before the PLUNGE

I always knew that walking on the balcony’s edge wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. What would I say, too edgy, as said, and I’m a pretty conservative guy when it comes to adventures, but, you know, the day was so beautiful, the light in the sky so intriguing, the blue so mellow that I couldn’t resist shooting beautiful Buenos Aires and River Plate. Then, suddenly, vertigo got me.

Supposedly, this is the last photo I took. It has been found in my camera’s memory, crashed closed to my body.

 

ph.: Avenida Cordoba looking North, fake miniature tilt-shift.

Woman plunges from 23rd floor.

los Pueblos INDIGENAS de LATINAMERICA

“No pedimos una autonomía excluyente. No reclamamos independencia alguna. No queremos proclamar el nacimiento de las naciónes, o fragmentar los países en una serie de pequeños países indígenas. Queremos que se reconozcan los derechos de una parte importante de la sociedades, que posee sus propias formas de organización y que pide que dichas formas sean legitimadas.”

Subcomandante Marcos, 24 feb. 2001

LEAVES at their best – FALL colors

 

Few things define Fall like the changing colors of leaves, enlivening a dull green that lasted too many months. The sharp an clean light passes through them disclosing unknown transparency and brilliant life.

MILKING sow means traffic STOP

 

Driving in Albania is an adventure. We just drove through an olive trees orchard and then, behind a curve and in the very middle of the road, here she is. Her and the kids: a saw and 8 piglets, if I’m not mistaken regarding the number. Silent, eyes shut, she stood still letting me walk around and take the picture.

When she decided it was enough, a solid 5 minutes later, she screamed and jumped away, followed by the team.

AMATO OPERA house – BEL CANTO on the Bowery, New York

 

Only 103 seats and all with a perfect view and acoustics, hand painted scenery and originally design costumes, singers and actors that perform for the great passion of music and bel canto, not for money.

Amato Opera house has entertained opera lovers for 61 years of uninterrupted production. Founded in 1948 by husband and wife team Anthony and Sally Amato, grew to become not only a must-go theatre where to appreciate opera in NYC’s cultural scene, but also a reference point for theatre students and singers, thanks to the enthusiasm, creativity and energy of Mr. and Mrs. Amato.

The Marriage of Figaro by Rossini, was chosen in May, 2009, as it started 61 years before at the auditorium of Our Lady of Pompeii church on Bleecker and Carmine Sts., to end an uninterrupted production. Last permanent home was at 319 Bowery, in the East Village.

colorful DIA de los MUERTOS – cemetery in Mexico

 

It was a day of heat and humidity, the clouds were high in a blue sky which they were slowly overcasting: a thunderstorm was approaching. Then, on the way to Merida, in the Mexican State of Yucatan, I met Balthazar, Gaspar and Melchior.

I was looking for a shady spot to rest, and two benches in front of a cemetery fenced with light mauve painted walls seemed a nice idea. But there were people on the other side of the wall: there they were. Leaning on a light mint green wall that felt cool to the touch, chatting, considering what to do and about the unusual surroundings, they invited me to join the conversation.

A cemetery, undoubtedly, but neither a tear nor a veil of sadness emanates from the hand painted angels or from the poor christs in cages. How could it be, perhaps it’s due to the turquoise that mingles with the horizon or the innate happiness of the people from the Caribbean Sea?

The Three told me about a special day, el dia de los muertos, when all the family, and I also mean the ones who come back from nobody knows where and on this day only, meet to have a riotous time amidst crosses, pinnacles and domes.

The ones that remained bring hand embroidered table cloths, candles to light up at night time, the preferred meals of those who left and kids who play soccer and run around the little temples that remind me of Legos. The ones who left wait until sunset to come back, if they’ve mistaken the address and end up at home they won’t find anyone waiting for them but the dog and a cold soup, but if they make it here … here is the party. The ones that remained drink and stuff themselves with food, laugh at the stories and the tales and pray for grace, sing and dance until morning.

