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.

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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, April 3, 2008

Vale la pena? Worth the pain?

A few days off from posting to be introspective and to work on music, read and work in the garden.

It is remarkably dry here, I mean seriously dry, but San Agustin has water from the mountains and the gardens are holding on. I can only imagine what that first rain will feel like and this is only my first dry season. For those who live here, this is normal.

The fragrance of gardenias fills the courtyard, as there are six plants each with up to twenty blossoms from day to day.

On the music front, I have finished about 68 minutes of music. The latest was a southern lullaby sort of thing. Now I am left with one more piece to go.

It is called “Vale la pena” or “Worth the pain” which was one of the phrases I learned from Memo on the road trip. It became one of the catchphrases.

For instance, after climbing 133 large steps at Ek Balam and turning and seeing the view, “Vale la pena?” “Claro, si!”
The trip certainly triggered new interests for me and I have been reading more history and anthropology material about this part of Mexico and the areas we drove through.

I am currently reading a book that Henry found for me at the house, Mexico South: The Isthmus of Tehuantepec by Miguel Covarrubias, which is incredibly rich with information about southern Oaxaca and the isthmus that connects the continents.

I wish I had read it before the drive, but now, I am ready to go back. I remember being struck by how dramatically and quickly the landscape would change, from jungle to arid mountains, from tropical plains to lush rain forests. The colors of the soil ran from reds to chalky blues to yellows to deep rich brown blacks.

So I keep reading about the cultures that populated this area for hundreds, thousands of years and are still here in one way or another. These were/are rich cultures that were, at some time in history, on top of their world.

But as they say, “Pride goeth before a fall.”

It turns out the Aztecs alienated all their neighbors so profoundly, that they happily turned on them when Cortes arrived with his 500 men and a boatload of diseases.

Those 500(!) men certainly changed their world.

Meanwhile, I try to stay on top of what is happening in the rest of the world from Tibet to Wal-Mart, from Zimbabwe to Basra and baby, it don’t look that good from my gardenia-filled perspective.

Sadly, the U.S. looks somewhat Aztec-like or Mayan, Roman, Byzantine, you pick it, over-extended in so many ways, militarily, economically, morally, it looks like a Terry Gilliam movie. Don’t believe me? Start with “Brazil.”

No matter how we slice it, the only superpower in the world has repeated what other cultures did in the past. I wonder how it will work out?

Actually, it is of some concern, as I am trying to figure out future plans.

I hear the real Brazil’s economy is taking off.

One bit of info of which to make note, while the whole Basra mess was occurring, there appeared to be a news blackout in the US. Other outlets were all over it, but there was almost nothing for two or three days in the US. What’s with that?

Ah yes, bowling scores and blowjobs (Monica’s back.)

Here are two sites worth checking out. Juan Cole and Gorilla’s Guides, which is written by Iraqis in Iraq.

Now, the title of this post is “Vale la pena,” but it is too long already, maybe too painful, so I will end it. However, I do enjoy contemplating the question on many levels

So, on a personal level, on a national level, on a global level, was it?

Vale la pena?

Incidentally, the photos are of the vultures in Merida, which were most visible in the wealthiest of neighborhoods. I guess they know something.

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