LEAVING FLAGSTAFF, AND TAOS, AND PHOENIX

I left Flagstaff on June 27, heading out the old highway, “Historic Route 66”, past the Santa Fe Railroad's giant cinder pit at Winona,

and stopped for a nostalgic shot of the old bridge that was such a thrill to me as a five or six year old boy, standing in the front seat of Grampa's two-tone 1941 Oldsmobile coupe on the way back to Flagstaff following our many trips to visit family in Winslow.

I stopped at Canyon Diablo for a quick “selfie” among the ruins of the old roadside attraction “zoo”.

But my main interest was rocks for a series of paintings I'm considering. Rocks like these just north of Meteor Crater.

I made my way through Winslow and Holbrook, then turned north to Ganado and over to Window Rock and Fort Defiance to photograph the rock formations there.

After sundown, I went on into Gallup for dinner and made camp in Fordacho.

The next morning I started out old “66”, and took every opportunity to cross the railroad tracks, followIng dirt roads out among the red rocks, gathering more research for that series of paintings I’m thinking of starting.

I continued like this all the way to Grants, then, after taking a brief detour into the pueblo at Laguna, for more photographs, of course, I made my way to Albuquerque and on to Santa Fe where I camped for the night. Oh, and I met an interesting young man, on my way to Grants, that I will tell you about the first chance I get.

A lot has happened since then. We just returned late Friday night, July 24th, from a second trip to Phoenix. Thea has undergone two eye surgeries. One for cataracts and one for glaucoma. She's doing fine, and her recovery is progressing better than expected.

We've been burning up the roads between Taos and Phoenix, and I've been working on a “secret” project hat I hope to tell you all about soon. So please be patient and do stay tuned.

To be Continued…

 

WUPATKI AND STELLA PESHLAKAI

After the Kachina Dance at Moenkopi, I drove south to Cameron for dinner, photographing the golden light of evening on the sandstone cliffs south of Tuba City on the way. The hotel at Cameron was full, so I camped again in Fordacho.

Back in the late 60s, my friend Dewain Maney took this photograph of Earl Carpenter and yours truly with Stella and Della Peshlakai. That’s Stella pretending to paint us.

I first met Stella when I was working as Preparator at the Museum of Northern Arizona and she was there demonstrating Navajo rug weaving. We became friends and I spent many happy days in her hogan, painting her and her father, Clyde Peshlakai and visiting with the family, her sister Della, brother Clark, daughter Helen, and others.


In 1969, I had my first one-man exhibition at the Stable Galleries in Scottsdale, Arizona. The gallery owner rented a flat bed wagon, team of horses and drivers. Stella came down and set her loom up on the back of the wagon. I set up my french easel and stood there, painting her, as a trophy winning entry in the world famous Scottsdale Parada del Sol Rodeo parade

Dewain called recently to say he had visited Stella at her home at Wupatki, that she is now ninety two, and that she sure would like to see me. So. That was the main reason for my trip to Flagstaff.



The next day, I went out to Dewain’s where he showed me his setup. Unlike many darkroom photographers, Dewain had taken to digital photography with a vengeance. He has mastered the software Corel Painter, and now creates beautifully rendered photographs like this one of Stella.

STELLA PESHLAKAI

By Dewain Maney

Click here to see more of Dewain’s work featuring people, wildlife and landscapes

After lunch in town, at La Fonda Cafe, my parents’ favorite for many years, and where I announced that I was returning to Greasewood Trading Post on the sponsorship that would launch my career, we drove out to visit Stella and Helen’s husband Anthony. We had hoped to join up with Earl and to recreate the old wagon photo, but neither of us had any luck finding Earl. Also, Stella no longer lives in the old family hogan, but in a lovely new house with running water and solar power, and wagons have been replaced by pickup trucks.

We had a great visit, though, sitting on the porch, talking over the old times and of the traditional native herbs that the government will no longer allow the medicine men to gather.


Clyde had lived at Wupatki and worked all his life for the Park. Untold generations before him had lived on that site. The National Park Service, though, in its bureaucratic wisdom, has decided that Stella will be the last of her family allowed to live there. Clyde once told me of the time he went with a delegation to “Washindon-di” and met “that man…what was his name? John, John Kennedy”.


I have to wonder what the Kennedy brothers, Jack and Bobby, would have to say about this National Monument no longer having room enough on its 35,000 plus acres for a single Navajo family that was there since before it was a National Monument.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/03/26/the-last-of-the-navajos-to-live-at-wupatki-national-monument/


http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/05/09/311119409/federal-goverment-jeopardizes-navajo-familys-ties-to-their-land


I camped at Dewain’s that night and we continued our catching up and plans for future endeavors.

