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

Thursday, May 28, 2015

North and beyond

I'm headed to El Norte, to Boston and beyond, and somehow I don't think I will see this sort of thing on the streets of the Athens of America.  This from outside the market in Etla.
I will take all the help I can get.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Generations of failure

This is one of the most crucial aspects of the ongoing teachers' strikes, plantons and marches.  This is really a no-brainer.  If you have 35 years of major disruptions in your educational system, the system cannot do what it is supposed to do... educate people.  Those people are the current and future workforces and well, not getting a good education holds each and every person back and ill prepares them for life in an ever-changing and knowledge-based world.

From Noticias: (translated)
The teachers' strikes that from 1980 began to make the members of Section 22 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), to date 15 have affected generations of students; 5 primary level and 11 secondary. Graduates who left unfinished the contents of their materials, and even those who are already professionals.

Sociologist Samael Hernandez Ruiz felt that the educational effects caused by the strikes and marches that teachers do at different times of the school year, can not be measured, because it does not have a record of the professional performance of the generations that were formed uninterruptedly.

This said, a decline that can not be quantified in general; however, it is clearly reflected in the deskilling of teachers, since the graduates from the normal state do not cover the academic background to teach. This situation may also explain the current "unruly" behavior of workers of education, as there is a clear lack of direction of the movement itself, because many of its demands have no reason to be.

"They go to the streets to demand the release of political, social leaders alleged prisoners, street crying for help, when all they do is politicize their demands," he criticized.
That is it pretty much in a nutshell.  If a culture ignores and does not support its educational system, it will end up with a people who don't understand the world around them.   They will reject knowledge, deny facts, reject science, ignore reality and open themselves to all sorts of abuse and corruption.... oh, wait.  El Norte?  Sound familiar?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Give them enough rope....

This campesino was selling his hand-made rope in Tlacolula last Sunday.
There is art in everything.  These are really quite remarkable and beautiful.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Seed man

I buy most all of my seeds from this gentleman in the Sunday Tlacolula market.  He always has a large selection and they are always pretty good seeds.  Well worth the drive... plus, it's Tlacolula on Sunday.
So yesterday, I bought two huge handfuls of cilatro seeds from him for 20 pesos.  They take a long time to germinate and need good moisture to do so, but now that the rains are here..... maybe.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Normally, May is the hottest month of the year.  However, this year, it was April and now the rains have come, along with nice cool mornings and pleasant afternoon temperatures.   So everything is turning green.  It is hard to believe that this garden was a bomb zone less than two years ago.
 There will hundreds of zinnias, cosmos and marigolds starting to flower in just a few more days.
That rosemary, romero, just behind the agave, was a tiny slip of a plant not long ago.  Now, it is big and getting bigger.  I trim it and give to the people walking down the road.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Painting the town red.....

Are the houses where you live painted these subtle colors?
These are actually very conservative for Oaxaca.  Where's the lime green and purple combo?
And you can find the same colors in the markets.... early corn
and fresh flor de calabasa.
And it is mango season.... so tasty and so inexpensive, a daily taste treat.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

If it's Tuesday...

Well, any day of the week, you name it and there is a protest, blockade, march or a combination of the three.  It makes me wonder if there are other cities where this is just normal life.  People here deal with it matter-of-factly and try to get on with their lives. 
This is not to say that folks are not pissed off about it, but more or less resigned to these daily hassles and inconveniences, not to mention the economic impact it has on everyone.  So yesterday, Monday, the teachers marched once again.  Here's a Noticias link to the whys and wherefores.
Of course, it was another day off for the 1,300,00 students in the state.  And the businesses in the zocalo took another hit in the pocket book.
These tables would normally be filled..... but what is normal?
This current planton or sit/sleep/live/in has been going on for over a year.
The 43 students remain a central issue, with demands for their return, which seems to be a bit of an unrealistic demand, one that will never be met, mainly because it cannot be met.  However, there are many demands that can and should be addressed, but for many reasons, just never are.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Can you name the states?

People often forget just how huge a country Mexico is.  Well, it is.... huge... and incredibly diverse.
This puzzle helped me learned all the states of Mexico.  I was not happy to learn how woeful my education had been, but what a fun way to learn.  Now I know... most of them.  Yes, there is a quiz following this post.  I loves quizzes!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

So you think you know Oaxaca....

I thought I did, but this puzzle taught me I surely did not.
What a fun way to learn the many regions of this incredible and diverse state.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Is this what it takes?

Last I checked, a couple of days ago, the zocalo was free of ambulantes or street vendors.  They were lurking off on the peripheries, the adjacent streets.  I am sure there is a betting pool as to when they will be back.  However, for now, the police have set up tents and checkpoints on those same streets.
They are not checking anyone or anything.  It is just their presence that seems to be holding things in check.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Get yer motor runnin'....

Motos and motorcycles are one of the most popular methods of transportation here in Oaxaca.
I have thought about getting one, but thought again and thought better of the whole idea.  I don't think I could rock the look.
However, when the revolution comes, I will be out there on my chopper, dressed in leathers.

April showers bring....

May flowers.....
We have had very dramatic rains in the last few days.  There has been damaging hail and flooding in many areas. 
We escaped with a little hail which really did a number on all the large leafed plants.  And wind blowing the rain through the windows, flooding almost every room.  Meanwhile, everything is turning green as the countryside wakes up.... and it is nice and cool, perfect for the weeds and weeding.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Things are looking up

From recent travels... The fully restored cupola in Teposcolula.
Like a mandala.
The entrance to the amazing church in Santa Ana Zegache.
And the zocalo is temporarily much nicer and cleaner.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Live or blog

OK, so the blog posting has been a little slow, but sometimes one has to choose between living and loving life to the fullest or blogging.  Not really too hard a choice, is it?  However, even with my head in the clouds atop the sacred mountain, Picacho,
I am always trying to get that special shot.
So many opportunities on this magical day.
The answer is blowin' in the wind
Shannon does a great job of chronicling the day over at Casa Colibri.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Let there be... juice!

Oaxaca has so many taste treats and freshly prepared juice is just one of them.  You can get any kind of juice you can think of and people take advantage of this healthy choice every single day
This is Doña Cynthia who has a popular juice stand in the nearby Etla market and she has a very loyal customer in me. 
Everything she makes simply tastes wonderful. I feel healthier ever time I drink one of her juices.  Care for some fresh strawberries or maybe carrot juice?
It takes some serious muscle and effort to turn these....
into this
As I shot these photos today, we joked and I said instead of the normal 10 pesos price for taking her picture, I was giving her a special price, double, 20 pesos.  This is a reverse play on what people say when you ask if you can take their picture, "Sure, for 10 pesos."  When it came time to pay for the juice, she gave me a price that seemed high and then she winked and said, "Of course, with a 20 peso discount."  Life is sweet and oh so healthy!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Rites of passage

It is always so sweet to see kids dressed up for their first communion or baptism.
This beautiful little girl had just finished up in Ocotlan.
And this little devil, I mean, boy was racing around the church in San Bartolomo Coyotopec, burning off excess energy as his baptism appraoched.
 Of course, he uttered the words every good oaxaqueño utters when you take their picture. "10 pesos, please.";-)