De laatste weken waren nogal stil. Ik zit dan ook namelijk ver weg, in Mexico. Eigenlijk is het vakantie. Maar wie mij een beetje kent weet dat ik het werken nooit kan laten…
Dus toer ik rond in Mexico Stad. In volle voorbereidingen om het boek ‘Kijk! Spelen met fotografie’ ook hier te publiceren. Want naast Pablo de Kever speelt ook Mexico een grote rol in het boek. En dan is er nog een project dat ik op gang trek.
Elke keer als ik hier kom (en dat is nu mijn 13e keer) kom ik met grootsere ideeën naar huis! Mexico is een grote bron van inspiratie. En de Volkswagen Kever is daar natuurlijk ook een groot onderdeel van.
De kevertaxi’s zijn inderdaad bijna allemaal verdwenen. Maar als je goed kijkt vind je hier en daar nog eentje in volle glorie rondrijden. Als een soort postkaart stuur ik jullie deze foto vanuit Mexico Stad!
Wie mij op twitter volgt heeft af en toe iets zien verschijnen over “boekje nr2″. De meeste mensen hebben hun handen vol met één boek en een bijhorende expo. Voor mij is dat niet genoeg. Dus was ik tussendoor ook nog een ander boek aan het schrijven. Eentje dat véél meer tijd opslorpte dan een doorsnee fotoboek!
De kennis en ervaring met kinderen en fotografie van de voorbije 3 jaar zitten gebundeld in mijn boekje nr 2 “Kijk! Spelen met fotografie”. Op dit moment zijn er 2 boeken rond fotografie voor kinderen op de wereldmarkt. Oersaai en vol ‘regeltjes’. Verwacht dat dus niet van dit boekje! Mijn uitgangspunt is om kinderen een hoop kapstokken te bieden om anders te leren kijken én op een speelse manier fotografie te ontdekken.
De voorbije maanden werd hard gezwoegd op het fotograferen, herschrijven, testen op kinderen, zoeken naar de juiste woorden,… Het resultaat is een boekje vol illustraties en foto’s waar kinderen uren zoet mee zijn!
En natuurlijk speelt Pablo de Kever in dit boekje een belangrijke rol! Hier en daar duikt hij op. In een fotopuzzel, in een opdracht waarin kinderen hem laten krimpen en hij zit ook verstopt in Mexico Stad! Je kan de Mexicaanse sfeer voelen, zonder de clichés. En de controlefreak in mij zorgde ervoor dat de route door Mexico, in de inhoudstafel, ook klopt met de verschillende foto’s genomen in Mexico.
Ik tel hier alvast de dagen af om het boekje in levende lijven uit te proberen. Geniet eerst nog van de zonnige zomer, en dan zorgt Pablo de Kever voor een leuke afsluiter!
Voorbije zondag had de 5e Love Bugs Parade plaats in Brussel. Honderden broertjes en zusjes waren aanwezig. En de pers was ook nieuwsgierig naar de kever met een naam… Mijn liefde voor Pablo de Kever kun je hier nog eens bekijken:
De Love Bugs Parade stond dit jaar in het teken van de Mexicaanse kever, naar aanleiding van de “Vochol” die geëxposeerd wordt in Bozar. Deze vocho gemaakt in huichol kunst werd gemaakt door miljoenen parels en wordt binnenkort geveild.
Sommigen hebben mijn fotoreeks “Vocho Verde”, over de groene kevertaxi’s in Mexico Stad, al bewonderd in Autoworld in 2010.
Voor diegene die toen de kans niet kregen is er goed nieuws. De reeks kun je nu gratis bewonderen op de knalgroene muur van het koffiehuis De Dikke Kat, Kasteelpleinstraat 26 in Antwerpen. De foto’s hangen nog omhoog tem 26 januari. En voor wie ook verbonden is met een beetje nostalgie met deze groene kevers, de foto’s zijn ook te koop!
Als je meer wil weten over de fotoreeks, dan kun je een kijkje nemen op de website over de Vocho Verde. En voor diegenen die al een déjà-vu voeldenopkomen… Ja, natuurlijk lijkt Pablo de Kever op deze taxi’s! Ik heb hem speciaal in het leven geroepen om deze verdwenen iconische taxi in ere te houden!
