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

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Carnaval in Teotitlan del Valle

Well, sorta... Every year we try to go to carnaval in Teotitlan del Valle, which occurs the week after Easter.  There is music and dancing, but all in all, it is generally a quiet affair, nothing too crazy.   This year our timing was off... sorta.  We arrived just in time for comida, mole amarillo y pollo.  And notice, no eating utensils.  That's how it's done.  Using tlayudas to spoon up the mole and then taking the chicken back home....  wrapped in tlayudas, of course.  The equivalent of a Zapotec doggie bag.
We ate well and enjoyed the music and the company.  Don "Ahuehuete" (meaning "old man of the water) sat with us the entire meal.  He has been married for 50 years and has eleven children and over forty grandchildren.  Such a warm and friendly man.
However, it turned out that the music and dancing was going to happen later than we planned on staying.  We did make some nice new friends. 
And as a little brother myself, I totally agree.....
Oh well, we still had a wonderful time and plan on returning Friday for the last day of carnaval in the hopes of catching more of this from 2014.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The hits keep comin'...

The is a real "man on the street" thing.... 
One of the museums set up easels with blank sheets on them so that people could express their feelings about The Donald or as he is known, Drumpf.
"Don't hold back.  Tell us how you really feel."
Somehow, misogyny appears to disgust people everywhere. 
His over-the-top hatred of Mexicans (and women, Islam, and just about everything else) has not been missed by those around me.
There was no collection plate for paying for building the wall, but if it will keep him and his ilk out, people will gladly chip in.  And who was the horrible person who wrote "manitos?"...
I think I saw him in the mirror this morning..... no doubt a reference to our least favorite "short-fingered vulgarian"... and for all these years I thought it was a diss of Bulgarians;-)

Where's that meteor when you need it?

Yeah, right...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday - Viernes Santo

Obviously, lots is happening today as it is one of the most important days in the Catholic calendar.  I'll head into the city later this afternoon, but I wanted to catch some of the early action in the nearby villages. 
In Reyes Etla, they were just finishing a mass and getting ready to carry the statues from the church to the various stations of the cross that were being set up. 
Each one was different and each one had its own sweetness.  Nothing fancy.  This is el campo.
 Fighting mosquitoes with the jacarandas in full blossom.
And breakfast, too.
I did not want to get on the wrong side of the Lord, meaning I did not want to get trapped by the procession, so I headed back to Etla.
In Etla, they do the whole Passion with Cristo getting castigated, beaten and paraded through the streets ending in the Crucifixion, but I was way too early for that.  It is serious!  I did catch the preparation of the crosses.
And people were buying fish like crazy.  The chicken sellers were strangely idle.
And then, all there was, was the waiting....

Sunday, March 20, 2016

El Burrito de San Antonino Castillo Velasco - Palm Sunday tradition

It was a little crazy getting there this morning because of 5k runs and incredible traffic, but I made it just as the procession started.  Each year, on Palm Sunday, the people of San Antonino Castillo Velasco, carry the statue of Cristo on His burro, laden with fruits, vegetables, bread and more, from the cemetery back to the statue's home at the church.  It's a wonderful tradition.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Getting ready for Palm Sunday

Every year, families from the Mixteca region, to the north of the city, come and set up the Alameda, in front of the cathedral, to create little works of art made with palms.  They use both the leaves and the hearts.  It's a little bit of magic and they weave the leaves and hearts into all sorts of shapes.
They come in all ages and, as in many things Oaxacan, they start pretty young.
In no time at all, they are creating wonderful little pieces of art.
There looked to be about a dozen families, all from the same area and all doing a fairly brisk business.
I purchased this purple, one the colors of Semana Santa, wreath from Olga Mendoza Diaz.
I also got a beautiful piece from Raoul Hernandez.
Such a wonderful tradition.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Viernes de Dolores

Semana Santa approaches with a piece by Jesus Sosa Calvo of San Martin Tilcajete.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Our Lady of the walls

More brilliant street art.
Soon to fade away and something new will appear.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Oaxaca Sabe - Restaurante Catedral y Asador Vasco Plaza Parque

What an excellent week this has been.... even though I missed most of it.  Still, I managed to make it to four restaurants and hence, free entry into last night's closing celebration.  It was an eating extravaganza if there ever was one, but no photos ... too many people and too much to eat. 

