We can’t talk about Art, Mexico, and Frida without Diego and his association/contribution to both. According to Hayden Herrera, Rivera and the crew functioned from the perspective that ‘Mexican art “is great because it surges from the people; it is collective and our own aesthetic is to socialize artistic expression..” ….

“To move away from the ultra-intellectual and the aristocratic…to make it tell the story of the people”…versus…the story of oneself or just ones personal image…Taking the walk through Mexico City, the works, murals, of Diego Rivera and his students represent this surge…telling the story not of an organization, an institution, or a government…but, if you look closely…the plight of the people….

Not long ago, my yogini took me through an exercise to further develop my yoga. She had me imagine that I was climbing a mountain…but, also in climbing…imagining the rigor, the obstacles, the exhaustion, the effort…and the crescendo…the feeling of getting to the top…and then at the crest…she had me focus my imagination on that feeling of being there…

Standing there…I could feel the wind against me…on my eyes, the open space, life’s existence and opportunity for expansion, every sound was subtle but with depth…my senses responded to feeling verses something easily identified as if it were buoying me in an elevated place, and the recognition of the horizon was a reminder that more was there…the overarching them was freedom and oneness with the reality of everything…even the limitless…

A feeling I’ve had before…Mt. Bromo or Tanah Lot in Indonesia, Monseratte in Columbia, Valle y Sierra Vinales in Cuba, or Las Montanas of the Pacific Coast Highway…the same as those moments when insight into the nature of the human story…rises to provide equivalents.

Do we ever ponder, how do we see ourselves? Can we recognize the limitless? Or are our lives caught up in the self-created grandeur of our own delusions. Whether we go with the mimesis that art imitates life or vice-versa…still, there is that existential question…Who am I? Who are you? Art? Life? Can I see myself within it? How do I see myself?

All questions we have to ask and then answer for ourselves!! It is necessary, if we want to grow, to step outside of ourselves…and as mentioned by Berger in ‘Ways of Seeing’….consider the lives of others and how we relate…how this relation helps to define who we are…particularly if this art surges from the people…their life stories are told. But, as with art…you can have your interpretation…

In your interpretation, don’t forget the significance of the history being shown in the murals…the labor, inclusion of the natural order (nature), the moneyed-haves, the exploitation and suffering, some of the basis of revolts and revolutions…

Despite hard times, the travails and vicissitudes…those amongst them representing other interests…. Being able to endure, the strength of the collective, the mutual support…the weakness of one being made up by the strength of the other…

Regardless to the insertion of technological advancements or the broader global economic dynamics, shifts of governmental intent…the community was collectively resilient…

And, the natural order endures…it prevails…

And, never forgetting the collective ‘Soy Porque Somos’….’I am because we are’….

This journey in Mexico was absolutely astounding with depth and meaning…some of it mentioned, but most between the lines!! I have one more post I would like to share on CDMX; however, this trip was penetrating enough that I am going to pull a quick turnaround and return in short order. So back to CDMX quite soon, and then I’ll post a few things about being around Ciudad de Mexico!! Amigos!! Nos Vemos!! 🙂

Comida Mexicana de la Calle y Clase de Cocina

Like with some things, I can be kind of moody. Indeed, I do have a side of me that is a complete ‘FOOD SNOB’…I admit it…but, the admission doesn’t mean it will change…in this case…it will most likely get significantly worse!! With that said, I hold street food within the highest regard…wherever I find it…most of my life I have gravitated towards it…and, now I have even more evidence to support the ‘Bourdain in Me’!!!

But, when I travel…I am prone to find groceries…this evening I was ending a long day…and just decided to grab a few things for the late night munch…lo and behold…I came upon a Walmart…

Sigh…and yes…

Walmart is UBIQUITOUS…it is everywhere…like GOD…it is everywhere…so yes..that is a picture of me…coming out of Walmart…But!! This isn’t the U.S. Walmart 🙂 Love when a place doesn’t have plastic bags…you have to bring your own…or buy one…a certain awareness/consciousness/responsibility…something to be learned there…

And, walking out of the door…ahhh yes…the deliciousness of comida mexicana!!! Mexican Street Food – Everywhere…my friends…I will never see a taco the same way…

The scents, the flavors, the freshness!! I will say straight-up, have not been a fan of corn tortillas…but, here in Mexico City…primarily, it is what you find! I’m not complaining..in fact…we have a believer now!! 🙂 We aren’t talking about adding powder to browned meat with some water….we are talking about something coming alive in your mouth and stomach…street food – it is alive!! 🙂

And be clear…eateries, restaurants…little shops…food stands…a table on the side of a street, with a table cloth…and someone cooking food…just at the corner…ahhh…yes, everywhere it seems…

My wanderlust began as a child. My mother began my travel experiences early…domestic and international…hence, my affiliations with West Africa and exploring overall. One of those early experiences was to Spain…and I always remembered the Paella. Not a dish easily cooked, I’ve learned…thus, not easily found…but, allow me to share this please…

As we say, I’m gonna leave that right there….