2012 was een mooi jaar. Ik heb helemaal mijn draai gevonden in fotografieworkshops voor kinderen. Leerkrachten en leerlingen zijn laaiend enthousiast telkens Pablo de Kever en ik langskomen in de klas. Dus meer van dat in 2013!
Pablo the Beetle has been in Belgium for only 3 months. Giving me a lot of joy when I see his smiling face. Or when I see kids turning their heads to follow this bright green car driving down the street!
But these Belgian rules have been keeping my head busy to get Pablo registered! Everyone wants some money, nobody knows what to do exactly. Sounds pretty Mexican to me! We should be on the right track now. I only need to save to get some modifications done and start the procedure of homoligation.
In the mean time, I’m allowed to drive around with his Mexican licence plate in Belgium. I love the Angel and 682-SEE!
As for the project, I’m preparing some workshops for summer. Pablo the Beetle will introduce children into the colourful Mexican world and photography! Next Friday I’ll hold a Mexican party for 44 kids, including enough homemade piñata’s, jamaica drinks and corncake. But the aspect that triggers me the most is the children’s questions. They’ll challenge me as a photographer to capture the answers. I do not need to finish up the workflow for that!
For sure I’ll keep you posted about Pablo and his adventures!
I was very eager to get to Chiapas. In my 10 previous visits to Mexico, I never made it up to there. After hearing so many good stories, I had high expections!
My first stop was Tuxtla. The main city of the state. Feels like Mexico City on a smaller scale. So I headed soon to San Cristobal de las Casas. There I got totally shooked up…
During my 3,5 months I was free to take pictures. Suddenly the people started to ask money to shoot their bananas on the market?! I got stunned by the high amount of tourists. I saw about 50 Flemish people in 2 days! Which I normally never meet on my trips to Mexico. Having all their camera’s pointed to the Indigenas, I felt embarrased to use my camera.
Everyting made me wonder… The bunch of tourists, plenty of Indigenas in traditional clothes, busses of tourists overwhelming nearby villages, paying to visit a church, not being allowed to take pictures of their traditions,… For me, it’s the perfect example of how tourism has a (negative) impact on a society. It’s a good thing that the Indigenas keep their knowledge of making craft. But if they start inventing objects, it’s too weird. Like a cover to keep your tortilla’s warm, or a traditional cuddle in the shape of a giraffe or lion – which can’t be found in Mexico!
At the end I felt very sad for the Indigenas. I’m sure there’s a more constructive way for them to keep their traditions and make a living. This kind of tourism is exhibiting them. San Cristobal feels like a zoo where tourists gaze to the locals and fling by very quickly.
Of course, San Cristobal de las Casas has some nice things to offer. Loads of places offering good coffee, freshly roasted and grown somewhere nearby in Chiapas. And for me thé place to spot VW Beetles! I will miss these colourfull cars and their smiling face a lot! And if you love nice shops and coloured houses, it’s definitely worth a visit.
There are a lot of rules in Mexico, most of the people don’t apply them. But because I am a foreigner here, I can’t take any risks. So we have to get back to DF to get the verification of Pablo. Otherwhise we’ll get a big fine.
A bit improvised, we decided to spend more time to discover the area between Acapulco and Mexico City. Our first stop in Chilpancingo was fast. Too big city, too hot, too crowded and little to see. We drove some more kilometers to get to Iguala. Just a quick stop to move on again the next day.
In Iguala we hoped to see something interesting. It’s the birtplace of the flag. We saw a few statues in the city centre. But no tourists at all. Well, that’s because there’s nothing much too see!
The next stop was exhausting to find our way in the city, Taxco. With steep hills and curved streets, it’s hard to figure out where the centre is. The loads of beetles and nice atmposhere around the main square during the night, make this city worth to see!
Nearby, there’s a town Ixcateopan where you can see the dead body of Cuathemoc. It’s a though and dangerous trip, luckely I didn’t used Pablo the Beetle to get there. If you’re curious to see how an important Mexican (the last Aztec emperor) is honoured in a disabandoned, humid improvised museum. It’s a must see. But probably you don’t have the time so you can better leave behind this dissapointed attraction!
I heard that Cuautla is the place to find out about Zapata. Because there are several questions about sombreros, I hoped to find some information and some hats to take to Belgium. It was another big dissapointement. OK, there is a museum with the steam train that Zapata used. The lady of the tourist information looked suprised when I told her the city is the place of Zapata. She told me his house stands in a little village about 10 km away, in Anenecuilco. But the museum there was closed! It does has a nice big rural painting about the live of Zapata.
