Friday, 18 May 2018

Gems of Montreal, an authentic list from a local

as published by The Jakarta Post on 7th September 2017

Tommy was a small-town boy from Repentigny, just 15 minutes from Montreal, who happened to be my travel buddy in Toronto. Upon learning that I was going to visit Montreal, he gave me a list of places to visit, quite off the beaten path.

His list was my love recipe of the city that belongs to the State of Québec. Following the list felt like going on a treasure hunt. From one place to another, I collected hidden gems of the francophone Canadian city.

I am sharing the list now, with his consent, of course, for you to also discover the beauty and scrumptious Montreal beyond its mainstream attractions. Since my visit was in summer, some places may not look the same in winter time.

Pier of Parc Jean-Drapeau

The park is located on St. Helen’s Island, sharing the northern land with the La Ronde amusement park. It holds the iconic Biosphere, a ball-shaped environmental museum, and is connected to the main island by another iconic construction, the Jacques Cartier Bridge. However, its pier was barely visited, since most people prefer to arrive by subway instead of by boat.

Once you get out of Jean-Drapeau Station, take a left and follow the road until you reach the pier. It was less than a kilometer’s walk, and with nature all around, it’ll seem like a breeze.

The benches on the wooden dock were empty when I got there. On that summer day, the sky was clear, St. Lawrence River that separates the island from the mainland was calm, the wind blew gently, and although the sun was intense, there was enough shade around. Serenity, my mind was taking a rest for a while to be carried away by these natural blessings and the view of Montreal’s Old Port.

Chalet of Mount Royal

A chalet and its wide belvedere was built on top of Mount Royal overlooking the city and the port. Inside the chalet you can learn about the history of the establishment of Montreal by the French through a video presentation played inside telescopes.

This place may not be as unnoticed as the others on the list, but let me give you some tips. First, visit it in the evening, just before sunset, to get two or even three different views of the city: day, dusk and night time. Second, you may want to save energy climbing the hill on foot by taking a bus from Mount Royal Street from the northern side of the hill. Third, prepare a flashlight in case you want to descend using the stairs through the wood at night. They get you to the eastern part of the hill, next to downtown.

Fountain at Jean-Paul Riopelle Square

Tall office buildings in downtown Montreal all but hide the fairly small square, although it is located next to Viger Avenue. During the day, people may just notice it as another fountain in another square, since there is no fire show.

In the evening from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., however, the bronze fountain – called La Joute – with its abstract carvings of animals and humans starts its kinetic cycle that involves breathing fire. When the fire is off, the inner edge of the fountain’s circle base sprays haze, giving the art installation by Quebec artist Jean-Paul Riopelle a somewhat mystical look.

World Trade Centre

An office building as a tourist destination does sound dull, but you can definitely make an exception for this one. The building’s interior has a European street concept. My feet stepped on brick floors, my eyes fixed on classic street lights along the passageway and my hands touched the stone walls flanking me. Its glass roof gave plenty of natural light while showing off the chic industrial style.

Its atrium hosts the statue of the Greek goddess of the sea, Amphitrite. The statue was originally set up in France, before Canadian tycoon Paul Desmarais brought it to the World Trade Centre Montreal and complemented it with a 200-square-meter black granite pool in front.

Crew Collective Café

This historical Royal Bank Tower was once the tallest building in Canada. It served as Royal Bank’s headquarters for a long period until it was abandoned in 2010; then came a digital company, Crew, as new tenant. This company turned the main hall of the 1920s building into a co-working space with Wi-Fi and a long counter in front of bank windows now serving coffee and pastries. Crew kept the interior authentic, leaving the vintage chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and the World War I Memorial Wall uncovered. Roughly 150 names are carved into the wall, of the bankers who went to the Great War.

Crew Collective opened its doors in 2016, and apparently has become a popular office for telecommuting freelancers. The visitors were mostly individuals with laptops in front of them, though some were sitting in small groups having meetings inside meeting cubicles or outside at the common tables. Of course, there were curious tourists visiting, just like me, but they didn’t stay for long.

Tip: Crew Collective Café, World Trade Centre and Jean-Paul Riopelle Square are located in Quartier International (International District), so you may want to visit these places in one single trip.

