People and Faces of Puerto Vallarta. No. 13.

Sad to say, our stay in Puerto Vallarta will come to an end in another week. But before we leave for our next adventure, I want to leave you with a few words and pictures. We found that being  here nearly 4 months has had a very enlightening  affect on both of us. The people of Mexico are not rich by our standards, but they are rich in so many other ways, and are anxious to share this wealth. It never is forced upon you, it just grows, until you come to the realization that something is different in how you feel and view your world around you.

They have so much they want to share; their wares, their stories, their culture, their way of life. But it doesn’t end there, they are also interested in you as a visitor to their country, where you are from, how long staying, what part of town, are you enjoying your stay. They go out of there way to make you welcome and comfortable. You become their friend, their amigo, you find yourself interacting with them. The following pics are just a small example of the opportunities we had to try an capture this.

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This gentleman with a great face was selling hammocks.
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More street music.
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This lady was selling hats, fans, and tiny hand made dolls.

There is a texture here that just has to be experienced, to be absorbed. But that takes time. A couple of weeks here just wets your appetite. Hospitality is spoken here. It is a universal language, one that we all could experience and learn from. I am looking forward to home and our new adventure, and plan on bringing a bit of Mexico with us. We will be back next year. Until then, adios.

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A dancer who will be participating in the 11th Puerto Vallarta Folkloric Dance Festival.

Wanderlust

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The Good Earth.

When I was growing up as a pre-teen during the 1950’s in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, one of my chores was to keep our vegetable garden weeded. I hated it. I didn’t like having to get down on my knees to weed. My pants got dirty and wet; and I had to stick my hands into the dirt to get at some of the weeds. Plus I wanted to play.

Rows of vegetables were not too bad. What I really hated was the strawberry patch. No rows, and runners all over the place. To complicate the matter, at least in my mind, I was told that I could not go and play until the job was done. How unfair!

Fast forward to the 1980’s when we acquired our own piece of land and I had to put in a garden to satisfy our family of five. That same dirt became our gold mine. Now these hands were plunged willingly into that soil that over several summers was enriched and nourished, thanks to the local farmers and a sound organic approach.

I soon came to learn what really goes on under the surface. This soil, this dirt, was very much a living thing. I was amazed to find out just how much beneficial bacteria and other living organisms existed just below the surface. With careful tending we were rewarded with its bounty. This is my dirt, my earth.

Now look what is happening to this giver of abundance. It is being ravaged through the use of chemicals thanks to big chemical producing companies and agribusiness that virtually have  a strangle hold on the farmers. They rely on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and animal drugs. In agribusiness, the thrust is getting the highest possible yields and profits. Nutrient content and flavour take second place. Their bottom line is what is being taken care of, not the consumer. The damage that is being done will take decades to reverse, if it can be at all. The damage is not just to the earth, but also to the product that is grown in it, and ultimately to ourselves. This was my dirt, my earth. The drive is to mass production, not on a wholesome and nourishing product. Thank heavens, not all countries have adopted this approach, for the most part  in Europe and Asia.

The USDA fails to acknowledge that organically grown fruits and vegetables contain more nutritional value and are safer than those grown on mass,  despite independent research that has proven otherwise. One can only wonder just how deep a strangle hold agribusiness has on the powers that be.

Despite all this, there are some things that we as consumers can do. Many large grocery chains are now carrying organic products, if your local grocer is not, ask him why. If he is not, shop elsewhere. With stronger competition, prices for organics have come down. Get to know your local farmers and frequent farmers markets. At the political level, write your member of parliament or congressman, that still is a powerful tool.

It seems to me that with the rising cost of health care, it only makes sense to do our part and eat smart. It is going to take generations maybe centuries to turn this plundering of the earth around. This is still my dirt, our earth.

