Wednesday, March 22, 2017

LAS PUERTAS DEL PUERTO – The Doors of Zihuatanejo

It's one thing to just wander around this picturesque town and see what catches my eye—people, plants, critters, art and architecture... Sometimes it's a whole thing; or it may be just an interesting detail or pattern. Often, I'll just sit and watch...and wait.

It's another thing to have a mission. Last year, I did a montage on the amazing variety of stone walls. This year, it's been doors.

I must say I've been surprised by the variety. Different styles, some dictated by the materials readily available here on the Costa Grande of Guerrero; others sparing no expense to import materials and craftsmanship. Different purposes, some merely utilitarian; others designed to make a statement—come in...stay can't afford a week here. Each a unique artistic statement.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

MARAVILLAS PEQUENAS 6 – Small Wonders, Mexican Style

Pool at Villas San Sebastian

Anyone know what tree produces this elegant seed pod?

Shell art – Paseo del Pescador

Where Calle Adelita meets the bay.

Gone with the wind

The miracle tree – La Ropa

Cacique (chieftain) bird

Elephant-eye...or tree knot?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

MARAVILLAS PEQUENAS 5 – Small Wonders, Mexican Style

Net savings – Playa Principal
Tile roof detail – Paseo del Pescador

Jewelry lady – Paseo del Pescador

Fan-palm pattern – La Noria

La Niña Leticia – La Madera

A dying breed – Plaza de los Artistas

Yellow puffer fish in murky water – El Muelle

Panther's dragon – La Madera

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

MARAVILLAS PEQUENAS 4 -- Small Wonders, Mexican Style

One of the reasons Mexico so resonates with my soul—besides the fact that I was a Mexican fisherman in a previous life—is that I choose to see not just the sanitized, homogenized version of the country offered for consumption by tourists, but a bit of its harder reality.

Yes, this country can put on an exquisitely beautiful face, but it has its problems, as do other countries. There is poverty; there is corruption; there is crime. In most parts scraping out a living is either impossible or brutally hard work.

Visitors who pretend those realities don't exist, expecting things to be just like their own priveleged neighborhoods back home, do both Mexico—and themselves—a great disservice.

       I believe it's as wrong to idealize a country, 
       a culture, a people, as to ignore it.

You can have your sanitized Cancuns and your barricaded all-inclusives; I want to meet those hard-working people, not just my maid or waiter—folks who could never afford to live anywhere near where they wait on tourists—but shopkeepers, construction workers, folks I run into in back-streets miscelaneas.

I want to sample the kind of food and drink they enjoy, meet their incredibly close-knit families, and—with a little bit of forbearance on their part—speak their language.

I guess I believe it's as wrong to idealize a country, a culture, a people, as to ignore it. So I do, indeed, try to notice both those blemishes, those rough edges, and the priceless Aztec gold beneath the patina. I remind myself that they're not so different from the multi-layered reality of my own country of birth. And I keep open a corner of my hobby-photographer's eye—and my heart—for glimpses of both the post-card version and the real Mexico.



Sunday, March 12, 2017

AUN MAS MARAVILLAS PEQUENAS -- Small Wonders, Mexican Style

On the bus to Los Achotes

Yellow-crowned night heron at El Manglar

Sally and Matt on Playa Blanca

Sand sculpture (by Daniel Fermín?) on La Playa Principal

Walkin' the croc at Playa Las Gatas

Black iguana at El Manglar

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

More Maravillas Pequeñas – Small Wonders, Mexican Style

Zihuatanejo is a unique and wonderful place. There's the stunning beauty of La Costa Grande, with her privileged position at the shoulder of La Sierra Madre del Sur—her Pacific vistas from cerro-perched villas; her deliciously-long, sweeping beaches; her astounding flora and fauna.

And the beauty of the people who live here—their unfailing kindness, hard work, devotion to family, and that indomitable lightness of spirit I've found so characteristic of this country. This despite having to somehow scrape out a year's living from a four-month tourist season.

Both the people and the place are rendered in rich, deeply-saturated colors—the likes of which only the very generous-of-spirit can find in a pale-skin, grayscale Minnesota winter.

As an appreciation of this beauty of person and place, this color, this wonder, here are a few more of my attempts to capture it in pixels:

Saturday, March 4, 2017

MARAVILLAS PEQUEÑAS – Small Wonders, Mexican Style

Quite a shift, I know, from my previous post about ice. But I'm fortunate enough to be able to force a change of scene for a month every late winter. From the shades-of-gray, dark-at-4:30, crystallized-sound, nearly-odorless bleakness of a Minnesota winter to an explosion of light, color, noise and smells here in enchanting Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico.

It's tempting to fall for the photographic long shot here, what with the continent-spanning Sierra Madre del Sur looming to our backs, long stretches of postcard- perfect sand beaches on either side, and in front of us the vast reach of the Pacific opening just beyond the intimate embrace of Zihuatanejo Bay.

But I'm drawn to the details. After all, I am the Small-Wonder Man. So today was just about the ideal day for me; while Sally connected with an old friend over coffee—and later, I suspect, a bit of tequila—I got lost.

I looked for those rare images that tell a story—or ask a question.

I wandered the gritty back streets of this pueblo, taking my time; stopping to chat with the locals when they weren't too busy with the hard work of scratching out a twelve-month living from a four-month tourist season; and looking for those rare images that tell a story—or ask a question.

I've undertaken some version or other of this quest each of the eight years we've been coming here, and I always feel good about coming home to our rented villa, taking a closer look at my finds, and seeing if there's anything there worth sharing.

Of course, worth is a relative thing; I can only hope you find meaning, beauty, intrigue—or at least a smile—in one or two of them.

Hombre with white sombrero

Fly Emirates!

Stairway to heaven?

Unchain my heart

Exploding agave