SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
Bourgeois
Jan 24th, 2010 by Les

J. D. Salinger,  American writer of the novel The Catcher in the Rye, a classic story of adolescent rebellion wrote:

“He kept saying they were too new and bourgeois. That was his favorite goddam word. He read it somewhere or heard it somewhere.  Every thing I had was bourgeois as hell. Even my fountain pen was bourgeois. He borrowed it off me all the time, but it was bourgeois anyway.”
The Catcher in the Rye

I love words and bourgeois is one of them.  The simplest definition of the word is being of the property-owning class and exploitive of the working class (according to Marxist thought).  I like the way the word rolls off your tongue. Like exophagy , callipygian, sciolism, lamia  etc.  The meaning of the word isn’t as important as being able to throw them into a sentence. Knowing their meaning is somewhat helpful and should bear at least a wispy relevance to the topic at hand.  I liken it to being able to holler them out while in the throws of passionate conversation.  The title of this blog, bourgeois, is such because I felt compelled to use the word and will now try to weave it into life here in Ajijic.

[Quick definition of words above;

Exophagy – the practice, amongst cannibals, of not eating one’s relatives or members of one’s tribe (yuk!) 

Callipygian – having beautiful or elegantly shaped buttocks  

Sciolism – pretentious superficial knowledge

Lamia – female enchantress or demon] 

Tony Shalhoub (a native of Wisconsin) plays Adrian Monk on the TV series “Monk”.  He plays a detective with OCD and, quite honestly, does a pretty good job of being on point with his interpretation of someone with that disorder.  The opening number to the series has a line in it that goes something like “It’s a jungle out there.  I may be wrong…but I don’t think so…it’s a jungle out there.”

Heck, it is a jungle out there possibly more so because of the financial devastation of the past couple of years.  And then there’s Mexico.

When we started looking into moving to Mexico we heard, mostly, about the drug wars.  While there certainly are areas of Mexico where there is turmoil, we haven’t seen it here in the Lake Chapala region.  We have seen some gang graffiti – very little, mostly “wanna be” scribbles on walls.

I’m pretty open minded and also somewhat dense when it comes to noticing anything other then the beauty and warmth of not only the climate but of the nationals we’ve met here. Some say I am still in the “honeymoon” phase of life in Ajijic.  Trust me, I’ll take honeymoon over reality any day of the week.

Okay, where am I going with this?  Naïveté is a mainstay for me.  Like so many others who are children of the 60’s I am pretty open to the “live and let live”, “flower power” philosophy. 

We were marching for everything back in the 60’s.  There was so much going on, so many exhilaratingly fascinating subjects to speak out about, get down about, drop out about, turn on about.  Handcuffing yourself to various objects was the norm.  We even had a person handcuff themself to the Xerox machine in our office for I can’t remember what cause.

Picture someone innocently entering the copy room to make humongous copies of some document or the other and finding this highly agitated person attached to the machine.  Opps, pardon me, I wonder if you might move a smidgeon so that I could punch 10 copies and hit the “start” button.  I’m down with what your doing…though. Heavy man.  Most ace!

Most things were totally bourgeois.  We were not going to be slaves to the man.  None of our freedoms were going to be given up.  Working nine to five wasn’t an option.  We were free spirits.  We felt the “system” was bourgeois.  No matter what walk of life we came from…we were the have nots and proud of it.  We could live off the land – even if most of us had our own bedrooms and three square meals a day and had never met a cow in our respective lifetimes – we were still put upon.  I’m not saying all of us felt this way…really…but it was sure fun to protest.

For gosh sake, if you are looking for a place to move where each day is a new day.  Each day offers up opportunities to explore.  Each day brings you in contact with the people of this region who, as I mentioned so often before, celebrate a life that revolves around family and the church.  If you want to meet people from the US, Canada, Europe, who are of like mind and adventurous spirit, this is the place to be.

It may be a somewhat bourgeois society.  There is poverty here.  However, there is hope, there is laughter, activities, parades, fireworks…up the ying yang (heaven only knows why or what they are celebrating at 4:00 a.m. in the morning but we’ve become used to it), church bells ringing, bonfires going in the evenings where everyone simply sits on the curb and chats, laughs, drinks a brew and enjoys life.

The people in our small village still return to homes that are adobe structures with many small rooms composing the whole.  They sweep their steps every morning.  Walk almost everywhere they want or need to go, operate small shops out of the front of their homes, set up food stands right outside their front door where people can buy all sorts of delicacies.  The local butcher shop has half a cow hanging from its hooks.  Vegetables, coffee (fresh from the fields), raspberries and strawberries on each corner, etc.

That proletariat exist is true, even here.  It is also beautiful, pristine, ancient and welcoming.

Below are photographs David has taken recently and enhanced with his new software.  Enjoy, think and consider.

Young Aristorcrats

Young Aristorcrats

Man of the Masses

Man of the Masses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Window to Our World

A Window to Our World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pool Art

Pool Art

A Photographers Eye
Jan 20th, 2010 by Les

 “To me, photography is an art of observation.  It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”  Elliott Erwitt – an advertising ad documentary photographer (circa 1928) known for his black and white candid shots of ironic and absurd situations within everyday settings – the mask of the “indecisive moment”.

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving.  What you have caught on film is captured forever…it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”  Aaron Siskind – abstract expressionist photographer.

