Growing up in Mexico, weed was a general overarching topic of discussion. Some hated it, others feared it, I just simply did not understand it. Honestly, at the young age of 15 I was simply curious. So, I did what I do best, I convinced my parents that it was a good idea and, together with three friends from school, went to explore the misty mountains of Oaxaca.
Some days later, in the late summer of 2005, we reached Oaxaca city at the base of the Sierra Madre mountain range. In that moment, the city was undergoing an aggressive overtake by the state’s teacher union, which meant our stay would be brief and interesting. We bought mezcal and left the tent-covered city on a van speeding through the windy and guard-rail-free road to the Pacific. And through a benevolent act of God, we arrived safely in San Jose del Pacifico.
We checked into some wooden cabins, up the hill from where the van left us. The owner was very friendly and offered us grass and some food. “Just 50 dollars worth of mota,” we naively said. He came back with more pot than I had ever seen in my life (and likely ever will see again). It grew naturally in his lands and he had simply cultivated a few branches for us. It wasn’t very strong, but we must have smoked quite bit as we ended up looking for traces of Maria Sabina.
We were told to go further up the hill to meet a local healer, Doña Cata, a 70-something year old woman living in a hippie mountain community. Upon arriving we were greeted with joints and some home cooked mushrooms – which we initially did not want, thinking that they could be magical. Her French helper told us of Doña Cata and how she had left her native Spain to travel through Mexico. Upon reaching Oaxaca, she realized there was nowhere else for her and never went back. She told us our fortunes and in her presence, we sang to the tunes of a guitar and some bongos and listened to stories from the mouths of seasoned travellers.
After a few hours, we decided to get back to the cabin and spend the night admiring the stars and our strange existential thoughts. The next day we left to the beach…towards beautiful Mazunte.
And the rest is history.
Now, I dedicate this playlist to those moments of confused bliss 🙂 and welcome recommendations
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
On The Road – Y.V.E. 48
I had initially included the original music video to this great song, but soon realized how hard it was to focus on the sound and not the half-naked ladies. And though I have nothing against half-naked ladies, I felt that it deserved to be heard unencumbered by sexual tension.
The song is older than the previous two, but it could have just as easily been released yesterday. The original sound quality is amazing, the bass is exactly what it should be, the guitar is what I imagine electric silk feels like, and the vibe…well let’s just say it sounds like summer.
Y.V.E. 48, the artist, is not as well known as Kygo and Yall, but that might just be part of their strategy to rule the world (other than producing sweet tunes, of course). For example, I had to send a request on their Facebook page JUST to get the link to their website – had no idea that was a thing.
In any case, their Soundcloud page says they (he? her?) are Berlin-based. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone who has ever had the fortune of visiting Berlin, and knowing how inspiring it can be.
The song, unsurprisingly, makes me think of the great road trips that I’ve had ( bragging unintentional), and of the things that have made those trips so memorable:
- Good music
- Zero expectations
- A craving for the unknown
Below is a photograph of one of the said road trips. Not sure the kid had any music on the back of that truck, but his face says it all.
Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido Highway – Nastia Baila, 2014