Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cool Examples Of Great Mexican Building Styles Here In Mazatlán

What's great in Mazatlán with regard to buildings (housing) is that many of the styles are so far removed from the others even next door sometimes. Take London for instance there are great swathes of Edwardian, Victorian and Georgian grand designs interspersed by really horrible social 50s and 60s tower blocks filling in areas where those nasty Nazis dropped bombs. Then further out are suburbs of boring often pebble-dashed 70s and 80s conformity with names like Mon Repose, Cuckoo Cottage, Sea View, Mole End, Robin's Nest, etc. Quaint English parochialisms. The building regulation are so strict that you have to go through the loops of red tape to even build a garden shed or garage and if you do without permission they tear it down.

I know that to renovate my place in Centro INAH spent long hours sniffing around demanding I work to their really awful unthought off interior designs they drew on a piece of paper right there at the meeting. Off course I was not going to make it look like something out of a 40s vision for the future experiment, rather I stuck to the traditions of the evolving building work that has gone into the interior of this place over the last 200 years. The exterior hasn't changed one bit so much so the ayuntamiento thought it was unoccupied and painted it brown. However building restrictions may be more lax outside Centro so as a result we can see a lot of different designs going up within spitting distance of each other. Take Playa Sur, there are some downright awful creations there but many weird and maybe visionary buildings amongst that lot. Driving around this city is always an eye-opener.

Here's some stuff out of the thousands I have in my photo library.

Downtown concrete and vandalism. The stairs are kind of old Parisien if you stretch your mind far enough.

My favourite as everyones I reckon. Broken-down classic Latin American something-or-other

This stuff looks good in high contrast. Closer I'm not so sure.

Downtown warehouse style. Great for New York or London style riverside apartments if you have the money

Virgin on white concrete classic.

We all know this one near the Electric offices. Love the windows

Infonavit Housing. Social cheap but I applaud it. It gets people out of squats we hope?

Infonavit Housing

Colonial Classico as they say. Or something like that.

Definitely Luis Barragan going on here squeezed between crappy high Rise rich 2011

Classic 60s and 70s in Los Piños

Playa Sur Classic Style with Cleopatra palms and a weird bay window 

Romeo and Juliet type old Italian balcony in Centro

Ciceroan Romanesque Mediterranean Villa Style on top the hill where all the rich people like to be.

Car park of Belmar Hotel.

You got to be tall and thin or just a very short person to look out those little windows of vice-like-squeezed bit of awfulness.

You got to brave slathering attack hounds to get to this position. Nice structure though. Worth the effort.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Old Mexican Postcards

Some more great postcards sent from Mexico to the USA from lucky travellers who came down at the turn of the century. What a time to have travelled round this country. Some cards are/were displayed in the Oaxaca post office.

Women Oaxaca Mexico 

A photo of an old photo displayed in the post office in Oaxaca Mexico. These trajes regionales don't look much like what you see today. My guess is that these models are wearing clothing from Oaxaca's Mixteca region - maybe Huajuapan. These photos were supposed to represent las siete regiones (the 7 regions) of the state of Oaxaca, one of which is the Mixteca. 

This old undated postcard in titled "Totonacos, Veracruz Mexico."
However the woman is not wearing a Totonac costume. She's dressed in the typical traje of San Pablito Puebla, an Otomi community famous for its amate paper and beadwork. tt's harder to place the man's costume of white pants and shirt, as that traje was worn all over the Sierra Madre Oriental by men of various ethnic groups - Totonac, Tepehua, Nahua, Otomi, and Huastec 

Oaxaca Woman Mexico
Another in a series of old photos displayed in the Oaxaca Mexico post office. This model wears a white huipil, long white skirt, and a white rebozo covering her head and shoulders. This combination of white garments is worn today in several Zapotec communities in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, among them - Yaganiza and Betaaza. It looks like this woman has wrapped a dark or black rebozo around her waist as a sash. Today, women in the Sierra Norte wear sashes that are a dark rose color and are sometimes woven from silk. 

Otomi Indian Mother Postcard 
This postcard was mailed from Mexico to the US in 1947. The foto was taken by well known Mexican photographer Luis Marquez and is titled "Madre Indigena. Otomi Indian Mother."

Typical Mexican Home and Family 

That's the title given to this old hand tinted postcard photo. There's no indication of where this family is in Mexico, but many of the photos similar to this one were shot in northern Mexico in Tamualipas and Veracruz, as this on a major early driving route into Mexico from Texas. This card was mailed in 1922.

A beautiful woman lounging around some cactus near Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. The baskets are the kind sold around the Toluca area west of Mexico City 

Some lucky travellers heading south from around 1920

Carrying milk back then and now (El Quelite). The receptacles may have changed but not the rest

Here's a postcard sent from Mexico on Christmas Eve  1901.

