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

Friday, April 29, 2016

Cuba... where/how to begin?

Ah, Cuba!  I almost have no words.  It will take a few days to process and recover.  I hardly know where or how to begin.  With the people? the music? the politics? the dance? the history? the food? the affluence? the poverty? The cars?
What comes to mind is the classic story of the blind men and the elephant. "Well, blind man, have you seen the elephant? Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant?' Thereupon the men who were presented with the head answered, 'Sire, an elephant is like a pot.' And the men who had observed the ear replied, 'An elephant is like a winnowing basket.' Those who had been presented with a tusk said it was a ploughshare. Those who knew only the trunk said it was a snake; others said the body was a granary; the foot, a pillar; the back, a mortar; the tail, a pestle, the tuft of the tail, a brush."
One might think that living in Oaxaca would have prepared me better for absorbing and assessing a culture.  Think again.  Cuba is too deep, too rich and too vast to take in on a single visit.  I assume it will be like Oaxaca, years of exploring and researching, only to barely scratch the surface.  But that's just the way it is.  The world and her peoples are all just so damn interesting and unique.
We were lucky to have two wonderful guides, journalist Abel Gonzalez Alayon,
And man of the street, Dayan Puiq Suside.
These two were perfect bookends, both with insights and perspectives that we never would have gotten if we were just on our own.  Dayan walked us through La Habana Centro, a funkier part of the city.
And Abel, with his vast knowledge of damn near everything Cuban, took us through La Habana Vieja, Old Havana including the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso.
We spend hours together and the more we learned, the more there was to learn.
In looking through the photos, well over a thousand, I discovered that most of them were of people.  Lots of them were shot holding the camera at hip level, shooting blind.
I practice this all the time and well, lots of the shots work.  Not everyone was as beautiful, but wow, there were enough gorgeous men and women to make one wonder what they were doing so right.
People were warm and friendly.  There was music everywhere.  And they were all so good, it was heaven.
We saw dancing like never before.  There were only about a zillion tourists.  The ritzy parts of La Habana rival any city in the world.  Damn, I was in a shop that had watches going for over $8,000 US.  We had a beer instead for $1.50.  Lots to process so be cool, plenty more to come.


Bev in Connecticut said...

Great people shots
Keep 'em comin'
Did you go with a tour ? Independently? How were the hotels? I read they are running out of beer.....americans are drinking too much!
Great adventure!

Christopher Stowens said...

Gracias, Bev. Yes, lots of shot to come. No tour, totally on our own, but the two guys who guided around were both fantastic. Hotels were fine. Internet pretty sketchy, but plenty of beer. Really, there were so many tourists there, it was crazy. I am sure they will transform the place in the coming year. Hopefully, for the better.

sonya melescu said...

Great the one of the theater!!!!