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, January 20, 2017

The peso is not happy

It is up to 21.6 to the dollar, the highest I can recall in quite a while.  And when I say high, I mean, high like golf scores.... high is not good.  Something smells fishy, don't it?
 Uh... did something happen today that might have caused this?  Am I missing something? 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Atzompa - It never gets old

Well, of course, it is old, from around 650 AD, but the experience of visiting the place never gets old.  I can see it from my house and whenever I hear its call, I jump in the car and head over and up... and up... and up.  It is great exercise and the views and the vibe....
This time, there was one other car in the parking lot, but I never saw any sign of them.  Once again, I'm alone in this amazing archaeological site.... well, almost alone. 
I know there were a few workers out there.  This renovation has been ongoing for quite a few years and over the years, there has been lots of progress.  I was here when is was just rubble and then watched as they sorted all the stones and slowly put things back together.
This restoration is not perfect.  It is a bit too pristine in spots.  There is no climbing on anything.
However, it is a wonderful and important project.  This was the historical hangout for the elites from Monte Alban and was a very important from a strategic point of view.... one can see many kms in all directions.  That's my house down there!  See it?
It must have been an amazing place to live.  There a ceramic kiln on the north side of the site.
And at the very bottom of the mountain is the newly renovated ceramic market, one of Oaxaca's best.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Someone to watch over me...

Andra Day - Rise Up [Audio]

Women's March - Oaxaca

Levante!  January 21, 2017 - 11:00 AM. (map) In front of Santo Domingo and then a march down the Alcala to the zocalo.  Be There or Be Square.
Artwork is attributed to Patrick Sean Farley
Blogger buddy spixl has been instrumental in getting this organized.... and others have been involved, too.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

It's the simple things

Not exactly a trip to Home Depot...
And it appears to be the beginning of mango season..

Friday, January 13, 2017

¿Quién es peor? - Who is worse?

Ay!  Politicos!  It seems like it's a race to the bottom. 
Translation:  Peña Nieto plagiarized his thesis and he wants to evaluate the teachers.
And EPN isn't the only guy I'm talkin' about..... Cheeto Mussolini.....  Srsly
I'm depressed, but inspired.  So please don't make me get out my leathers and my motorcycle...  Go ahead, make my day.... As the title from one of my favorite films, "Start the revolution without me."

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

My backyard

January in Oaxaca, cold clear nights, warm days with azure skies.... what's not to like?  I always enjoy walking the streets in the city, but I love my afternoon walks around my house.  I am so lucky to have vistas like this... the archeological site of Aztompa.
The trees in the foreground, sorry I forget the name, however, the leaves have a wonderful fragrance and when rubbed on the face, the forehead and around the eyes, relieve stress.  It works!  There is almost no dew in the morning, the air is that dry, so the plants and the countryside have entered a dormant period and the palette changes from greens to browns.
Of course, next month the annual explosions of purple of the jacarandas will begin and they will carry us into the rains, although it will be months.  Still, we all adapt.
What a country..

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Got duct tape?

One more thing I love about living here is improvising when things go wrong or get broken.  Rather than run out and hire someone to fix it or run out to get a replacement part, one just wings it.  And of course, the joke is that with duct tape and a paper clip, a Mexican can fix most anything.  This is simply not true at all and I present the following example to back this up.

After driving around a few days,  I got this weird vibe that I should check the engine and, lo and behold, the oil cap was gone.  Who knows what happened, but I bet some idiot was involved... moi.
There should have been oil all over the place, but there wasn't.  Even though I had just driven it to Teotitlan del Valle and back through the city, I was hesitant to jump back in the car to get a replacement.  I looked things up online and they warned of fire and oil damaging belts and such, so I had to come up with a quick fix.  And voila...
See it was not duct tape and a paper clip after all, even though I have used that one plenty of times in the past.  No, it was gaffer's tape and a lid off a wine bottle..... and it worked like a charm.

With the fix in place I was off to try and find a replacement cap.  I drove to the two small places right down the road, both run by middle-aged ladies, but no luck.  Although one of them told me of a place to try not too far away.  On the way, I stopped at Autozone and they had one, but it was way across the city.  The lady's recommendation was just on the other side of the road, so what the heck.  It was a tiny place, a real hole in the wall, and was run by an old lady with a cat in her lap.  She said, "Sure, I've got one," and pulled out a box of various caps.  "Here, this looks right. Try it."  It worked and the adventure ended with me happily handing her $1.25 US.

