From where the colors come – Parras – Part 2

The vivid layers of light and color coexist in this magic town resilient to the pass of time. I wonder if  the reflection of ripe fruit, blue skíes and dusty adobe are the muses of those who chose the colors of their town. Every corner is colorful, combined with the pristine white of cotton clouds, green pecan tree leaves and emerald reflection of water from natural pools. It’s funny how similar colonial constructions and colors look alike in towns that are thousands of miles apart. Barranco, a neighborhood in Lima, town of poets, writers and musicians in my beloved Peru, has the same passion for colors on their walls and bugambilias on their fences. I close my eyes and am able to feel the bright yellow of the old church and the calming green of the tree that provided shade to a palapa where we stopped to rest from the heat. I have to admit, I left a little bit of my heart in Parras de La Fuente, Coahuila, and must go back to recover it, or perhaps to leave a bigger piece. / Valerie Mayer & Jaime Belden

Doors, walls, cyclists and ancient groves of Parras – Part 1

Parras de la Fuente, Coahuila has gone through trials and tribulations, through revolution and evolution, bad times and good times. The town has grown, evolved, and changed. Generations have come and gone. But some things are still intact, untouched, and standing strong. Here is one of several series of photographs captured in a too short 24 hr visit. (1st of 3) / Jaime Belden & Valerie Mayer

Fredericksburg: the German-Americana Nappa deep in the heart of Texas.


It’s 4th of July weekend and waves of people swirm into Fredericksburg. Some for it’s wineries, others for its shopping, some for its German flair, some for its deep Texas spirit. Limestone, mesquite, blue and starry summer skies. Bed & breakfasts, BBQ, and cold beer. Wildflowers, dragonflies and longhorns. See it, feel it, taste and you’ll understand why it’s a jewel in the Texas hill country. /Jaime Belden

Casa Madero

Born in 1597, Casa Madero – Bodegas de San Lorenzo is the oldest winery in America. Within its thick, white limestone walls, expert hands prepare a variety of international award-winning wines and grape liquors. When I walked through its gates and heavy wooden doors, I traveled back in history. A deep scent of sweet grapes and wood barrels in its “bodegas”, contrasts the dry, sharp green aroma of its outdoor passageways roofed by full-grown grapevines. The warmth of the scorching summer sun is distilled into a cool breeze by the giant pecan trees of the surrounding gardens. Time stops, patience and wisdom fill the air. Hacienda white meets the pure sky blue, while oasis green teams up with the sandy dessert beige. A treat to my senses and a stimulating reboot of many childhood memories. /Jaime Belden

Paila, where the cars don’t have tires and tires don’t have cars

Coahuila desert, a blanquet of dusty colors that blend with resilient millenary plants surrounded by mountains that show the textures of geological layers form of rocks that once where sediments of this enormous Space that was once a sea. Playful and mischievous dust-devils pick up the loose and dead soil creating dancing gold phantoms that disappear in seconds leaving everything just cover in dust. The sky is blue like the ocean, and one timid cloud is there just like by mistake witnessing the quietness of the burning dessert. Just before turning south to get to Parras, is Paila, a town of one restaurant, a couple of empty buildings and people that wait for the buses to stop with hungry and thirsty passengers, so they can beg for a coin or sing while playing a guitar. Everything looks like once times were better. Everything is just sleeping and waiting, full of textures and old signs, where cars don’t have tires and tires don’t have cars.  / Valerie S. Mayer

La plaza

Bright and intense colors. Honest smiles and handshakes. Heavy traffic of birds, school kids, culture, folkloric works of art. Sounds, images  and flavors weave together to give life to the plaza.

/Jaime Belden

107 degrees

Hot hot hot, feeling fried like tasty chapulines or Oaxaca’s “cortadillo” beef while strolling around the Plaza San Pedro, but it looks like it doesn’t matter for the locals. They just enjoy the daily life under the shade of a tree… love Monterrey, Mexico and its thousands faces. /Valerie S. Mayer