Next day we left to Tepoztlan, the place where Cuetzalcoatl (the feathered snake) was born. There are a lot of ‘spiritual’ people stranded in this place, believing that there is a special energy coming from the earth… But it’s NOT the birthplace. It’s another town Amatlan 6 km away. I was curious to check out this ‘energetic’ place. But there’s only a statue, hidden under a tree, refers to this other special item of the Mexican history…
I also stopped in Cuernavaca. Yes, another big city with little sightseeing. There’s no shopping centre, the nice stores are spread all over the city. The only reason to go there is the good weather, if you can afford a hotel with pool or has Mexican friends with their own!
I am looking forward to visit the South of Mexico. Let’s hope the colours, food, traditions and people can charm me more…
Oh, tourists in Belgium shouldn’t be dissapointed anymore when they see Manneken Pis. Believe me, it’s more worth a visit than the things I saw the last week! #Zapata #Cuathemoc #Cuetzalcoatl
The last days have been extremely busy:
- fixing newly discovered failures (catalysator, steering box,…)
- find a painter to put the name “Pablo” on the beetle (I felt soooo excited, like he finally got real!)
- obtaining a declaration at the police station of my boyfriends robbed wallet (after visiting 5-6 different stations, only a bribe worked :( 35 EUR is expensive!)
- photographing the 200 years of Independance (at a school to show later on Pablo’s blog!)
After some adventures (see below) we managed to get Pablo the Beetle ready for the roadtrip tomorrow! I am so excited and nervous! But I love the way he looks! I hope to post a small video of his whole transformation soon. I need to go and pack first for the trip!
The stereotypes of Mexican did kill our schedule last week… A friend of a friend didn’t show up after being late for 4 hours. So I wanted to check Lucha Libre for kids and we took the metro with too many documents (which I normally never do). Due to that we lost a lot of time. Not only trying to find another person to take Pablo into the crazy centre of Mexico City to replace the tires. But also to find a decent police officer to make a declaration of the robbery.
Until now I never got in touch with the Mexican police. Yes, I am very proud I never had problems in visiting Mexico for 10 times! But this trip is different… The moment of the robbery, the police didn’t do anything (only complaining we were too loud!). We asked several police officers and police stations to make a declaration. They always invented a new excuse to put us through: it happened in another district, the other side of the street is not our responsibility, your boyfriend needs a translator,… I exploded after 4 days trying to just make a simple declaration! The emergency number of the Belgian Embassy didn’t work, so we felt very alone facing the police officers trying to get rid of us.
A Mexican lawyer, who was helping a friend, approached me and told me the Belgian Embassy should join us and force the police to make the statement. If not it would take us a long time, being transfered to other places. And it would cost us money.
An officer, a friend of him, showed up and said he would call to his boss to see if they could help. And than you know… only a mordida (bribe) can make things work. He fixed the papers, we payed him all the money I had left in my wallet (600 pesos =35 EUR) and that was it! That’s how things still go in Mexico (City), even after 200 year of Independance! #sad
But I don’t feel bad about the bad “service” in Mexico. Corruption and bad workers are all over the world… Also KLM still didn’t fix my problem of my return flight (still 5 weeks to wait for a standard answer! #fail #customerservice).
Conclusion. If you bump into the Mexican police, try first to avoid them! If you need to, pay them a mordida so you fix your problem fast. So you might better have the help of a Mexican. Call your Embassy for help (I dunno how much they want/can help). Or you can also try one of the Police Stations for Tourists. (I couldn’t try them myself because we live 1,5 hour away from them.)
Calle Victoria, 76 Colonia Centro, Delegacion Cuauhtemoc
Phone: 53 46 87 20 Ext 20 (24/24)
Calle Amberes, 54 Delegacion Cuauhtemoc
Phone: 53 45 53 82 (9am-5pm)
Paseo de la Reforma, 42 Delegacion Cuauhtemoc
Phone: 53 46 87 40 (9am-5pm)
Today I went to visit Pablo de Kever to check out his paint job. He’s totally disarmed: no lights, no mirrors,… Scrubbed to get ready for his new colours light gray and ecological green!
I did some inspection and they do a good job. They will cover all the details and remove paint from the previous owner sticked on the windows!
