The here and now... and what and why

Complacency is a trap. At least that’s what I was thinking when I up and left the comfort of a Yankee prep school gig, where I taught music, amongst other things, for 28 years. There was also that life long career as a composer, musician and artist.

First, it was a year in St. Thomas, USVI, working as a reporter and shooting photography and then, a year in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Time passed.
More time passed and a year back in the Athens of America followed by a hasty return to Oaxaca where it is all happening.
A couple of years in San Sebastian Etla and now, just down the road in San Pablo Etla. Life is good.

Click on an image to see it larger.
For additional photography please visit my flickr page.
You can find my music on Jango (World & latin - Worldbeat) and at iTunes and most online stores.
¡Soy consciente de todas las tradiciones del Internet!
If you are coming to Oaxaca, please contact me for tours or advice.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo
The view from Corazon del Pueblo

The hereafter re me

My Photo
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Musician, photographer, videographer, reporter, ex-officio teacher, now attempting to be a world traveler

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Milpas

Finally, some decent rain yesterday.  However, I drove a big loop yesterday through Tlacolula, Mitla, and over to Ocotlan and things look very dry for rainy season.  The corn in many areas looks so feeble and dry. 
This milpa (read this short history and description) is right around the corner from me and I always love the genius and the hundreds or thousands of years of knowledge and experience that goes into each of these.  It represents a deep understanding of the interdependence and necessary respect of nature and its cycles.

A milpa is one the most traditional and ancient arrangements of growing plants that aid each other.  So there is always corn, squash and beans and often more.  There are almost as many varieties and combinations as there are milpas.  And that is why Monsanto is thought to be so evil here.  Domestic corn was developed ten thousand years ago near Mitla and there are so many different strains and varieties that are threatened by wind-driven cross pollination, that people are scared and upset... uh...  make that livid.

As one who is a plant person, always in touch with plants, I always have loved the whole concept and rich history of milpas.  Judith Haden has been working with Susana Trilling on a recipe and photography book for the last few years that documents the miracle of the milpa.  Check out https://www.facebook.com/milpafromseedtosalsa?pnref=story.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Morning delivery

This morning is cool and crisp, about 50F.  The flowers are dripping with dew and everything is glistening.  Freshly picked for market.
And the Deal of the Day.... look at all this super fresh garlic, already broken apart and cleaned.  And with the devalued peso.... $.60 US.  That's about what I would pay for one clove in Boston.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Somebody always has to butt in..

Cactus in bloom.
 The flowers open with the sun and close up for business when the sun sets.
Meanwhile, while they are open, it is a wild party.  Bees love this particular bisnagaand almost seem intoxicated by it.  I can almost touch their butts without get a buzz... I mean a reaction..

More morning mandalas..

Mother Nature in all her glory.
 Portulacas...
It is all there....
 There is a lot of life happening in these shots..... Cactus flower.
 In truth, it is all very sexy... well, it is all about the propagation of the species, isn't it?
Calendula.... almost looks like a heart.  I will have to meditate on it.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The work continues...

Chip, chip, chippin' away.
One of the things I love about this place is watching people do their daily work.  I have waxed eloquent about the work ethic here.  It is really exceptional and often the work is done slowly, by hand and it shows in the quality of the finished product.
It seems as if every governmental administration approaches the challenges of street work differently.  I have been watching these projects for months now.  This is right at the top of the Alacala.  They have been pushing to finish it.  This was early last week.
And two days later.
And this is the next street over, Garcia Vigil, recently finished and opened, complete with bike lane on the left.
It is really a well designed street.  The benches prevent double parking on either side and there are cut-ins for deliveries.  And little lights in the ground to light the way.  As in all things. it's an art!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Morning mandala

Mother Nature, Gaia, is the best teacher, the one who has all the answers.
 This is a gaillardia flower from the garden.... uh... just in case Gaia is reading this, a little rain sure would be nice.... Jes' sayin'.

Update:  Oop....  It's a Gazania.  Gracias to Mary Ellen Sanger for the correction.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sigh...

I'm an immigrant.... a legal one... I think..... of course, no one calls us immigrants, they call us expats... which I guess may be just one snake on the Medusa head that is El Norte, the U.S., these days.

I weep for the country...

