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

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The cocks crow, but why at 2:30 AM?

I love the colors on these guys, but I can't figure out why they consistently crow in the wee hours of the morning.  Every. Single. Night.
It doesn't last long, but is surprisingly loud.  Unlike the hens, who merely cluck.
Their early morning activities have a much more positive result.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Fill in the blank....

A Hundred Years of the Whattheheckdoesthatsay??

Here you go. Do it yourself graffiti.... I guess for me, I might say a hundred years of 2017, because it sure seemed to be that long at times... is it over yet?

Thursday, January 11, 2018


I don't know if the blonde hairdo on this bull is natural or someone's not to subtle joke, but it's real.  I saw him on my afternoon constitutional.  If it ain't a Trump do... well, what can I say?  That what it is to me.  And I must add, as a former Yankee prep school teacher where decorum was mandatory, I'm embarrassed that the President of the United States would use the language he used to refer to countries like Mexico, the country I know, respect and love. Bull!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

El Dia del los Reyes in Tres Reyes Etla

The Three Kings?  I saw hide nor hair of them, but if you read my previous post, well, they were with me anyway.  Once again, my timing was impeccable as I made my annual visit to Tres Reyes Etla for Tres Reyes, I arrived during mass.  For some reason it was outside this year, which I found to be strange. 
 I won't speculate as to why and the outdoor setting was very nice.  No sign of los Rayos, but what a beautiful celebration anyway.
A nice moment from one of the singers. "Take the Risk Now" with the "Beach Bum" in the back.
Casa Colibri had better luck with Los Reyes.  Check out her post.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Three Kings? That's me

You will recall that I had gifts of mandiles or aprons for all of the ladies who take such good care of me at the market in Etla.  Well, today was the day and I had a plan.  They were all in gift bags and I arranged them in order of delivery by where they are in the market.  I think it took less than a minute or two and I got some wonderful surprised smiles in return.  As I made my escape, I saw a few of them already had them on.  I went back to the car to grab a camera..... alas, the lady who sells me chicken had already changed back to a better one for chopping up chickens, but the juice lady radiated.

QOTD - Quote of the day

"I'm, like, smart....."

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Buñuelos - A Oaxacan tradition

Buñuelos are large fried sweet dough, served sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and they can be found everywhere during the holiday season.
They are served with hot chocolate or miel de piloncillo, a syrup made with piloncillo, Mexico's unrefined brown sugar.
After finishing the tasty treat, part of the tradition is to throw the ceramic dish over one's head for good luck.
 That's a lotta luck.
Here's a video from a few year back.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Mandiles - Aprons - Tlacolula

I always get the ladies in the Etla market gifts for Three Kings Day.  They take such good care of me.  So I needed eight somethings and what better things to get than classic mandiles or aprons, useful and attractive, and so typically Oaxacan.  In the back of the Tlacolula market are maybe, ten stalls, each filled with beauties from which to choose.  It's the place to go for mandiles for sure.

Hmmm... somehow, I don't any of them read the blog or follow me on FB, so I think I'm safe and they'll be surprised once again.  They always seem shocked to get something in return for all they do for me.  Hey, I gave the trash guys gifts, too.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The best gorditas? - Tlacolula Market

Gorditas are different everywhere you go, but for me, the best are right at the top of the street ,just as one enters the extended Sunday market.  It is under an orange tarp which messes with the color of these photos, but the tacos and gorditas are sublime.  They know me there.  I remember a time when I went seven Sundays in a row just to get one and I live on the opposite side of the city.  What's an hour drive for one of these. 
First the masa is flattened by hand.  Today it was made from blue corn. 
 Then it is filled with chicken, pork or vegetables like potatoes,
Then a little cheese,
Then formed into a ball and flattened.
Into the oil.
Until they are done, golden and crispy.
Then filled with lettuce, onions, various salsas and sour cream..... just stop!  Soooo good.
It's a popular place.  The tacos are also really exceptional.
And the wait staff is especially charming.
Hungry yet?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Feria de Empanada - San Antonino Castillo Velasco

This video is from a couple of years ago. There's just too much to do and I can't do everything, but the empanadas remain the same.... the best!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

It's all happening...

Saturday may have been Rabanos, but everywhere you turned there was something else happening.  The city is just overflowing with people and they are finding plenty to see and do.  There are lots of artesanos with stalls filled with amazing things for sale. 
There's a feria de Cafe. 
There's live music and plenty of calendas and of course, weddings and quinceaneras.  Look at these four young gentlemen.
They were the escorts for this young lady.
And weddings or bodas....
I saw at least three brides....
I was taught by a master wedding photographer, Sonya Melescu,  and the First Rule of wedding photography is the bride must always look good and she does.
The groom looks pretty good, too. Party on, Garth!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Posada in Teotitlan del Valle

This was my first posada and it was an honor and a privilege to be invited to the home of Ana Ruiz Gonzalez to take in this annual celebration.  "Posada" translates as "inn" and the nine day event reenacts Mary and Joseph's travails as they search for a place to stay for the night.   Posadas vary in in different places, but in Teotitlan del Valle, the two statues from the church are carried from house to house each evening, eventually ending up at the house where the baby Jesus is waiting for them on the last night.  In this case, the Ruiz family left their house to go and pick up the statues at the house where they had spent the night before.  Here's Zacarias Ruiz...
 and Emilia Gonzalez, Ana's parents, as they hasten to their destination,
where Mary and Joseph await.
Then, carried by four women from the previous house, they leave, beginning a long candlelit procession through the streets.
I spoke with the women carrying the statues and they said it was quite heavy, but each felt blessed to have done it.
It was a long slow walk.
Meanwhile, the people of the village lined the streets to watch, while others sat waiting patiently for the procession's arrival.
While others spent time out in front of the house having fun.
Eventually they ended up at the Ruiz's house, where there were many rituals, music and later in the evening, food.
The Ruiz's spend the night and next day with the statues and then the whole thing repeats, which in this case was the final destination after which the three are returned to the church for Navidad.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The people behind the Radishes - La Noche del Rabanos

Today was the 120th Noche del Rabanos and it was, as always, fantastic! And it was drawing tourists in droves.  The crowds were huge, the lines long, but what a happy occasion... and a real boon for the city and surrounding regions.  There is so much happening, it is hard to keep up.  I got there early and had a total blast, as lots of the participants recognized me from previous years, so it was like seeing friends.  I have lots of shots of their creations, made from radishes, dried flowers or corn husks, but I thought I would start with impromptu portraits of some of the participants, all so typically Oaxacan in their artistic abilities and creativity.  You can almost see her off to the left in the shot above, but this is the woman responsible for the radish pieta.
They come in all ages and backgrounds.  Some are very traditional and some enjoy pushing the proverbial envelope.
I should have all their names, but I don't, my mistake, but here are just some of them, each so special.
I'll post shots of their creations in a bit.... in the meantime, in between time, Oaxaca is simply the best. ¡Viva!