Anticafe Montreal

Here you pay for neither coffee nor food; you just pay for the time you spend. It’s CAD 3 for the first hour, and CAD 2 for each hour after that, but you can’t pay more than CAD 9. The Anticafe concept was first introduced in Moscow in 2010 and has since become a trend in Europe.

Although I had turned on the GPS to track this place down, I walked down the road two times before I finally found its entrance door. In the middle of the busy St. Catherine Street, the black entrance door with no sign placed on the street was unnoticeable among other big name signs. Upon entering, I was unsure this was the place, since I had to climb the stairs in the dark, no greeter, no one. It felt like I was going to surrender my soul to an underground cult club. When I reached the second floor, I knew I was safe since it looked more like a decent homey coffee shop, even a captivating one.

Sam, the host, welcomed me warmly and explained Anticafe’s concept. Basically, we can help ourselves to whatever we want, coffee, tea, water, biscuits, and bread; only the espresso machine we were not to operate by ourselves. However, Sam offered his services to make the coffee, even until your tenth cup.

The second floor of Anticafe was a social space, where people can chat, work, laze around and play table games. The third floor was intended for those who desire tranquillity, there were people studying and having meetings in doorless rooms. The highlight of Anticafe was not only the concept, but also its stylish decoration, from artwork, vintage stuff like an old television and old typewriter, hanging bulbs to hippy objects.

Wilensky's Light Lunch

This Russian family business has survived for years since 1932. The restaurant still looks the same, also serves the same trademark salami sandwich, The Wilensky Special. Apart from this signature dish, the luncheonette also offered the classic home-made soda mixed by hand.

The food and the history of this corner restaurant was one thing, the warm welcome by Sharon Wilensky, the daughter of the late Moe who first created the famous sandwich, and her daughter, was quite another. Another treasure to be found was an old bookshelf that amassed old second-hand books to sell cheaply. I was excited to bring home a book from 1923 only for a dollar (Canadian).

Kem Coba Ice Cream

What could be better company on a summer’s day in the city than a scoop of ice cream? A double scoop of ice cream! After visiting Wilensky’s, I just could not miss the Kem Coba Ice Cream shop across the street. It was not easy to pick the flavors, since they were all tempting, lychee, mango, lime, cheesecake, chocomint, etc. After seeing a long queue behind by, I knew that I had to make up my mind fast. Hibiscus sorbet and sea salt ice cream became by final choice, refreshing and the perfect balance of sweet and salty, both were soft-textured.

St-Viateur Bagel

Located just a block away from Wilensky’s and Kem Coba, this bagel shop sells the exemplary Montreal-style bagels under one dollar each. They contain no salt are hand-made, boiled in honey-sweetened water and baked in a wood-fired oven. Originally, they had poppy seed bagels as a signature product, yet now 80 percent of their sales is sesame seed bagels, apart from other varieties like rosemary, multigrain, cinnamon and raisin, whole wheat and flax. It opened its doors in 1957, and today online buyers from Canada and the US can get them too.

Schwartz's Deli

In addition to bagels, Montreal is famous for its tender pink and piquant smoked beef, and the best place to try it is undoubtedly Schwartz’s. A long line-up to enter the Jewish deli was spotted on the street, and it indeed took a long time. If you want to have a quick smoked meat sandwich or get something to go, enter through the door next to the small restaurant. Schwartz’s was established in 1928. Its story was made perpetual by Bill Brownstein, who wrote the book Schwartz's Hebrew Delicatessen: The Story, which inspired a musical theater show staged in 2011.

Tip: Wilensky’s, Kem Coba, St-Viateur and Schwartz’s are located in the Mile End area, the hipster capital of Canada; therefore, these places can be visited sequentially.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Palenque: Home of the Mayans

As published by JPlus by The Jakarta Post, 17 September 2016
the ruins inside the forest
In the middle of the Lacandon Rainforest rests the ruins of one of the most important Mayan cities, Palenque, which is currently the most visited tourist destination in Chiapas.

Time and nature consumed the site with greenery and soil until it was rediscovered in 1746. Since then, historians and archaeologists have come to Palenque to learn more about the political, commercial and cultural history of the city and to unearth the estimated 98 percent of Palanque that
remains buried.
People climbing Script Temple

The city, inhabited from 100 BCE to 900 CE, more or less, was estimated to have more than 1,400 building at its peak.