This trip, I decided to do a few things different – ehhh, different circumstances call for different actions!! A few I will share…

With all the exceptional food, I decided to sign up for a cooking class!! Food is a big culture item…and I am a culture person…so, FOOD, yes…let us get with it…

I signed up with a group called Mexican Food Experiences/Tours – ‘Private Mexican Food Cooking Class with Food Market Visit’ … what an exceptional day…lasted about 5 hours…and we actually started off at the market, Jalisco Mercado, with Chef Eduardo!!!

No can you imagine walking through an open market with a Chef, learning how to pick vegetables and meats for your special dish…a professional trained chef (masters degree)? Well, now I CAN…and now I see…what he means when he says, “if everything isn’t fresh…then it isn’t Mexican food”….

In my hand you see an authentic ‘Gordita’…not the one from Taco Bell my friends…so, I’ve never had one from there…but, I can imagine it is a bit different!! Always interesting to me how when you travel overseas, some places, there seems to be an abundance of fresh juice stands…fresh squeezed papaya…’shaking my head’…

The spice man…that’s his business…he makes a sells spice mixes…and under the suggestion of our Chef…I went ahead a purchased…a nice amount of his ‘Mole’ powder to make … of course … ‘Mole Sauce’….yes…I am most pleased!!!

And of course…in the land of the tortillas…a packet of them will do nothing…so right in the market, there is tortilla production process/factory…so many get consumed that they have these little shops all over…where you have the option of purchasing the tortillas or the actual paste to then customize your own…of course we took the later course…all righteous and good…

Our cooking class, took place in a home…not in a restaurant! That was an exceptionally nice touch…a wonderful experience, to spend time inside an actual home…and to take our time…and be guided…

There was no Sous Chef today, so we…well, I wouldn’t say 2nd in command…more like there were a lot of opportunities for learning… 🙂 And, it was wonderful learning…to actually be taught how to cook an excellent 3 course meal…under the guidance of a master…I won’t remember it all…but, I did retain some parts…and, I am wealthier as a person for the experience…

And YES, in the skillet…beginnings of homemade salsa…customized indeed!!! We had to use razor blades to trim leaf veins, cut, slice, refine…and the other cooking stuff!!! One of my tasks was to knead the dough for the tortillas…

Yup!! The goof smile!! I own it!! Admittedly, I didn’t know it would be this much work!! I am reminded to never take for granted the effort that goes into this type of preparation! In fact, even with this class…what most comes to mind is the seasoning of ‘Love’!! My favorite seasoning!! When someone puts that much effort into cooking for us…there is a lot of the seasoning of ‘Love’ going in it!!

Three course meal!! Can we say ‘Truffle Tacos’…never knew there was such a thing…and then again…why would I have known!! What I do know is that this was such a wonderful experience…I even worked on my challenged social skills – successfully, I might add!!

Some would say, “it is just a cooking class”…and that is fine…for me, it was much more than that…I learned so much…but, also not to be diminished…I learned a lot about myself. Exceptional it is to me when we can go somewhere…and learn, then bring it home…home being within ourselves…for future joys and peace…to share with those who appreciate enough to value it as well…For some reason, the folks at ‘TSA’ had the same affinity as I did for my brick of ‘Mole’ powder 🙂

As I mentioned…beyond COVID, this past year was its own thing…but, between those lines…yes, I feel the moment coming when you are on the peak…feeling the wind, breathing fresh air, accomplishing…and you can see off into the distance so far that your eye sight fails…however, inside you know there is more beyond the horizon…add in the fruit cup…fresh, spicy, and alive…you get my drift… 🙂

Keep climbing…digging…Yes, I am feeling a calling…as in ‘Malik/Bourdain – Parts Unknown’ 🙂

“Para todas las personas que se nos han ido”

“For all the people who have left us…”

For quite some time I have been curious about Dias de los Muertos. Like many people, my own life has also experienced some significant loss coinciding with COVID. Soo..in some ways it is quite fitting that now is the time I am exploring this cultural dynamic. Such an interesting cultural shift…how the dead are included. And within this cultural dynamic are certainly some major shits that can be incorporated into our own lives.

