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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ugly, Ugly, Ugly

Or maybe it should be dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb.........

I ventured into the city to check out el planton, the teacher's occupation of the zocalo.  The protests extend several blocks around the zocalo and all the major streets are closed off.  There are tents set up everywhere and the vendatores, selling-you-name it, have moved in.  Basically, it is impassable with ropes and wires holding up tents or stalls everywhere.  Some are at neck level and others at waist level, too high to go over and too low to go under easily.

I had gone in to get candles and yerba conejo from Benito Juarez market.  If I thought I was pissed and inconvenienced, I was calm compared to all the vendors I spoke with.  "It is impossible to do business. We can't get supplies.  And it is so dirty now.  It's a disaster."

Tell me how you really feel.

So got my things and headed back to my car near Carmen Alto.  I only clothes-lined myself a few times, managing only to knock my shades off instead of decapitating myself.  I did run into Antonio and Claudia Ruiz and their kids from Teotitlan del Valle and the boda two weeks ago, who were in for a day in the city.  In my bag I had a scrolled letter I had just received to the wedding which had been left with friends.  I asked them if there was another wedding coming up and said I was psyched, but they said they were wedding-ed out.  It was just a slow delivery of Sergio and Virginia's affair.  They laughed because I looked so disappointed.

Back to the car.  The herbs and I are feeling the heat.  I mean, I was lugging 100 candles uphill.  I had a few more things on my list.  Hey, I am out in the country and like everyone else from el campo, we come in with lists and try to get things not available in the villages.

So I headed toward Plaza del Valle to go to Soriana.  It was a bear getting there, but I made it.  The teachers have blockaded all the stores so it is a total no go.  The funny thing was that I was only there for blue cheese.  It is the only place I have found that has it and in truth, it is terrible blue cheese, but I have been living on salads and had a hankering.

I had to chuckle to myself and imagined myself doing the huffy prissy gringo rant, "I appreciate your protests and all that, but don't you understand, I just drove two hours to get some blue cheese"... oh, the humanity.... so I went to an ATM instead.... OK, the hell with it... back through the city to head home and maybe get some mouthwash at Aurrera or Chedraui... I am not out, but down to two bottles, hmmm, not too neurotic... the road over the mountains, el cerro, is blocked by the teachers.... no problem, we are used to this... long detour on back roads over the hills, circle back to get to the stores.... Chedraui blocked....OK, turn around.... Aurrera blocked.  All supermarkets blocked, so I split... no cheese, no mouthwash....but seriously what about people who need food?  What about businesses that cannot function.  This is not good.  And don't get me going about the kids not being in school..... indefinitely.

They say it could be a week or a month.  I can't see people tolerating it, but what do I know.  As I said before, the teachers have little or no popular support as they did in 2006..... and I have no blue cheese.
Do I have to mention that last line was tongue in cheek?

Pictures shortly.... I just needed to vent.... ah, I feel so much better now.


Anonymous said...

I am in Oaxaca at the moment and am so sorry. No music in the Zocalo. Stink and garbage in the streets.

What impresses me most is the abundance of street vendors. They seem so happy. They must look forward to this time of year. I see food and merchandise rolling in each morning. It is a fiesta.

The fixed restaurants and stores are empty. It is extremely difficult to get through on the streets.

This strike is old. Can't they come up with another way.


Peter (the other) said...

The "you can't get there from here" problem. Well I'm just another guy of a certain age who is feeling at sixes and sevens this morning. Having gone to bed at 01:30 and alarmed awake at 04:30 so I could finish the last couple of pages of my conference paper before heading to the airport at 07:00. At 06:15 a text on my phone informs flight is cancelled due to volcanic ash... tired and cranky, rather then hang around airports, and as a white knuckle flier not loving small regional jets, I just decide to pull the plug on the whole conference trip! Humph! Air France quickly refunds ticket, Danish hotel hits me for first night... oh well, someone has to pay...

Your teacher irritation seems understandable just for being of a certain age and being thwarted of ones plan. Yet your friend at Casita Colibri quotes " ...the teachers are not demanding wage increases, instead focusing on social issues, including “better uniform allowances for students, computers in all of the state’s elementary schools and electricity in all schools.” Privatization is also an issue." As I think you may have allowed before, sometimes the failure of gumption on the part of oppressed Yankees, to mount civil disobedience and demand change for the same kind of things, is a wonder.

And then, sometimes I return to the states only to wonder where the (delusional?) "customer is always right" attitude and the "everything always works", has gone. Sometimes the French are a joy of friendly efficiency (as I am feeling towards my power company, EDF, right now). Momentary reality disturbances on the relentless entropy slide.