The Angels in the Details

Sculpture in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

I love taking photographs when I travel, but I am selective about it because cameras can make you an outsider, an observer instead of a participant. One thing I like about having a camera is that, even if I don’t use it, I pay a little more attention to the details.

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Ox Carts, Artifacts and Amistoso in San Jose, Costa Rica

No one seems to think very highly of Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose, even though everyone seems to agree that the rest of the country is full of wonders. My own first impression is that San Jose is gritty and lacking in charm, and I haven’t found anything that seems distinctively Costa Rican. But, like everywhere else I have visited, San Jose has its attractions.

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Home Sweet Wherever It Is

My “real” home in California

In traditional cultures, where you live is a big part of who you are.  Many Americans, on the other hand, tend to view our communities as way stations to somewhere else. Most of us leave home at an early age and don’t return to raise our kids in the communities where we grew up.  As we age, many of us move again for economic reasons or to be with the grandchildren our children are raising  somewhere else.        Continue reading

The Souls of All Folk

Like most parents of active boys, I got a few phone calls from school over the years. Remembering them, I usually laugh. He stole a potato chip from Emily!  But one of them still turns my stomach.  When I was at work one day, the principal of Gabe’s school called to say Gabe had been “acting up” all week whenever his teacher read aloud to the class.  This wasn’t Gabe’s usual venue for mischief so after a few minutes on the phone I asked what book the teacher was reading.

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Voodoo Child

Voodoo paraphernalia

Meet Robi.  He looks like a normal 25-year-old with a creative presentation and a healthy dose of self-confidence. Long dreds, faded jeans, a self-deprecating sense of humor with a second sense about how to tell a good story. It would probably take you a long time to guess that Robi is a Haitian High Priest in the voodoo tradition.   Continue reading

In Search of a Zydeco Trail Ride

My church in St. Martinville

For a really really long time, I have wanted to go on a Zydeco trail ride. Zydeco trail rides have been around for a long time, traditionally as informal cross country rides with neighbors.  Today, hundreds of Creole cowboys may join a ride, which usually ends at a big barbecue picnic with friends and family and Zydeco music. Continue reading

New Orleans Noir — Indians, Social Clubs and Second Lines

During my short stay in New Orleans, I visited the Blandin Backstreet Museum, which has long been one of my favorite museums anywhere.  The Blandin Backstreet Museum tells fascinating stories of Louisiana history that might have been lost forever if it weren’t for one dedicated person:  Sylvester Francis.   Continue reading