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

Friday, January 23, 2015

There was one quiet day this week

And it wasn't today.  Just down the road from me there was a major confrontation between mototaxi drivers and a great number of cops.  Rocks thrown and maybe a couple of shots fired.  I walked through all of it right after it happened and... it was back to normal pretty quickly as soon as the hundred or so police left.  I will see if I can find out what the thing was all about, but the mototaxistas in Viguera are a vocal and feisty group.  They have protested before, however the police presence was something new, mainly because there were so many of them. 

Then there were blockades all over the place today.  The nice thing is that social media is right on top of all of it and within minutes information is circulated and advice given.  Very cool.

Last Wednesday was supposed to be the huge national protest for the teachers, but here in Oaxaca, not enough of them showed up to pull much of anything off.  So today, I read that they are going to vote on whether or not to end the planton, the sit-in, or to continue until..... as I remember this all started last May, I've lost track, so maybe it has already been years.... which it actually has been. These protests started almost 40 years ago.

So maybe things are changing with the locals getting more organized and fed up and a waning of the enthusiasm of Seccion XXII.  It is all getting pretty old.  There has to be a better way.

However, because so many acts of vandalism by various parties have largely gone unchecked and unpunished, so many city-wide disruptions gone unfettered, unchallenged,  so many blockades un-policed, so chaotic, that it all seems to have emboldened even more protestors. We shall see what happens next.

However, the last few days has seen an increased police presence so maybe they are going to be involved.  I can't get into the whole politics of what's going on because..... I do not have a clue.

Update:  The action down the road in Viguera was all about pirate taxis and mototaxis.  If you think this is an easy issue, just think about taxi medallions in NYC, a legendary cesspit... easy it ain't.  Buses, colectivos (taxis) and mototaxis are the primary modes of transportation.  Yes, there are plenty of cars, but really, public transportation is huge here.  You can get to the most remote villages via some combination of the three.  So it is no wonder that politics, greed and corruption are interwoven into the system.  The crazy thing yesterday was the number of police.  Here's a video from Noticias of the action.  I walked right through it all a minute or two after it all went down.


Unknown said...

je je! there is a saying that states that

"Oaxacans like to complicate everything, even their cheese"

Just saying!

Enjoy the Weather!

Pat Visser said...

This article by Benjamin T. Smith from Dissent Magazine, albeit from 2013, provides some background and a fair perspective into the politics of what's going on and on and on.

Christopher Stowens said...

First, living just a few kms from Etla, the world capital of Oaxacan cheese, the closer you get to the source the less complicated it is;-)

Thanks for the link to the article. This place is fascinatingly complex, a wonderful study.... not always positive, but always interesting.

Anonymous said...

…and while we are on the subject of Oaxaca cheeses.
Aside from quesillo and queso fresco are there any other cheeses from Etla we should know about? Something a little more ripened maybe.

Christopher Stowens said...

Short answer on the cheese.... no.

I have tried so many different cheeses here and none of the hard or aged cheeses do anything for me. In fact, two of the few things I bring down from the States are a good parmesan and some sharp Vermont or NY cheddar. I have a stash here.

However, the flavored queso frescos can be very tasty. The woman I buy from in the Etla market, Doña Vicki, has a few different kinds. There is one that has slices of chiles and herbs and looks kinda like a rosca de reyes that is really good. Also, with chapulines if you like them. Ricisimo!

I suppose there is Sam's but I don't go there. There is a decent cheese store in Reforma, but pricey. And Soriana in Plaza del Valle has a good cheese section back near the bakery. I get my blue cheese there and it is actually decent and I am quite picky.