...nope, definitely the nearly 3 months of working here.)

Okay, I point out things about the churches and religion a lot here. None of it is "mine" so coming in as an outside observer, I do find it funny and odd all out of context. But in all sincerity, I do like the images all over Mexico of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is just pretty in all it's forms.

My Office In Mexico

Being on set as a very small department (visual effects), we don't have a place to put our stuff. No trailer or truck like the camera department or wardrobe. The producers say we can leave our stuff in their trailers, but basecamp is usually too far away, so the stuff comes with us. Here is my office:

Included in my "kit" are:
my laptop
rain jacket (critical during the rainy season in Mexico)
2" tape, one roll each green and orange
BFH (see earlier post by that name)
blue clipboard/file holder (full of blank camera sheets)
folders filled with previous camera sheets
tape measure
flash drive
power cord

Speaking of power, when we are lucky enough to be able to sit in the catering area waiting for our shots to come up (which no longer happens as we are busy all day long for these last shoot days) the caterers are kind enough to bring us more outlets. The mysterious wireless internet signal only works in the catering area, so everyone comes there to do work, and get power. This is how it looks at the power cord area:

Things I Miss/Things I Will Miss

I've been here since June 21 (less the week I spent away for my father's funeral). I've been working six days a week and living in a hotel. What I miss the most (aside from Kurt, which is #1) is... the way, while I type this, there is deafening thunder going on outside. I mean LOUD! The windows rattle and it is a sharp crack...I will miss the rain and the thunder storms...

...I miss my cats very much. But I also miss funny things like driving my own car (I'm so LA) and doing my own laundry and cooking my own food. I also miss the sandwiches from Cheviot Farms. I miss my friends, of course, and I miss my own bed and bathroom and house and garden.

I will be so glad to come home -- Tuesday! -- but I will miss this crew. They have been really fun and great and hard working. I will also miss my spanish language lessons. I find at this point, with less than a week to go, that my english gets jerky sometimes because I have begun to think so much in spanish. People who speak only english ask me to translate for them! So now I'm bummed that I won't have spanish to speak every day. I want to keep learning. Maybe Debra and I can speak spanish together.

I'm not done with this blog. There is so much to catch up on and a few more days to go as well. So keep coming back!

Puebla -- Poquito Mas

I mentioned that Puebla had many churches, but didn't show you photos of the biggest one. It was started in 1550 (or so) and finished in 1602. I went inside but couldn't take photos. Lots of body parts, relics, etc.

Balloons go well with the church, I think.

The second night we were there, we were walking back to the hotel from dinner around 10pm and heard a great sound coming from an open garage/business door. We realized it was the newspaper, printing tomorrow's edition, so we went over and asked if we could look. And they said sure. Amazing to watch the machine at work. And the NOISE! I had to shout really loud at the guy who showed us around. It's just something you don't see every day.

I took this picture on the way home, in the apocalyptic storm, and just like it.

Internet and Chicken

We shot for two days in Cuernavaca. I saw about 4 square blocks of it...nice though. On the road to our hotel (yes the Camino Real and no, I have no pictures of my own, but I'll find some for you) there was a sign that said "Internet" on one side and "Pollos" on the other (that's "Chicken" for you non-spanish speakers.).

Internet and Chicken. Really, what more could you want or need?

We stayed one night in Cuernavaca and apparently at one of the most fabulous Camino Reals in Mexico. However, since I checked in at about 8:30pm, then went to dinner with other crew members away from the hotel, then back and to sleep at 12:30, then my pick up at 6:30, I never saw the place in the day time.
Click here for their site. Apparently, it is fabulous. Oh well.

It is hot in Cuernavaca, the saying is it is always spring there. Luckily, there were stores right next to our set that sell popsicles. My friend Waldo was buying one of these so I had to try it -- Mango Chile!

It was a condundrum because mango is my favorite, frozen mango so yummy on a hot day but then the chile made it super spicy! It was delicious but I couldn't finish the whole thing. So frustrating because it was cold and fruity, then too much kick. I highly recommend it though.

One week from today, I'll be done with this job and flying home. I can't wait.

Driving Home from Puebla

We left Puebla on Wednesday evening and headed back to Mexico. Oh, by the way, I have learned that when you are in Mexico City, the locals refer to it as "Mexico." Plain and simple. It was confusing the first few times I heard it.

Anyway, it is the rainy season here, and boy does it rain! Makes for a fun drive home, especially when the hail starts.