Archive for the ‘Daniel in Mexico’ Category


Daniel: from Mexico to Minnesota

May 5, 2010
This will be the last post I dedicate to my semester in Cuernavaca. I’m back in Minnesota sitting in a room that I’m about 1/8th moved in to. My life has more or less returned to normal, though I can’t shake the feeling that a portion of my life has been chriogenically frozen only to thaw out upon my return to Mexico. I miss all my friends, my host family, the school, my mentality, my girl; absolutely every detail of my life there. I can’t complain though, returning to my friends and family here was both easy and a warm reminder of the life I left for a few months.

The trip was incredible in every way. Regardless of what you may have been hearing about the violence and drug trafficking in Mexico, tourists and travelers incur the same problems as locals and nothing more. Don’t let the news and/or media stop your travel plans or desires to visit Mexico. You will be safe if you make rational decisions and steer clear of questionable situations.

As for the photos, from the top down:

  • The first three are from the plane ride home just after taking off from Mexico City
  • The next three are from an indigenous ritual performed before the Sergio Mendez Human Rights award ceremony
  • Walking to the bus in Lagunilla after our last day at VAMOS
  • My host family at a restaurant I visited almost daily a few nights before I left
  • Finally, an intersection next to that same restaurant that I passed often

Daniel: El Museo de Antropologia

April 21, 2010

This past Thursday, Carol, Charlie, Maggie, Rashelle, and I headed out to Mexico City to visit the National Museum of Anthropology. It was strange to finally be able to go on an excursion exclusively with those who have been 2/5’s of our class every Monday; it truly felt like we were some sort of family as weird as that may sound. We spent a fair amount of time in each section of the museum as Charlie blew our minds one artifact at a time. We took a break for lunch around 3 where Carol, Charlie, and I dined at the restaurant inside the museum. Amazing food but a little spendy. We continued our quest for knowledge after eating and left the museum around 6:30. It was a very long day with an almost painful amount of new knowledge.

We all relaxed on the way home as we sat in traffic listening to Carol try to configure the GPS on her Blackberry, which incidentally interrupted me as I was about to ask a question. I’ve never been interrupted by an electronic voice before and to have it happen so suddenly made me laugh until I cried. As we crossed the ridge separating Morelos and the D.F., Charlie told us a story I won’t soon forget like all of his stories, and we arrived back at the school around 8:30. Quite a day.


Daniel: El Bosque de Agua y Petunia

April 20, 2010

A week ago I went with an environmental group to a forest in the north of town where the state of Morelos borders on the Federal District. We spent the entire day either walking on trails through the forest, learning about the vegetation, and making new friends or simply climbing. We climbed two portions of a ridge that overlooked nearly the entire forest and part of the highway going from Cuernavaca to Mexico City.

The environmental group’s central concern at this point in time is a proposal for building a highway to divert traffic from the main autopista running along the East side of Cuernavaca, to a bypass on the west side that would essentially cut the forest in half. It’s the last remaining national forest in Morelos and is a key factor in regulating the amount of water that Mexico City and other cities in Morelos receive in both the rainy and dry season. If the forest is damaged in any way on a large scale—like if someone were to put a giant highway right through it—two things will inevitably happen.

The first is the issue with the water flow out from the ridge which constitutes more than 50% of the water used by Mexico City. That’s a lot considering the population of the city itself is just about 9 million and there are just over 21 million living in the metro area. The other issue that would be created by this highway is one that could potentially ruin Cuernavaca’s trademark attraction, “The city of eternal spring.”  Since the city is conveniently located a few thousand feet below a tall ridge, and has over 30 large ravines running through it, the temperate climate here is controlled much like a radiator is. In the morning, all the warmer air creeps up from the valley below and into the city, heating it gradually as the day progresses. In the afternoon and evening as temperatures reach their peak, the cooler air flows down off the higher ridges cooling the city and keeping the temperature more or less constant. Any damage to this delicate system of climate balance, say a highway clogging one of these ravines, would dramatically change the mean temperature of this city on any day of the year.

On to the photos: These go in chronological order of the hike and actually when i took them.

  • The top two are just after starting out and before our first climb.
  • The following 5 make up some of the vegetation and sites we saw along the way, not much explaining to be done there.
  • The last one from the hike is the one and only Charlie Goff resting after we lost about half the group somewhere on the trail. I’ve never seen anyone conduct a search effort so effectively from his back, no sarcasm intended.
  • Last is Petunia, the donkey of Carol Hopkins.


