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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Vintage New Orleans


I didn’t have anything to do with planning the topic for this week, I promise.  This week I am traveling from Houston to Michigan to spend the month of June with my mother.  This July Mom will be 91, so I don’t think I should miss any opportunity to spend quality time with her.  I also am having the pleasure of traveling with Rosemary (RioRose) who left Brasil in September of 2009 but has remained a friend and, by another coincidence, is now living in Michigan.  Funny how the world moves in certain directions.  This last week she flew to Houston in order to ride shotgun on my drive to Michigan.  Her one request….. to see New Orleans.  Without much enthusiasm I agreed to go that direction.  First thing I see, a sign for a store called ‘Vintage’.  Okay so I went a little crazy.  What an opportunity.  Meet Vintage New Orleans: where French Provincial meets the Wild West.DSC_4492

For those outside the USA, those not familiar with our most historic Southern city, a bit of data is needed.  Officially founded in 1718, the city sits on the Mississippi delta.  The area has proven archeological sites that date back to 400 AD., with the French hunting and trading the length of the Mississippi River from around the 1690s.  There are blocks and blocks of vintage New Orleans. 

DSC_4495Sprinkled among buildings built in the 20th and 21st centuries are classically French buildings from the 18th and 19th century.  What a pleasure for me.  Many of the older buildings are in need of repair, of love and attention, but many have been lovingly restored.  The upper floors apartments and the lower, ground floors full of museums and crafts stores.  We saw hand painted masks, 5 artist rotating minding the store to show the merely curious and those enthusiastically shopping, how the motifs of the masks are designed and executed.  There was a shop full of looms with intricate rag rugs hanging on the walls and cats needing adoption lounging on every surface.  Vintage.












Vintage style from a time of wealth and influence. 









I found that in the 20 years or since I last visited this city, it has been upgraded and improved.  There is a new walkway along the river, a casino, and a huge aquarium, and I am sure much more.  Except for Bourbon street which I find a pretty disgusting thing to see, the city left me enthused, ready to return to further explore and enjoy.

To enjoy a few more photos click the link below.

Friday, May 24, 2013

In The Land of Texas

      On Texas Soil – A visit to the Brazos Bend State Park
Between the sky and water, Land (Ground)
Clinging Tenaciously to a bit of Ground
Into the shallow pond a strip of ground grows
Solid Ground Reflected
and last
If you were an ant how you see Sunrise in The Texas Grassland?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Street art and other graffiti

DSCN0081I am enjoying an unexpected trip back into Rio.  Things have settled down, many tasks checked off the list.  But unable to resolve a couple issues with my bank, issues unfortunately of my own making, through an attorney and a friend trying to help; I had to fly down and spend a few days getting things straightened out.  Paulo and Lenira kindly are allowing me to stay with them for the week.  I have been up here to their apartment a few times for dinner but this is the first time I have explored their neighborhood on foot. 
The Laranjeiras barrio has the residence of the Governor of the Rio de Janeiro State  and his ‘office’ .  As in the rest of Rio, there is a mixture of grand beauty and despair.  From up here in the highest part it is a 15 minute walk down to the Lago Machado metro station and past that by about 5DSCN0093 minutes is a crossover to the aterro and its path along the bay.  Today I walked a total of 2 hours, getting down to the path, walking nearly to the downtown airport and then back up to the apartment.  It was a good exercise given that my DSCN0106new camera’s battery gave out after about one hour and then I maintained a good clip on the return.   
I didn’t get my photos downloaded to the computer soon enough to write for the FSO  but I have been on the lookout for some very special graffiti and if that failed some public art that is so prevalent in Rio while I have been walking around.  I really did intend to participate this last week, but for now I have to be content with showing you just a few of the shots from this part of Rio.
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Now knowing this area better I would recommend staying here versus Ipanema (out of this world expensive) or Copacabana (so totally dirty).  There is easy access to several metro stations, lots of little bars and restaurants, smaller hotels.  a great beach and it is very central to both the central museums, and the Christ and Sugar Loaf.  It is great to be home.
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Saturday, May 04, 2013

Outside of Houston City Limits

DSC_4539The area surrounding Missouri City DSC_4548(my new home base) is dotted with oil wells, new and old.   Some days you can smell the fresh pumped oil well before passing it by. “Black gold, Texas Tea”
A few years back an artist friend of mine, Silvia Pinto Souza, took time from her busy schedule to ride out into the countryside over on my side of town.  She is always in search of a photo that someday might inspire a painting or even better a series of paintings.  I enjoyed the day, stopping and starting, taking shots that I found interesting while she found colors and textures that pleased her eye.  I think I may have posted about this photo shoot before but I didn’t go back and hunt it down,  so if you remember any of these photos my apologies. 
Today a few of the machines, in my own back yard, that bring up the oil that fuels the Houston economy.  These pumps sit amongst rough fields, grazing cattle and sleek horses.  There are some pretty crude barns, and ill-kept tanks and many a dot of spilt oil.  I can see why conservationist fight having wells put onto pristine parklands. 
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