Forthrightly and honestly, the size of Mexico City had slipped my mind! Around 22 million people…and more than NYC…yes, I was asleep on this gem!! While the Day of the Dead is recognized within Latin America, its strongest affiliation is in Mexico!! I am not trying to summarize the entire significance in this post…but, only to place a few highlights.

Historically, it is said that Dias de los Muertos is essentially a Latin custom that came about from a mix of Aztec rituals and the Spanish conquistadors (Catholicism). Since there were hundreds of tribes in Mexico during this time, I’ll also assume they made a contribution as well!

More importantly, this cultural custom focuses on reducing the intense sadness/mourning that can come with death of a loved one and replacing it with festivities…I didn’t walk the entire parade route but imagine this stretched for a little under 9 mile…and, I walked a good part of it…the entire way was mostly shoulder to shoulder….

Obviously the parade isn’t the only aspect of these festivities, and the main focus is to include death as a natural part of life…of being a human being. To the degree that it is a way of including our loved ones in the day. Many people, such as myself, had the mask painted on half their face – indicating that both death and life are an equal component to the same thing….always with us. As Maria Popova, the Marginalian, writes perhaps, ‘death is not the assailant of life but the ultimate consecration of its lucky possibility…’…

Sure we’ve read the statement that grief is love with no place to go…as in loving someone or something…that is no longer present in your life in a form that allows you to express your feelings toward them or it…consequently, in consideration of people…they could be physically alive or dead. Often times…these people/things remain alive in our mind one way or another…yet these days provide a cultural means to identify and honor it in a healthy way regardless to the physical state of them or the means by which their presence changed…

Well traveled, I am!! Student of culture and life around the globe, Indeed!! An expert on Latin Culture, I am NOT!! However, with what I have experienced, I do love the emphasis on family. How it is included in so many aspects of the culture…families dressing together, made up together…so many babies on shoulders… and to have so many people together…it wasn’t a drunken festive party…it was unimaginably clean and wholesome…especially considering the number of people attending…

Obviously, some take these days very seriously!! 🙂 Love seeing the kids in the trees, on roof tops…screaming when certain characters came walking by… With the way people intermingled and talked, it was obvious the interactions weren’t just for blood family…there was definitely a feeling that people were treating each other a certain way…family that you choose…definitely a cultural item that needs to be transferred to some other places we know of…

And of course what is a festival/parade without food…particularly since Mexico is world renowned for its street food, more on that later 🙂 For awhile I lost focus on the other things and just absorbed the cooking that was going on!! Can I say righteous…and let’s put it right here… even the dead have bread….’delicioso pan de muerto’!!! Much Love!!

Outside of the parade, one of the most common parts of this custom is to honor the dead by setting up an ‘ofrenda’…an altar. Generally, they have set up flowers, candles, food, drinks, photos, and personal mementos of the person. The home I visited, picture bottom left, even had cigarettes and something to sip for the loved one 🙂 You will also usually see lots and lots of orange flowers that we call Marigolds, but out of respect…they call them ‘zempasuchitl’ (an Aztec word)… You will often see them around the city with the ‘ofrendas’. But, also inside of homes sprinkled on steps and stairs leading to the ‘ofrenda’…I was told that it serves as a conduit to bring loved ones, the dead, into this world…and invitation to come celebrate… 

There is no way to capture the significance of this day nor the feelings I am having by being here in one post. This is only an attempt to share a little piece of culture, some lessons learned, and a few tidbits of my own life (between the lines)….

It is no coincidence that this pilgrimage took place simultaneously with other events in my life these past 2 years. As sometimes the dead are a catalyst for the living…and the living are a catalyst for the dead…indeed the relation continues…even if in our own mind…

And to borrow a piece from my home culture, as O’shea Jackson – Ice Cube – said, ‘today was a good day…’….

Fact is: The Dead never really leave us…”Rather they are alive, but we perceive not…” 2:154…

with that noted…

“Para todas las personas que se nos han ido

Love…

While here in CDMX, I will see the sites, explore, expand my awareness…try and glean tidbits from the culture.  However, if you read between the lines, this post is more about personal life experiences and, as such, some of our own as well.

When I travel, regardless to where, I always want to capture something that reminds me of the human story. Our commonalities!!  Sometimes the dynamic of nationality or a general lack of awareness hides the fact that many of us walk a path with the same vicissitudes.  Obviously being a citizen of the United States, I can’t help but to have been influenced by the proclamations of ‘American Exceptionalism’!

