Una Noche Azul en Oaxaca

When you visit Oaxaca, you will find a city brimming with activity. On a typical Sunday evening, the locals are out with their families, street vendors are out selling their wares, and tourists walk around dazed from all the sights, sounds and aromas. Most of the activity is centered around this old section of the city. How old? Well, the cathedral was first constructed in 1535 and its current state was finalized in 1733. You will also find the zocalo (main plaza) right next to the cathedral along with various museums just a few blocks away. There is plenty to do around here. You can admire the beautiful architecture while sipping a coffee a few steps away. How about visiting the dozens of artisans selling their unique and colorful creations? Or just stroll into one of the many museums highlighting the often turbulent history of this region. Me? I just wandered around soaking it all in, snapping a couple of photos along the way, and longing to return one day. I really enjoyed this city and it’s now on my must return list. Oh, and I ate plenty of shaved ice treats. Oaxaca is known for their ice cream. My favorite: A shaved ice cup of lemon/lime kiwi. Yummm. I had more than one.

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Nadya's Side Of The RoadMay 28, 2013 - 4:36 pm

I will go there for ice-cream ; ).

The Travels of BBQboy and SpankyJuly 3, 2013 - 7:43 pm

Love your photos!

PixamundoJuly 5, 2013 - 4:38 pm

Thanks! Good luck with your ventures. Looking forward to more of your posts.

Akumal Beauties

I was hanging out in the spectacular beaches of Akumal in the Mayan Riviera recently when these two lovely Argentinian girls passed by. I was busy taking photos of the clear blue Carribean waters and they were trying to take photos of themselves with their phone. Normally, people see me with all the camera gear and figure I’m some hot-shot photographer (I’m not). We started chatting and they even posed for some photos. They were real good sports and quite photogenic also. One of them mentioned that she is an architect back home but I think they could both have a second career as models. Don’t you think?

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If anyone knows the folks at Sports Illustrated or Victoria’s Secret, pass my info along. I’m available to shoot their next swimsuit publication and I can even bring the models. I know two good candidates in Argentina.

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Sunlight Peaks Over The Coba Ruins

I recently posted a recap of my adventure exploring the Mayan ruins of Coba. You can read all about it here. I had posted all the photos in black & white but here is one in full color. Whenever I process a photo, sometimes I’ll consider converting to black & white or sepia. Depends on my mood. I think this one works in both color and B&W. What do you think?

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Frida Kahlo’s Wardrobe

I was visiting Mexico City over the New Year’s holiday and made a side trip to the bohemian suburb of Coyoacan. Many people make the trek here so they can visit the famous Frida Kahlo museum (also known as La Casa Azul). My sister mentioned that they had just unveiled a new Frida Kahlo exhibit. Not of her paintings, but of the items in her wardrobe. Apparently, when she passed away in 1954, hubby Diego Rivera took many of her personal items and locked them away in a separate room with strict orders that they never be displayed in his lifetime. Well, they sure weren’t. He passed away in 1957 and they finally got around to displaying her belonging 56 years later. It is aptly titled: “Appearances Can be Deceiving: The Dresses of Frida Kahlo”.

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For fans of the eccentric and surrealistic Kahlo, you will be glad to know that her wardrobe was as colorful and highly personal as her art. This very intimate collection consists of various dresses, shoes, jewelry, and body braces. Poor Frida suffered from very poor health due to a tragic bus accident when she was a teenager. She broke her spine, collar bone, and ribs and to top it off a metal object penetrated her abdomen. As such, she was forced to wear various types of braces for the rest of her life.

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My first reaction to this display was a mixture of horror and queasiness. I don’t give much thought to what I am going to wear every day. As long as it’s clean, it works for me. Well, Frida’s routine was much different than you and I. These are some of the body accessories Frida had to consider when dressing every day. Yes, that is an artificial leg brace. Frida had her leg amputated near the final years of her life.