The two percent of it currently unearthed spans 7.81 square kilometers. It took me two hours to wander up and down its hills, climbing the only three edifices open at this UNESCO World Heritage

Due to its international fame, Palenque has a host of English-speaking tour guides, as well as those facile in French, German, Italian and Japanese.

Palenque’s long-standing king, Pakal the Great, ruled for 68 years and built much of the city.

One of its most conspicuous edifices is the Script Temple, so-called because of its inscriptions, written in a script devised by Pakal, which helped contemporary researchers understand Mayan history.

The temple is also home to Pakal’s tomb, closed when I visited, which is said to be decorated by
reliefs of skulls.

The tower in the palace
The next pyramid, the Tomb of the Red Queen, takes its name from the woman whose red-shrouded body is interred inside.

Passing a field where the Mayans once played one of the precursor sports to baseball, I reached palace comprising a tower, an underground gallery, latrines, steam baths, an open-air meeting place and four courtyards.

One of the yards, the Captive Courtyard, depicted the martial exploits of Palenque with sculptures of the defeated warriors of other cities.

I continued my journey walking along an aqueduct and then climbing up a hill to get to the Complex of the Cross. For the Mayans, this was a sacred place for worshipping their deities and ancestors.

I climbed the highest pyramid, the Temple of the Cross, and viewed the entire excavated site of Palanque amid the foliage of the jungle.

In the late afternoon sun and cold breeze, I came down from the pyramid. It was time to say goodbye to the home of the Mayans.

Chiapas: The True Beauty of Mexico

As published by JPlus by The Jakarta Post, 17 September 2016

Once of the fall in Chiflon
“You have to go to Chiapas!” A friend said, trying to convince me when I was still in Indonesia before my first visit to Mexico. At that time, I was was attracted to more popular destinations, such as Acapulco or Cancun. 

Once I was living in Mexico, however, I befriended an old doctor, long familiar with the country, who changed my mind. “There are two true beauties in Mexico,” he said. “Chiapas is one of them.” 

Convinced, I packed my rucksack and departed for this south-east state in Mexico.

While Mexico welcomed around 31 million foreign tourists in 2015, only 585,000 visited Chiapas.
To shine a light on this most beautiful of regions, J+ is publishing this trip report the day after Mexico celebrates its independence on Sep. 16.


Intense sunlight bathed me as sunbeams reflected off the gleaming green water of the Grijalva River, which flows all the way to Guatemala. While it was a boiling day to commence an adventure, what my eyes saw compensated for how my skin felt.

This part of the river is home to one of the principal tourist destinations of Chiapas, the Sumidero Canyon.

I boarded a boat in Unidad Deportiva in Chiapa de Corzo, about 15 minutes from the local capital, Tuxtla Gutierrez, where I arrived after a 14-hour bus ride from Mexico City.

Together with about 20 other tourists and a Spanish-speaking boatman, I went on a 35-kilometre voyage that lasted two-and-a-half hours.

While the passengers varied in age, we all spoke Spanish. I think I got why Chiapas lacked the fame
of other tourists spots in Mexico: Not enough facilities for non-Spanish speakers.

Sumidero Canyon accommodated many diverse creatures, including huge catfish, trout and tilapia,
all of who were prime food sources for the black vultures and crocodiles lazing on the riverbanks.
(Traveler pro tip: Keep your hands inside.)
Sumidero Canyon´s boat trip
You have to use a bit of imagination on this excursion: The boat made its first stop to observe a
rock face full of stone pillars, one of which had the form of a sea horse.

We then halted to view the three cliffs depicted on the coat of arms of Chiapas.

Our cruiser paused again so we could admire the tallest cliff–one kilometre high–and a pink, grey and black cove designated the Chapel of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Cove of Guadalupe
We also stopped at a Christmas tree-like rock face, covered by moss, which according to our guide would form a waterfall during the rainy season.
Christmas tree-like rock face
Our return point was Chicoasén Dam, one of four supplying electricity to Chiapas, which gets
almost half its energy from hydro-power.

Blessed with breath-taking natural splendour and resources; Chiapas, however, remains the poorest
state in Mexico.

The high temperature absorbed my energies. I could not help falling asleep during the one-hour journey from Sumidero Canyon to San Cristobal de las Casas, the only city I visited during this trip.
Street in San Cristobal de las Casas


At five in the morning the next day, a tour transport picked me up at my hostel. We were going to have a very long ride as we moved northeast from San Cristobal. Along with 16 others, I started the five-hour journey while sleeping in my seat.