I do recognize the benefits I receive from that designation; however, one of the benefits of cultural travel is to shed that shade of lens.  Every country has its wondrous exceptionalism. Especially when the culture is full of those dynamics that shape identity outside of jobs, money, and other accumulations.  Interesting point for me, in certain countries the question always arises quickly….as in “what do you do”? Whereas in others or other nationalities, the question generally does not arise immediately!! Simply put, if we are what we do for a living…then there is a lot to learn about living!! When regardless…we can just be…

So in visiting Casa Azul – the museo for Frida Kahlo…

The museo is rather touristy of course, but only to the uninitiated.  The Art is quite interesting! It captures…we see it…But, it also provides an opportunity for us to see what is in her vision….what she experienced….her resolution….

As a friend of mine taught me, we also assess the art based upon our ability to see ourselves in it.  And naturally, how we relate to it and that which is around us…hence we can watch a person just stare a piece of Art for an extended time frame…over and over again…figuring…

This post isn’t full of original ideas!  In fact, I’m mostly organizing my thoughts around what I have read from “The Diary of Frida Kahlo” forward by Carlos Fuentes and “A Biography of Frida Kahlo” by Hayden Herrera.  Pulling back the veil, what is in her…

Some called her the ‘Priestess of the Temple’,

Diego wrote of her, “For what she lives is what she paints.  But no human experience, painful as it may be, becomes art by itself.  How did Kahlo transform personal suffering into art, not impersonal, but shared.”

The rise and fall of native then Aztec empires, colonization by Spain (Cortes), a dance with the French, the implications of Protestant and Catholic Organizations, various dynamics of Mexican governmental policy (Oligarchs), subjugation to U.S. policy, a dance with the French, Benito Juarez, and the rise of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, but still the dichotomy of Mexican Society…just to name a few…

Prior to her existent, but then bringing her into being with the mixture of European immigration with what is called the Mestizo mix…to her own direct predicaments of a void of loneliness, early polio, impalation from an accident, multiple miscarriages and surgeries, and the piercing all-encompassing dynamic of love…to name a few….yet with those characteristics of her cycle of life, she always found love and returned to it…epitomized it…

Some implied that she was the ‘Mexican of Mexicans’, changing her actual birthdate to coincide with the actual start of the Mexican Revolution…

Carlos Fuentes says, that “Mexico is a country made by its wounds” …. yet, here comes Frida…with the poetry of her life and her understanding expressed through her art….

Fuentes also says, … looking at how Frida saw herself over time…” gives us successive identities of a human being who is not yet, but who is becoming…”  who are we? Are we becoming or are we stagnant?  How was she able to grow without replicating the pain she experienced and to do as many do…justifying their existence by placing it on others…how did she do this?  Up to each of us to get an answer for ourselves…so that we can do the same…If anyone epitomizes in Art…that it isn’t what you see…it is the meaning within what you see…it is dear pato….(ofrenda de dias de los muertos on the left)….

Ahhh Frida Kahlo…quite the person to know….

Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City)

September 30, 2021

Quite the beautiful dynamic to go beyond the surface, pull back the layers of life, and dig into beauty…to find….

Por fin, mi viaje continua….con y sin…pero lo continua….

I have been planning this journey for over a year and a half. Aside from the corona virus dynamic, making it happen has been ochos locos!! But, finally, it is here 🙂 Admittedly, this part of the journey is more internal than external. It coincides with some major life changes. The type of changes that you can either sink from or get to swimming. I’m sure many of you can understand. Those vicissitudes of life….they do come a calling when we least expect it! With that said, I am using this as my yogini has guided…as a catalyst to reach those internal elevated places … and I shall!!!

For a long time I’ve had an interest in ‘Ciudad de Mexico.’ But, the interest increased exponentially as I delved deeper into cultural studies and the modality of art. Once I got further along and started to explore the Latin affairs, the interest became more particular. Along this path, Frida Kahlo, came in the light.

As I began to learn more about her work, and learned more about what art is and various ways of understanding it… it became necessary to become more familiar with her art…but more so, to become more acquainted with the dynamics that shaped her perspectives.

Hence more interest in the history of Mexico and it’s global interactions. As said by John Berger in ‘Ways of Seeing’…

“The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe…”…

So much of our interpretation of what we see is dictated by what we already believe. or as I might add…what we think we know or believe…would the state of humanity or our personal lives be in the condition it is in…if we were all that aligned with reality? Maybe yes…Maybe no!!

