Choose Beautiful

The streets were jammed with people.

Hace calor! It's hot! There was not a lot of work for me to do at the library today so I left early.
As I wandered through the Historic Centre where I live, I noticed that the streets were blocked. There was an indigenous rally. Thousands of indigenous people from the pueblos were gathered in the streets
protesting. It was hard to pass through the throngs so I cut over a couple of blocks. 

Did I mention how hot it is? I passed an artisan co-op and I bought a hat. I have lots of hats at home but hats are difficult to travel with. My crushable hat looks frightfully out of place here! Cooperatives are the best places to buy goods because they are actually made here and the profits are shared by the membership. 
my new hat
My hat, tightly woven and lined, cost $8 Canadian. Years ago, I bought Panama hats for Monsieur and myself in a shop in West Vancouver. Each one cost almost $100 Canadian. My 100 pesos hopefully will help an indigenous person. 

As I come to know Oaxaca as an temporary resident and not a tourist, there are a lot of things to think about. Before I left home, I collected all the little hotel sized products in my drawers so that I might use them here. After 5 weeks, I have just about used them completely. Remember the 66 peso daily wage?

That's for the locals who have a job. As my products are depleted, I need to replace them. My scrunching spray (for wash and wear curls) cost 186 pesos ($15 Canadian). I've got about 2 days worth of moisturizer (Avène). I can take a taxi to a mall and buy Avène but I walk past an Yves Rocher outlet on my way to the library. Yes, really! The disparities are enormous…. 

One of my friends shared the "Choose Beautiful" video on Facebook. It is so difficult to watch
because there is no "average." How would you rank women's beauty?  The weathered brown faces of the native women are beautiful. The dancing lady that I saw last year in Paris was beautiful. Those we love are beautiful, children are all beautiful….It is so important that every little girl grows up to believe that she is beautiful. 
"the Paris lady"
"Choose Beautiful" is an advertising campaign with the same purpose as every other campaign:to promote and sell product. But a byproduct of this clever campaign is the growing awareness of the effects of society on women's self-esteem. 

Another week has passed and my time in Oaxaca is half over. The yoga mat that I bought this week is still unused but early morning rooftop yoga seems like a good idea for the week-end!


  1. That is a very powerful video...personally I'd walk through the average door.
    My self esteem is healthy and by all the selfies that I take for my blog I am certainly not shy!
    It's interesting how we see ourselves...and how others see us. My Mother might possibly drag me through the beautiful door like that other mom did with her daughter and I know that I would have my daughter enter through the beautiful door without any hesitation.

    Love your new hat!
    The price point for hair and beauty products must be prohibitive for the "average working Oxaca woman" perhaps they use natural things like olive or coconut does not "need" to use manufactured lotions to moisturize. I think we have been persuaded by companies to buy these lotions and potions...I use Avene too and have several hair products that help tame my curly and frizzy hair!
    Yoga on the roof top sounds quite enticing...and it will no doubt be sunny and warm, if not hot!

    1. I am in Oaxaca now and was just getting ready to take a hammer to my Avene eye cream. Then thought I would google if I could get more here in Oaxaca? What mall please?

  2. I am conflicted in my self-assessment. I was the "smart" girl and my sister was the one that the boys "noticed". I work at the selfie thing but I usually look uncomfortable. It gives me cause to hesitate when I consider the cost of my regimen compared to the little money of the local people. However, an older Canadian Celt definitely needs moisture in this climate. Early morning yoga and a walk before the afternoon heat will be perfect for the weekend.

  3. You look charming in your new hat with your lovely grey curls framing your face.

    The unequal distribution of wealth is so very evident in places like Oaxaca. When face to face with it, as you are, it causes one to really think about what is important.

    1. It certainly does make me question my priorities. I'm going out on the Bookmobile to a pueblo Monday. Education is the answer for the children but the indigenous adults need better social programs.

  4. I started using organic sunflower oil to clean and moisturize my face several years ago. I am 71 years old so am always surprised when people from my dermatologist, to the woman who does my facials, to the women at the Bobbi Brown cosmetic counter, to people I meet who ask what I do to have such lovely skin. Since I had troubled skin as a teen, I am always shy when people say something to me about my skin, even if it is nice. However, privately I smile when I think about all the money I have saved by buying the sun flower oil. I love that it does not stain and as little odor. Sofia Loren swears by olive oil and I swear by sunflower oil.

    Love your hat.

    1. I believe that probably oil, used on the face as a moisturizer and included in the diet, along with hydration and a hat probably are an adequate skin care program. We spend so much money on our appearance and probably most of it is unnecessary. Sophia definitely looks very well for her age!

  5. Your response to all your travels is so thoughtful, and you are so evidently sensitive to the locals as you live among them. Love your hat, love how content and, yes, beautiful, you look in that photo!


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