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 30, 2009

The Abastos with Alejandro Ruiz Olmedo

Over the years, I have videotaped many of the cooks in Oaxaca and now I am trying to figure out what to do with the footage. I have some real masters making their specialities. It is a fun gig, because not only do I get to make market runs with them and meet their favorite vendors, but I get to watch them cook all day. Of course, there is always the problem of what to do after everything is prepared and ready to eat. Problem? Right! The icing on the cake, so to speak - of course, we eat it!

I have known Alejandro Ruiz Olmedo for a few years. In fact, the video is from about five years ago. He is an amazing cook, so inventive and knowledgeable. He may be the most famous chef in Oaxaca. Now, he is gerente (manager) of Casa Oaxaca, the hotel, and his two restaurants which also go by the same name. His food is sublime, a marriage of traditional Oaxacan flavors and tastes and techniques from around the world. One of his keys - he uses only the best, the freshest, the most in season ingredients in his recipes.

The Abastos Market is on the western edge of the city. I have written about it before. It is huge and gritty and can be intimidating to some as it is known for its no-nonsense approach to business. There are pickpockets and scam artists and it is not the place to take tourist photos. The vendors will yell and curse you if you shove a camera in their face. They think that every shot takes a bit of their soul. Besides, they think it is rude. "I am not here for your entertainment..."

I go there regularly, because you can get, literally, anything there and once you figure out the layout and how to deal, it is an efficient and inexpensive place to shop. There is also delicious food everywhere and the tastes and smells are tantalizing. Makes my mouth water just to think of it.

At any rate, to have a guide/friend like Alejandro taking me around was great and folks had no problem with me shooting. Well, no one threw anything at me. Actually, people were very warm and friendly, as they usually are. I have shot there many times and never really had a problem. I do always ask before shooting.

Watch the video in High Res if you can. Youtube has increased the size they allow and the quality is really quite good.


janie said...

I was trying to take a few photos of the vegetables at the weekly market in Arezzo when a vendor looked at me and said "Non รจ un spettacolo!"-this isn't a show!

Anonymous said...

Hey Stowe- your blog is a great adventure! I like exploring it. The photo of the church in Santo Domingo reminds me of the architecture I saw in Santo Domingo in the Philippines. -Mad Dog

Christopher Stowens said...

As is yours and Janie's above. Looks like you are having way too much fun... and I bet it ain't cold and snowy either.