However, getting there is half the fun or so they say.  A few days ago I (we) had a wonderful breakfast at El Asador Vasco Plaza Parque up in colonia Reforma.  Huevos Cesar, basically eggs with hashed browns with veggies.  It tasted as good as it looks.  Mmmmm...
There was juice and yogurt with fruit, but .... I ate it.  There was a very nice mermelada de fresa.
Our final meal was at the Restaurante Catedral.  I started with this wonderful soup, potaje de crustaceos, chile poblano y grilled calamares... Delicious!
Then a dish I would not normally have, but now that I have, I would definitely have again... and again.  Glazed pork belly with mushrooms and sweet potato.
Wow!  Too good... please sir, I'll have another.  And finally, a tartin de choconoxtle (cactus fruit).
What a wonderful series of meals.  I can't wait until the next Oaxaca Sabe, which should be in about six months.  Be there or be square!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Viernes del Llano - Beauty abounds

Each Friday during Lent, a different school shows up in Llano park to strut their stuff and have one hell of a good time.  It is a long standing tradition and a real feel-good event... always.
Just imagine hundreds of kids cheering like crazy and making lots of noise as they cheered their friends on.
 Names spelled out in balloons?  Sure, why not?
This senorita, Litzy Guadalupe González Montes, was  eventual winner.  Blogger buddy Shannon has an in-depth look at her.
 But, no doubt, it was hard to choose.
 She was chosen most photogenic.
It is some sort of a competition with some nebulous criteria, but really it appears that everyone wins.
Each of the senoritas declaims, speaks about themselves, their school and friends.  It seems as if all oaxaqueños can give speeches and theses ladies were no exceptions.
The senoritas parade around the statue and are given lots of flowers and encouragement.
As the minutes pass the guys have to come out and help the girls carry the flowers... and they just keep on coming.
Viernes del Lanno is always such a fun time, one filled with joy, love, and encouragement.   I always feel happy after it.... but... after the ball, someone always has to clean up the mess.

Tourists in record numbers

Certainly, this seems to be the case in Oaxaca.  The economy is slowly recovering from the chaos of 2006.  Lots of lessons have been learned.  And throughout Mexico as well.

from LAHT
Mexico received a record 32 million foreign tourists in 2015, enough to make the Aztec nation the world’s No. 10 destination, Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid said.

Tourism accounts for 8.5 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product and the sector is growing faster than the economy as a whole, he told a press conference.

The number of international visitors has increased 37 percent increase since the start of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration in December 2012.

The expansion in tourism has created 800,000 direct jobs and another 1.2 million indirect jobs over the last 10 years.

“Between 2013 and 2015, international visitors spent $43.5 million a day in Mexico,” the secretary said.

The top destinations for international visitors in 2015 were Mexico City, Cancun and Acapulco, in that order.

International arrivals were boosted by special events such as the Oct. 30-Nov. 1 Mexico Grand Prix, which brought 366,174 spectators to the capital.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Oaxaca Sabe - Sabina Sabe

I made it back in time to catch the last days of Oaxaca Sabe, another fantastic week of wonderful opportunities to get a taste from some of Oaxaca's best restaurants.  I ate at Pilar Cabrrera's La Olla yesterday, but enjoyed the meal and the conversation so much I forgot to take pictures. 
Today, as we visited Sabina Sabe, I had it together.... and what a fine meal is was.  Here's what I had.
Beef Carpaccio with dehydrated chorizo, mushrooms, arugula and chintextle dressing.
Carpaccio de res con chorizo deshidratdo, championes, arugula y aderezo de chintextle
Chintextle is made from pasillas chiles and dried shrimp.  This dish was so tasty, the meat melted in your mouth.
Lechona horneado con reduccion de balsamico, papas al oregano y pure de camote
Baked sucking pig with balsamic vinegar, oregano and potatoes.  Absolutely fantastic!!
Nicuatole de mamey con cueritos de ate y polvoron de nenguanito
Nicuatole of mamey with garnishes and crushed nenguanito (cookies).  Nicuatole is unique to Oaxaca, a gelatinous dessert made from ground maize and sugar.  All the flavors worked very well together.
With a beer and wine... and great service by David.  It was also a pleasure meet the chef. 
All for $250 MP - $14 US... Insane!  We are so lucky.  Mañana another......