Daniel: Más Tepoztlán, El Centro, y El Mercado

April 17, 2010

Here are some photos from the ninth roll of film I’ve taken (ISO 100). This roll ended up being pretty diverse in terms of locations and shots, though most come from El Centro this past Sunday where I just wanted to finish the roll to get it developed since I was there doing homework anyway.

The top photo is actually from a market near El Centro where we went last week for a portion of a class. I should have taken more there as everything was incredibly interesting, but the lighting on the section inside was a bit dim, and I was nearly the victim of a broom-swatting when a woman thought I was taking a photo of her and just asked me “Por que?!” (Why?!) as she tried smacking me with one of her homemade cleaning utensils. I replied with a very simple “No se, estaba tratando incluir todo” (I don’t know, I was trying to include everything) and gave her a cold, long stare.

The next four are from this past Sunday in El Centro as I already explained. The first of which is a guy playing the snare and trumpet in the middle of the Zocalo. It took me about 5 minutes of waiting to get that shot without having someone obstruct my view. The next three are the result of me being a creep in the Zocalo. I wish I could’ve gotten a better shot of the older men on the bench, the man in black stood up just moments before I took this. I sat for at least 20 minutes right across from them trying to figure out the best way to get a shot of them without their knowing. Once I did, it was too late. The last of them is below a bridge near another cafe that I quite like where all the Mariachis gather to do whatever it is Mariachis do when their not performing. Chat I guess?

The following three on the bottom are a continuation of our trip to Tepoztlán a few weeks ago. On top is a picture from one of the main streets and in the top third of the photo, you can see the pyramid we climbed too. It’s quite small so I’d recommend enlarging it. Below that is a street dog, definitely putting together a series of there when I get back. Last is a crazy tree near the path on the decent back to civilization.

I just got back from a hike in a national forest on the Northern part of the town bordering the DF and am exhausted. Got up at 6:45 and got back to my house around 7:30. Excursions are always so rewarding and insightful, but just kick the motivation to do work right out of me. I shot 28 film photographs there today so I should have those up late this week hopefully. I have ceased to shoot digital, at least in the past 3 weeks or so.


Daniel: Tepoztlán, Subiendo

April 12, 2010
These come from a roll of film (ISO 100) I shot the past two Sundays when I went to Tepoztlán. The first time, I went with a friend named Erandi and her mother simply to look around and get something to eat. However, this past Sunday, Rashelle, Erandi, another friend named Alejandro (who we met the same day and who works at coffee shop we frequently go to), and I headed out with the goal of climbing to the famed pyramid atop a small mountain/bluff thing. Upon reaching the top, we just sat for about an hour admiring the view and more or less dozing off. A few of the pictures below depict this well, especially in the case of Alejandro who slept pretty much from when we got there to when we left.

From bottom to top:

  • Some guavas at the market the first time I went.
  • A child in a wheel barrel just relaxing with a cold soda.
  • A man vending ice cream out of a cooler.
  • Some woven bags neatly arranged in a way that I found particularly aesthetically pleasing.
  • The start of my shots from this past Sunday, a man playing a nylon guitar outside a restaurant we ate at after we had descended.
  • Alejandro after reaching the top of the pyramid.
  • My view above from where I sat for about an hour. Also, photographic revenge for being periodically rained on by orange peels.
  • The last section we had to climb just before reaching the top.

I’m headed out on a hike in a national park this coming Sunday, so I should have some photos to post from that. Otherwise, I’ll probably just do some shooting around town and such in the meantime. Enjoy.


Daniel: Puebla, y Otro Viaje a D.F. (Digital)

April 7, 2010
Here are some more photos from my trip to Puebla and Mexico City a weeks back. We visited a number of places in Puebla specifically, including a very old ceramics museum/factory/shop, a convent, a museum of anthropology, a delicious taco restaurant, an insane church, and the zocalo. It was yet another very long, very interesting day with a carpet bombing of knowledge from the mouth of Charlie Goff in each location.

The first photo is the interior of the house of Frida Kahlo. Not the well known ‘Blue House’ which is also located in Mexico City, but the house connected to that of Diego Rivera via awesome bridge. Above that is just an interesting color contrast I noticed on the roof.

Following, are two from the Saturday Bazaar in the DF. The bottom of the two is a very small lizard I noticed climbing through the merchandise of a vendor, and the other is some friends from Kentucky and I before we left.

