Monday, July 30, 2012

Natalie Woods For Life Magazine 1955

Laguna Santa Maria del Oro #2 - The Expensive Bit

Those who read this blog may be aware I passed by this great natural volcanic lake with no bottom and stayed at a place called Koala Bungalows. A little bit of manicured lawn and gardens with bungalows and spaces to park your tent on the southside of the laguna that is. Whilst staying there I would sit on the wooden jetty and cast my eyes over the lake to the northside. The rich persons side. The side where the morning mist floats like muslin over the water and delicate mayflys and damselflys dip into the surface causing ripples on the still water and where the low clouds brush the hillside with dripping moisture. Only rich people can afford to stay at a place where nature can spread that sort of romantic spell over the location.

Here where we stayed on the southside or south of the railway tracks our solitude was nightly destroyed by a group of itinerant neo-hippy drummers and Peruvian flute players who had their country HQ in a shitty, squalid house behind the bungalows. Their constant percussive out of tune thumping noise and barking mangy dogs put paid to any chance of sleep unless you OD'ed on Laudanum. Screaming kids and families banging doors till the wee hours also did something to make us vow never to return to Koala Bungalows and we looked in envy to the Elysium north. The land of fairies and soft grass and Edelweiss and goats on a lonely hill.

Last weekend we booked in the Tau Boutique Resort on the northside and from the tranquility of our first morning's breakfast sipping our carrot and orange juice cocktail on the terrace we looked with disdain to the south and their people living in Roman Galley conditions.

More nice stuff after the jump

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Photography - Zapata Smiling But Dead

Thanks to this Tumblr

and here's Zapata's lieutenant Fortino Samano looking uncannily relaxed moments before his execution in 1916 

Thanks to Tumblr

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Frida Inspires Yet Again

It's interesting how this artist and her work just keep inspiring people to manipulate her and her work using modern digital technology. Image what she may have done if she had had access to it.  Another example is the post of her head Photoshopped ultra-realistically on another body that inspired over 900 people to take a look on this blog. I subsequently deleted it because evangelical angry Frida purists began to get involved in the discussion.

Thanks to macedonum for this

The Art Of Staying Cool and the Role of the Useful Punkah Wallah

Our part time reporter Jim Thighes-Moriarty adivses you how to keep cool.

We at MazReal don't hold ourselves responsible for Jim's views. By all accounts he has never heard of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

Frida Kahlo looking relaxingly cool with her bangles rings and flowers?  Not today in Mazatlán however. It is like putting your face in the door of a Turkish Baths and breathing in steam and heat tinted with sweaty Turkish man sweat and the occasional wafting smell of dried prawn, burning tyres, sewerage or power station smoke (when the breeze is a southerly that is )but luckily now in my garden wafts the hint of Jasmine from my better half's Jasmine bush reminding me somewhat of drinking tea in China during those heady days when the British still ruled Shanghai. Oh how we laughed.

That pesky punkah wallah I ordered from India for me and my memsahib is a damn long time coming. They're impossible to find in this country, something to do with the wages going up to 5 centavos a day I think it was so I had to reluctantly look through my well-thumbed copy of the Skymall catalogue and go through there. Indian Wallahs charge about half the Mexican Wallah rate  and that's for a month so they are good value. I have shipped half a dozen in a box by EdFex from that wonderful country of cheap labour where the poor starving native knows his place in that wonderful country of the caste system and rich Bollywood actors and honest politicians who are allowed to shoot poor people who get in their way.

Granny Farquhar-Fiennes-Clinton and her trusty slaves
I am just carrying on the family tradition as can be seen above from the family instagram snap of my grandmother reading the horse racing pages from her verandah in Poonaville while she gets a pedicure from the foot wallah and a waft of breeze from the family Punka Wallah called Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Jnr went on to govern India and be a real thorn in the side of the British Ragamuffins.

More colonial nastiness after the jump

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quote Of The Day

The New Republic's Timothy Noah puts it,

 We’re sorry that 12 people had to die in Aurora, Colo. But we aren’t sorry enough to lift a finger to prevent it from happening again.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mexican Heat and the Curse of Snowbirds.

 Occassional MazReal writer Gerald Hawsley* gets pissed off with heat and takes it out on Snowbirds.
“Hot chilli peppers in the blistering sun”. Bob Dylan incorporates this line in his song about Durango perfectly evoking the summer up there although he's probably never been there at all and nor have I but down here on the coast we could sing the same line “hot friggin'chilli peppers in the friggin' sweltering sun” referring to Mazatlán. Anyway it can just as easily refer to my little bit of Mazatlán. 

I am of Anglo Saxon, Austro Hungarian, pale Scandinavian, northern temperate climate blood with a hint of Dalmatian from my father's 12th wife and servant girl and inside my office or library as I prefer to call it as there is a Kindle lying on a chair, it is a constant 360 degrees Celcius (to our friends from the north that translates as some other number in degrees F) even taking into account the four fans aimed at me, my steaming computer and my termite eaten chunky Concordian-built plywood desk. 

I use fans and have no air con. Whilst writing I am surrounded with fans blowing hot air. I have a ceiling fan 5 meters up spinning to within an inch of its life constantly clack clacking its moving parts, behind me straining on its electricity cord there is a large airplane propeller encased in a black rusting cage aimed at the back of my head which, if I had hair, it would be tearing it out. There is a smaller ‘fill-in’ fan oscillating to my left cooling my left side naturally. A Sumo Fan (that always tickles me), a plastic squatting Sumo wrestler cradling a fan that I bought from the souvenir section of a backstreet Macau whore house, gently cools my nose and eye brows. It is still 600 degrees C and although the fans blow the hot air around they do apply a veneer of chill.

