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, November 10, 2023

Oaxaca:Boston Streets and markets

Just some shots from walking around the two cities.  And it's always fun going to different markets.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Autumn Leaves...

This was the first Muertos I've missed in many years, but I longed to see autumn in New England at least one more time.  I suppose it is just a different way about thinking about death, as each leaf lived a its life and soon will be returned to the the earth. 
Leaves have always been a source of inspiration and meditation for me.  In New England there are billions of leaves each year and yet each one can be singularly beautiful. 
I once had a leaf impale itself on the star on the hood my old Mercedes as I was driving 70 mph.  Kinda makes you think, don't it?  And Muertos teaches and allows us to remember and respect all the lives that have passed.  So this trip was just what I needed.... "Love that dirty water..... Down by the River Charles."

Friday, October 27, 2023

The Ladies Who Lunch....

Actually these are the ladies who make me lunch every week.  I am traveling north and bringing all traditional Oaxacan gifts for friends and family: tortillas, quesillo, mole, chocolate and mezcal.
That's fifty tortillas de mano! Heaven!  And look at how fresh that chicken is.
There is nothing better than having a personal relationship with the people who take such good care of me. 
And I do see them most every week.  Also, knowing that I am getting some of the best Oaxaca has to offer ain't bad, either.  I'm spoiled and I'm bringing it all north.
In order of appearancethe ladies provide:  fruit and chocolate, tortillas, pollo and mole, quesillo, chocolate and mole, and the best sandwich rolls.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Saturday, September 23, 2023

How does your garden grow?....

As Ole Blue Eyes once sang, "When I was 17 (give or take), it was a very good year." and so it was for the gardens.  There was decent rain and, after years of trying to figure out what can actually survive and thrive here, the gardens did just fine with minimal care.
This was mainly because everything is pretty well established and can survive the dry seasons.  Remember, this is where I started, with a bare lot. 
And now...
No matter where you work with nature, there is always a learning curve, of what works and what doesn't.  I let the plants make some of the decisions, like the ornamental grasses and all the flowers.  They are all self propagating from year to year now. 
The mango tree I started from seed, the flor de mayos from cuttings, the organ cacti, they are all so big now.  I love it.  And now, the dry season begins, little or no rain for months, but they should be OK.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

A patriotic taste treat on Independence Day

Chiles en nogada is the classic Mexican national dish with its flag colors, green chile, white sauce, red pomegranate.  It is a poblano filled with shredded meat, fruits and spices and topped off with a walnut cream sauce and the pomegranate.  Its creation has some wonderful stories behind it.  It was first served by nuns in Puebla to Emperor Irturbide, in celebration of Mexico's independence from Spain  One story has it that the winds miraculously blew the unusual ingredients together for a nun, Angelica.  And rumor has it that she and some of her sisters had been stationed in Spain and the Middle East where all of these ingredients were a part of the cuisine. 

Anyway, it is a wonderful dish and this years version from La Casa del Tío Güero, right next to SAT, was exceptional! Riquisimo!!!  Late August and September are the only months to get it.

If a tree falls...

This is one of my favorite trees.  It sits atop a hill overlooking the valley that stretches from Atzompa all the way to the Etlas.  I've sat under it, as I know many others have. 
It has a wonderful fragrance and the locals know that if you rub its leaves on your temples and around your eyes, it relieves stress. And it is/was in a prime spot for a lightning strike. 
And so it goes.
There is new growth, so in a few years....  for now, there are still leaves to relieve our stress.... and memories
If a tree falls....

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Get on the bus for real...

OMG! Another bus post?? (I got a million of 'em) As a followup to the previous followup, I finally got shots of one of my favorite tour buses.  It is just so perfectly Oaxaca. 
The jaguar mask on the top front is a version of a ubiquitous classic woodcarving. 
The brown low border is filled with images of the stone work in Mitla. 
The back is equally stunning, a work of art. 

The front ... classic alebije style.
They must have had so much fun designing and creating this bus.  Oaxaca at its best!  So get on the bus, Gus.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Get on the bus...

As a follow-up, here's a side shot of the tourist bus from the other day, covered with some iconic Oaxacan images, including Lila Downs who is currently on a very successful European tour.  There are other buses which are quite beautiful. I'll keep my eyes open for them.  Of course, if you want one with a slightly different spirit... in the alcoholic sense, there's always the bottle bus.
A well known adage here, "Para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien, también.  For everything bad that happens, there's mescal, and for everything good, there's still mescal."

Sunday, August 13, 2023

What are these people looking at?

I mean, not just the guy taking their picture from the pool hall.  Just like any modern city, Oaxaca has its own Hop On-Hop Off buses.  There are quite a few of these double-deckers offering tours in English and Spanish.  So what might they see on a typical day in Oaxaca?

A quinceañera photo shoot.
Incredibly cute kids.
Wonderful street art.
Things that make you think.
Lots of motos.
And mezcal... and dancers.
And more things that make you think.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Guelaguetza in Viguera...

I discovered something special....  Yesterday, on the last Monday of the month, I went up the foothills to nearby Trinidad de Viguera.  My local fruit vendor said there was a guelaguetza there on the cancha or basketball court and what a beautiful event it turned out to be. 
My fruit lady immediately saw me and gave me a big hug, so I was cool as the only gringo for kms..   The first thing I noticed was how many young people were there, dressed up and ready to dance. And they were dancing dances I had never seen before.
There were less than five hundred people there and I bet half of them were kids. 
The whole vibe or flavor of the event was so heart-warming.  I felt like I had a real insight into the whole guelaguetza  thing. 
I saw such pride, joy and togetherness, like no other time.   Everybody was a part of it because they were all family. 
Watching parents get with their kids before and after they danced was just so sweet.  And of course, I teared up for the Flor de Piña, as I always do.
There were adults dancing, too and a folkloric group from Xoxo, which was quite good. 
The best part was that it was mostly just the people from Viguera and that made it much more intimate.  And the food was real good, too!

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Rebozos - Traditional and yet not...

There is a wonderful exhibition of rebozos just across from Santo Domingo, once again showing off the brilliance of Oaxacan artists and culture. 
These beautiful pieces really push the limits of what is a very traditional garment. 
The ones of the indigeous women wearing trajes are by Alejando Cruz and the prices range fro 30,000 to 70,000 pesos ($1800 to 4100 US).
Rebozos are ubiquitous here and every village has a different way of wearing them. 
From Wikipedia. "It can be worn in various ways, usually folded or wrapped around the head and/or upper body to shade from the sun, provide warmth and as an accessory to an outfit. It is also used to carry babies and large bundles, especially among indigenous women" 
However, I don't think these will be carrying any babies. 
They all have the traditional woven fringes called rapacejos, which is another whole art unto itself. 
Oaxaca at its most creative and beautiful.