Bacalar is a small but rapidly growing village near the frontier with Belize and about 40 miles from the Caribbean coast which is being called The Costa Maya.
Quickly the old houses and Mayan life-style are giving way to the modern world. I have already written here and on Blogcritics Magazine of how "Mexico's Crackdown On Drug Violence Came To My Door Today".
Federal agents continue to heavily patrol this part of the state after the wave of violence from Cancun to Chetumal. The discovery of a weapons and an ammunition cache (the explosive, body-armor piercing variety) two houses away from me have galvanized authorities.
It is the problem with having been "discovered". A lot of evil people came with the "discovery".
The new houses that are being built in the town and on the edges of the jungle opened by the new federal highway are cement with glass windows, electricity and running water. But that level of modernity comes at a price. The old ways will have to give way to new.
Even now Chetumal, the nearby small city, is seeing more international-styled stores and malls ( a new Sam's Club, an enclosed mall with an Office Depot and America's export of ill-health, McDonald's and Burger King). More offices and businesses keeping hours that don't include the 3-4 hour siesta this sweaty climate had always adopted.
I am working hard, although I wonder exactly why, to re-design this site into something more uniquely mine and with far better image galleries than Blogger, for all its ease and solidity, can offer.
I have been playing with Dreamweaver and Photoshop and thinking of finally deciding on a domain name and getting a host. We shall see. It is energy of which I have so little and a "learning curve" that taxes my ancient geekiness to its small limits. Or I can quit and spend the time and energy on more profitable enerprises. Now that my cataracts have been removed from my right eye I can photograph again. It has been too long. Slowly I begin to shoot again.
29 April 2007
21 April 2007
I wrote just last night (on my blog, Travel Dangers) about the arrest of 100 police in Acapulco, deaths in Cancun and the increasing success or effect of the crackdown by President Calderòn's government.
It came home today. It came to my porton, the steel gate in the wall around my property on the shore of Laguna Bacalar in the southeastern frontier of Mexico.
I was called by strong (very strong) knocking on the gate which is always locked in this dangerous area. I was waiting for a carpenter and wondered why he had the audacity to sit atop the barda, the wall around the perimeter.
Then I noticed he had on a black ski mask and was not wielding a big hammer but an assault weapon and asked to come in as they had an "operation" in progress. Being the macho fool I am I both opened the little door in the porton and demanded to see their IDs. Logical unless you happen to be 60, have CHF, a pacing device and are unarmed. What, I wondered later, would I have done if they did not have police and military IDs?
I gave them access to my property to attack two neighboring houses and decided it best not to photograph a lot of young men with assault rifles and black ski masks in a foreign country. I would have when I was a working photographer but I am now disabled, hardly able to shoot flowers without tiring myself and suffering Post-Traumatic Shock Disorder after the death of my wife in December -- a victim of anti-American violence.
Reporting the news from the wires and RSS feeds is one thing. The impotency of a foreigner without the energy to photograph, the temerity to interview obviously nervous kids with big guns waiting for a fire-fight is my current situation.
The Calderòn effort to control rampant violence in a country noted for corruption and savage violence is laudable. It is also a little frightening when it comes into your yard. A number of "operatives" with rifles and flack jackets have been through my lovely terrace overlooking this once tranquil lagoon. They did not stop to enjoy the view. The young soldiers in the street guarding the rear looked too nervous to approach except to tell them with a smile "ten cuidado", be careful.
It was 1957. I was 10-ish and loved astronomy, science-fiction, dream flights to the stars, Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. Russia launched Sputnik to the shock of America, its arch rival in the war of this and that. After the "beeps" from that metal ball and the space dog there was the race fro space which was so much better for man than the war for mens' minds.
Today I am older. The world of satellites is more crowded and accessible. I lead up to how much I love Google Earth as I soar over the planet or peer down into secret spots, loved spots and nostalgia. If only it was as sharp as the pictures in Men In Black but that will come in Web 3.0
This is where I live. Bacalar, Mexico. If I leave this disappearing jungle outpost it would probably be for South Florida. So this is the picture of my world.
Posted by HFD at 2:38 AM
13 April 2007
Credit photo to NASA and JPL-Cal Tech with J. Stauffer from JPL. Visit (especially young people) MyNASA.
APOD from NASA and JPL-Cal Tech have done it again. Entertained and fascinated me with the daily offering of wondrous heavenly wonders. It is not only a great astro-photograph of the Pleides in infra-red but quite appropriate as I try to decide on a domain name for my website (if ever I finish the design and decide on a web host).
I have been trying out 7 Color Lagoon for the blog but have trouble deciding on a domain name. The Lagoon of the Seven Colors, Laguna Bacalar is outside the door -- beautiful in spite of the terrible dangers.
But here is a sign from heaven courtesy of the gatekeepers of the heavens.
The astro-photo that would have made Van Gogh or Jackson Pollock proud is of The 7 Dusty Sisters, the constellation, Pleiades, which is about 400 light years from here. This photo which peers through the dust clouds was made by the Spitzer Telescope and is of a field about 7 light years across. "...The densest regions of the dust cloud (is) shown in yellow and red hues. Exploring this young, nearby cluster, the Spitzer data have revealed many cool, low mass stars, brown dwarfs or failed stars, and possible planetary debris disks." They tell people in North America that, to see the Pleides tonight look near Venus in the west just after sunset. (Or get the great Starry Night widget for your Mac Dashboard or visit Space.com.
10 April 2007
07 April 2007
I am not usually an Edgar Allan Poe fan. At least, not since those adolescent days of angst in the days when Poe and Camus were friends in the night, Sartre an idol of sorts and the hope was there to escape the old home town for Paris.
The photo of my old friend in the Italianate formal garden at the Vanderbilt Estate in Hyde Park, NY is from the late '70s when I had just returned to photography and was deciding what career change to make -- photography won. It is ©Beringer-Dratch.
However, I was reading short poems and thinking of reading something to test a new piece of audio software. Annabelle Lee took me by surprise. Certainly not because I did not know it but how much I needed to read it and even to listen over and over as I edited -- with the new software, tried to edit -- the wave form time-line of digital sounds that remind me of EKGs that somehow filled with sound.
I uploaded it tonight to LibriVox via Gigasize.com. It is only about 2 or 3 minutes, an mp3 file that should be playable on any mp3 player, iTunes (for sure) and whatever passes for a music player on a Windows-PC. The file can be downloaded from Gigasize HERE>>>
Please let me know if there is any trouble downloading the file.
I am working to re-vamp my site, add a web host, galleries and stores along with this blog and the Travel Dangers blog (or pages). I am new to web design so it is taking some time but will hopefully make things more fun and flexible.