An hour’s travel brought us to Agua Azul Cascades, where my ear caught the sound of falling
water as I got out of the car. Passing an informal gate that was likely crafted by street vendors, I saw water that was the colour of light green flowing calmly through the spaces made between tree branches and twigs.
natural swimming pool in Agua Azul
Walking on the bumpy trail while following the noise of the crashing water, I saw people soaking and splashing in the shallows–kids and parents, young adults and golden-agers.

Not far away, a wooden viewing point was swarmed by tourists taking pictures with the wide cascades and the turquoise pool as a background.
Agua Azul Cascades lowest viewing point
A different view was offered as I reached the high point. It was like a downhill limestone hiking track, coursed by water that ran past the vegetation. Behind were the green hills of Chiapas.
View from the highest viewpoint of Agua Azul
We proceeded to Misol-Ha, another waterfall in the middle of a jungle fronted by a big pond where people could swim.

You could even explore a cave behind the falls via a 20-meter track complete with steps and a safety fence.

Trail behind Misol-Ha
While only wide enough for one person at some points, the track was large enough to accommodate the crowds comfortably.

Snippets of adventure films crossed my mind as I walked behind the falls, from Di Caprio´s The Beach to Hutcherson´s Journey to the Center of the Earth.

In fact, however, this charming place was a location for Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator.

Misol-Ha Cascade
Agua Azul and Misol-Ha charmed me, so I wondered how different would be Chiflon, the waterfall I visited the next day.

Velo de Novia Fall
While it was not a difficult track, the sun again absorbed my energy. Thankfully, there were places to rest near some small and medium waterfalls along the way, so I could catch my breath.

While I was sweating when I reached the lookout point for the Velo de Novia, or Bride’s Veil, waterfall, the winds that blew in the high and open area quickly cooled me down. 

From the platform, I could see white water dropping in the shape of the veil, hence giving the place its name, from around 120 meters into a turquoise pool.

The local government has identified 28 natural tourism spots in Chiapas, ranging from waterfalls, lakes, caves, beaches and volcanoes. 

The state is also home to several endangered species, such as the water opossum, armadillo, anteater, harpy eagle, howler monkey, spider monkey, ocelot, jaguar, quetzal bird, olive ridley sea turtle, manatee and tapir.

For its natural beauties and biodiversity, Chiapas is indeed one of the true beauties of Mexico.


Located 30 minutes away from San Cristobal de las Casas, the town was pretty neat and clean although most of the families still lived humbly.
Zinacantan textile

Zinacantan kids asking for money to tourist

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Under the Blue Skies of Cuba

As published by JPlus by The Jakarta Post, August 2016

It was first time that I travelled because of politics. Cuba was never on my bucket list until I read of
Barack Obama’s visit to the country in March, following the US president’s lifting of a 50-year-old

At the time, I was sure that Cuba would quickly change, as Obama brought with him US firms such as Airbnb and Google to jump-start economic relations.

I wanted to experience life in Cuba before the nation was opened to the unchecked forces of capitalism courtesy of its largest neighbour, which lies only about 150 kilometres away.

My flight, via a Mexican airline, flew to Havana direct from Mexico City. As Indonesian, I still needed a visa. However, it was the easiest that I have ever obtained, by far.

The folks at the airport in Mexico City called it a “tourist card”. All I had to do was fill out the card and pay 250 Mexican pesos (US$13) at the check-in counter. Apparently, it’s less expensive than getting a visa in advance from an embassy of Cuba abroad.

Mr. Castilla and his taxi
An ancient, bulky but classy blue Pontiac and driver, Mr. Castilla, welcomed me. The metal bird figurine on its hood reflected the glare of the Caribbean sun as we passed the special terminal for US arrivals – a new innovation.

“There are flights [arriving] from the United States with jets, but there are no commercial airlines operating that serve direct routes between the United States and Cuba,” Mr. Castilla said.

Jose Marti International Airport is located in Boyeros, about 30 minutes from the center of Havana. The 63-year-old car did not have air conditioning, so we opened all the windows.

While I felt a breeze as we gained speed, sweating was inevitable. The outside temperature was not so bad. The intense humidity, however, is not something that most Indonesians will be familiar with.