But, how many of us then can admit within the totality of what there is, we don’t know much. Personally, when I started to study this trip, I didn’t know a damn thing about art. Now, I have evolved to a point where I am more fully aware of what exactly I don’t know….nice to apply that to other things as well 🙂

I don’t pretend to be an aficionado….simply put, I just want to learn…add more culture and understanding to my own…

Simply put, it is easy for our lives to get small and intensely confusing when the ochos locos comes. But, we can remind ourselves and reconnect to the grandeur and largess of life. In many ways, this is what Frida embodied and many other aspects of her home culture.

With the contextual timing, this one is similar to a pilgrimage. However, I’m also a believer that when we go places…we only find what we brought with us…same as in relationships.

Thus, this is about using an experience to connect more with what has already been discovered within…as usual, some I will share…and, some is for me…

Usually, I stay in more humble arrangements…however, this time there was a shift to match the original plan and the current purpose…

The abode of the launch…

And yes…’THE VIEW”… 🙂 on top of the hill is Chapultepec Castle maintained within the park called ‘ Bosque de Chapultepec’…for this purpose…view, neighborhood (Condesa), proximity…perfecto!!

But, of course we are in Ciudad de Mexico. Being an Anthony Bourdain acolyte, the ‘Street Food’ must be honored…this place is called ‘Taco, Naco’..will have more on this later…

As our journey continues…

Waking up this morning and looking for today to have a little something special to it!! Is it me, but does it seem as though breakfast in the United States versus most of the other places in the world I’ve been…is, ehhh…well, quite the bit different?? Most places I’ve traveled, well…if there is breakfast…it is a cup of coffee, a biscuit, medialuna, croissant, maybe an egg as such…the only place I’ve been where breakfast is loaded up is the United States, and I am not talking about the buffet at the hotel for the tourists,….if that is the case…well, that explains a lot! But, then again…there are variations…so, maybe it is just me… 🙂

We have a few plans today, so up and out with the sun-rise. I can be a simple person at times, I don’t require much entertainment. In fact, I’m still fascinated at being in this part of the world…experiencing it, seeing it, sensing it…even now…reflecting back on it…the environment…what it is like…what is life like for those living here…a few shots for you to consider as we pass along…

Whether in the dense housing townships or out in the sparsely populated…side of the road life…there is so much to learn about Africa. Even considering the geography. Often times Africa is mentioned as if it is one place. When, many countries, multiple cultures with variability, divergent histories, and, so much to learn that can be integrated…ahhh…to ponder…

Arriving at our destination – Kruger National Park!! Yes, we are going on a personal safari!! 🙂 First of all, let me show you the expanse. Huge wide open areas where you could spend all day driving. This isn’t a BBC or Netflix special, or the old school ‘Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom’. This is a certain reality! Which means, sometimes the animals don’t show up. The benefit of them not being in a zoo is that often times no one knows where they are. And as represented in the 3rd picture, because of the terrain and not being used to them – you can look right at them and not know they are present! 🙂

However, we are fortunate today in that a few showed up to add flavor to our trip. I’m not a professional photographer, no special lens, and as common sense would dictate…these pictures were taken from afar. The vision and experience were perfect though…but, here are a few pictures to share the experience…the elephants…you could feel their power even from the distance…

And, the Zebras. Came across several groups of those. As you could probably tell, much calmer than the elephants 🙂

Now for me, one of my favorites are the Water Buffalos. Maybe not as interesting for some. But, for me I love them. Admittedly, I am an addict to the animal shoes. And, I love how one can get brought down by a Lion or such…but, if they just hold on for a bit…the rest of the herd comes back. Shortly thereafter, you see the Lion running. They stick together, move as unit, they are a crew!! A lot of us could learn some powerful life lessons from a herd of Water Buffalo!!

Ahhh, the Hippos!! Quick Story!

My Mother: Look at the Hippos! Isn’t this nice! Why don’t you get out of the car so you can get closer and take a better picture?

Me: Ehhhh!!! Obviously, you don’t love me! Did we come all this way so you could have me killed. You do know that beyond perception, Hippos are the most dangerous animals in Africa and by far the #1 killer! I am not about to get out of the car to get closer 🙂 I am not trying to end up on the dumb-dumb channel as we see some people do!

My Mother: Guess you have a point!!

Me: Yes!! Guess I do!! 🙂

She meant it in a good way!! 🙂

Rolling through, a few others. A Wildebeest, Hyena chilling, some Antelope, what looked like a Kudu (tough meat – yes, we tried some later in the trip), there was a giraffe in the distance but way to far to catch on my phone.

