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, March 31, 2020

In Da House

Keeping myself busy and entertained...

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Mom and Pop? - Donde Estas?

Still very quiet out in the country. I'm not sure if I think things are really that unusual.  It's not like I live in a thriving metropolis, but it really does seem still.  I know this little store is normally is doing business, playing music with someone inside.
And this outdoor comedor usually had folks eating there.  Of course, it's Sunday and really hot, so that may be part of it, but still....

Friday, March 27, 2020

Quiet country....

I guess this may be the new normal.  Even out in the country traffic is way down.  On my walk today, I saw maybe five or six people and that's over several miles.  There were very few moto-taxis and cars.  The construction sites were quiet and the corner store was closed which is unusual.
It was very quiet and quite hot and dry.  Yesterday afternoon it was 94 F with 14% humidity.
In the countryside, everything is crunchy underfoot.  Social distancing is easy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

History repeats....

That's Atzompa over there, at the very peak, the sister city of its neighbor Monte Alban, which is just behind it.  They were both built during the 7th and 8th centuries, at the height of Zapotec influence and power.  It's easy to see why Atzompa was so important... "you can see for miles and miles," all along the valley to the Etlas.  It was part of their defense against the Mixtec.  Well, the Zapotecs are still here, but their cities aren't, only as archaeological sites.  History is a good teacher if one listens.  And there is ten thousand years of history here: Toltec, Olmec, Maya, Zapotec, Mixtec, too many to list...... The people are still here, but.....

Friday, March 20, 2020

Hello - Goodbye?

It is wonderful to be back in Oaxaca.  As someone said, "Home is where the heart is."  Nuf said.  Seeing as though I normally live like a hermit or monk or misanthrope, social distancing is not a problem.  However, I did have to go out to get some food and essentials to make it through extended isolation.  With the peso at .04 US..... talk about culture shock between here and Boston. Wow! 
However, Oaxaca and most of Mexico seems about ten days to two weeks behind what I experienced in Boston, which essentially shut down just before I left.  Life and the economy is so different here.  Many people live day to day, the street vendors, the restaurants, the markets, laborers of all sorts.  One of the many things Oaxaca has instilled in me, is the concept of sharing and supporting.  If/when things get bad, be a padrino. If you've got it, you have an obligation to share it.
Whip it... whip it good.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Gettin' out while the gettin's good....

I getting out of Dodge (Boston) earlier than anticipated.  If I am to be trapped somewhere, I just as soon, it be Oaxaca.  I worry that Mexico may close the border.  All the things I love about being in Beantown are off limits.  The library is closed. Motor vehicle office, the same.  The Marathon, the Sox, March Madness.....And Chinatown, etc...
Not sure about liquor stores, but I don't drink.....
Anyhooo.... I'm finished.... for now.
For now.... see you on the other side of all of this.... ojala!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

In the belly of the beast....

Well, maybe not the belly, but close.  I'm currently in Boston where it's beginning to be a bit weird. Lots of proactive decisions being made, like closing schools and lots of cancellations.  Many of the cases here are linked to a recent Biogen conference and the numbers go up every day. I'm not sure how seriously people are taking it, but they cancelled the St. Patrick's Day parade and the Marathon is waiting to see what happens. They are doing better at the state and local level than the Feds, where COVID meetings are now classified... you can't make this stuff up.
A few observations on how hard it is to avoid contact.  For me, it's shopping carts and going to the library where thousands of people handle thousands of books, CD's DVD's etc.  Of course, my favorite, as a man of international intrigue, is going through customs now requires you to scan your fingerprints after hundreds of others have used the same machine... maybe it's better now, but given how things are going....
Meanwhile, it was almost 80 a couple of days ago and it sure feels like Spring.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

It's carnaval time....

What are you waiting for?  It's that time of year!  Yesterday, in the 2nd  Muestra de Carnavales, the streets were full of delegations from lots of the villages, all strutting their stuff, ready to party.
These are pueblos from the Central Valleys that celebrate their own versions of carnaval and they are in the city to encourage people to visit them this coming Tuesday.  There looked to be eight to ten villages represented.
And there were some amazing looks.
They were dressed in all sorts of finery, showing their pride.
The man behind the mask.
They all assembled at the top of the Alcala and paraded to the zocalo through streets packed with spectators. 
Of course, the best part is before the whole things starts, as everyone is dancing... even the turkeys.
So many wonderful and different looks.
It's San Martin Tilcajete for me on Tuesday.  And you?
So what are you waiting for?

Friday, February 21, 2020

Is this who I think it is?

I was in the city today to get coffee to take north with me next week.  Why? 
Because it is the absolute best and once you have it.... Well, it's like many things Oaxacan, there ain't nuttin' like the real thing and there ain't no goin' back.  Anyway, they asked if I needed a bag and gave me this one.
She sure looks familiar, doesn't she?  What do you think?
Note, the bag is biodegradable.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Street Art - It spreads...

Many times, if one piece of street art appears in an area, others will follow, often by the same artist.  I see this pretty regularly.  The neighborhood I park in is covered with large colorful birds now.  You might recall this amazing piece from a few weeks ago.
Well, these two new pieces just appeared across the street and around the corner.
They are both just up T&P towards Sanchez Pasqua market and look to be by the same artist. 
The detail is quite something.  The imagery drawing from Oaxaca's rich history and culture.  I'm ready to commission something.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Get on the bus....

It is a relatively quiet time of the year, but the warm weather brings tourists from around the word. 
Actually, there are lots of tourists here and for them, one of the best way to see the sights is......
On a nice double-decker.  Although I've never taken the tour, I've heard them as they drive around and I'm pretty sure there are tours in Spanish and English.  Just look for the bus with the jaguar in a dress on the side.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

It's an art

The thought, skill and artistry that went into making this amazing door in the courtyard of Carmen Alto is worthy of taking notice.  A nice spot for contemplation, meditation.  Just matching the wood grain must have been a challenge.  It makes me think of the trucks we see regularly laden with huge trees from the mountains.  With the surrounding colors, it is a perfect vision.  What a creation!  Another example of creativity is this glistening blue building. 
It looks like the entire structure was coated with cement, painted and then polished to a high shine.  There are ripples and bumps from the things covered by the coating. 
I wonder if they polished it with nopal leaves to get the brilliant shine.  What an interesting construction technique.  Works for me.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Tlamanalli - Thirty Years!

What a celebration!  What a family!  What a restaurant! What a meal!  And what an honor it was to be there for the 30th Anniversary of the opening of Restaurante Tlamanalli in Teotitlan del Valle.  I've known the incredibly talented Mendozas for many years and we felt very blessed to be seated with the family as we all enjoyed a simply wonderful day.  The sisters are world famous for preparing classic Zapotec dishes and they absolutely shone as they served almost 200 people a multi-course feast.  They were all running around so I could not get them all in one shot.
Most of the guests appeared to be from the gastronomic world as we spotted some famous chefs and cocineras.  As I said, we were with family and they are every bit as good cooks as anyone in the room but maybe I'm biased.
So what did we eat?
All the food was absolutely delicious. Tlamanalli, the Zapotec god of food, was in the house and most content, as were we all.  Wishing all the Mendozas continued success for the next 30(0) years.
Also, the whole extended family helped with the event.  It was so nice to be served cervezas by Jacobo, one of the finest weavers anywhere, and Fidel and Maria Luisa (another sister)
From Casa Cruz, the masters of natural dyes.  Fidel was official dishwasher for some of the time.
Gracias and felicidades!