It is somewhat mind boggling how each day here brings forth another experience as yet unfelt, unseen or unimagined.  Most days dawn picturesque.  Sunlight drifting over our tropical garden sending dapples of billowy brightness across our porch and into the rooms of our home here in Ajijic.

I have a different mind’s eye view of things being from the Midwest. One assumes I’ve spent time watching amber waves of grain or endless rows of cornfields which couldn’t be more off target.  You can’t help but see grain and corn as you travel the State of Wisconsin – which isn’t all bad – however the urban areas have the obligatory Calatrava’s (bridges and art museum), theatre and arts districts, Marquette University, Harley Davidson (okay not very sophisticated though an interesting cultural statement) etc.

David, having been raised in Texas and traveled much throughout the world has a more seasoned and urbane outlook on life.  His photography reflects this sophistication.  Give me a camera and I’ll start snapping away – cutting heads off, using shadows to my disadvantage, or simply taking a picture which later prompts the question: “What exactly is this?” 

Recently David purchased some new art work software and he has been enthusiastically learning the ins and outs of it ever since.  Not only does he seem to catch the essence of a given moment in his photographs, he now has a novel opportunity to improve on that image.

Of course, as spouses do, he brings finished photographs down from a day in the studio and asks the inevitable.  As for me, everything he does holds beauty, warmth, tells a story, has amazing clarity, etc.  However there are many disclaimers when one listens to my responses, I love the guy, I think his grasp of photography is phenomenal, I adore the subject matter – Mexico, Ajijic, Lake Chapala, the Sierra Madres, Guadalajara – well you get my drift – a bit biased in nature. 

I am attaching several photos he’s taken recently.  If you have the time and the inclination please give us your thoughts, critiques, musings. I believe he’s captured life in Mexico and given others who have yet to travel here, as well as those who have been here, a new prospective through the eye of his camera.

In Step and Arm-in-Arm - Life in Ajijic

In Step and Arm-in-Arm - Life in Ajijic

What is Behind the Green Door?

What is Behind the Green Door?

A Touch of Yellow

A Touch of Yellow

A Glimpse Beyond

A Glimpse Beyond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty of the Moment

Beauty of the Moment

Sunrise You Say
Jan 19th, 2010 by Les

Joe Adcock, a American first baseman and right-handed batter in Major League Baseball, best known for his years with the powerful Milwaukee Braves team of the 1950’s said: “Trying to sneak a fastball past Hank Aaron is like trying to sneak the sunrise past a rooster.”

If you are a reader of our blog you already know, you can’t sneak a sunrise past an Ajijic rooster.  Ajijic roosters cackle regularly usually beginning at approximately 2:00 a.m.  Not wanting to miss a sunrise over beautiful Lake Chapala is understandable, I guess.

It has taken us a while to get used to our local fine feathered friends.  Their enthusiasm at odd hours of the morning – and afternoons and evenings for that matter – is well documented within our blogs.

Here’s an interesting aside, David was sitting in the studio one morning working.  The door is normally wide open.  All of a sudden he felt this presence sharing the space with him.  Low-and-behold there, not 2 feet from his chair, hovered a tiny hummingbird.  As hummingbirds do, he was “standing” straight up, wings flapping so fast you could not see them and his beautiful face watching David excitedly.  He flew rapidly to the left.  He flew rapidly to the right.  Came back to David’s side and then flew out the door leaving David smiling with the sheer joy of the experience.

One of the nice things about retirement is that there is no time clock to punch.  Our need is basically non-existent when it comes to racing to get ready once our feet hit the bedroom floor.  It has taken some time to get used to an unregimented lifestyle.  Trust me, though many people say they can’t wait until they can “retire from the rat race”, it is not so easy.  Okay, now don’t shoot me, I sometimes really miss the excitement and “hardly” ever routine of a normal work-a-day.

Routine is so engrained after decades of working – no matter how unstructured your work environment might be – you find yourself slipping into a schedule – even when you aren’t responsible for opening the office, catching a flight to who-knows-where, setting up for an early “assignment”, or simply gearing up to deal with the morning rush hour.

When I worked on the 42nd floor of the Firstar Center in Milwaukee, I would frequently find myself in my office by 6:00 a.m. (honestly, 6:00 a.m. and there were people there ahead of me – talk about being driven) and I would be treated to mystical sunrises over Lake Michigan.  Some of the most beautiful and dazzling sunrises were in the winter when the crispness of the air and the vapors coming off the lake combined to highlight the sunbeams as they headed reassuringly toward high noon.

David arose early this morning and headed up to our Mira Dor to set up his tripod and camera wanting to capture the beautiful sunrise.  He did, as he usually does, just that.  The pictures below were taken this very morning, Tuesday, January 19, 2010, and the results are spectacular.  I’m also sharing pictures David took of the mountains behind our home in August 2009 and January 2010.  Enjoy.

Mark Twain wrote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.”  We both realize we are extremely blest to be able to share wonderful adventures here in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico together.

January Sunrise Over the Mountains in Ajijic

January Sunrise Over the Mountains in Ajijic

January Sunrise Over Lake Chapala, Ajijic

January Sunrise Over Lake Chapala, Ajijic

Sierra Madres in August 2009

Sierra Madres in August 2009

Sierra Madres in January 2010

Sierra Madres in January 2010

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa
© Copyright 2009-2011 David and Les Lawrence, Ajijic, Mexico