There are special tours to see the apex predators, but, that would of taken more time and also is dependent upon probability. Nothing missed, this actually was a wonderful experience! Add in lunch looking out over the plains….ahhh….yes, that map keeps expanding 🙂

Feeling very fortunate to have had the experience…but, then also…the most important part was sharing it with family…isn’t that true for many things….individually we can experience so many things…but, isn’t that the sweetest part….the sharing….with loved ones…

Heading back towards our abode, we stop to enjoy a bite to eat….a picnic….as family/friends…at Debegeni Falls – Tzaneen… I am told it means place of the big pot – in reference to the pool of water you see at the bottom of the fall…

This is one of those places where you can just sit…and, breath in the air, the midst, the coolness, but also allow your mind and soul to breath in the moment…the experience…allow it to be a turning point…

Magoebaskloof Forest which you can see on the border, and extends lots of life – birds, monkeys, amongst others out into this area. As you sit and enjoy your lunch, there is always something watching and waiting for an opportunity to snatch a treat 🙂

Sharing a family moment, my mother with the white top, and my long time friend/family Trafton (sipho), and his mother Cordelia Kirk, right along with Renae Ilwae with the distinguished yellow top hat…friendships – in all walks of life – I am getting there….around the globe 🙂

This was just a small snapshot! I’ve learned much this trip, mostly for my personal reflection as I grow as a person and absorb more of the cultures of the world into my own life. I believe it was Thoreau that said, ‘wealth is the ability to fully experience life’, and of course now we have to define ‘fully experience’. That definition may be different for each of us – as it should be!! While I learn to get out of my own way, and to make sure others are not in my way as well when it comes to my own realizations…I’m getting closer…and in fact, these trips are making me wealthier 🙂

And, so a beautiful day…together…a beautiful trip…another one….what a composite being built. Although the sun is setting….over the horizon it continues to shine…igualmente, it continues to shine in me….we shall meet again soon. Destination already chosen…so excited to continue ❤

Amigos! Hasta Pronto!!

So, I am staying in the ‘Northern Territory’ in South Africa! BUT!! Did I mention that I am staying on a small farm in this area?? 🙂 Talk about updating the map of my life journey!! Obviously, you should be able to tell with an event and post such as this that I am looking for a specific thing! And with each step inside, I am finding it!

While there is an entire host of various animals on this small farm, it is primarily a chicken farm. When at times, there are baby chicks everywhere!! And, this includes being in the house in the room next door…I never knew how sensitive chicks and chickens were to their vicissitudes of life. Temperature and disease can whip out the entire flock of chickens. And the chicks require high levels of attention and care…thus, they are right next door…ahhh….the chirping…but, I am in South Africa…it is all good!! 🙂 This is a part of the daily view around the compound….

And, of course the Big Chicks…egg layers and those for the dinner table. Living in an area where I have plenty of room for chickens…and some of those in my neighborhood have some as well…I’ve had thoughts about raising chickens for quite some time. Getting away from the commercial style, full of fat and whatever else, and getting down to some good o’l home and natural raised yard bird!!

Well, one of the beautiful aspects of this experience is that I have come upon my own romanticized notions and am now fully aware of a few of them. In regards to chickens!! Beyond the day-to-day care, every morning they rise early to deal with chicken prep for sale. That would be the last picture in this set…neck rung, feathers plucked, and on the slab getting ready for sale….

Yup, that romanticized notion is over!! I’m strictly on the consumption in…not the prep. Of several lessons learned on this trip…one is that I am not interested in raising chickens…that is someone else’s gift! I greatly appreciate the raising and preparation…but, call me when it is time to cook or eat them 🙂 That’s it…next…. 🙂

The other major contingency on this farm – Sheep!! Interestingly, the chickens are basically a commercial item…they raise them, eat the, sell them…but, the sheep. Well, they are more like the ‘security team’ part of the crew!! The folks from ‘Charlotte’s Web’ would be ecstatic! 🙂

Quite the interesting place here…in addition to the sheep, the turkey’s, geese, and rabbits (not pictured) each had their own contingency 🙂 Why do I call them contingency…well, their survival is contingent 🙂 Okay…it is a farm you know… 🙂

Just a few pictures to share the environment. In actuality, being in this open space surrounded by the farm animals really added to the thoughtfulness about life I experienced then and feel now as I reflect and share. While being out here in the territory could be considered isolation, the fact is this place is teeming with life (also plenty of fresh oranges right off of the trees). And, of course…I have at least one of my personal security team members with me!

