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

Friday, March 24, 2017

Día de la Samaritana

Oaxaca is a perfect to practice compassion and generosity on a daily basis, but today is extra special.

We're not in Kansas anymore.....

Nor in El Norte, where the color schemes of Boston are somewhat more muted that those here in Oaxaca.  It feels good to be back.....
This beauty is in San Martin Tilcajete.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

Getting serious about soy sauce...

I love going to the Great Wall Supermarket in Chinatown to stock up on supplies I can't get in Oaxaca.... like soy sauce.  Quite a selection....
I get the aged soy sauce.  It is absolutely delicious. 
And at a ridiculously low price - $3.99 for a one liter bottle. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Only in Etla...

I am in El Norte, waiting for a blizzard to arrive, dreaming of Doña Melisa's delicious tamales.... in this case, rajas... along with real avocados (impossible to find here) and fresh tomatoes.
Unfortunately, they are only available in Etla at the market on Wednesdays.

Fortunately, she will be there when I get back... after the blizzard.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Like I need this!

I had to head north to see if my previously frozen pipes and all the damage they had caused had been repaired.  The work is done and looks great, but... I don't need this.  (Temps in F. not C.)

Meanwhile in Oaxaca, maybe the rains will come while I am gone... Ojala!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Atzompa - All Downhill from Here

The archaeological site of Atzompa sits high above the city of Oaxaca and is one of my favorite places to visit.  The road up from the village is quite steep, but once you reach the top, the views are spectacular and you can coast all the way down...... wheeeee...

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Lights out

Honoring International Women's Day

Friday, March 3, 2017

Race to the bottom...

C'mon... Our guy can do better than this.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s job approval rating fell to 17 percent last quarter, the lowest of his mandate, in reaction to the hike in fuel prices ordered by his government in January and despite his call for unity in the face of the threat posed by US President Donald Trump and his policy proposals.

Peña Nieto “is at the lowest levels” of popularity since measurements of that kind were begun due to the public’s “accumulated anger” aggravated by the gasoline price hike, Roy Campos, the president of Grupo Mitofsky, the consulting firm that conducted the latest survey on the matter, told EFE.

A quarterly survey by Mitofsky released on Tuesday revealed that the president has an approval rating of just 17 percent and a disapproval rating of 77 percent, the lowest popularity level of his 2012-2018 term so far.

The decline over the past two years in popularity for Peña Nieto, who had an approval rating of 42 percent in November 2013, according to the Mexican daily El Universal, can be explained by the decisions he has taken in office, including supporting gay marriage, Campos said.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Carnaval in San Martin Tilcajete

Famous for its many woodcarvers, yesterday San Martin Tilcajete was the place to be for carnaval and people from all over descended on the village to celebrate.  This village has been, for many years, one of Mexico's most famous for its figuras or alebrijes.  I admit to being hopelessly addicted to collecting them for many years.   For carnaval there is always a wedding, with two lucky young men as bride and groom.
There are all sorts of looks and costumes.
Always fun to do double takes as a beautiful woman walks by and then you see it's one of the guys.
This celebration has become very popular in the last few years.  There were people from all over and lots joined in the festivities.  This man was from Australia and he was getting the full treatment from good friend, Jesus Sosa Calvo, coming from one of the best and most highly acclaimed carving families including wife, Juana, sister, Francisca and son, Apolinar.
The finished look.
A pensive shot...
Wonderful design on the skin...
Woodcarving, for which  San Martin Tilcajete is world famous.
It is also famous for its masks.
And here is one of the classic looks, oiled and looking fine.
A silver celebrant, another classic village look.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A bird in the hand...

Is worth two...., wait...  or one big one in the bush!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

So that's how they do it.. bugambillas or bougainvilleas

Last week I posted this picture of the bougainvillea I have been working on, finally getting it shaped.
This is what it looks like from the other side.
And here's another that has a couple of years of shearing and shaping.
These are some of the ones I've studied every time I drive in the city.
They are quite old and how they survive and remain healthy is simply a testimony of the resilience and power of plants.