Then I went to visit Rosa and John and on to Williams. Next, Gallup and the slow road back to Taos.

 

 

 

 

SAN JUAN, MEXICO CITY’S FOODIE MARKET

I had visited this market in the center of Mexico City eight years ago, and photographed the typical Mexican market scenes of fish, rabbits, cabrito and pig, fruit and vegetable vendors, butchers and fish mongers, and the busy food counters…

But, somehow, I had missed something. Something I should not have missed. The San Juan Market is a “foodie” destination!

On this second visit, I noticed what I had previously overlooked…

Tapas? You bet! First a complimentary sampler of wine, followed by a small plate of cheese samples, then tapas,

followed by tasty complimentary dessert tapas of bread, honey, cream cheese, chocolate, striped strawberry and pecan…

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THERE I WAS IN MEXICO CITY…

There I was in Mexico City, having a great time on my way back to the Palacio De Bellas Artes for the Cartier-Bresson exhibition.

When I got there, I was surprised to be allowed to photograph inside the show. I spent hours there, pouring over some three hundred of the works of this master of street photography who was also a leader in photo journalism. And a film maker. Altogether a thrilling, satisfying and educational showing.

An added pleasure was seeing a large and diverse crowd so deeply involved.

Afterward, I had strolled through Chinatown

and the Plaza San Juan, with its brightly colored playground filled with laughing, squealing children, it’s splashing, overflowing fountain,

Past the locksmith, a real Peter O’Toole look-alike,

And on to El Mercado de San Juan de Pugibet.

(To be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEMORIES FROM MERIDA

Before I bring you up to date on my time in Mexico, here's a little something that didn't get mentioned while I was in Merida. Mainly, it didn't get mentioned because there is video involved and I just haven't had time to edit it, yet. For now, just let me say that La Bella Durmiente, Featuring the Ballet and Orchestra of Saint Petersburg was moving and impressive.

Video and sketches, maybe even some paintings to come. Anyone interested?

Meanwhile, I'm in Mexico City, the sun is shining and I have much to see and do. So, for now…

Hasta Luego

 

CAMPECHE TO MEXICO CITY

I posted this late yesterday, but it apparently didn't get through. Here goes another try… Well, I gave it several more tries. None worked. So I took off the sketches from the airport and posted them separately. Let's see if this works…

Here's another Campeche church I wanted to share with you:

It looked like maybe it was no longer in use, but, later in the evening, I stepped out onto the balcony of my hotel room to see if I could get a sunset shot. This is what caught my eye:

Some colored lights in the distance

So, off I went to see what was up. What I found was yet another church in evening attire. Like the rest of Campeche, her churches seem to come to life after dark.

Night Colors

And here are a couple of random shots from yesterday:

Busted!

COLORES DE CAMPECHE

LA CIUDAD

This was the sunset view from my room in Mexico City.

Hasta Mañana.

 

SOME AIRPORT SKETCHES

I don’t know what’s going on. Yesterday’s post didn’t get through. I’ve just spent a couple of hours trying to get it to work, but no luck. For some reason about half the images aren’t loading.

I was trying to share a few more images from Campeche, a group of iPhone sketches from the airport and one from my hotel room in Mexico City.

I will keep trying with the Campeche images, but for now, here are the airport sketches that have made it through…

One more; my taxi driver in Mexico City, from the airport to my hotel…

TAXISTA

There were three more from my hour wait at the airport. They should have worked the same way these did. It’s all a mystery to me.

Hasta Mañana (And I hope this works.)

MORE IMPRESSIONS OF CAMPECHE, MEXICO

Mosaic mural on a public building in Campeche

I love Mexico because when I squeeze A lime, a lot of juice comes out.

I like the way the traffic flows here, too. Most of the time.

I'll do a post on that when I have a minute.

On the other hand, there are days like today.

I checked the balance on my debit card and it was good to go. So I went. To the airport. Just in time for my flight to Mexico City on Interjet. (Love that name.)

My card was declined. And Interjet would not take dollars. While negotiating, the flight was closed.

I went next door to Aeromexico. They had a flight leaving in one hour. Card declined. OK, cash? Nope, they would not take dollars, either. A few pesos short. Tried the ATM. SORRY, try again later. I did. Same result.

Back to Interjet again for tomorrow's flight. Card declined. Came up with just enough cash after senior discount! Bought a ticket. Cab to town. Card declined at hotel. Walked to ATM, withdrew necessary pesos without a hitch(?).