Now you know why this not an ordinary cemetery, but a cementerio mexicano, a place where memory brightens up.

HAPPY hours – street DRUNKARDS in New York

I used to live in Hell’s Kitchen, NY, before the New Times Square induced cleansing. Drunkards below my windows and drugs dealing at nighttime.

FIGHT club – PEACEFUL Sunday afternoon

They look like you and me: harmless. But you don’t want to get into a fight with them for just no reason. They know boxing, wrestling, kicking, judo, karate and you name it. They’re nice, ordinary guys, they do business and smile, chat and shake hands and like to be photographed, outside the ring. But once they’re in the ring, the hidden beast surfaces, feeding on your blood and the crowd’s roars at the smashing sound of fists hitting your face and breaking your nose. You eventually give up and the fight is over. Winner or loser, it doesn’t make any difference since there’s no money to win, but a sort of inner relief. Yes, because finally you felt alive, away from the supermarket aisle wanderer, from the cubicle dweller, from the diaper changer. And tomorrow is Monday, a week away from another peaceful Sunday afternoon.

Fight Club – the movie, with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.

cold, BRUTAL, dark, PHOTOGENIC – Winter in New York

Obvious talks about the brutality of New York’s winters, I definitely agree, but what about the beauty?

EMPANADAS di carne – la ricetta di SALTA, Argentina

L’empanada, alla base della cucina regionale argentina, non è originaria del Sudamerica e nemmeno della Spagna, dove già appare nei trattati culinari medievali, bensì della cucina araba. In Argentina ogni provincia ha la sua versione, sia per quanto riguarda la forma, il ripieno e la maniera di cucinarla, ma la più famosa e rappresentativa è senza dubbio quella di Salta: di carne tagliata col coltello e cotta al forno.

La carne è quella del vitello, roast beef o lombatina, e tagliata a coltello, cortada a cuchillo, perché si asciuga meno in fretta di quella macinata. Si scalda il grasso in un tegame, grasso purificato di vacca o lardo, se si usa olio meglio quello extra vergine, si dora l’erba cipollina tagliata fine e si aggiunge la carne. Quando cambia di colore la carne togliere il tegame dal fuoco. Aggiungere le patate tagliate a cubetti, patate grandi lesse, le olive verdi tagliate fine, l’uva passa bianca, le uova sode tagliate a pezzettini, i condimenti come peperoncino, peperoni in polvere, pepe e sale.

La sfoglia si prepara con farina comune, acqua salata e grasso purificato di vacca o lardo, ancor meglio con grasa de pella … cioè: 5 parti di grasso purificato di vitello, 1 parte di latte, 2 foglie di alloro, sale; sciogliere il grasso, unire gli altri ingredienti, mescolare. Si conserva in barattoli di vetro.

Si tira la sfoglia, si taglia in porzioni rotonde, si mette il ripieno nel centro e si chiude come fosse un mollusco bivalve. La sfoglia aderisce meglio passando un dito bagnato d’acqua sul bordo prima di ripiegarla. Il tipo di bordo, repulgue, è a discrezione del cuoco, e si può differenziare a seconda del ripieno.

Si spennella l’empanada cruda con un uovo sbattuto e si mette in forno a 180° per 10-15 minuti. Volendo si accompagna con una salsa non troppo piccante a base di pomodori. Si mangia con le mani. La morte sua è con una bottiglia di Malbec, vino tinto, che se vogliamo della stessa regione sarà del Cafayate.

Per il ripieno: mezzo chilo di carne, 200 grammi di grasso, 100 grammi di uva passa, 1 dozzina e mezza di olive verdi grandi, 3 uova sode + 1 tuorlo per la spennellatura, erba cipollina, peperoncino, peperoni in polvere, sale e pepe.

Per la sfoglia: 750 grammi di farina, 150 grammi di grasso, acqua salata tiepida. Lasciare riposare l’impasto per 15 minuti.

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