And that's how they do it.  I'm still working on it, but making progress.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Nobody does it better... Doña Melisa's tamales

Everybody has their favorite tamales lady.... maybe there are some men out there doing it, but I've never heard of one.  Anyway, mine is Doña Melisa who sells a wide variety of some of the best tamales around in the market in Etla on Wednesdays.  
I have been enjoying hers for years, after sampling most everyone's in the market.  I know there is some very stiff competition, but she my favorite.  Hers tamales are so nice and fat and tasty.... Her rajas are sublime....Hmmm ... I think I'll have one for dinner..... now. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Everything is political..

As someone who lives most of the time in Mexico, I am pretty much freaked out by all that is happening.  I love this country and its people, their history, culture, cuisine and traditions.  For me to go off some rant would do no good.  This place has taught me that respect rules and goes both ways and is a gift to each.  And many years ago, I learned from the masters, that compassion is the only viable way to go through life..... but maybe that's only how it is in my house.  Anyway, these photos from market day in Etla are political.  They say whatever you want.
One can always tell what's in season... these greeted me at the entrance.
Some of these end up in your market, too.
But they are a bit fresher here.
Tangerines right off the trees.
 ¡Viva Mexico!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Qual muro? - What wall?

From my morning visit to the Market in Etla.  "Do you have this in my size?"
Alas, they did not.   Trump is good... for business.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Purple rain...

Who knows where we in the dry season, it could be weeks or months until the rains come.  The countryside is so dry.  Everything is a shade of brown or yellow.  And then, all of a sudden, there are explosions of purple dotting the hills and streets.  The colors always seem to me to have a Japanese quality when framed against the sky.
The jacarandas are blooming.  They are harbingers of things to come and always such a welcome sight.  They are just starting and will continue for maybe four to six weeks.
Then, all the petals will fall and there will pools of purple everywhere.  Then the rains come... ojala!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Learning from the masters...

The people who prune the shrubs and trees here are so knowledgeable.  They have years of experience.  I have watched, observed their work and finally, learned how to come close to the quality of their work.  This bugambillas or bougainvillea is one of my pride and joys.  It was in the worst imaginable shape when I moved in to this house,  just a hideous stump with no leaves or flowers.  And now its four meters of blossoms fill the front wall... I love it!

Update:  Someone asked how they do it.  You can see from my example that it has been shaped using hedge clippers.  The ones in the city are prime examples of this.  It takes a couple of years to get old plants back in shape.  You have to cut the suckers off, get a good central trunk and then use the clippers, knowing that even though it seems brutal, the plants will fill out.  I drive by some great examples of old shaped plants on my drive into the city in the median strip just after Santa Rosa.  Really beautiful topiary work.  I also love how they prune ficus benjaminas.  The same principle using hedge clippers.  The ones in the parking lot of Plaza del Valle are amazing.  If you look up through them you can see they are actually cylinders with a hole cut at the top to let light in.  I'll have to take photos of them.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Love will tear us apart

 from Reuters
Nine asylum-seekers, including four children, barely made it across the Canadian border on Friday as a U.S. border patrol officer tried to stop them and a Reuters photographer captured the scene.
As a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer seized their passports and questioned a man in the front passenger seat of a taxi that had pulled up to the border in Champlain, New York, four adults and four young children fled the cab and ran to Royal Canadian Mounted Police on the other side.
One by one they scrambled across the snowy gully separating the two countries. RCMP officers watching from the other side helped them up, lifting the younger children and asking a woman, who leaned on her fellow passenger as she walked, if she needed medical care.
 Read the whole story..... 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Somebody's watching you...

They may be watching, but some people say, "We will not adapt to this system."
People are very aware of the world of politics.... I just got a canister of gas for the hot water heater.  The price was up significantly.  I asked him why and he just smiled, winked and said, "Trump."

Sunday, February 12, 2017

So that's how they do it...

Construction workers here are artists with cement.   Domes, arches, you name it, they can do it.  So this is how to construct a small round window.  I love it.  It's simple and it works and it's an art.
It is all hard labor, no machines, except maybe a cement mixer, but most of the time, it is all hand work.

Friday, February 10, 2017