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

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The day the music...paused

"You don't miss your water, 'til the well runs dry." One of the many things I love about Oaxaca is the music that seems to be a constant here.  Brass bands are everywhere from the city's streets to the most remote villages.  The house I live in overlooks a vast area.  It is in the foothills of one set of mountains and I can look across a wide valley to the next range, miles off to the west.  Normally, I can hear these bands playing or practicing, as the sound carries remarkably far.   I hear music for danzas, fiestas, weddings and funerals.  Many pieces are recognizable and traditional and then there are the absolutely kick-ass tunes that make you want to jump up and move. I've been back from self-isolating in MA to doing the same here.  There is much work to do, so I spend most of the day outside and I've not heard one note since I've been back.  Of course, I've always believed that anything that goes in your ears is music, I still have the birds, the winds and the sounds of everyday life as a soundtrack, but I sure miss the music.

Friday, October 30, 2020

I did not come for this!!!


Are you kidding me?  I guess not.  A bit different from my usual hoops setup. 

Ay!  I want to go back to Oaxaca!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The deed is done

I braved the "long" lines at the Newton Public Library.  As to those long lines.... they were all of six people.  I was in and out in minutes. This was my primary goal for this trip north.
It sure give food for thought as I watched others in different states wait for up to eight hours to vote. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

That was fast.... test results

I just received the results for my covid test yesterday.  There were negative as I hoped and suspected they would be.  After all, I've been isolated out in the country for close to seven months, only going out for errands and to shoot hoops... alone.  Results in one day... here in little ole' Oaxaca!  Gotta love it.  One thing... They did cost $75 US and that's a cost most oaxaquenos could not afford.  I know there are other places to get tests for the locals. but I needed to get results fast to meet MA's requirements and so had to go this route.  Glad it all worked out..... thus far.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

I took the test....

I'm headed north to vote and to check on things.  In order to get into MA smoothly, I needed to take a covid test. which I did this morning.  I should get the results in time for my flight on Sunday.  Then I'll fill out the required online travel info for MA.  The test went very smoothly and Laboratorios Juárez Oaxaca in Colonia Reforma had all the proper protocals in place.  I was impressed with the whole process.  With all that behind me, I wonder what I'm headed into.  I'm leaving a tranquil life out in the country where I've been alone for seven months and headed into...uh... the most advanced country ever.
"I'm sure there won't be any culture shock." said he foolishly.

Friday, October 9, 2020

S(He) works hard for the money...

In so many ways, this shot epitomizes the way some work gets done here in Oaxaca.  As it has been for thousands of years, it is pure manual labor. We see it all the time in construction sites.  This worker, working with minimal tools, has gotten the job done.... and what a job it was. 
A work ethic off the charts.  And often the work is done for the minimum wage which is $123 MX a day!  And those days can be very long.  Today that works out to $5.82 US...... and Coca Cola cost the same here as in the States.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Caught on Camera - Boat loaded with pot!

 They just couldn't be more blatant..... and on the Pan-American Highway, no less.



Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Hair - Where? - There Hair!

I was touched by all the people who shared my lament about the disappearance of two local figures of note.  The closings of the peluquerias, barbershops, of Don Jesus and Don Pepe, barbers who cut the hair of thousands of oaxaqueños and visitors over many decades really hit home. 
Fortunately, people had suggestions as to where to go to lose seven months of locks.  It was like the reverse Samson effect. A great haircut.  "I feel better than I did twenty years ago."  

Where hair? -There hair!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Hair! - Where?

 

After close to eight months of isolating, I was psyched to finally get a haircut yesterday.  However, my rare trip into the city left me at a loss.... and I mean a real loss. My usual peluquero, a Oaxacan institution, had been closed for months.  I had checked the last time I was in, but at least there was a phone number to call.  Now, his place is still closed and it has a feeling of finality.  

 

My other barbero, a backup, was Sir Pepe, who I saw all the time and spoke with regularly.  He ribbed me the last time saying, "It's time, don't you think?"  

 

I agreed and said I would be back if the other was still closed.  Well, by the time I returned, a few weeks later.... he was gone, too.  I know it may sound strange, but some of my fondest memories of Oaxaca are getting my haircut by a master and listening to classic vocal trios from the early days.  Often, not a word was spoken.  It was sublime.  

