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, May 20, 2018

El Muro - The Wall

"We are not as violent as they say, nor are we as non/violent as they would like."
And yes, this is on a wall in Tlacolula, a detail from a brilliant work of street art.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Another school shooting....

I taught kids music almost my whole life.  And because of that, part of me always remained a kid. I guess it was partly because I always listened to what they listened to.  I still do.  So here's my response to the Texas shooting.  Listen to a voice of the young and coming. From Norway's Sigrid.... "Don't Kill My Vibe"
I weep for them, for all that's happening, but know that change will come with the next generations. 

One more reason I love this place - Car guys

I drive a 2004 Jetta, which serves me very well.  It has plenty of dings and scrapes, but is very reliable and has a good sound system.  It should be noted that road conditions here are less than ideal.  Between the rough roads, the ubiquitous topes (speed bumps), the baches (potholes), driving is really hard on cars. However, for every car problem, there is a car guy.

And they are everywhere, tire guys, brake guys, muffler guys, mechanicos.  They may be in a shack by the side of the road, but they can do what has to be done.... and right now, no appointment necessary. 

I went to a place just down the road in Pueblo Nuevo.  It had tire racks out front and I needed tires.  That all it took. 

The place had lots of people working and it was like controlled, efficient chaos.  Taxis, cars, trucks moving in and out, people waiting, ladies carrying food for the workers, music blaring, all in one happy and warm atmosphere.  Lots of fun interactions.  It turned out I knew one of the workers from the last time I had work done.  However, it was at a different place almost directly across the road.  We were laughing, happy, and greeted each other warmly, really a typical Oaxacan moment.

So the tires went on and then one of the young guys pointed out that my shocks were shot... gee, I wonder why.  "How much? $800 MP... Okay.... How about the brakes?  Adjust the calipers for another $600. How long?  Two hours.  Done! 

I walked back to the house, making note of all the little tiny businesses and food places that I miss when I'm driving.  Walked back.  Car was done.  Everyone shook hands and vrooom... I was outta there.  I love this place!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Face it....

"Here's looking at you, kid."
As always, the street art and graffiti, is ever changing. 
Lots of wonderful faces gracing the walls this week.  Powerful images, thought provoking.
I particularly like this one celebrating the Zapatistas and Black Panthers.... No, not the movie, silly.
These colorful visages have popped up all over the place.
They'll be gone in a week or so, replaced by more wonderful Oaxacan street art.  We are blessed to have so many talented artist here.

The rains have arrived....

As a Boston boy I can only think of this as Spring.  Everything is turning green, the countryside has rejuvenated.  And of course, my greens/lettuce are quite spectacular.  This a an overflowing large container.  Time to start more.
And the night blooming Cereus made itself known with lots of fragrant flowers. 
Actually, it was a two night bloom, a few one night and lots the next..... done by morning.
It's crazy, but I just ignore the plant most of the time and miss the flowers at least half the time.  Ahhh... but the fragrance.... sublime.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Don't start the revolution without me... uh, wait a sec....

2018! We're already ready...
Uh, wait a sec....
Our dreams will not fit into urns (They cannot be contained)
Keep hope alive....

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Even more arte from Etla

I was out Etla way again this morning and once again, took the time to stop and check out the pieces of art that have been installed in the median of the highway. 
Our blogger buddy and librarian from Casa Colibri pointed out that these are to be permanent, the installation called la Ruta Escult├│rica.  Some lovely and evocative pieces. 
And some humorous juxtapositions.
And pieces that really need to be studied closely.
It will be interesting to see how they all hold up under fierce sun and heavy rains.

Monday, May 7, 2018

More arte from Etla...

Here are a few more of the pieces installed in the median on the way to Etla starting with this totem by Alberto Aragon Reyes.
Wonderful work on the face
 In the detail of the inserts.
This tall glazed ceramic tower has wonderful color and texture... a bit hard to see at 70 kph.
I had to stop to get the full depth of each panel.
Some dramatic and provocative pieces.
And some with whimsy.
It is worth the drive and to stop and check out some of the detail.
There's always the market on Wednesday and the Comedor Colon everyday for some of the very best food around.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

It's an art....

