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

Thursday, January 31, 2008

El Bautismo - The Baptism

We went to a baptism in San Felipe Tejalapam, which is just west of La Union. I am starting to realize that social celebrations here are never a one-day event. They are always at least two or three days and are an incredible amount of work. To be accurate we missed the actual baptizing of the two girls in the church as that that took place the day before, but we surely showed up for the party.
We stopped in La Union to pick up the family of Priscila, one of the girls who had been baptized and for whom we were celebrating. Somehow we managed to pack 15 people in the car and headed out on a dry and dusty road. In ten minutes, after crossing dry creek beds, we headed up an arroyo to find a large tent set up upon the side of the hills.
It was quite a remarkable setting, rugged and dramatic. The land is filled with rolling hills with mountains in the distance. It is bone dry and the air is so clear and clean that one can see for miles. Houses are very sparsely spread over the hills and yet here we were with several hundred locals.
Entrances into these events are always formal. Each family waits its turn and walks in en masse, sits together and waits before interacting with other families. Usually, there is a major domo, someone walking from table to table with mescal, so in time, things loosen up. There was a great band and lots of food and drink.
Behind the house, were two large pits in which a steer and a few goats were being barbequed.

The day before large smooth stones had been placed in the bottom of the pits and fires had been built to heat them.
The meat is placed on racks and put into the pits with large pots strategically placed to catch the juices. The whole affair is then covered with more racks, which are in turn covered with large aromatic leaves, a tarp and then covered with dirt to seal everything in.
We watched them fastidiously clean off all the layers and start pulling out large pieces of perfectly cooked meat. Goat is very common here and this was a particularly tasty recipe, real barbacoa masters at work.We just happened to be back there as they uncovered the meat and got samples before it got served. Both types of meat were absolutely delicious.
Meanwhile, the fiesta was moving on as the band cranked it up and the food was served. All the band play the same tunes, but they are all good, both the music and the musicans.
After a few hours, I looked out over the valleys and figured we had about a half hour of light left, so we had to make a quick choice of leaving or staying for the duration, which we knew was going to be very late, maybe even the next day. I was not about to try and drive out alone in the dark after all the creek beds and turnoffs we had passed on the way in. We made it back to familiar territory just as the sun went down.

The rest of the family stayed until three in the morning… and then walked back.

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