"I am sitting at my desk looking over a summer land."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Pulque Renaissance

Pulque the ancient drink is making a comeback in Mexico D.F. apparently.

"I heard it tasted like warm spit. But that is a lie.
This is delicious. There is nothing to be afraid of."
A dude drinking the ancient Aztec alcoholic beverage pulque for the first time, at a pulqueria in Mexico City.

On the reverse of this great old postcard someone wrote:

 "Pulque is the national drink of Mexico. This plant requires from six to ten years to mature in its native soil. In flowering times this plant is full of sap, which gathers quickly and is removed two or three times a day. This drink is best immediately after fermentation and tastes a good deal like stale buttermilk diluted with stagnant water - a thin, starchy, evil smelling liquor. Few of the better grade of Mexicans drink pulque. It is the beverage of the poor."

The Washington Post has this to say:

The back of this postcard reads:

Pulque Maker
This man is a tlachiquero - he drains the juice from the maguey cactus with that big gourd and takes it to the pulque factory to make the alcoholic beverage still enjoyed in Mexico today 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Female and Male Swimsuit Edition through the Ages

Now that the weather is becoming decidedly muggier, it is time to drag that tired old body down to the beach and crawl under the waves. Now is the time to get in before the sea turns to a warm chicken soup and the nasty little jellyfish swarm in at the first sign of rain. Most of us are older enough to remember those swimsuit fashions from the years 1900 onwards.  I however was unhappy when the male full body suit and edge of sea changing room on wheels disappeared because I have to show to the world my emaciated thing called a body when I stagger down to the water's edge. Anyway we have taken to river swimming now so that disgusting sight will no longer be in evidence unless anyone is around bird watching at those cayman infested rivers I take a dip in.


Below is Micheline Bernardini (nude dancer) modelling the first bikini from 1947 and the box it came in.

Those days women were less hung up about maintaing a size 0.

Nice ones blue and yellow but not sure about the Elizabethan one in the middle. 

Hello girls.

One wave will have that sexy knitted marine motif suit hanging over her knees

Olden days cheap skate photographer can't even be bothered to go to the beach

Ahhhh, the colors of the sixties

These lovely ladies about to paddle their car down the creek

One scary dude.

My mum forced me to wear a crocheted boy swim suit that ended up half way down my legs when wet.

Make you're own swimsuit type thingy

Swimsuit, ball and little sombrero just right for those Mexican beaches.
Dolores Del Rio doesn't leave much to the imagination with her piece of cloth for a swimsuit

Do the Charleston down on the beach with these surprisingly contemporary looking women.

Sultry Eva Brent

Ouch, I bet those rings get hot.

....................In the spirit of even handed reporting..


These were the days when men hung around rivers playing around with no kit on.

A couple of Ozzies sharing drugs and wearing the first Speedo trunks.

My era when men were men and wore dancing pumps to the beach without someone kicking sand in yer face.

Didn't we all love to prance around holding hands acting like teapots. That's what river and lake swimming is all about for men.

Looking like something out of Wagner was cool too and it appears the woman on his right is chatting into a cell phone or pointing out the lobster stuck in her earhole.

Men also liked the sexy 'off the shoulder exposing the left nipple look' look. I bet those nice chaps allow ladies first through doors and  say "after you madam."

Now these dudes from 1910 look like they were here the other week at the surf gig we had here in Mazatlán. Me, I'd go for the knitted one like my mom used to make. The chicken hair cut was all the rage back then.

That's me now on the left with all my billiard playing Kaiser Bill lookalike friends. You see I never go swimming without my socks and lace-up shoes.

Now JohnnyWeismuller would make a boy's heart flutter with his Tarzan body, porcelain smooth chest and swimsuit pulled halfway up his washboard stomach.

Don't tell these Nazis they look like a couple girly boys.

No frigging comment except this man should be banned from leaving his front door never mind pull himself into a little Speedo with red hearts on it. I reckon he is English or German and slaps his wife and kids around.

Mark Spitz is about the only guy who looks good flying through the air in a Speedo.

This guy can't quite pull off the 'medallion man' description till he grows a bit of chest hair and beefs up a bit.

These boys get my vote. Look out girls! Or should we say look out boys!

The newest thing on the beach. Nowhere to keep your suntan lotion or car keys but he's at least he's found room somewhere to keep his daily fruit portion .

Only Armani can pull off wearing a white mankini at his age.

One way to get people pointing and laughing at you on Olas Altas or even Stone Island or anywhere for that matter. We reckon it could scare the kids and grannies as well. Most likely to be worn indoors hanging upside down holding a screeching cat in one hand and a cat-o-nine-tails in the other.

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