Stopped for quick lunch, Email from Thea saying fraud department had her approve two hundred dollars airline charges plus hotel charge!?! The ticket I bought was only $110. Back to hotel. No record of approval. Tried card again and this time, it worked.

Upstairs to room. Not as requested. Back down stairs to change. Back up to new room. This one looked just right, so I undressed and got ready to rest and prpare a post, then maybe a quick nap.

Wifi would not connect.

Dressed and went downstairs again. Clerk tried and tried and made phone calls in search of a solution. Nada. Tried repeatedly then all of a sudden my iPhone got a connection.

I raced back upstairs. Wifi had disconnected and the password again didn't work. Back down the stairs. Did I mention, no elevator?

The “engineer” was sent for. What appeared to be a high school sophomore showed up after about ten minutes. Tried everything. No luck. Said something long and in rapid fire Spanish that seemed to include back in ten minutes. He was, and with a laptop. Tried everything again. Same results. More rapid fire which, this time, included gestures indicating far away, which is where I guess he went. Maybe he'll be back. We'll see.

Maybe I'll have a little siesta.

I did.

Then I got dressed and went out to photograph around seven. As I left my room, the wifi started working, or should I say laboring weakly. Very weakly. So I went on with my walking and shooting.

Around eight, I settled in to my favorite restaurant for a bowl of seafood soup, and to use their wifi. The soup was good, but their chairs proved too hard for my old bones, so I think I'll move on.

And here I am once again in the Italian Coffe Company for some reliable wifi. And Cafe Americano.

Pardon the rant, Now, as a thank you for your patience, some more impressions of Campeche:

A new take on the Eagle and Snake from the Mexican flag

An interesting mural on the wall of the Best Western Motel

Waiting for the return of the pirates

The Bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico

Just one block from the citipy's elegant Cathedral, there is this church
Inside, though, I found some good research for my Faces of Saints series

 

Sunday evening and the central plaza was crowded with people playing what appeared to be a form of Bingo

I actually got a big smile a millisecond later

That's it for today, folks. More tomorrow, I hope.

Hasta Mańana

 

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS, CAMPECHE, MEXICO

Ahhh, at last, a town I think I'm going to like. So far, what I've seen of Campeche looks a lot like I expected Mérida to look. Clean. Wide, flat sidewalks.But with the usual Gringo traps. (Holes, sloping driveways, high curbs, etc.) pastel colored Colonial buildings, an impressive, wedding cake of a Cathedral, and a long Malecón.

My Telcel time ran out while I was in the bus terminal, researching hotels, so I caught a cab to the central plaza and started walking, looking for a telcel office and a hotel. I found a hotel fairly quickly, right on the plaza, but Telcel was another matter.

The locals seem to speak with a strange dialect or a very strong accent. And very rapidly. I was able to get a measly 80 mgs without understanding a thing I was being told or making myself understood at all. Somehow, after being bounced from place to place six or seven times, I finally managed to buy a whole 80 mg. that should last me until I really need it.

A very nice fish dinner with a red molé, followed by a short walk, then back to my room.

Where I discovered my iPhone battery was nearly dead and I can't get either a cellular nor a wifi signal in my room. So I decided to put this post together, then go out to the lobby to post it.

Then I fell asleep.

So, now it's tomorrow, I've had my coffee, and I'm back on the job. Here, then, are some first impressions of Campeche…

I was told in Merida by several people that I would find Campeche mucho ms tranquilo, much more tranquil. Seems they were right.

Across from the main plaza

The Cathedral

The Cathedral in evening attire

Traffic on the main plaza (don't miss the training wheels)

I got this shot of a dog walker after dinner last night, and couldn't resist getting arty with it this morning.

This is the view from the chair from which I am posting this slightly late dispatch, here in the Italian Coffee Company whose wifi works! Yay!.

Now, I'm off to gather more impressions of Campeche, Mexico.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

ONE MORE iPHOTO

i don't know why, but by the time I finished dinner this evening, I was exhausted. It was pretty hot today, but that's what I'm here for, right? I sat down in the lobby to work up some sketches for tonight's post, but could hardly keep my eyes open. So I dragged my weary self up the two flights of stairs to my room, only to remember I had left my new bottle of water in the lobby. So back down I went and up again.

I decided to get ready for bed, then see what I could come up with for the post. As soon as I looked in the mirror, I knew I had my answer…

MERIDA SELFIE / iPhone 6 Plus / PhotoForge 2

That's it for now. Tomorrow can only get better.

 

B