My Amazonian Teak desk built by Indians from the Peruvian village of Iquitos obliquely looks out the floor-to-ceiling windows onto the street where for much of the day catching the street breeze sits a gaggle of old men on the large window sills street side. My window sills are the perfect width and height to sit on and these old men waft away flies and sit and chat and mumble about stuff that is happening around them. Between me and them is 30 centimeters of space and a net curtain so they cannot see me but I can see their silhouette and I can clearly hear every mumble, fart and cough. If I was an impatient man I would rattle the bars of my cage with a stick and tell them to get the fuck off of my property but I like the soothing background chat as it never lets me forget I am in Mexico.

I listen to them out the corner of my ear and learn a few words like pinche this and pinche that. But most of what they say is unintelligible for me because they all have loose fitting false teeth which rattle as they talk and sometime José doesn’t even bother to put his in so his mumblings become even more indistinct and kind of slurpy. Occasionally when they get really annoying I switch on my ultra sonic dog preventer which interferes drastically with their hearing aids causing them to sometimes spew out their teeth and roll around on the street howling and tearing at their ears. Oh how I laugh sometimes because they haven't figured out what is happening.

It is so hot in my library cum office that the net curtains don’t waft inwards in that romantic way bringing in a breeze instead they lie flat and tight against the metal bars from the hot air pushing them outwards. Occasionally I slink off and lie draped in the hammock on the patio. Expired there I order my imported Filipino boy I named Abdul to gently push the hammock backwards and forwards so the movement will agitate the air. I sometimes shed my kit and stand under the garden shower till the cool water already in the pipes becomes hot from the sun-heated water in the tank. ( I got to remember to replace the black tank with a white)The subsequent effort of drying soon adds a fresh sweat and its back to the library half-dried to stand in front of the fans.

More complaining after the jump. Snowbirds with delicate sensibilities are advised to stop here.....

Patzcuaro Michoacan

One only has to mention the word Michoacan to someone north of the border and they think of drugs and violence and kidnapping and Mexican mayhem. That's what Samuel (pronounced Samwell), the manager of the Portón del Cielo, the best hotel in Patzcuaro Michoacan said when we booked in. He said they haven't had a guest from that part of the world for a year now. Denny and Lanny Garland (that famous mixed media artist) who has lived in Patzcuaro for many years says it is the safest and friendliest town they've ever been to. It seems it is OK for US or Canadian citizens to shoot and machete each other in New York or Montreal or LA or Las Vegas but a hint of anything in Mexico and they stay away in droves.

We drove 10 hours from Mazatlán along route 15D Cuota through Tepic and Guadalajara, took a right at carreterra 15 through the misty mountains through Zacapu and other villages over hundreds of topes (naturally) to Quiroga right onto 120 and into Patzcuaro. Interstate Route 15D is like a well maintained race track where the only place you have to slow down is when you pay at the casetas de cobra. Carreterra 15 to Quiroga is slow going by comparison but it does give you opportunity to pass through towns with names like Zacapu and Tzintzuntzan. Names that once you start saying them you cannot stop - Itzihuapa, Huiramba, Tingambato, Uruapan, Puacraro and again Tzintzuntzan. Names from the language of the people indigenous to this area, the Purépecha.

Patzcuaro has many great hotels in the downtown area but we chose Portón del Cielo because it has the second most spectacular view we have seen in Mexico (the most spectacular is from a hotel overlooking the Copper Canyon in Divisadero)The hotel is ten minutes from the centre of town up a cobbled road and it sits on the edge of an escarpment overlooking Lake Patzcuaro. The whole of the hotel frontage is glass and wherever you are in the hotel whether taking breakfast or sitting in the bar or lying in your bed, you get a view of the changing weather sweeping in over Lake Patzcuaro. The hotel faces north so you see the sun rise to your right and watch is set to your left. In July that is when the rainy season is happening and clouds can build into spectacular formations. With a bottle of chilled vodka you can sit on the balcony and quite easily get lost in the spectacle and quite easily, if you get drunk, fall over and plunge to your death. It would certainly be the place to spend your last moments if you wanted to dive over and end your sorry life.

more after the jump

Sunday, July 15, 2012

La Laguna de Santa Maria del Oro. Nayarit Mexico. A Volcano Crater Lake.

We all like playing around in fresh clean lakes and even more so in fresh clean volcanic lakes with no bottom. When you can see the lake bottom you are reassured that everything is OK but when there is no bottom to your swimming experience your over-imaginative mind thinks of deep lurking creatures hence The Loch Ness Monster that everyone with too much imagination imagines swims silently around the peaty gloom of that famous deeper than deep Scottish loch.

Turn off to La Laguna De Santa Maria del Oro. Nayarit

It is common knowledge that a volcanic crater lake can reach even into the depths of the earth because that is what makes a volcano - really hot rocks that emanate from inside the earth's crust and once that hole, over the millennia, is filled in with water who knows what is down there? Lots of dead stuff I imagine.

La Laguna de Santa Mario del Oro. Nayarit.

More after the jump

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I Been Away A Long Time....So Here's Something To Spice Up Your Day...,

This great song from a great Bollywood movie pays homge to all Bollywood and even Hollywood....

It stars mega-star Shah Rukh Khan and is written and directed by famed Bollywood choreographer Farah Khan.

I was recently in Mumbai and when not outdoors doing stuff I was paid to do I was lying in front of my TV in the hotel watching classic Bollywood dance routines one after another till I fell asleep. They pushed all my stress to one side.

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