It takes over 5 days to paint the outside of the car and it takes 5 500 pesos (350 EUR) of my budget. I will keep his original colour inside, just for the memory. And because I don’t have the time or money to paint the inside. At least another week and 10 000 pesos (600 EUR), I have neither of them! If this seems a lot of money… In Belgium you pay 4 000 EUR to get a vocho painted on the inside and outside!
Tomorrow they paint the light gray on the top, on Wednesday they will finish the green. I’ll have a peek again on this stage to take some pictures of Pablo being surrounded by green clouds!
Oh, for the VW freaks. Here a view of the engine! I also bought some original pieces to remplace: bougies, cables,…
Very good news! After seeing many horrible VW Beetles, we managed to find Pablo! Look! Mira!
He’s in good condition: engine, exterior and interior. He needs to be fixed just a little bit. Replacements of bougies, tires, franes,… thanks to the sponsoring of orginal VW parts by Antonio Trejo (email@example.com – contact him if you need any VW Beetle parts anywhere in the world)!
And of course, Pablo needs to get his right colours! That will happen this weekend. Of course I will follow this process with my camera and will share his transformation on the blog!
At this moment I have only 5 pesos left, well Antonio lent me some. Although I had loads of money in my MasterCard, the daily withdrawal was cut. It was a challenge to get the last bit of the money this morning. He’s twice the budget I had in mind 34 500 pesos (2 100 EUR), but he’s worth every peso!
It’s the first car I ever bought in my life… A black VW Beetle was the first car I drove. And I used the Vocho Verde (taxi) every day to get to my internship in Mexico City 6 years ago. I never imagined at that time to have my own, but today I have! Where’s the champaign?! Oh, right Mexico. I’ll get some the tequila this weekend ;)
Hasta luego, with new adventures!
Yesterday I spend the whole afternoon with the mechanic. I got to practise my Spanish again. He explained me the new colours of the taxi’s, but still no vocho!
After 1,5 hour of delay, the guy arrived with his beetle of ’94. It got a decent investigation of the mechanice and it failed… The engine was too old, not working smooth. It should cost about 25 000 pesos (1 500 EUR) to fix everything! On top of the purchase of the car 20 000 pesos (1 000 EUR). My budget can’t handle that.
Any old vocho would face this problem. So we focus on finding a model of 2000 or more recent. People didn’t answer their mobile phone of the adds. We checked one, but it has been a taxi. Although he claimed it never was.
So back to zero. The mechanic and I will spend the whole day together on Tuesday to call and check beetles. He’s confident we will find a good one that day! He claims he has loads of time to fix and paint to car. So that job should be done fast.
While waiting, he told me that the new colours refer to Bicentenario. I heard that before, but never received a detailed explanation. Now I did. The golden colour refers to the 200 years of Independance of Mexico. The red/magenta colour is to remember the Mexican revolution in 1910. I assume they refer to the blood that got spilled, like the Mexican flag. Red for the people who died, white for hope and green for the nature.
Conclusion of this weekend. It’s easy to find and buy a vocho, but it’s hard to find one that could take us 7 000 km or more!
It’s not that easy to find a good one. Mexicans love their bochito! So they are not eager to sell them. Or it sells really fast!
I keep on repeating Step 6 (Tell everybody you are looking for a vocho + handout your phone number) in combination with Step 5 (waiting!). I am not that kind of person to sit and wait… So I got the next step.
7. Check out the internet (Be Aware! You get dizzy by the numbers and all the windows popping up!)
There are Models 2003 – the ultimate ones! – in offer, but 7 500 EUR is out of my budget. I found today about 15 vochos who seem to be in a good condition (models ’90 -’00) and fit more or less in my budget (1 000 – 1 500 EUR). The next thing I can’t do myself…
8. Ask your friend to call all these people (Most of them are already sold, but you might be lucky!)
During my search on the net, I bumped into some funny vochos! No Photoshop!
Today I met Volkswagen México to see if they could help me with finding a vocho… Bad news, all the vocho’s they had are sold! They only have very important models left :(
But they were very kind to help me and look for a solution. Tomorrow I’ll check one of the employers who sells his car. *fingers crossed* Maybe I can hug “Pablo” tomorrow!
Oh, social media is not in their vocabulary… Too bad. Pablo de Kever is a good opportunity to communicate about their brand. Let’s hope they grab the chance before the project is finished!
