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, January 31, 2018

Higaditos - Oaxacan style.

If you do a search for "higaditos," you will find hundreds of recipes, but none of them seem to be of the kind I've had in Oaxaca many times.  "Hígado" is liver, so we are talking about chicken livers in most of the recipes.  However, I think they prepare it here with meat of the chicken as well, but it is mostly an egg dish.  Best description I can come up with is that it's scrambled eggs with a very nice texture, in a chicken broth with pieces of meat and liver.  It is not a spicy dish, just a rich yummy eggy thing.
It is a very traditional dish in Zapotec villages like Teotitlan del Valle and Villa Diaz Ordaz ,where this lady made some of the very best I've ever had.  It was heavenly.
Here's the classic presentation for Teotitlan del Valle.
And here, from the wedding of good friends, Sergio Ruiz and Virginia, a breakfast of higaditos, bread, chocolate and tlayudas..  Note the size of their servings.  They do not eat it all.  Everyone takes it home.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Food, glorious food - San Juan Guelavia

One constant at all the ferias is food.  One is drawn in and tempted by too many sights and smells.  The Feria del Carrizo had wonderful temptations every which way one turned.  I guess this might be categorized as "street food,' but really it is just folks setting up and selling freshly prepared food.  So many taste treats!  Everything from tlayudas, barbacoa, oaxacan style higaditos, tamales, tacos, memelitas, on and on.  There was both chivo and borrego barbacoa (goat and lamb) and lots of vendors, who were all doing great business.  I grabbed a nice lamb taco.
I would have loved to have tried more.  I am always tempted by those deep fried things bubbling away in oil. 
I know, I know, but everything in moderation... Actually, the taco came after these molotes, which are little empanadas filled with potatoes and chorizo. 
Wow, they were so good, I wish I had some right now. A good reason to go back next Sunday.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Gotta dance - Los niñ@s - San Juan Guelavia

One of the many things I love about Oaxaca is that dance is so important here, a part of the daily fabric and just about everyone does it in one form or another.  Kids learn the regional dances in school and seem very happy and into it.  
And so it was wonderful to watch these very young dancers perform at the Feria del Carrizo in San Juan Guelavia yesterday.
I, like almost everyone else, have seen these dances performed many times in many different venues and by many different dancers, so there is a familiarity with the steps and the music.  The dances are like familiar friends, so nice to see over and over again. 
There is a palpable sense of joy and pride in both the dancers and the audience.  You can see the happiness in this boy's face.
Watching these girls perform the flor de piña dance was so sweet. 
I'm not sure where they all came from, but the looks on their faces was "OMG, Where are we?? Look at all these people in the audience."  Remember this is in a relatively small village, normally quiet and all of a sudden, thousands of people are there. 
I think the girls' ages were between five and eight with maybe a couple even younger.
The fact that the kids get such joy and draw such hearty applause reinforces that the traditional dances will continue and continue....
¡Viva San Juan Guelavia y Oaxaca!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Feria del Carrizo - San Juan Guelavia - Bigger and better

The Feria de Carrizo in San Juan Guelavia is one of the great success stories of the last few years and today was the opening of the 2018 version.  Several years ago, maybe a few hundred people showed up, today, thousands were there and I was there early.  Carrizo is a bamboo-like grass that the people in the village make into all sorts of things, baskets being the most common.
I think only seven families continue the tradition of working with carrizo, but they all must be pretty happy today as sales looked like they were really good. 
And it's possible that more people are returning to the art as the feria becomes more and more successful.  Clearly, the village realized its potential and they constructed a covering over the zoccalo, arranged for lots of parking, offered lots of food and presented a mini-guelaguetza, featuring lots of the regional dances.  Watching little girls dance the flor de piña dance was so sweet.... but more on that later.  The stars of the show were the artesanos who worked with carrizo.
It was so nice to see items created by the students of the village.  Maybe some will continue the tradition for years to come.
Some of the masters...
Years of experience...
And some with a bit less
Look at this very cool garafon (water bottle) arrangement.
 And these lamp shades.
The whole thing repeats next Sunday, be there or be square...
And there is also a rodeo all week.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A year of mayordomo

Yesterday, I was invited to Casa Cruz in Teotitlan del Valle, the home of Fidel and Maria Luisa Cruz as they ended their year long commitment as mayordomos to the Virgin of Guadalupe.  It is a huge undertaking with many aspects and responsibilities, both religious and social.  Zapotec culture is complex and I don't know nearly enough to talk about it other than to say it was an honor to be there.

Last month all of the action was at Casa Cruz, but this time it was across the road at the house of the other mayordomo, Bulmaro Perez Mendoza.  However, I spent most of the afternoon at Casa Cruz where things were low-key, mostly eating, drinking, talking and helping the girls/young women get ready for the convite, the procession into the village.
Fidel is a master of natural dyes, one of the most knowledgeable in the village. 
And Maria Luisa is a Mendoza sister, famous around the world for their cooking.  She was so busy, she was in a blur.
Here's Abigail telling me to get it together and sit down with some tejate, which I got from one of her sisters.
 Which I gladly did.
The meal was caldo de oregano, a beef broth with chucks of meat.  No utensils, just tlayudas with which to eat it.  I've gotten used to eating this way and it was very tasty.
It is always so much fun taking photos of the convite participants getting ready. 
 It is so easy to get classic shots.
And what's a convite without Beatriz Ruiz?  It turns out they are cousins..
Each blouse is unique and beautiful
 Such a gorgeous look
 These two were about to head out for the long procession to the church.
Lots of these young ladies I've watched grown up and I look forward watching these two.
And of course, the danzantes were there.  We are watching them mature, too.  One more year to go for them.
And off they went.
Of course, the celebration continues for two more days..... How do they do it?

Friday, January 19, 2018

Let's go climb a tree...

Ahhhh... the sun is out today and it's finally warm.  So let's get out and enjoy the day.
Hide and seek? No peeking!