Oaxaca offers lots of scenic routes to follow, the Ruta Dominica or the popular Ruta Mezcal are but two.  There is a new one worth checking out.  On the Pan-American highway, heading north, starting a few kms from Etla, there is a series of sculptures in the medium strip.  This is one of the first and they go on from there.  There are some pretty spectacular pieces.
There are about fifteen large pieces over several kms.  I would drive a bit, take a photo of two or three and move on.  It was worth stopping to see each close up.
A gallery with backdrops.
And even some gods...
And this captivating piece.
So powerful..
And it works going back the other way.  This is the top photo from the other side.
I'll post more in a bit.  Don't want to reach the point of diminishing returns. They each deserve to be seen.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

At the movies...

I love this place!  We are so spoiled here in certain respects.... like going to the movies here.  A late morning showing of the latest Avengers movie in a perfectly located (and very comfortable) seat in a very good theater with great sound and a huge screen and about ten other people... all for $26 pesos, that $1.36 US.  And of course, the flick totally blew me away. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Food, Glorious Food - Day 4

If you've seen the last few posts, you've probably thought, "Hmmm, the Encuentro de Cocineras Tradicionales de Oaxaca looks pretty good, in fact, mouth-watering."  Well, it was even better than that.  Simply, one of the best food events of the year.
I spent hours just walking around, meeting the cooks, talking to people and ogling food.
Yesterday, blogger buddy, Shannon and I managed to get three dishes to share.  On previous days, I had only eaten one thing before being full.  We finally got to taste the Pozole Triqui, this time with chicken rather than beef. 
It was wonderful, real Mexican comfort food.  We shared it with an older couple sitting across from us.  One bowl filled four people!  Another dish we had, these empanadas de boda, filled with pork, almonds, raisins and other good things.
"Please, se├▒ora, I'd like another... twenty."
The third dish, these tasty little babies, garnachas.
All four days, the Plaza de la Danza was packed.  Great food, great ambiance, great people and Food, Glorious Food!  We weren't the only ones that thoroughly enjoyed it.
And so good to see people I've met out in the villages like this woman from Diaz Ordaz, whose higaditos are the best I've ever had.
I was so happy to see her.  Now, just writing this post, I'm hungry again.
I can't wait until next year.

One more thing.... over the first three days I managed to spend all of about $6 US.  Yesterday, the two of us together spent maybe, another $7.  I ended up giving up all my left over coupons to some young guy standing in line with his family.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Food, Glorious Food - Day 3

It was back to the Plaza de la Danza for more from the fabulous cooks at the Encuentro de Cocineras Tradicionales de Oaxaca.  It's impossible to sample more than one or two dishes and there are so many to choose from, over 300! ... Like this wonderful Pozole Triqui, which I watched these ladies assemble.
First the pozole, which is like hominy, was shaped into a cup,
Into which the beef was placed and finally filled with what looked like mole amarillo.
Of course, I was already too full to get the pozole after finally getting these higaditos, an egg and chicken dish.  I missed them the first two days.
Like almost all these dishes, there is a different recipe in every house, all a bit different.  These were sublime.  I loved them.
Or how about the happy guy's torta or sandwich.
I just had to stop him and take a pic.
And there was this most interesting and unique dish, yucca balls in a frijol sauce and nothing else.  So simple, yet absolutely delicious.
Because I was already full,  I stopped people to ask if I could take a shot of their food.  "Claro que si."
It all looked so good.
Makes you hungry, doesn't it?  Well, I'm back tomorrow for the last day to drink (and eat) it all in.  Plus I've gotta see more of the Mendoza sisters from Teotitlan del Valle. 
Look at how happy they are!  We love them!