Ethnobotanical garden. by Ellen Ziegler

Behind the church of Santo Domingo is this garden representing the flora of Oaxaca, which has more native species than any other part of Mexico. Our guide portrayed the country's history through plants. Us plant nerds were in heaven.

Saguaro cactus.

Saguaro cactus.

Kapok tree. Yes, the antique life jackets. It's also the tree that connects Heaven and Earth in indigenous religions.

Kapok tree. Yes, the antique life jackets. It's also the tree that connects Heaven and Earth in indigenous religions.

Cycad, a prehistoric plant. Before gymnosperms and angiosperms.

Cycad, a prehistoric plant. Before gymnosperms and angiosperms.

The Frida Kahlo tree.

The Frida Kahlo tree.

Cuteness in a cactus.

Cuteness in a cactus.

Wall o' cactus.

Wall o' cactus.

White things are the webby casings of the cochineal bug, which makes a brilliant red natural dye.

White things are the webby casings of the cochineal bug, which makes a brilliant red natural dye.

Cochineal bug leaking out. Thinking, next big thing after vermilion?

Cochineal bug leaking out. Thinking, next big thing after vermilion?

Agave, mother of mezcal and tequila.

Agave, mother of mezcal and tequila.

Day one, Puebla. by Ellen Ziegler

Puebla is a city not often visited by foreign tourists, for some reason. It's also unlike any other Mexican town -- much more like a Spanish city. Because of it's Spanish architecture, it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We've enjoyed it, but have also found ourselves looking for the more earthy Mexican qualities that we came here for.

Classical music students practicing in the courtyard of a cafe.

Classical music students practicing in the courtyard of a cafe.

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Grit. Hard to find in Puebla; it's a very clean, Spanish-style city.

Grit. Hard to find in Puebla; it's a very clean, Spanish-style city.

Chicken mole.

Chicken mole.

Street stone.

Street stone.

Hombre de Teléfono.

Hombre de Teléfono.

Hotel Colonial.

The ceiling of our room at Hotel Colonial.

The ceiling of our room at Hotel Colonial.

Interior courtyard.

Interior courtyard.

Spanish ecclesiastical artifacts in the lobby. The hotel was once a monastery.

Spanish ecclesiastical artifacts in the lobby. The hotel was once a monastery.

Document seal.

Document seal.

View from the roof.

View from the roof.

Still looking...

Still looking...

Food and toys. by Ellen Ziegler

Facade in the historic center of Mexico City.

Facade in the historic center of Mexico City.

Tom is a one-man taste tester of Mexican street food. And it has endless variety.

hard-boiled egg with salsa and toothpick.

hard-boiled egg with salsa and toothpick.

Resting after a morning of gordita eating -- blue corn tortillas stuffed with you-name-it.

Resting after a morning of gordita eating -- blue corn tortillas stuffed with you-name-it.

Trying to do my part.

Trying to do my part.

The Church of Santo Domingo, near the Zócalo, the main square.

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More food on the street, grandmother-style.

More food on the street, grandmother-style.

The Museum of Antique Toys (MUJAM). Check out their Facebook page...

The Museum of Antique Toys.

The Museum of Antique Toys.

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The collection of street art is the work of curator Roberto Shimizu, the son of Mr. Shimizu who founded MUJAM. He curates street art with the goal of making the three upper floors into a center for street art. He commissions artists, both local and international. The museum is meant to inspire pride and a sense of identity in the working-class neighborhood of Doctores in Mexico City.

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So excited to begin planning an artist's book with the Shimizus.  This collection was amassed by Mr. Shimizu on the left, more than 1 million toys collected since he was five years old in Mexico City. His son Roberto is now the creative director of the museum. He is mission is to bring street art to the neighborhood and the world. More later!

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Jewelry, street food, Barragán. by Ellen Ziegler

Day three: began eating food on the street. What a good idea. Latin American contemporary jewelry. A tour of Casa Barragán.

Licuados: endless varieties of smoothies.

The gordita master, taking a break.

Titanium brooch, Latin American jewelry show at Museo Franz Mayer. Above: collar of bottles -- reminds me of the medicine carrier in "The English Patient".

On the roof of Casa Luis Barragán.

Things 'n' things. by Ellen Ziegler

La Lagunilla flea market. Total overwhelm. Blocks and blocks...

antique office supplies

antique office supplies

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so much old type

so much old type

Their tabloids are better than ours.

Their tabloids are better than ours.

And then the Franz Mayer Museum of Mexican Design, with a poster exhibit.

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In an old cloister. I love the contrast of the crumbling and the contemporary.

Señor Tomás y su Teléfono.

Señor Tomás y su Teléfono.

I have a new website too. by Ellen Ziegler

I'm happy to present my new websiteThese things always take time, and are worth it when they are done: my new Squarespace website and blog, designed together with Linda James, has launched. Please browse the new site and take in the so-much-better visual details and organization. Huzzah!

I'm off to Mexico in less than 24 hours, and I'll be blogging from there for the next two weeks.
The blog is linked to Facebook and Instagram, so you'll have many chances to share what I see, do, and eat. Then I'll resume blogging about "a cosmic waterfall of the Creative Arts, including but not limited to Visual, Sonic, Performative, Literary, Scientific, Aromatic... ... and the Luminously Trivial."