It is so hard to watch from the outside looking in.... a shooting of journalists on live TV, "anchor babies", proposed mass deportations and then, the piece de resistance, The Donald giving the old heave ho to Ramos, which just shows how far things have gotten out of hand.

'Nuf said... except underestimating what a respected icon and spokesperson for much of the Hispanic world, Ramos is, well.... it is just downright stupid.  No, I do not mean this equally angry looking looking Donald.  You know the one... or should that be The One?
Listen, this place has problems, obviously, but Mexico does not hold itself up as a paragon of virtue and all things good and powerful... nor does it invade other countries, but not to worry, it has the whole corruption, classism, racism and torture thing down... oh, then there are the cartels.... but the US has Monsanto, so there.

But compared with the US, this place is much more sane and grounded.  El Norte is just so filled with hate... and guns.... and bought and paid for politicians.... and a sycophantic press... and hate... and hate... and hate...

Party on, Garth.

Chili today, hot tamale??

Really? 

No, no ice pellets, but a cool damp wind.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Another day, another fiesta

Even if it the slow season here, late August, there is still action almost every day. 
I happened upon this Fiesta de Verdad (Truth), a celebration of indigenous villages, with lots of things to buy, see and eat.  I was drawn by the sound of really good band and these dancers from Juxtlahuaca, famous for their wild dancing and incredible masks.
A wonderful performance.
Looks like something out of Pan's Labyrinth.
Hmmmm.... why do all the devils have blue eyes?
Once again, very young musicians right out in front.
I missed these musicas from Santa Maria Tlahuiltoltepec, the village where ninety percent of the people play musical instruments.... oh, they do embroidery, too.  One of my favorite places.... you can see why.

Monday, August 17, 2015

What the world needs now is...

Well, you know the answer to that.
Here, it is the opening of the school year, which means something very different in Oaxaca. 
After putting numerous strangleholds on the city, state and country, it appears that Seccion XXII has lost its mojo.  The governor basically fired everyone in the educational power structure and replaced them.
So, of course, the teachers are protesting... tell me something new... and there are soldiers and cops everywhere, many of whom are helping prepare for the academic year by painting and cleaning....
Oh, there are those nice helicopters still here from the pre-quelaguetza action.  Let's hope that the children of Oaxaca finally get a full school year with no stoppages or strikes... now, that would truly be a miracle... surviving the war and the virus of hate.
yes, surviving the war.... As a former teacher, the situation here always blows my mind.  Both sides have legit grievances, from my limited perspective, but it has been almost forty years of conflict.  It is getting old.  There are other problems to face... like how is Mexico gonna pay for the wall the The Donald is going to build and then pass the costs on to the Mexicans?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

El Guapo

There ought to be a law....
For being so handsome.
Shots form the last desfile.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

You've got the look...

I love the looks on these people's faces from the last guelaguetza desfile or parade.  One can see such happiness and pride.  If there is one thing oaxaqueños know how to do, it is to strut their stuff and have an exceedingly good time.... OK, that's two things, but they often overlap.
 This abuela's faces is every grandparent's face...
 Getting ready for the big event
 Striking the classic pose.  They learn how to face the camera at an early age.
"Hold on, hijo, we're almost ready.  Let me just hold up your pants."
 Yes, a little kid with a torito.  I wonder if it got lit and he got to dance with it. 
 My bet is that he did.  Gotta keep those traditions going.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Icons cont....

Frida is everywhere these days.  Maybe I should get one of these camisas...  Hmmm which one... so many to choose from......Hipster Frida?
Frida that does not look like Frida
Or Vogue Frida which is very in vogue, obviously
Uh, someone did not get the memo.. yes iconic, but....

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mmmm mmm good

Just look at these!  Beautiful, ready to eat while you shop pomegranate or grenadas...
Wednesday is market day in Etla.  I probably shouldn't even post these shots, but you might as well see what you are missing.  First, chile rellanos of the finest quality.
I have to buy from two different ladies so as not to hurt anyone's feeling... such as sacrifice;-)  One of the maestras de chile rellenos.
Just a week or so ago there was the feria de Tamale in the city and as good as the tamales were there, nothing compares to Doña Melisa's. 
Not only are they really tasty, but they are also nice and fat as well.  I am so spoiled.  She has six or eight different kinds and makes hundreds of them each week.
Then why not be tempted by something nice and sweet and crunchy?
Beauty abounds.
Hungry yet?