Personal Project; Taking (Through) Panes; By Bus, By Window, By Camera

The scenery rolls by quickly, too quickly really, to take in the fullness of any one moment. One scene quickly becomes part of the one just rushing by, which too quickly becomes part of another. Vast stretches of farmland push against distant mountain ranges, workers labor freshly plowed and watered fields, burros pull plows, squat villages flash by, then in quick succession roadside cafes, juice stands, vulcanizadora shops. Patient peasant families, some resting on the ground, straw hats shielding them from the sun, wait for the local bus.

Local bus, Acapulco, Mexico.
All Photos © 2007, John Neubauer, All Rights Reserved

All of this pops into and out of view as our high-tech tour bus speeds along well paved and maintained highways, taking us deeper into the brilliant colors of the visually rich Mexican landscape. It's almost like watching a Las Vegas card dealer riffling through a deck of cards face up. You can see the images, but you're not quite sure whether it was a three or an eight, a six or a nine that just flashed by, and only seconds later you have difficulty recalling which came first, or even when.

Our bus slows. Now there's more time to judge, to reflect on what the eye is seeing, enough time now to raise the camera to the eye and focus on the scene composing itself beyond the window. A colleague, Pedro Alvarez, sitting two rows behind me, also had a camera. "The window," he is saying with concern. "The window! You haven't opened the window."

I made another picture through the window, this of a group of mechanics at a vulcanizadora shop in Yuriria, one of those very small villages travelers always seem to find themselves traveling past, but rarely ever get to stop in, and later always wish they'd done so.

Tire shop in Yuriria, Mexico.

We were in Mexico on a two-leg tour. The first had us flying via AeroMexico from the high-powered and bustling capital of Mexico City to the sparkling lights and beaches of Acapulco. The second leg was a great circle tour of central Mexico to include five wonders of the great period of Spanish colonial architecture; the colorful, quaint and charming cities of Morelia, Patzcuaro, Guanajuato, Queretaro, and San Miguel de Allende.

The pictures I could see through its windows as we drove along Avenida C. Miguel Aleman, past Acapulco's zocalo, the city center, to La Quebrada, where daring divers hurtle themselves 136 ft into the ocean, were too good to pass up, so I clicked away: a man in a flower shirt playing his guitar for the benefit of any passerby who might throw a peso or two in the hat sitting at his feet; a woman on a local bus looking over her shoulder at me taking pictures of her; she smiling back in a universal greeting.