Amid the excitement of arriving in Cuba, I forget to change my US green-backs to CUCs, or the Cuban convertible peso), at the airport, where the rate was allegedly better.

Bills from different countries, including Indonesian Rupiah (top left) and CUC (top right)
Outside the airport, CUCs, called cucs or cahvitos, could be withdrawn at ATMs or converted at money changers known as cadeca at an exchange rate of 84 centavos /cents to $1. (The CUC is divided into 100 cents).

Better rates are available for euros, pounds or other currencies, since the Cuban government levies an
exchange tax on the US dollar.

The CUC is intended for tourists, while Cubans typically use the National Peso–something that leads to two price tags in the shops.


For my first night in Havana, Mr. Castilla took me directly to the National Hotel, one of the most beautiful and most prestigious hotels in Cuba.
While some venues in Cuba operate under international brands, such as the Spanish-owned Melia
and NH hotel chains, the properties in Cuba are all state administrated, as are most businesses.

There are exceptions, however, such as the 178 privately owned small-to-medium enterprises, including restaurants and home-stays, authorized by the government of President Raul Castro, brother of the famed Fidel, in 2010.

The National Hotel serves hotel guests and show visitors
The National Hotel, apart from its history of hosting celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Marlon Brando, Ernest Hemingway and Jean-Paul Sartre, remains a cultural centre.

It was Tuesday night and at the hotel’s swimming pool, a stage and tables were set for around 50 persons. For 25 cucs, I got a pass to enjoy some Cuban son music, which mixes Latin American beats with African and Cuban rhythms.

On stage were former members of the Buena Vista Social Club performing with a group called, comprising seven singers from different generations, a couple of salsa dancers and nine

Some visitors came in elegant dress, some were as laid back as the island in t-shirt and shorts. Mojitos, as well as Cuba libres, were ordered from the bar. Music and rum are undoubtedly the soul of Cuban night life.
Performance by
The next evening, I got to see the colourful, glamorous and sexy Parisien Cabaret at the National Hotel’s theatre-restaurant. This musical revue presented dancers in kaleidoscopic sparkling costumes performing energetically as singers chanted harmonic melodies.

Apart from Cuban salsa and son, the group played music from other Latin countries, such as Mexican
mariachi, Colombian cumbia, Brazilian samba, Argentinean tango and even Spanish flamenco.

Cabaret Parisien
After watching everyone dance, it was time to wiggle wobble myself at the most famous nightclub in Havana, Casa de la Musica, or the Music House, whose high stage did little to lessen the connection between those who made music on it and those who danced on the floor below.

Locals and tourists were gozando, the popular term for enjoying themselves, that night with salsa music, dancing and inexpensive Cuban rum.

The entrance fee was inexpensive at only 10 cucs for the evening show.

In the broad light of the next day, I fell in love with the view of Havana’s coast from the 16th century Castle of Three Kings of Morro.

Morro Castle
Surrounded by water and green meadows, the fort of irregular polygons overlooking Havana has defended the city from both pirates and colonial attacks. In the revolutionary era, Che Guevara used the fortress as his headquarters.
View from Morro Castle

House of Che
Close to the citadel was a worth-to-see tourist destination of Old Havana. The historical town is packed by rows of museums commemorating such local treasures such as tobacco and rum.
Old Havana
There’s also the palace that currently hosts the Revolution Museum, the neoclassical Capitol building, historical squares like Plaza de San Francisco and Plaza Vieja, the Almacenes de San José arts-and-crafts market (perfect for finding souvenirs) as well as hotels, restaurants, bars even juice stands.

Revolution Museum
The Bodeguita del Medio Restaurant in Old Havana is famous among tourists, oft visited by luminaries such as Pablo Neruda, Nat “King” Cole, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Ernest Hemingway. It’s also said to be the birthplace of the mojito.

Art installation at Plaza San Francisco
While Bodeguita del Medio is steeped in history, Cubans today are attracted by modernity, standing or sitting in front of the building and looking to their mobile phones to enjoy its WiFi, the most economic way to go online since the government opened the nation to the internet in 2015.

A voucher good for 60 minutes of (less than speedy) internet access can be purchased for 2 cucs. Private or home internet access remains prohibited.
WiFi Spot in Old Havana


Given the glacial internet speeds, I went online only once in five days. Instead, I enjoyed getting
connected with the Cuban people and landscape.

