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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Viernes del Llano continued....

On every Friday morning during Lent, Llano Park is filled with flowers and beautiful young women.  And of course, wherever there are beautiful young women, there are sure to be lots of young men.  They come from the city's preparatory schools and there is a different group of schools represented each week.  (Here is last week's post.)
This past Friday was no exception and, once again, I found myself trying to figure out this event in which everyone seems so happy.  I guess it is a popularity contest and some the girls show up with cheering sections loaded with flowers, while others seem pretty unsupported. 
I guess it could be sad not to receive armloads of flowers, which is the determining factor in winning, but it sure does not seem like that is the case.  Everyone seems like they are having a blast.
The young ladies process around a statue for close to a half hour and, as the flowers amass, guys step in to help carry them.
There is a taste of stardom with lots of local media.
It is always a fun challenge to try and get nice candid shots.  Of course, it helps that the subjects are so easy on the eyes.
Stunning.... sometime the shot just happens.
Or maybe she is just photogenic.
This young lady was a real crowd favorite.
Nice shoes and a nicer tat.
She had quite a pile of flowers at the end, but.......
Here she is, in all her glory, this week's queen.
Next week is the last of the year and of course, I plan to be there.

Dinner anyone?

Mole estafado from Comedor Colon in Etla.  How do they do it?  Everything always tastes as good as one could ever hope.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Breakfast anyone?

Very, very - huevos rancheros!
So tasty!!! from Cocina Isabel.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Día de la Samaritana - A taste

Yesterday, the fourth Friday of Lent, was Día de la Samaritana, Good Samaritan's Day and this city was once again, a crowded, joyous and vibrant place.  It really blows my mind how open and giving people can be.  The happiness and warmth were contagious.
A description from El Imparcial
De acuerdo a la religión católica, esta celebración se basa en paisaje bíblico descrito por Juan, cuando una mujer ofreció agua a Jesús en el pozo de Jacob en la ciudad de Sicar o Siquem.

Era alrededor del mediodía, Jesús, cansado del camino, estaba sentado junto al manantial cuando llega una mujer y le pide de beber agua del pozo, por ello, según la fe cristiana, desde finales del siglo XIX cada Cuarto Viernes de Cuaresma esta tradición inicia justo al mediodía.

According to the Catholic religion, this celebration is based on biblical landscape described by John, when a woman offered water to Jesus at Jacob's well in Sychar city or Shechem.

It was around noon, Jesus, tired of the road, was sitting next to the spring when a woman arrives and asks him drink water from the well, therefore, according to the Christian faith, from the end of the 19th century every fourth Friday of lent this tradition starts at noon.
Throughout the city and in all the surrounding villages, people set up areas and offered free waters or drinks.  The traditional drinks are horchata, a rice based drink.  This one had rose petals, nuts and melon added.
Chilacayote is a favorite of many people and is the name of both the drink and the squash from which it is made.
I love how this shot looks like galaxies and stars.
Pulling back a bit.
The real thing.
Just frontin'
(h/t spixl)

The best drink of the day was one made from sandia, watermelon, that we got on a side street.  It was like drinking the sweetest tasteiest watermelon ever!  Mmmmm... so good on a hot day.

It was a full day with much more happening, like the beauty/popularity contest in Llano, and I will post about it a bit later.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What a difference a day makes..... Cinco Senores!!!!!!

Yesterday. I made a vain attempt to get to Plaza del Valle, the shopping mall on the other side of the city.  What was one person's exciting event was another person's pain in the butt..... Shannon and her friends, who were on foot, loved it, but for me the protest trapped me in on of the funkiest intersections in all of Oaxaca.  I was completely surrounded by buses belching exhaust and taxis blowing their horns, but saw a hole and jumped through it and turned around.  You gotta know when to hold em' and when to fold 'em, so I headed home to try again some other time
And that time was today.  I went in the same way, around the Abastos market and made it to the mall, no problemas.  Did my thing and headed out and thought I would try the road by the university which has been a nightmare traffic jam for many, many moons as they repaved and continued work on the infamous Cinco Senores intersection.  I have written about it many times and will leave it as it has been the single most invasive and disruptive project I have seen here and there have been some beauts. 

But, OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG,  the road was perfectly paved and I found myself going through the underpass for the first time. 
I bet I was one of the first because I have not heard a word about the road being done.  What used to take up to twenty minutes was over in less than twenty seconds.  Unbelievable!

I survived the Big Dig in Boston, which took twenty years, but was so worth it.  And Cinco Senores may just be equally worth it. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Just passing through...

I always like to walk through the Camino Real, the hotel that has had many lives.   I believe it used to be a convent, a municipal center and a prison at different times.  However, now it is one of Oaxaca's poshest hotels and is always a cool and tranquil oasis (and has a handy bathroom, just sayin')  It is pretty pricey and the normal clientele includes international tourists and lots of Mexican bigwigs.

As I was passing through, I smiled as I took these two shots.  The first is just a snapshot of the current state of tourism with everyone plugged into their laptops or phones.  There is a person with a computer behind the flowers, too.
And this one of a man eating with an abuela in the painting behind him made me think it should be a caption contest. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Viernes del Llano

Each Friday morning during Cuaresma, the forty day period preceding Easter, there is kind of a pageant or popularity contest with young women and their many supporters in Llano Park.
Each week, students from a different preparatory school get to strut their stuff in what is a pretty crazy and festive celebration.
The participants circle around a statue and are presented with flowers by their admirers.
Smiles all around. 
Eventually they end up with so many flowers that guys must join them to carry all the extras.
These seem like pretty organized affairs with cheering sections loaded with flowers and signs.
The young lady who receives the most flowers is declared queen.
There were princesses chosen as well, but I have no clue as to how it all went down.
The flowers get dispensed over about a half hour and most of the girls get tons of them.
For me, it was a fun shoot (duh), the challenge to try to get flattering candid shots.
It was pretty obvious that many of these chicas were not used to parading for thirty minutes in high heels
and by the end, it sure looked like there were some sore puppies out there.
I liked these two shots.  the second one sure made me look at things differently.
I am back next Friday for the last one of the year.  I know, I know, it's tough work, but....

Friday, March 21, 2014

Welcome to Spring - Bienvenidos Primavera

Spring has sprung and in celebration of the vernal equinox, the area is flooded with cuteness in that all the little kids dress up and parade through the streets.
They do not mess around.  There are so many cute kids that it can melt the coldest heart.
There must have been five or six separate parades that all ended up in the zocalo at around ten in the morning.  There were lions and tigers
and lots of bees, birds, bugs and fairies.
OMG! Now he's eating his mother.  The horror!
Lots of amazing looks and costumes.  This one is a work of art as it is made of folded paper.
Ahhhhh..... spring.......