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Although I was allowed to take photos, the lighting was not ideal for photography. The light was bouncing all over the glass. I struggled a bit to get decent shots of her interesting wardrobe. Like this dress and brace. This body brace seems painful just looking at it.

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You have to hand it to Frida. She was anything but boring. Her choice of fashion and color was very unique and reflected her cultural roots mixed with a bit of individual style. I love those bright red platform boots. Something tells me she would have been a big David Bowie fan.

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I really liked this portrait of the young Frida. Her soulful eyes display a sense of maturity not found in many 12 year olds. I’m willing to bet that even at such a young age, Frida probably had an inclination of her colorful personality and rebellious nature that would mark the rest of her life.

Although she has become very popular in the last few decades, what with movies and magazine covers dedicated to her, poor Frida lived quite a calamitous life. Diego treated her like shit and since she was bedridden for so long, art became a way for her to escape her tragic reality.  I’ve always seen Frida as a sad figure who in spite of her physical and emotional challenges, left quite an artistic legacy that we can all admire. I would even go so far as to say that she eventually surpassed husband Diego Rivera in popularity and cultural relevance. Talk about the ultimate survivor!

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Adventures at the Mayan Ruins of Coba

On the road between Tulum and Merida in the Yucatan peninsula, you will find the old Mayan city of Coba. This ancient Mayan city is home to one of the grand Mayan pyramids and is one of the few remaining archeological sites in Mexico where climbing the main pyramid is still allowed. You are no longer allowed to do that in Chichen Itza or Tulum and some parts of Teotihuacan. I visited last December and it was my 2nd time trip to this fascinating town. Most of Coba is still covered in thick dense jungle and there are plenty of archeological ruins to explore.

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I found this tree growing behind the Mayan ballgame court. The Mayans practiced a sport that can best be described as “hip-ball”. It was a type of racquetball or volleyball, but the ball was passed back and forth using the hips. They took their sport very seriously. The loser didn’t just get booed of the court, they were usually put to death. Yikes!

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This is the front view of the grand pyramid of Coba: Nohoch Mul.  If you zoom in to the photo, you can see my friend, Marcia Kirby (Marcia the Explorer) from Akumal Direct. She sat to rest and was contemplating wether to continue climbing. You can do it Marcia!

Every day, tourists climb 42m for a total of 120 steps to get to the top of Nohoch Mul (the large hill). This is the tallest Mayan pyramid in all of the Yucatan peninsuala, taller even than the more popular Chichen-Itza.

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This is the second tallest pyramid in Coba, “La Iglesia”. Oddly enough, you are not allowed to climb this pyramid. I witnessed some tourists find that out the hard way. They began climbing to get a view from atop and were half-way up when they were busted and almost got thrown out. Poor tourists. Ever hear a Mayan swear? I have.

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And when you finally make it to the top of the Nohoch Mul pyramid, you are rewarded with this majestic view of the Yucatan jungle. This is the same view the Mayans enjoyed so many centuries ago. Now, everyone can enjoy it too.

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[…] posted a recap of my adventure exploring the Mayan ruins of Coba. You can read all about it here. I had posted all the photos in black & white but here is one in full color. Whenever I process […]

Roy DavisMay 2, 2013 - 9:34 am

Great photos

PixamundoMay 2, 2013 - 10:27 am

Thanks Roy. Glad you like them.

Balta Ce CeMay 4, 2013 - 12:09 am

Geniales imágenes, un gran trabajo de edición!

PixamundoMay 6, 2013 - 10:57 pm

Gracias Balta. Un saludo.

Neon Night in Chinatown

I was out shooting photographs with a group of local LA photographers recently and had a great time. You can check out their talents here and here. We descended upon Chinatown in LA since it affords some nice views of the downtown skyline. The fog started to roll in but it was still a lovely night sky. Come to think of it, almost every night in Southern California produces a lovely night sky.