What a place to be. Where you must sit and deal with yourself, your thoughts, your life…amongst life! Not always easy to do, and not something everyone will do! However, this is one of those places for it!

As James Baldwin shares, ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.’

Interestingly, the same thing I was facing then, I am facing now! The change isn’t always immediate, sometimes it takes time. And, that time is necessary! This is where I needed to be – Then and Now!!

What’s next!! 🙂

Maybe this is my interpretation of a hobbit series…in that it seems of late, I’ve had a few ‘unexpected journey’s’ 🙂 Although unexpected, it is special in its own way because I’m traveling with the behest of my mother. She just jumped up and said, “I want/need us to go to South Africa.” How many times do we look back on life and wish we would of been better children to our parents. Well, like many….not the perfect child! But, as it is said…’when I was a child I thought, spoke and reasoned as a child; but, now that I am a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me’…yes, I am a preachers kid. Soooo, gotta throw a verse in every-now-and-then 🙂

So, off to South Africa!! Now, this isn’t one of my usual trips that will be associated with a population center. Obviously going to South Africa, there is Cape Town/Coast, Johannesburg, Soweto, Robben Island, and others…basically, anything of course to do with the Sage ‘Nelson Mandela’. However, this trip is different! We are going to specifically see ‘Family’. 🙂

Sounding like a ‘Game of Thrones’ episode, we land in Johannesburg and with little delay, drive through Pretoria (love that name) and head to what is called ‘the Northern Territory’.

In particular we are in a province called Limpopo, definitely in a territory where the closest, I’ll say town, is called Polokwane! Now this area is about a hop, skip, and a jump from the borders with Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Botswana! And, the plan is to get in good family time, absorb some local culture, and reflect. So, I’ll post a few things, but mostly will just share a few experiences. This trip is more for me…and family – you get me!! 🙂

The Abode:

I love it!! Now, this is not specifically a place you come to be entertained. This is a place with solo and family time. An experience not characterized by a lot of personal delusions 🙂

There are exceptions; however, there is only so much of day-to-day culture that is going to be found in a motel/hotel room. So much to be said about opportunities to get on the other side of the world and immerse in daily life. In these places, time has a different dynamic.

As is critical in most situations, it is very important to be introduced to and become comfortable with the compound security team. With that said, meet the crew…

🙂 I believe there are about 12 of them standing post…considering the size of the place and the environment, make it happen!! Never-the-less, they were great companions and I do really love the feeling conveyed when through the look in their eyes you can tell that you have their full attention! 🙂

Like I said, this isn’t a dense population center. There isn’t a corner store or restaurant. There are things to do, but you have to know because you may not be able to see it….

Just so you can look around a bit…around the house…and the neighborhood. It has a feeling to it…some of it because of the consciousness of where you are…and other parts…that rise from allowing yourself to feel…

This gives you an idea of the characteristics of the location. For me, it doesn’t take long to develop a symbiosis with the environment. The rising sun, the weather was not hot/cold – perfect, the walks, the solitude, greetings from the security team…and the knowledge of where we are…and what that means. And, there is always something different that pops up from some place…

Walking the road, I see a few things that make me wonder! So I am familiar with the gun/dog combo to protect the home, but the snake? Thinking that also means something else! And, a cat crossing sign? Hmmmm….well, okay 🙂

It would of been quite easy to schedule a trip to the populated and most visited locations. Ahhh, to visit the sites of ‘Mandela’ and to look out over ‘The Cape’!! But, this is a different story. One of family, but also this region where Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique intersect with South Africa has a story as well (and, the Zulu Nation being not far away)!

While Africa is often romanticized in Black America, no issue there – often times we need a dream to get by, There are also some realities in Africa that get ignored. These realities remind me of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, ‘Sapiens’. Like it or not, there are some serious indicative parallels in that book about how people intersect that reflect realities throughout the world. Quite apparent here as well!! You will dig into it if you are interested!! 🙂

I’m no rookie to Africa, the big delusions departed from me long ago. So for now I will dig further into my own curiosities and explore….get into my purpose. As, I mentioned…it was not on my personal map to be in this part of the world. But, I heard a quote the other day that says,

“Life is a long journey with a map written by a fool…”…. if you have life experience, then you have played the fool before 🙂 so then that should resonate with you….update our maps continuously…. 🙂

Introspection in the ‘Northern Territory’!!!!

La Candelaria! Street Art!

August 20, 2021

Street Art, such as this, permeates La Candelaria!! It is also tucked into many places throughout Bogota. So, although I am just now posting about it….it was an every day every moment type of experience. I just found it to be such a significant contributor to the overall experience, that I saved it for my last post 🙂 !!