Heading west out of Havana, I came upon Viñales, a little town blessed with natural splendour–and some fine bars.
Belvedre of Viñales

“Two more piña coladas,” said a Russian tourist behind me, right after the bartender gave me my own
personal bottle of rum to fortify my drink as needed.

Sipping an ice-blended pineapple-and-coconut juice was a self-indulgent thing to do on that sunny day, even though people from Havana said that it had been cold.

Bar at the entrance of Palenque Cave
The principal destinations in the area are the Indio and Palenque Caves. It takes only 30 minutes apiece to explore each cave by foot, although you must exit Indio Cave by boat after your hike.

Palenque Cave had a more human touch at its entrance and exit: Both points were used for bars and restaurants. (NB: If you happen to be in Viñales on Saturday, you may want to try clubbing at the mouth of Palenque Cave).

As much as I enjoyed my initial adventures spelunking, nothing could beat Santo Tomas Cave–the largest in Cuba and the second largest in North America.

It was not an easy climb to discover all of its eight levels. Luckily, I chose to wear comfortable attire and shoes.
Natural Cave Window of Santo Tomas

Even before reaching its gate, I had to scale a steep track for 15 minutes. The struggle paid off, however, with a breath-taking view from a natural cave window looking down on the village.

Santo Tomas Cave
Our guide equipped my group with helmets, lamps and a few flash-lights. Unlike the previous two caves that had man-made illumination, Santo Tomas was too big, too high and probably too sacred to have too much human intervention.

To see most of the million-year-old stalactites and stalagmites, we needed to shine our lights directly at them.

Not all parts of the cave were completely dark. Before entering the final hollow, we turned off our
lanterns for several minutes and could see a little in the dim natural light.

And when there is light, there is life. Only in this part of the cave could be found green vegetation. As we proceeded in the dark again, some mushroom-like grass could be seen inside the last grotto.

Cuba is a stunning travel destination, regardless of how the lifting of the US embargo will change the nation.

According to the Cuban National Office of Statistics and Information, international tourist arrivals have been on the upswing for the last four years.

The nation has attracted many prominent people in the past, and it will continue to draw more people in the future–for its sun, its warm citizens, its sizzling music and dance and most of all, for its authenticity.
Viñales´ Transportation Mode

Citadel of Viñales


As published by JPlus by The Jakarta Post, December 2015
La Guelaguetza, one of the biggest festivals in Mexico
It’s worth visiting Oaxaca in July, when the city stages La Guelaguetza, one of the biggest festivals in Mexico.

La Guelaguetza takes its name from the Zapotec word for “the present”, which in a broad sense represents an attitude of sharing with neighbours, nature and life.

The pinnacle of the festival is the Lunes de Cerro, or Monday of the Hill, when there’s folk dancing, chanting and other rituals performed by people from throughout the state.

I watched the festivities at the modern Guelaguetza Auditorium, located above Fortin Hill close to the city centre.

While the most expensive tickets cost 1050 Mexican pesos (US$65), it’s also possible to enjoy Lunes de Cerro in the free seats, if you don’t mind sitting a little far from the action and are willing to arrive at least two hours in advance.

Most of the performances I saw were accompanied by chilena music, an Afro-Mexican fusion genre from coastal Oaxaca.

Men and women danced in pairs. Following each act, performers and organizers threw presents into the crowd, such as handicrafts, tortilla crackers, sweets and coffee.

Women dancers from the Tuxtepec region emerged carrying pineapples on their shoulders and dancing in line – and pitched bananas, oranges and pineapples into the crowd after the show.
Tuxtepec Women
I was blown away by an Aztec-Mixtec’s feather dance act, where eight men, each with about 25 kilograms of plumes tied to their heads, jumped and danced.
Feather Dance
There was also magic, as a blindfolded woman danced across the stage in search of a needle given to one member of the 11,000-or-so people in the audience. Of course, she succeeded in finding it and danced her way back to the stage with her eyes still eyes covered.

Women from Oaxaca city then emerged, dancing with huge flower baskets on their heads that held giant puppets inside, only to be joined by all the performers before the festivities ended with a fireworks party.

The Guelaguetza also involves various activities throughout the month. In 2015, the local government
invited native vendors to participate in street bazaars while museums conducted cultural workshops and exhibitions.