Locomotoring

Seven continents, seven seas, seven billion people and seven thousand good eats …

Strandbeest and Theo

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My first experience with Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest, aside from youtube videos and his TED talk, was a model kit. This is a 3d printed kit of Animaris Ordis Parvus that we bought from his website. It’s very sight gives joy. Yesterday, I noticed that the elastic holding the backbone had disintegrated, my poor strandbeest with a broken back and in captivity and it made me a touch sad.

In Theo’s words:

“Since 1990, I have been engaged in creating new forms of life. These forms are not made of protein like the existing life-forms. Theirs is another basic stuff: yellow plastic tubing. Skeletons made from these tubes are able to walk and get their energy from the wind, so they don’t have to eat. Their habitat is the beach where I was born. They evolved gradually, over several generations. As they developed, they became more adept at weathering storms and coping with the sea. My ultimate wish is to release herds of these beach animals on the shore to make their own way through life. By redoing the Creation, so to speak, I hope to become wiser in my dealings with nature that is already there. It presents me with the same problems the Real Creator must have come up against. Strandbeest is a testimonial to my experiences as God. I can assure you that it’s not easy being God, there are plenty of disappointments along the way. But, on the few occasions that things work out, being God is the most wonderful thing in the world.”

Such a pronouncement would normally sound a little crazy but in this case, it is the best kind of crazy there is.

Theo makes these from hollow plastic tubes and ties, it allows him to iterate cheaply. He is an engineer’s engineer. But as a spectator, to me all that matters is that these creatures move and breathe and then they die. When they move, they move like insects -some nimble and some lugubrious. When they breathe, the wind blows through these hollow pipes and makes an eerie sound, it is never the same sound twice. And when they die, they look like old disintegrated skeletons. In its movement, it is joyful, in its breathing, it is doleful, and in its death, it is sad.

Recently, San Francisco Exploratorium held a Strandbeest exhibition.

I was ecstatic to go. The youtube video captures the best of the exhibition and yet, it was an antithesis for me. The strandbeests on the cavernous exhibition floor were stranded. And in their sadness, they were deathly quiet.

Written by Sachin

October 5, 2016 at 1:40 am

A few scattered moments …

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Life in Centro Historico.

A clockwork of traffic crossing opposite Bellas Artes – the traffic lights are like dams and when they burst at their seams, a turbulent river of people make across the road.

Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the flyers) in Chapultapec park, opposite Museum of Anthropology – one playing the flute. An incredible ceremonial performance.

A walk down La Condesa neighborhood.

Tianguis Condesa (Tuesday Condesa Market) on Calle Pachuca.

A lazy afternoon watching bubbles

Written by locomotoring

April 18, 2016 at 4:08 am

In search of grasshopper salt

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We knew we would be able to source good Mezcal (e.g. Amaras Espadin) in California. But we were also certain that there would be no easy access to grasshopper salt. We were lucky to be living right opposite, Tlapaleria Gastronomica in Roma neighborhood, that sold artisanal food products made in Mexico. And what respectable gourmet shop in Mexico City won’t have grasshopper salt amongst its wares!

Tlapaleria Gastronomica, a gastronomic hardware show in Roma, right next door to El Parnita.

Various varieties of Mexican chili in oil.

More combinations of various chillies.

Finally, chapulin (grasshopper) salt.

Written by locomotoring

April 18, 2016 at 1:53 am

View of a rooftop

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Following murals are from rooftop of Museo Del Juguete Antiguo. This was a bit of a pleasant surprise, no one had really mentioned that the local artists had adopted the rooftop. We just noticed someone walking up, above the topmost floor of the museum, followed them and found the collection.

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Written by locomotoring

April 18, 2016 at 1:34 am

View from a rooftop

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Following picture are from rooftop of Museo Del Juguete Antiguo. Some of these photos are reminiscent of rooftop views in Old Delhi.

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Written by locomotoring

April 17, 2016 at 11:49 pm

Bugs? yum!

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Limosneros in Centro Historico that serves ant pupae and beetles among other non-insect-y traditional cuisine.

Upscale bar with some lovely selection of mezcal.

Hmmm….lunch time mezcal. Served in a traditional dried hull of a fruit (calabash).

Salt with toasted ground grasshoppers and sweet lemon to cleanse your palate in between the mezcal sips. A friend had mentioned that toasted grasshopper legs scratch your throat going down! But in ground form, I could not taste anything aside from a spicy salt.

Escamoles – smoked ant pupae with epazote (a very distinctive herb), ayocote (a specific variety of ayocote bean, originally from oaxaca), humo de canela (cinnamon smoke). Escamole was served in a glass container with smoke inside.

Make yourself a taco (these were homemade) with the escamoles and add some spicy salsa. The escamoles look a little like plump version of rolled oats, a little sticky, somewhat chewy, a little funky tasting. It can be acquired taste like blue cheese.

Roasted beetles on top of cheese blocks wrapped in squash blossoms served with a couple of difference sauces. The beetles looked a little scary and I remembered my friend’s warning about legs scratching your throat going down. And I was worried about any goo-y secretion in my mouth once I bit down. But in reality, it was hollow and crispy and tasted like a mild nut. Overall, both thumbs up!

Written by locomotoring

April 17, 2016 at 11:28 pm

Posted in Mexico, Mexico City

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Dulceria de Celaya in Mexico City

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Dulceria de Celaya, founded in 1874, is a traditional sweet shop in Centro Historico district.

Fried and glistening with syrup.

Various sweetened fruits. Reminded me of “Petha” from Agra, the translucent sweet candy made from a variety of white pumpkin. The pumpkin is soaked in chemical lime before cooking in syrup. Sounds strange when described but tastes like Pâte de fruit.

Doughnuts

Almond milk and coconut concoction and guava Pâte de fruit.

Almond and coconut pâte de fruit, in a sugar cooked lime.

Written by locomotoring

April 11, 2016 at 6:17 am