So there, you see, it isn't always duct tape... well actually, it is.  I should tell you how I fixed my brake lights with tape and a one peso coin years ago and it still works.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Tres Reyes in Tres Reyes

Where better to spend el Dia de los Tres Reyes Magos than in nearby Tres Reyes Etla.  I was a bit early for all the action, but watched the mass and listened to the music and singing. Yes, it really looked like this, so bright and beautiful with all the papeles moving in the breezes.
 With valet parking of a sort.
 A sure sign of plenty of action to come.
I love the drama from the shadows....
Meanwhile, in the city, yesterday, they laid out the pathway of toys for the kids of the city. 
I've never seen the kids actually get the toys, but I am sure it is fun.
I am not sure how the whole thing works, but there were some pretty nice toys.
Again, I was a bit early and only caught the big kids eating snacks during morning recess.
So, Happy Three Kings Days! 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Same old bull.....

The palette of the countryside has shifted from green to brown as the dry season takes hold.  And these are my neighbors doing what they always do and what I strive to do ... eating and enjoying life.
Now, isn't that a happy face?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Seeing red?

The color palette here is so rich.... red enough?
And then it all turned blue and I saw this...
And I was off to try to take care of things.... like car insurance, which is all of $225 US for the year.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Zappa New Year!

I have to be Frank....
And yes, the moth was really there.  No doubt, drawn to the light.
From this poster.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Nectar - Tangerine juice

It's mandarina season and the markets are full of them.... so.... it's time for freshly squeezed tangerine juice.... ahhhh... there's nothing like it!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ribs! - Costillas!

The cuisine here in Oaxaca is famous and one has the opportunity to sample all sorts of foods and recipes.  Vegetables, fruit, cheeses, plants, drinks, meats, insects, you name it, we eat it.  Normally, I eat salads with either rice or potatoes with some cheese thrown in, but recently, I have been trying out recipes, slow cooking ribs in cazuelas, large ceramic dishes, that impart a wonderful taste.  So that means off to the nearby market in Etla.  So many stalls to choose from by I eneded up buying a couple of kilos of wonderful pork ribs.  The best part, besides the eating, was watching this woman work.  A thing of beauty.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Plumas in Slo Mo

Once again, the danzantes from Teotitlan del Valle, but this time, in a slightly different form. I  had some slow motion video clips and had to figure how to use them and then, somehow, add a soundtrack.  Integrating multiple programs was a fun challenge. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Noche Buena

Noche Buena, Christmas Eve, is always so much fun, a event with nothing but joy and happiness throughout. 
Parishioners from churches from various parts of the city process to the zocalo led by fireworks, a band and float on a flatbed truck. 
The floats all have kids on them dressed as angels and there always seems to be a Mary in one form or another, maybe with Joseph and the Magi, but sometimes the cuteness just takes over.
And of course, riding on a donkey, Mary holding her Child,  is hailed by the many onlookers.
And the Magi are there on horseback.
As the hours go by, more and more bands, floats, fireworks and people enter the zocalo and keep going around until it is one crazy happy cacophony.  I have some video that I will post later.

Friday, December 23, 2016

La Noche de Rabanos

La Noche is easily one of the best days of the year in Oaxaca.  I try to get there early to watch the setup and to avoid the massive crowds that descend on the zocalo as the day progresses.  Well, that was the plan and it sorta worked out, but the crowds came early as well.  Still, wow, what a time.
For me, having shot this for event for so many years, I love seeing the faces of the competitors I recognize.  I have made some good friends through Rabanos.
And it is much more than rabanos, radishes.  There are flor imortal (dried flowers) and works using only corn husks.
People work for months to create some large works, but the radish art is strictly a one day thing.  La Catrina and her daughter, Frida.
The detailed work can be remarkable.  This from a large panoramic.... all in radishes.
Really, it is way too much to take in in a single post.  I could never do justice to the incredible vision, artistry and talents of the many contestants.
Fortunately, I have lots of shots to go through.... so more mañana