Archive for June, 2006

World Trade Center almost 5 years after the fall

On our initial flight to from San Diego to Madrid, we had a 12 hour layover in NYC. We took a brief nap in Central Park (brief because the ground was wet and the bench wasn’t very comfortable), wandered down Wall Street, and stopped to take a look at the World Trade Center site.

World Trade Center

From the Burger King window overlooking the World Trade Center site
June 9, 2006

On September 8, 2001, I was here at the World Trade Center wandering around much like the tourist I was on the day I shot the above image. I sat below the towers watching some free concerts between the Winter Garden and the water (off screen to the left of the image). I distinctly remember looking up at the towers and thinking I should take a picture. I remember being impressed by their height, but they’re otherwise pretty boring to look at, so I passed on the shot. After all, I had just passed 10 postcard vendors and knew the towers weren’t going anywhere.

Time flies when you’re ________ing

a) Vacation: A period of time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation
b) Adventure: An undertaking or enterprise of a questionable or hazardous nature
c) Travel: To go from one place to another, as on a trip; journey
d) All of the above

Yes, time flies when you’re all of the aboving, sliced at about 50% travel, 35% adventure, and 15% vacation. We were pretty busy just getting from one place to the next, we averaged about 36 hours in each city. It was definitely a buffet tour. But a good buffet where the food is fresh.

I shot about 1,500 digital photos (almost 10Gb) which is kind of ridiculous when you consider that would be about 60 rolls of conventional film. I have a lot of sorting to do, but I should start posting this weekend. I’ll also be writing around the most memorable events as I get through the photos. So stay tuned…

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I spent today fixing the flat tire that greeted me when I got home. It was a slow leak, which had plenty of time to deflate. I put on the spare tire and drove down to the gas station to find the leak, added a little air, and slowly rotated the tire while running water over it. Sure enough, some kind of cardboard staple was lodged in the tread. I picked up a puncture patch kit (easier than patching a bike tire) and fixed the flat in the parking lot. See Dad, I did learn a thing or too.

Vacation in Spain, Germany, Italy

European Tour 2006

We’ll be out and about on our first trip to Europe! Rosario and I will be visiting some friends in Spain, going to a World Cup game, and otherwise running around like good old fashioned tourists. I’m not sure if I’ll get around to posting anything during the trip, but at least you can check the calendar and see where in the world we are.

América

One of my favorite songs about América (yes, that accent means I’m refering to the continent) is a song by Chilean hip hop group Tiro de Gracia called “América” from their album Retorno De Misericordia. Listen here and read along:

Tiro de Gracia

The song begins by describing América as a place of corruption, colonization, corporate exploitation, dictators, murderers.

América tierra vendida, explotada y herida,
América con corrupción, malos trabajos,
explotación, educación, racista, clasista,
hay muchos blancos elitistas
América con dictadores, asesinos
traficantes, mal nacidos
América mi tierra en pie de guerra
América con genocidios
por colonos no bienvenidos
América con Colón igual
muerte destrucción
América con héroes aunque el gobierno los niegue
América con mucha gente inconciente
América con muy pocos inteligentes
América con deforestación
que es igual a la tierra, muerte destrucción

The chorus then states “This is América. When God made Eden, he thought of América.”

América América esto es América
América América esto es América
cuando Dios hizo el edén pensé en América
cuando Dios hizo el edén pensé en América
América América esto es América
América América esto es América
cuando Dios hizo el edén pensé en América
cuando Dios hizo el edén pensé en América

The music and lyrics shift to describe the beauty of América, the people and rich culture.

América tierra de sabor
rimas salchis amador amor
mi tierra y cultura yo Lengua Dura
dura mi gente morena, pelo negro
yo te respeto te amo
América India JAH te bendiga
mi América Pacha Mama esta es mi cama
recuerda que el Perú es igual que tí
who are you bu umbudú guerito explotador
mama la pinga por favor

The song is scattered with references to the white racist colonizer and exploiter (You know that’s why I like it). It’s an ode to the good and the bad, a realistic portrait of a truly complicated landmass.

Dedico esto para tí
porque soy de aquí
con todo el corazón
soy tu caparazón acción
que pocos toman
porque mucho alcohol toman
recuerda que eso a los mapuches hundió
la falsa religión también la muerte apoyó
yo hablo de Historia y Geografía de tierra
y aunque a los maricas les duela
como un dolor de muelas
América suelo y tierra, sudor y escuela

This is the song I often think of when I hear people talk about being “American” in the U.S. I know a lot of people think of themselves as “Americans” but are unaware that others who drink Coca Cola but will never visit Disneyland also consider themselves “Americanos” in the continental sense. The saddest part is that many U.S. Americans mistake the country’s economic power for cultural superiority to the Spanish-speaking Américas, making them unworthy of seeing eye-to-eye as neighbors.

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About a week ago, I was thinking about writing something up about the song, and on the TdG website (a web disaster, btw) I found the video for “AméricaAmérica,” which I had never seen. Unfortunately, the file took 20 minutes to download… so I figured I might as well upload it somewhere so it can get more access. Out of respect, I thought I should ask. So I did. I sent them an email asking if they didn’t have any problems with me uploading it to youtube. It took a week to get a response, but I got one (which contained the JPG I posted above). Viktor is the group’s Email Manager:

Nathan;

Vaya nuestro mas afectuoso saludo y deseos de paz y respeto para todos los seres humanos. Puedes usar el video de la forma que quieras sin uso comercial …. difundelo y todo lo que necesites …. quedamos a tu servicio.

Adjunto grafitti de la banda

Crew TDG www.tirodegracia.cl

Viktor

I immediately went to upload the video and found someone else had uploaded it while I was waiting for permission. I can’t say I’m any worse off for asking; it is nice to know they care enough to respond. Unfortunately, the video itself is a bit of a let down. From their lyrics, I expected a bit more artistic layering than what they came up with. The song still stands strong, and despite some of the rockstar cliches, they did slip in a few smart scenes and made it clear they are having a good time doing what they do.