The peacock and the dogs are from the courtyard of the estate of a woman whose name I still cannot remember. The dogs are in fact real, contrary to what I thought and you might think.

The bottom three are from the hand painted ceramics place in Puebla where we got a short tour.


Daniel: Popocatépetl in Person

April 2, 2010

These photos come from a trip I recently took to Popocatépetl with my host mother’s brother who, as I believe I have explained, is a professional photographer. We just went for the day with some of his current and past students who were very interested in the trip until we started hiking and the temperature was close to 35 degrees F. We hiked for a few hours on a portion of a pass not directly on Popo itself, but quite close to the volcano as that portion is closed right now. I’m planning on going back either this coming weekend or the weekend after to camp for a few days, do some mountain biking, and of course, take a gratuitous amount of pictures. Couldn’t be more excited for that.


Daniel: Teotihuacan

April 1, 2010

Climbing the Pyramid of the Sun

Here’s a very brief summary in film photos of the 14 hour trip we took to Teotihuacan two Sundays ago. We first went to an archeological site in Mexico City called Cuicuilco which was the predecessor to Teotihuacan as it was overtaken by a large volcanic eruption that engulfed the entire city/ civilization that had been established there. It did not actually effect any of the surrounding colonized areas as had originally been expected when the volcano erupted because the lava flowed right passed the civilization to the west. Though when it had traveled north to a certain point and in a different section of the valley, it began to pool, came back southward, and burned everything at the site to the ground with the exception of the Cuilcuilco Pyramid. The surviving people of this civilization would then migrate further northwest to the valley where Teotihuacan is located and start what was estimated to be one of, it not the largest, standing civilization around 450 AD.

As for the photos…
On the top is some big guy gearing up to tackle the pyramid of the sun.

The two below that are vendors which there was absolutely no shortage of at this particular site. I’ve recently unearthed a new found respect for these people the more I’ve actually talked to them about what they do, rather than just being told how cheap the things they have are and how amazing the quality of their obsidian stones are. No me interesa senor.

The two at the bottom I took from the top of the pyramid of the sun. The first is the view facing southwest, the second is of a friend from Kentucky named Will, and the last is the back of a friends head with the pyramid of the moon in the background.


Daniel: Acapulco

March 31, 2010

I figured I start in chronological order and with some film that I’ve taken in the past weeks. This was one day at a very secluded beach in La Pie de la Cuesta (foot of the coast) where we ate breakfast on the beach, took a boat to a more remote section of the same beach, ate a lunch of fresh fish tacos under the shelter, and watched the sunset over the horizon after perhaps the most relaxing day of my life. The waves were almost as enormous as the smiles on our faces as we ran across a stretch of very soft, very very hot sand to a deserted shoreline.

I shot part of this roll and one other with my F100 using the 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 I usually use on my D50, creating the ring that appears in each of the pictures. It’s certainly no a fish-eye, but it is significantly wider than using anything 28mm, which is the standard telephoto lens for film cameras. More to come later today or tomorrow.


Daniel: Complications

March 30, 2010
Upon returning from Acapulco about two and a half weeks ago, I entered a week of absolute insanity where I traveled to a different part of Mexico (archeological site, city, volcano, etc.) every other day. I’d be gone at least 11 of hours of each of these days and return exhausted, not to mention I had just started a new Spanish course where I’m reading contemporary literature from Latin America; short stories, articles, philosophy, and oh so much more. Catching up was not easy nor fun. To add to this rather intense schedule, my computer charger decided it was tired of its one and only function leaving me with little to no technology, and therefore no means to maintain my life in photos that I had hoped this blog would be.

I have taken upwards of 1000 digital and 100 film photos in the last 2 weeks, and I’m sure I have about 60 that I see worthy of posting, but I really don’t see myself having time to do all of that. SO. In the next few days, I’m going to be very critical and selective towards the photos I post as I attempt to outline the trips I’ve taken in the past two and a half weeks. Wish it didn’t have to be this way folks, but posting pictures on here is a time consuming process.

The photo above is one that I took last Tuesday when I climbed a section of Popocatépetl, the volcano I have previously posted photos of. It’s a feather caught between a section of vegetation that was part of a controlled burn, and another surviving section. You can actually see where it was lightly scorched on the right side but managed to stay in tact. I feel as though this feather can represent myself as I emerge from the hellishly crazy, fun, and interesting past week back into my normal state of Spanish class, meals with the family, and time to relax. I’ll do my best to begin the daunting process of describing the last two weeks tomorrow, but I’m certainly not making any promises.

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