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

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Noche Buena y Navidad

"Simply the best Christmas experience we have ever had. It was so joyous, like nothing we have ever experienced before."

That was the reaction of the folks I had brunch with yesterday after their time in the zocalo watching Noche Buena unfold.

Yes, that is the moon high above, clear skies, perfect temperatures.

Again, I got there early, about 7 PM, just to enjoy the action and all the people in the zocalo. All the gardens are overflowing with poinsettias or Noche Buena plants and everyone had sparklers or balloons or glow-in-the dark flying saucers, you know the little ones, pull a string and they fly up on random paths. They filled the air in front of the cathedral and people chasing after them made for a weird ballet. So it was already pretty festive before the real action had started.

At somewhere between 8 and 9 (who keeps track of time?) the first band and traditional over sized dancers arrived, followed by a float with a nativity scene on the back of a large flatbed truck. The truck was followed by a large group of people carrying candles or whistles or just singing, dancing, generally have a good time.This group is followed by another and another as the various neighborhood parishes joined in the celebration. Each had a band, a float, an entourage and of course, fireworks galore as skyrockets dodge the huge trees and surrounding buildings and pinwheels are run up and down the walkways.
At some point it turned into the euphoric cacophony that everyone had been waiting for with music all around you, people dancing, fireworks, everyone with sparklers, the zocalo covered with lights, it kicks into a whole new gear and one feels the joy that you want to feel at the holidays.

There are lots of cute kids who mug for the crowds and throw candy. Lots of variations of Mary Joseph and Jesus.After a couple of hours, one by one the groups head back to their churches to get ready for midnight mass. These photos don't really capture the ambiance, but the video does and in truth, I concentrated on working on that rather than the stills. Shooting at night with a flash unit is something I need to really practice, but it ain't like I don't have time and opportunity to do so.

So that was Noche Buena. Navidad was very quiet, just a small brunch. No family, no gifts, no big meal, just warm breezes and solitude of sorts - and an obligatory shot of mezcal. Once again, no pony under the tree. Oops, no tree.

So that was Christmas '09. The end of the year is always a contemplative time, a time to look back on the previous days and months. Looking back, looking ahead, looking good. Peace out.

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