Last night I spend hours on making prints of Pablo the Beetle. My sister was so nice to make me a stamp. And now I use it to make small gifts to hand out to the Mexican children who helped me with the video. I have about 100 now, but I don’t think it will be enough for the whole trip…
This weekend I got into Step 6 of buying a beetle.
6. Tell everybody you meet that you’re looking for a vocho.
They come up with other ideas! One of the guys gave me his newspaper. The descriptions in the second hand section sounds good: not too many kilometers and they fit in my budget! One of the taxi-drivers – I take a lot, on average 4 taxi’s a day! – advised me to get in touch with local Volkswagen dealers. Yeah, so simple! But first I had to avoid all his questions about liberty of sex in Belgium and other countries… So I got the advise that if you want to find guys with a big sizes and girls with good experience, you should go to:
2. Yucatan in Mexico
3. South Africa
Well, I am nothing with this advise. I am perfectly happy with my boyfriend. Maybe you can do something with this information ;)
As I mentioned in the previous post, I was waiting and keeping my eyes open for VW Beetles for sale.
Today I spotted one, while holding myself and all my stuff in the shaking bus. I jumped off and asked in my best Spanish the year of construction, and how much the car costs: 9 000 pesos. Fits into my budget, I aim for 16 000 pesos (1 000 EUR). But made in 1976… That’s too old, way too risky it would break down on the road… He has my number. He will call me when he gets a good one for sale. I got extra eyes spotting for Pablo!
He did give some other advice too. Every Saturday and Sunday there is a free market with thousands of cars, nearby Peri Sur (in the South of the City). For 200 pesos (14 EUR) you can get a check-up by a policeman to check if the car is legal. My friends doubt about this way to get a car… So I’ll search the internet, which will be my job for the weekend. I hope to receive a call from the mechanice with the news he found a terrific “vocho”! He’s better in judging a car than me.
The next weeks, you can follow me here in my search for a VW Beetle, vocho in Mexico. And check out each step it gets closer to a green Beetle taxi! Well, it will be a copy to avoid fines and angry policemen!
So, how do you start to get a car for 4 months as a foreigner?
1. You fall in love with the VW Beetle (that’s what happened to me some years ago!)
2. Than you make Mexican friends (’cause you’re nothing without them!)
3. Get in touch with a reliable garage keeper who can fix the car (get advise from your friends)
4. Keep your eyes open for Beetles with a dollar sign, meaning “for sale” (and ask your friends too)
5. Wait… (I’m in this fase right now!)
I hope to be in the next step soon! I wonder what it will be…
Only one night left… And I’ll be back in Mexico! But today I felt a bit like being there… sitting in the beetle taxi in Belgium. During an interview to the Belgian press about the blog of “Pablo de Kever” (Pablo the Beetle).
Enjoy the video, more pictures of behind the scenes will follow!
The video of Pablo de Kever (Pablo the Beetle) is finally ready! After loads of hours photographing, editing and help from friends and family! Enjoy and share!
I have only 3 days left to head back to Mexico… First I’ll give another workshop about Mexico for children AND we’ll hit the piñata Pablo! Pictures will follow ;)
This is my first step to be interactive online! In a few weeks, my new blog “Kever in Mexico” will be active! Dutch-speaking children will be able to ask me questions about the Mexican culture. During my roadtrip with the VW beetle, I will post the answers by stories, pictures, movies, games…
We decided to paint the car as a look-alike of the green taxi’s! Yes, we are getting ready! There’s only one important thing missing… We don’t know which typical Mexican name to give our “taxi‘! So all you Mexicans, post or mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) your suggestions! I’ll bring some Belgian chocolate for the winner!
Here’s a preview of how our car will look like!
No, I am not pregnant or so… Only 6 weeks left and I’ll be rediscovering Mexico!
Loads of things to do (insurance, VW beetle, sponsors), and little time left… My main focus for now is the blog I’ll start for Flemish children to follow my adventures in Mexico. I will post stories, pictures, videos, little games but most important are the questions they have about Mexico. The VW beetle, my boyfriend and I will go and look for the answers! This colourfull blog will be online soon!
In the mean time I keep on looking for pictures to put in my playlist. I heard this morning “Joe le Taxi” of Vanessa Paradis on the radio, a big summer hit about 23 years ago :-o The videoclip is totally outdated (and fun to watch!), but the vibes are perfect for a hot summer!
Yesterday I saw this beautiful little beetle at a friends’ place. I just couldn’t resist to take a picture of it. It’s very retro, from 1964!