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, May 20, 2015

Painting the town red.....

Are the houses where you live painted these subtle colors?
These are actually very conservative for Oaxaca.  Where's the lime green and purple combo?
And you can find the same colors in the markets.... early corn
and fresh flor de calabasa.
And it is mango season.... so tasty and so inexpensive, a daily taste treat.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

If it's Tuesday...

Well, any day of the week, you name it and there is a protest, blockade, march or a combination of the three.  It makes me wonder if there are other cities where this is just normal life.  People here deal with it matter-of-factly and try to get on with their lives. 
This is not to say that folks are not pissed off about it, but more or less resigned to these daily hassles and inconveniences, not to mention the economic impact it has on everyone.  So yesterday, Monday, the teachers marched once again.  Here's a Noticias link to the whys and wherefores.
Of course, it was another day off for the 1,300,00 students in the state.  And the businesses in the zocalo took another hit in the pocket book.
These tables would normally be filled..... but what is normal?
This current planton or sit/sleep/live/in has been going on for over a year.
The 43 students remain a central issue, with demands for their return, which seems to be a bit of an unrealistic demand, one that will never be met, mainly because it cannot be met.  However, there are many demands that can and should be addressed, but for many reasons, just never are.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Can you name the states?

People often forget just how huge a country Mexico is.  Well, it is.... huge... and incredibly diverse.
This puzzle helped me learned all the states of Mexico.  I was not happy to learn how woeful my education had been, but what a fun way to learn.  Now I know... most of them.  Yes, there is a quiz following this post.  I loves quizzes!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

So you think you know Oaxaca....

I thought I did, but this puzzle taught me I surely did not.
What a fun way to learn the many regions of this incredible and diverse state.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Is this what it takes?

Last I checked, a couple of days ago, the zocalo was free of ambulantes or street vendors.  They were lurking off on the peripheries, the adjacent streets.  I am sure there is a betting pool as to when they will be back.  However, for now, the police have set up tents and checkpoints on those same streets.
They are not checking anyone or anything.  It is just their presence that seems to be holding things in check.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Get yer motor runnin'....

Motos and motorcycles are one of the most popular methods of transportation here in Oaxaca.
I have thought about getting one, but thought again and thought better of the whole idea.  I don't think I could rock the look.
However, when the revolution comes, I will be out there on my chopper, dressed in leathers.

April showers bring....

May flowers.....
We have had very dramatic rains in the last few days.  There has been damaging hail and flooding in many areas. 
We escaped with a little hail which really did a number on all the large leafed plants.  And wind blowing the rain through the windows, flooding almost every room.  Meanwhile, everything is turning green as the countryside wakes up.... and it is nice and cool, perfect for the weeds and weeding.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Things are looking up

From recent travels... The fully restored cupola in Teposcolula.
Like a mandala.
The entrance to the amazing church in Santa Ana Zegache.
And the zocalo is temporarily much nicer and cleaner.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Live or blog

OK, so the blog posting has been a little slow, but sometimes one has to choose between living and loving life to the fullest or blogging.  Not really too hard a choice, is it?  However, even with my head in the clouds atop the sacred mountain, Picacho,
I am always trying to get that special shot.
So many opportunities on this magical day.
The answer is blowin' in the wind
Shannon does a great job of chronicling the day over at Casa Colibri.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Let there be... juice!

Oaxaca has so many taste treats and freshly prepared juice is just one of them.  You can get any kind of juice you can think of and people take advantage of this healthy choice every single day
This is Doña Cynthia who has a popular juice stand in the nearby Etla market and she has a very loyal customer in me. 
Everything she makes simply tastes wonderful. I feel healthier ever time I drink one of her juices.  Care for some fresh strawberries or maybe carrot juice?
It takes some serious muscle and effort to turn these....
into this
As I shot these photos today, we joked and I said instead of the normal 10 pesos price for taking her picture, I was giving her a special price, double, 20 pesos.  This is a reverse play on what people say when you ask if you can take their picture, "Sure, for 10 pesos."  When it came time to pay for the juice, she gave me a price that seemed high and then she winked and said, "Of course, with a 20 peso discount."  Life is sweet and oh so healthy!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Rites of passage

It is always so sweet to see kids dressed up for their first communion or baptism.
This beautiful little girl had just finished up in Ocotlan.
And this little devil, I mean, boy was racing around the church in San Bartolomo Coyotopec, burning off excess energy as his baptism appraoched.
 Of course, he uttered the words every good oaxaqueño utters when you take their picture. "10 pesos, please.";-)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Over and Under in El Tule

People go to Santa Maria del Tule to see the largest tree in the world.  The tree is impressive and seems to make the church next to it appear to be a miniature.  The church is actually quite small, but quite stunning inside.
Looking up one sees this...

I love that this is such an obvious indigenous face, not so much the cherubs surrounding her.
And the ceramic tile floor is just as spectacular.
El Tule is one of Oaxaca's most popular tourist destinations, so when you go, be sure to check out the church.  Another place well worth the visit, only 30 minutes from the city at most.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Buggin' out in Yanhuitlan

"You lookin' at me?"
This beauty was the most alive and vibrant creature in Yanhuitlan as it took in the world from its vantage hanging out on the ancient doors leading onto the huge outdoor gathering area.
I said things were nice and green.....

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Checking in at Yanhuitlan

We took the short drive north to visit Yanhuitlan and Teposcolula.  It is a gorgeous drive through such diverse country and for a change, things were nice and green because of the recent rains.  I have been going there for a few years, watching the restoration proceed.  It used to look like this...
And now it looks like this....
However, for me, they have made this magnificent church into a cold, sterile place.  It feels less alive than ever and it never really felt that alive.... maybe it is the 95,000 Mixtecs that died in the 16th and 17th centuries in its early days of construction.  They died from diseases that came with the conquistadores, but hey, they at least died Catholics, although, as indigenous, they were not allowed into the church proper.
Vestiges of its original glory remain.
Somehow I don't think is was this sterile when the monks were here.
The state government is pushing the Ruta Dominicana as a tourist attraction and it is certainly worth the trip, but sadly, they have removed much of the patina of the place, taken out the old weathered stones that covered the floor and replaced them with stark white smooth stone tiles.  And it sure looks like they sandblasted the walls and removed what must have been original paintings.  A little remains, but one can only imagine what it looked like before the geniuses behind the restoration started.
Actually, I was there just before and the church was dark and closed off, full of birds and echos of the past.  It was definitely more alive then. And the adjoining zocalo was completely empty with a voice blasting over the loudspeakers... not really warm and fuzzy..  Still, it is most definitely worth the trip.  It is a great piece of Mexican history in a nutshell.  One can see the whole story, the result of the conquest, the Dominicans and the revolutions.