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!
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!
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
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!
Another day went by… It seems like each day there are less VW Beetles for sale in Mexico City. I did discovered why…
The search is difficult and little time is left. So I got some extra help, thanks to an e-mail from Belgium! And I am verry happy to have Antonio Trejo on my side!
After checking the internet, we saw two vochos. Both in a very sad condition, although the adds mentioned “muy bueno condiciones”. For them this includes holes in the ceiling, missing bits in the door, broken windscreen, missing parts in the engine…
So we went back to search on the internet and newspapers. But they have just 1 or 2 new adds with vochos each day. And the famous second-hand newspaper Segunda Mano is not released on paper anymore, only on the internet since 2010. There is another newspaper left, Segunda Trato, release on Thursdays. So lets hope a lot of people who don’t use internet put their vocho for sale in Segunda Trato!
And really sad news, the Beetles in Mexico City dissapear fast! The government of Mexico City wants to get rid of them, but there is still a high demand in other cities. For example Acapulco, where they still have loads of white Beetles as taxi’s – I will check this myself in a few weeks. I did see the first piece of evident today! I saw in a garage plenty of green taxi’s and white Beetles. They were fixing only green taxi’s to sell them outside Distrito Federal.
Let’s hope we find Pablo soon, and keep him safe from unrespectfull drivers or wholesalers!
My schedule of the last days was soooo busy…
I visited some AIESEC friends I hadn’t see in for 5-6 years. It was great to catch up again, after I survived the heavy rain with all my luggage!
The meeting with Volkswagen México was fine, but it didn’t help me a lot in my search for a vocho. The one that an employee sold was in a bad condition. His “new” motor was a homemade modified fuel injection motor – which could explode any minute. And the “oil” of his engine was grease, in stead of motor oil. We wouldn’t survive 6 000 km with that one! No Pablo yet! But I have now some friends looking in Puebla to for vocho’s. We’ll find Pablo soon!
The rest of the weekend I have been shooting a reportage for the Belgian childrens’ news Karrewiet. It was a lot of fun and very interesting to see how a Belgian family lives in Mexico – with the necessary amount of Belgian chocolate! It will take a long while to show the result ’cause I’ll edit the video when I get back in Belgium, January 2011.
And of course, heading back to Mexico City is always an adventure! You plan your return on Sunday evening, but you end up leaving the next morning. I got stucked in an enormous traffic jam with the bus. So there was only one (Mexican) solution. Ask the busdriver to let me out and open the trunk in the middle of the road to get out my luggage. Than cross asap to avoid the fast cars on the other lane. And jump in a vocho taxi to get home, finally! Sorry, no pictures of that because I avoid to take out my iPhone or camera in these crowds when I am alone.
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…
I spend my day shooting piñata’s in all kind of shapes and colours! A video for the children will follow later. It takes me sometimes several days to collect all the necessary footage (videos).
Today I found out that the singer Ricardo Arjona dedicated a song to the Volkswagen Beetle as a taxi! It’s about a taxista falling in love with a passenger…
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…
My search for a VW Beetle starts today! There are some of them left in Mexico City, I just hope one of the owners wants to sell his car to me! For now, I can only imagine myself sitting inside a vocho…
Many ideas are bursting in my head… I don’t want to wait for my roadtrip to be creative with images, I tried out stopmotion myself today. This one second is just an attempt, a better version will follow. But I didn’t know it was that easy to create your own stopmotion video, even with Photoshop CS3. More will follow!
Big picture with a small text, perfect to tease the people reading the Weekend Knack!
For all the people who can’t make it to Brussels, check out a glance of the expo on Brussels television.
>>> News item on 7min10 of 14th of February.
I am back on the road with an assistant, so I can take out my camera whenever I want. Like in this bumpy taxi ride… I got some more nice shots, but that’s gonna be for a final movie (in HD!).
I’m totally into the Canon 5DII video! I managed to get some shoots that represent Mexican daily life with the vocho really well!
Back in Mexico, I am hunting some more VW beetles. Not only with my Pentax67 (thank you my friend to convince me to take it with me!), but also with my 5DII and its option “video”. It’s exciting to capture the Mexican atmosphere on the streets… (quality did drop due to youtube :( )
Today it was 6 years ago that the last VW beetle was produced in the factory in Puebla, Mexico. Here a few of my pictures during my trip in April as a tribute to these lovely cars.
I was asthonised to see Mexico City last week withou the green beetle taxi’s… Yes, they are all gone, all thousands of them… Here and there you can find a few ones left: “taxi” whiped out with green paint, covered with dust, “for sale”,… Amazing how suddenl, just a few weeks, y a cityscape can change. You can still find some beetle taxi’s, but only painted in the new colors… without colored gas lids, stickers or other flashy decorations. It’s not the same… :(
And I can only think about “gringo”, which means “green go”. The Mexicans yelled this at the Americans in green army uniform during the war…
These pictures of mine participate in the competition “DE FILM VAN MIJN LEVEN” of the television channel Canvas. You can still send your pictures until midnight 26th of May on the website of Canvas. (I do hate the colour desaturation of WordPress :s )