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

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

And go shopping instead

After a morning of organizing photos and working in the garden, I packed up the car and headed into the city to work on the office/store. I am working off of lists these days just to get organized and make sure I cover everything. My Spanish is not that good and I have to do homework before every venture out just so I know some of the right words. I planned to stop at Office Depot and pick up printer inks, paper and office supplies. Oaxaca has a strip of typical modern stores on the south side of the city on the way to the airport. There one will find Sears, KFC, Sam's Club, Mercedes Benz, Cineopolis (multi-screen complex) and many of the familiar international names.

It is a controversial section of the city. Global corporations always make someone mad. So people complain about the presence of these franchises, but the bottom line is that Oaxacans want just what you and I want. At least the city did not allow McDonald's to build in the zocalo. They kept most everything well away from the city center.
This has been a particularly rainy "rainy" season and the land is lush and green. I am getting comfortable with the topes here and am able to take in the sights a bit better. This is mighty beautiful country. I came off the country road from San Agustin Etla on to the Pan-American Highway, which is four lane highway, albeit funky in spots. It is a divided highway. All of a sudden I saw lots of cars coming towards me, headed north in the southbound lanes. Panic? After driving in Boston? No big deal! Just do a three point turn and hope the folks who were behind you are doing the same. The road was blockaded. This is a tried and true action in Oaxaca, just shut down the roads or streets. Last year, at the height of the problems, there were thousands of barricades, some every block or so. This was a protest by the cab drivers, los taxistas. They wanted the government to do something about all the "pirate"drivers. Taxis are everywhere and are one of the main methods of transit even from the outlying villages. One can jump into "collective" taxis with five or six other people and get anywhere cheaply. Of course, with so many people in them and traveling quickly on less than perfect roads, there are a fair number of accidents. Some people joke that it is like playing Russian Roulette or worse, suicidal. So the taxistas shut down the city. It was an effective shut down. No doubt the locals knew alternative ways to get there, but I was not about to drive into the mountains to find the back way. Not with all the crazy driving that was taking place. Most of the time I am lucky to get where I am supposed to get. The next time they barricade the road and there will definitely be a next time, I will try it. For all I know it will be maƱana. So what's a boy to do when he can't go to work? Go shopping, of course. Which I did. I still can't get over how fresh and cheap the food is here. I went to a supermarket which had everything from refrigerator and tires to fresh hot tortillas and fruit and produce to die for. I filled up my cart with everything on one of my lists. When you fill your shopping cart, how much does it cost you. In Boston it was twice as much as here and St. Thomas was three or four times. After loading up with fresh watermelon, avocados, mangos, cheese I headed back to San Agustin to continue working in the garden. I have been planting like crazy. It is a gardener's dream. Gardenias thrive here!

My good friend Paul Wann, with whom I taught and created many wonderful artistic productions wrote me just this morning, "I am relieved that you are gardening. You seem, when improvising on 88 (the piano) or digging the good earth, most alive."
"I've got a good mind to give up living, and go shopping instead"

No comments: