Friday, May 30, 2008

A long way from home

You know, you can travel to the remotest corners of the United States and you'll find Mexicans working there. I met this guy at Oregon Oyster Farms, six miles up the Yaquina River from the town of Newport. In other words, the middle of nowhere. He claims he can shuck 4000 oysters in an hour. I did the math: That's 66 oysters per minute; or just under one second per oyster. I think it was a rough estimate, but to stand there and watch him plow through a hog-sized pile of oysters, there's no reason you'd question it. The guy was fast. He's from Puebla - he and the four or five other guys and one woman that work there.

I always find it amazing that Mexicans travel so far from home, find work in the most unlikely places and stay. I can imagine the letters home: "Hi mom, I'm living outside a town called Newport way up on the Oregon coast. Got a job with the Ayalas at that Oyster farm. Pay's OK, but there's nothing up here to spend money on so I'm saving plenty. Haven't had good mole in months..."

Maybe it's because I'm from California, but every time I run into Mexicans somewhere remote, I immediately feel at home. No matter how weird the people look around me. And when I'm somewhere like Oregon, it's all I can do to keep myself from leaning in close and asking, "Jesus Christ, but where the hell can I get a good taco around here?"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Oregon Coast

I just took a trip down the Oregon coast for an LP project I'm working on. I lucked into some amazing weather and was out picking through tidepools at 7am in shorts and a T-shirt. At one point I looked up from the tidepools to see a bald eagle soaring over my head. Forest and sea. They really do come together here. (Complete gallery here.)

The lighthouse at Yaquina Head

Neptune, Cape Perpetua

Another big rock

One of so many beautiful bridges along the Oregon coast

Sunset from Cape Perpetua