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Earth

Living Statues of Puerto Vallarta. No. 12

With Semana Santa (Easter Celebrations) in full swing in Puerto Vallarta, the Malecon is full of vacationing Mexican families, and a diversity of the weird and wonderful sights that are always a part of the celebrations. For those who are willing to participate, there is a surprise at every turn, some very imagitive, some wild and scary .

My ventures there with Maggie over several days produced some very interesting encounters. Enjoy.

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Surprise

When You Come to the End………

This blog is about a musical instrument – not just any huff and puff wind thing, but the king of instruments, the pipe organ. Now before you think this is about a lot of boring facts and info, bear with me.

I fell in love with this beast back in the 70’s, when most others of my age were a gaga with heavy metal, I was smitten with the majesty, the sonics and shear size of this musical wonder. It was alive, it breathed! Not all have the where with all to master the pipe organ, it not only requires both hands but also both feet. Two prominent artists names that come to mind are Virgil Fox, and E. Power Biggs. But the one that afffected me the most was a showman by the name of Carlo Curley.

Carlo Curley was born in 1952 in the U.S.A., and died prematurely in 2012 in England. He was not your usual keyboard artist. He was indeed an organ master; he added humour and a level of flamboyancy that was not usually associated with the pipe organ. Along with a rather dry wit. In my mind he was the Victor Borge of the pipes. He was the consummate entertainer.

He was the first classical organist to perform at the White House for President Carter. He also played for several European heads of state and toured extensively, always in demand. Because of his unique style, he was nicknamed “The Pavarotti of the Organ”. He was the consummate performer. Always entertaining and having fun with his audience.

My personal experience with this gentleman was at a Toronto concert in 1982 at Roy Thomson Hall where he performed on the newly built Gabriel Kney organ. I was not disappointed.

For over two hours we were wowed by his playing and showmanship as he waded through such classic composers as Saint-Saen, Bach, Handel, Widor, Frank and Messiaen, at times becoming quite vocal and crying out to the audience, “yes” and “yea” after a rather laboured piece. But…. the best part of the evening was yet to happen..

During the concert the organ console and sometimes the pipes were illuminated, but for his encore the stage was darkened and only a soft spot fell across Carlo and the console. His choice of music, When you Come To the End of a perfect Day. And what a perfect selection to close the concert. After thundering his way up to this point, he chose to present this piece as light and airy, the notes just seemed to float out over the audience only to burst in a moment of emotion. All the while he was playing, the spot was slowly dimming and shrinking around him, until all that was left were his hands. As the last notes faded into the night,  so did the spot. For a few seconds there was not a sound to be heard from the audience, as if each one was scared to be the first to applaud and destroy the feeling of the moment. And then it came, and it thundered out in response. There was much dabbing of the eyes, not in sadness, but in a personal experience of joy and contentment and peace. The perfect end to a memorable moment; and that moment got me to thinking about when my final moment is near….

I came into this world with only a few lines of announcement in the newspaper, not on the front page, no trumpets sounding. And as the light fades around me, I think it is only fitting that I depart in the same manner, due to symmetry and other considerations. I will do my kicking and screaming now, not when my stay is nearly over and it is too late. I will pass on the spotlight, hoping only that those closest to me will be able to share in my being part of their lives. Some may applaud,  maybe some will dab an eye. Knowing this gives me a sense of security. I have a plan. The rest is out of my hands.
Security

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Puerto Vallarta’s Architecture. No. 10

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La Iglesia De Nuestra Senora De Guadalupe, 1929.

The pictures above are just a small example .of the varied building styles to be found in and around PV. It is an eclectic mix of Hispanic and contemporary styles, helping to retain  the old world charm with that of current design. This can be seen in the Spanish influence on domes, courtyards and arches.

Construction today is designed to be earth quake smart and only sway and not crumble. Materials used are usually cement and steel, but some adobe materials can still be found in rural areas. These materials also act as a deterrent to termites of which a number of their nests can be seen in and around PV.

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Teatro Causedo, 1922.
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The arch is a prominent feature in many structures