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Thunder Clouds over Viñales Valley

No, that’s not a scene from Lord of the Rings. It’s the Valley of Viñales in Pinar del Rio, Cuba. This is one of those small little towns that not many people have heard of but it’s just popular enough to warrant a nice hotel up on a hill overlooking the valley. This is the region in Cuba that produces the countries’ tobacco, sugar cane and coffee. Naturally, all the cigar aficionados (like me) eventually make their way here. You’ll find farmers who will gladly invite you into their home to smoke a hand rolled cigar and sip some strong Cuban coffee or a shot of rum. And that’s pretty much all there is to do around here. With views like these and a fresh cigar in one hand and a drink in the other…I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Nadya's Side Of The RoadApril 30, 2013 - 9:41 pm

Astonishing! What a rare photo of Cuba!

PixamundoMay 1, 2013 - 3:02 am

@[130871550332209:274:Nadya’s Side Of The Road]: This is one of my favorite places to visit in Cuba. I love the countryside.

The Greek Goddesses at Chapultepec Castle

Up in Chapultepec hill near downtown Mexico City is the famous Chapultepec Castle. Over the years, it’s been used as a the presidential palace, a military academy, and even as an observatory. These days, it’s the National Museum of History with beautiful paintings, gardens and many historical artifacts from Mexico’s long history. After wandering around all day  I was almost getting ready to leave when I saw a sign pointing to a room with stained glass windows. I decided to check it out and was amazed at what I found. Along this corridor, are multiple stained-glass windows of the Muses from Greek Mythology. Now I couldn’t find out why someone would create such an elaborate work of art dedicated to Greek Goddesses. No one I asked seemed to know either. I’m not complaining. It was one of my favorite exhibits within the castle.

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It was a little difficult taking a photo since I wasn’t allowed to use my tripod. I just leaned against a wall in the far end of corridor and shot away. I was hoping to photograph as much of the windows as possible. You can really appreciate the detail in windows if you zoom in on the photo. These windows are really a work of art.

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La Torre de Chapultepec » PixamundoSeptember 12, 2013 - 5:27 pm

[…] previously posted about the castle that sits up on a hill in the middle of Mexico City. Among the many attractions of […]

Cuban Transportation

Cuba is known for it’s collection of Classic American cars still being used as daily transportation and here in Trinidad you will find many in pristine condition.  Well, that’s not all they use. It turns out the locals use a variety of methods to get around.

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I found this classic Chevy parked on a cobblestone street and immediately set up to take some photos. I was shooting away when a local man trotted by riding atop a horse. Now normally I don’t like it when someone steps into my photographs but I liked the idea of the horse next to the classic Chevy. Now where else are you ever going to see something like that?

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Now here is something else you don’t see everyday. A classic car with a horse-drawn carriage passing by. But here you see it all the time.

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I happened to be visiting Trinidad during their annual May Day festivities. This is a big deal here and thousands gather to celebrate in national festivities. Kind of like Bastille Day in France or Super Bowl Sunday in the U.S.A. There was a grand parade and I found these kids traveling via donkey. All three were very photogenic but I couldn’t get them all to look at the camera at the same time.

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I saw this older man riding around town on his horse one morning. I was sitting in a park taking a break when he also stopped by. I took a few quick photos and waved at him as a sign of thanks. He just nodded back and rode off. Like all good cowboys, he was a man of few words.

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This was the bakery next door to the bed & breakfast I was staying at. Every morning people stopped by to pick up warm fresh bread for the day. Whoever owned this bike seemed like they had a lot of bread to carry back home. I don’t blame them. I was eating it eat every day and it was mighty good.

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Beyond the Grand Canyon

I took this photo on my 4th trip to the Grand Canyon in the summer of 2012. I can’t believe I have already gone four times. I think on my next trip I’ll visit from the South Rim or maybe hike down to the bottom of the canyon. You can almost see the Colorado River in the photo. There is also lodging down there since you can’t hike down and return in the same day. From there you can explore, go rafting, or in my case walk around and take photos all day. In the end, I’m sure it will be a grand adventure in the Grand Canyon.

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