 

And, he made my day when he said he had seen the blog posts about him.  I hope they are both well and enjoying life.  I miss them both.




Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Into the garden - Butterflies


 

And just to show where it all began...

It filled in a bit.

Friday, September 11, 2020

But baby, I loves ya!

I guess it is that time of year... but when isn't it the right time for a little procreation?  And I don't know about the birds, but the bees are into it. 
It really has been a great butterfly year and for that matter, a great year for all the gardens.  Plenty of rain and perfect temps, at least where I live. 
I know elsewhere the rains have been destructive.  But for now...
Farfalas, mariposas....

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Las Canchas - Hoops

One thing I can do by myself to get some exercise is shoot baskets.  The great thing about Oaxaca and, probably Mexico in general, is that there is a cancha or basketball court in almost every village and neighborhood. 
There are a few in my neck of the woods that I enjoy visiting.  I've always shot baskets, maybe since I was ten and have a good setup in MA.  Here, I have to jump in the car and within minutes....  and I'm home.    
And each cancha or court has a different feel or vibe. And all of the rims are just brutal, no give at all.    But what a setting!  Look at the size of that tree. 
I taught for many years and some of my favorite memories are shooting with students.  "Aw, he's just the music teacher.  He can't shoot." Bang! Bang! Bang! All from downtown! 
Uh... a little help here, please.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Masks done right!

Here in Oaxaca, between 90 to 95% of the people I see on the streets and in markets are wearing masks. 

Out a bit to the north of the city where I live, it is much the same.  It makes one wonder what's the big deal with non-compliance in parts of El Norte?  Imagine a president (Benito Juarez) masked and armed with hand sanitizer!

There, it is Labor Day and the beaches and bars appear to be packed with people not wearing masks.  

Here. it is just another day of labor and everyone, for the most part, is masked. However, it is always permissible to remove your mask to enjoy some mezcal.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Markets in the time of covid....

I am lucky to have the nearby market in Etla to shop for food.  It is eerily quiet these days.  

I am used to the place bustling with people, shoppers, vendors, tour groups, but now.... 

There is hand sanitizer at the two entrances. I always go mid mornings and visit my normal vendors.  I am in and out quickly. I also avoid Wednesdays and Sundays when it is busier, but it is easy to see why I go.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Flutter by, Butterfly

It is a really good mariposa year.  The garden is full of them.

 

I always plant things to attract them and with all the rain this year, everything has just exploded. 

One of the best times of the year. 

 

Do you know the Italian word for butterfly?  Faralla!  A perfect word.  And the Monarchs are migrating.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The heart of the matter

Not only is this heart-felt image beautiful, but it is a perfect example of the combination of form and function.
Recycle!

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Olio

Working on my video chops using stock clips, but the music is all mine.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Audrey, is that you?

OK, it's not exactly a "Little Shop of Horrors" plant, but from this angle, it looks pretty fierce and hungry.  No, this is that agave in the garden that has been taking its own sweet time to flower for over a month. 

The flowering goes from tight buds...to opening.... 

to fully flowered.

All reaching for the sky, but getting drawn back to earth by its weight.

What a welcome guest to the garden and rare treat.  And this type of agave does not die after flowering, so maybe in another ten to twelve years.....

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Me, Myself y Mio

Finally, I figured out how to be with people. Hey, it's someone to talk to....
Really, I'm just working on video techniques.


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Hoops - The Saga Continues

At least  I did not get arrested, but simply asked to leave,

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Sweet spot

 

One of the activities I miss most, besides playing pool in the city, is shooting hoops.  I've had a great setup in MA for forever, and I shoot everyday.... but here.... there's no place to put one.  And to further drive me crazy, there are two groups of young guys that play nearby everyday and the sounds of the game make me long for it all the more.  Well, as we all know, there are always courts or canchas in every Mexican neighborhood or village.  So today, I was determined to find one nearby and it turned out, there was a wonderful village sports center within walking distance, really close but just on a street I had never gone down before.  Que milagro! Perfecta!

So I'm all set for now, a new daily activity.  And the sound of the bouncing ball!! The place echoes like crazy.  It's wild.  I'll have to make a recording.