The city claimed it was the biggest night market in North America. OK, that’s a bold statement. Instantly imagined an adventure, a market filled with raw delicacies, strange odors and colors all around, similar to those you see on the best of cooking shows (so, Chef’s Table basically).
I shouldn’t have had such high expectations.
What we got was an hour of traffic for the 500 meters before the parking lot entrance. Followed by a bunch of people waving their arms around to divert cars away from the parking lot (just as we had finally arrived there), forcing us to smuggle our car into the casino next door. Never mind having to pretend like I was going to the casino with my 8-month pregnant wife. But we were already there, we weren’t going to let something as trivial as parking-in-the-right-place (#parkingintherightplace) get in our way.
Once we go to the actual market grounds, basically a giant dusty parking lot, we were received by enormous plastic statues of dinosaurs and hordes of people pouring in. Apparently this year’s theme was…dinosaurs.
The only interesting thing about all of this was the diversity in people. Vancouver’s amazing because of that, and the beautiful urban and natural landscapes of course. Living in a basically white-dominated neighborhood like Kitsilano, I am often deprived of Vancouver’s cultural and racial richness. There were people of all sizes and colors and socio-economic statuses.
Some more waiting preceded our entrance to the actual market and when we were finally there, probably close to two and half hours after leaving our home (which is 20 minutes away from the market grounds) we came to realize that perhaps we should have arrived earlier and had dinner there (by that time it was about 9 pm). Apart from merchandise you would often see in a Mexico City market (clothes, accessories, etc.) and games typical in fairs and carnivals, there were (mostly Asian) food stands with dozens of customers lined up to both order and receive their food.
All in all, a mostly disappointing experience. But at least my wife took some nice photographs 🙂 Oh and I bought a grinder.
Richmond Night Market – Nastia Baila, 2016
Riding our city bikes, or Ecobicis as they are known in Mexico City, on our way to our favorite movie theater (a run-down theater on the grandious Reforma avenue), we noticed monsters standing around majestically on the broad side-walks. Alebrijes, visiting us from another reality, in which man and woman are the most boring of creatures.
My wife was able to capture some of them before they vanished a week later. These monsters, birthed through hand and paper, glue and magic, are testaments to the artistic vigor that lives and thrives from the highlands of Oaxaca to the deserts of Sonora.
Beware not to stare too long; it is said that staring too long into the eyes of Alebrijes will summon them at night.
Alebrije (Deep Space Fish) – Nastia Baila, 2015
Alebrije (Jaguar Lizard Dragon) – Nastia Baila, 2015
Alebrije (Alien Unicorn Deer ) – Nastia Baila, 2015
Alebrije (Selfie Lizard Woman) – Nastia Baila, 2015
Sunset Lover- Petit Biscuit
Here’s another artist that you’ll be glad you know. This 16-year old kid, if I may call him that, comes to us from the rain-ridden, magical land of northern France. Mehdi Benjelloun, AKA Petit Biscuit, has been blessing us with singles since 2014, and this one here is part of his latest collection of creations, also called Petit Biscuit.
No doubt the title and the sound will remind many of their own summer nights, staring out at the horizon, as our unquenchable sun leaves us in a moment of wonder and awe. It reminds me of the powerful forces lurking all around us, both above and beneath our feet; forces that neither sleep nor stay awake, but are more alive than any of us will ever be.
A perfect prelude for the following two photographs.
Tochimilco, Mexico – Nastia Baila, 2014
Taken at the foot of the Popocatéptl volcano, on a three-day trip, visiting rural communities during their Day of the Dead celebrations.
Sunwapta Lake, Canada – Nastia Baila, 2016
Taken at the foot of the Athabasca Glacier, on a five-day road trip through the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
The geologists in the crowd will notice that these photographs are instant captures of processes that given enough time (be it millions of years or a few decades) can alter the world as we know it. Can you spot these traces of history, these authors of our destiny?