While I travel a lot…the destination is not the primary…it is actually secondary to the human and cultural story. So yes, throughout the years…you will usually see a couple somewhere in there expressing themselves!! Yes! I’m a believer…. 🙂 You’ve heard it, ‘Art mimicking Life’…or vice-versa…you get it…beauty…

A special treat…. ‘una sorpresa especial…’ ….

And…as I mentioned – the human story! This gentleman was the ‘capstone’ of the trip. Kindness just exuded from his pours to the degree that as soon as you walked into the room you felt at ease, accepted, and at home. Part look – Part personality….He somewhat reminds me of this ‘tango organizer’ guy I know in Charlotte, NC 🙂

This guy, I would love to see again…

I enjoyed sharing these moments with you….I am getting caught up…

Let us meet again soon!!

Ciao!!

One of those days when you get up feeling appreciative and excited about what the day may hold. Without many significant plans, just going to wander…and pass on by…pause and enjoy a nice cafe…practice a little Spanish…or broken Spanish, whatever you want to call it…this post…just sharing the day….

Look at that art!! Got a ‘big treat for you in a few days when I highlight La Candelaria! Street Art!! 🙂 Very nice young man! Easing out into the day, and right into all the local dynamic…chillin…

It is a lovely day!! Plenty of good vibes, interesting sights, obviously plenty of things that you do not see every day…and as a book lover, I have to love this…

Books, books, books…I love that…everywhere…and of course ‘shout out to my tango friends’….Carlos Gardel in a hat shop chilling in Bogota… 🙂

Today is really a strolling day…cafe, nice shoes, cap…maybe yes…maybe no…let’s see what we come upon. And, behold one of the things I really love above about many of these countries….la plaza… grande…Plaza de Bolivar…

Just stopping and taking in the views and the feelings….

These places always give me a bit of pause. Quite the dynamic to read about the history of a place and its people, and then come and sit and consider what their lives have experienced. Not the the sites, the easy part….but, what takes place on the inside….if you consider Columbian history not just in this city or plaza…but, throughout the country…then…

Shout out to My Man!! Nice enough to take a break and let me get on in! 🙂 I look like I need to eat more… 🙂

Stopping for a short break…not tired…just absorbing the moments!! Sometimes, I will delay posting these trips because I like to let them get inside of me a bit more. But, then also because looking back…I feel it all over again! And, it is such a beautiful feeling…as if I am reliving it! Break at ‘Cafe de Luna’….

Righteous vibe…sandwich…let’s just say that I made sure to go on Trip Advisor and leave a review….when I go back to La Candelaria!! Indeed…and initial stop!!

Back to the stroll!! Now keep in mind, what we are looking at was not the result of a long cab or uber ride! This is simply walking…this area is very walkable if you are in moderate/decent shape with good shoes…take your time…soak it in…around town a bit…all this, mind you, settled into the mountain elevation…

Strolling through these areas landing at a wonderful reminder of the historical significance and dynamics associated with Columbia! Just like the Plaza de Bolivar, now ‘Casa Museo Quinta de Bolivar’. I try not to get too far into didactics here…as I mentioned, just a guy roaming the world. However, the significance of Simon Bolivar to South America can the world…can not be overstated…beautiful to be here…and take this into me…

Reflecting back, I recall sitting in the garden of Simon Bolivar’s house feeling the good fortune of that specific moment. moment. And, now I feel it again. Such a reminder on how we have to take in these moments, hold on to them, build our lives with them…as times change…life changes…but, we can still build on it! Ahhhh….Simon!! Muchas Gracias!! 🙂

Ohhh, the day isn’t done yet…

And within a very short distance…behold…the mountain top that dominates the skyline of Bogota…part of the Andes Mountain Range…standing at a grand elevation of 10,341 feet…Ahhhh….

Monserrate….

I have to tell you!! I am not a man of heights…the ride to the top was not my favorite moment…but, it was necessary…and worth it…up there is a shrine…restaurants…eateries….but, most importantly….it is an opportunity….but, it is for each of us to determine what that opportunity is….as we said… ‘Aqui la magica, comienza contigo’…

I know that I am very fortunate….

I know this!! Although the vicissitudes of life makes this realization, at times, mentally and emotionally averse…and difficult to hold on to!! Yet, we must remember that life isn’t just vicissitudes…let us keep that in mind!! All of this is dedicated to regardless of the vicissitudes….try to see the best in ourselves….and the best in life…maybe that can help us see the best in others….

Amor!!