2017 Anders in Álamos

It had been twenty-some years since Anders Tomlinson, cameras in hand, walked the
streets of Álamos, Sonora, México. Photos by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders Tomlinson taking a photo of Bishop Reyes Cathedral, Álamos, Sonora, México 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Time does not stand still but it remains in spirit. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

There have been changes in Álamos since Anders last visited. Influences and
multiple causations included a copper mine to the northwest and a silver mine to
the southeast opening up, 2008’s Hurricane Norbert, La Fuerza del Destino Mexican
telenova-soap opera filmed in Álamos and airing in 2011 and being designated a
Pueblo Magico by the Mexican Government and tourism industry in 2005.
Over the centuries Bishop Reyes Cathedral, the subject of the above Anders’ photo,
has stood tall. Álamos, like the world, has grown in population and cars.

Anders Tomlinson, 2017, putting gopro camera in place overlooking Álamos, Sonora, México. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Attaching a GoPro Camera overlooking Álamos. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

It is also true that Anders Tomlinson has changed in the two decades since his last
visit in the summer of 1996 to Álamos, Sonora, México. The biggest change is that
he is 21 years older and these are years when the changes in body and mind are
accelerating. In these years technology has changed influencing how and what he
uses to document. Anders, above, is attaching a GoPro camera around a tree
trunk with a wrap-able mini-tripod. Colonial Álamos lays before him in all its granduer.
This trip would help Anders understand how much his “eye as the beholder” has
changed. He still approaches projects with the same focus to document and
preserve data for the future to look back on. He stills marshals inclusiveness over
value judgements. Álamos continues on as it always had.

Anders Tomlinson and Tony Estrada at Reynas restaurant in Álamos, Sonora, México, march 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders with Museo director Tony Estrada. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

Somethings have changed little over the years. Tony Estrada is still the director of
the Museo Costumbrista de Sonora. He has been in this position for 33 years.
He is well-respected in this capacity and is also known as an artist-sculptor.
He and his wife Lupita, herself an artist, also manage Galeria Rincon de Arte
in centro Álamos one block south of the Plaza.

Walking through the large gardens of Hacienda de los Santos. Photo: Antonio Figueroa

A big change in Centro Álamos is the expansion of Hacienda de los Santos from one
Spanish Colonial mansion to three Colonial mansions and one sugar mill including footbridges
that cross the Arroyo Escondido and connect the expansive beautiful garden grounds,
restaurants, theater, and lodging. Anders spent his first two nights here and presented
clips to the Álamos History Association from Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, México
to a standing room crowd in the wonderful theater. Hacienda de los Santos provides its
guests with a map of the grounds. Anders found this helpful. The second night at the
Hacienda was one of the best sleeps Anders has had in decades.

Anders Tomlinson oon a hill in Álamos, Sonora, México, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

To the east are Sierra Madre rising foothills. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

Much had happened in Anders’ life since visiting Álamos in the summer of 1996.
He found himself in the Upper Klamath Basin during the 2001 Klamath Irrigation Project
water shutoff that impacted both Klamath Falls, Oregon and Tulelake, California
and made headlines around the world. This became a period of intensive film
production including a film featuring Jimi Yamaichi and the Tulelake Internment –
Segregation Center. This would bring an end to Anders’ traveling days and he
returned to San Diego in 2008 where he remained until the much anticipated
2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition

Anders Tomlinson takes Rigoberto Grajeda portrait at Casa Serena Vista, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders and Rigoberto Grajeda do the portrait dance. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

There were many questions in Anders’ mind when the 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition
crossed the border into Tijuana on February 21st and hopped on an overnight bus to Navojoa,
Sonora, México. The major issue would be how well would Anders travel. Since 2008 the
longest trip he had taken was 24 miles and had slept every night in his own bed.
His health required three hours of daily exercise and maintenance and a restrictive diet.
Folks in Álamos helped Anders including Rigo, seen above, who cooked several meals
at Casa Serena Vista that Anders shared and Rigo also drove him a couple of times
to film the streets and roads of Álamos. With help from Joan Gould Winderman,
Diane Carpenter, Antonio Figueroa, Luis Angel, Humberto Enríquez and others Anders
was able to accomplish many of 2017 Álamos Sonic Expeditions’ project goals.

Anders Tomlinson taking photos in Álamos, Sonora, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

The Mirador’s view is 360 degrees of living Álamos. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

The Mirador had changed greatly from Anders’ 1996 summer visit. It is now a
destination unto itself including a restaurant. A walking path, 360 steps, from
downtown brings one to a large modern observation platform. There is a sidewalk
along the road all the way to the platform. It is an example of the fine rock work
that has been accomplished across Álamos from the arroyos to El Mirador.

Anders Tomlinson taking a photo in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders looks at the world in terms of shot scale – macro to micro. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

Shooting stills or video for a narrative requires awareness of shot scale to move
the story forward in an entertaining manner. Most of the gear Anders used on
the 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition shoot was new, small and produced 5,354 photos,
783 videos and 202 audio recordings.

Anders climbing La Capilla in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico, 2017.  Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders knew this would be a many days hike. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

What was intended to be a seven day expedition turned into two weeks. Anders learned
that he still had the endurance that he had twenty years ago. The best purchase he
made for the trip was a pair of Vasquez Talus Pro GTX hiking boots designed for rock.
His feet were always comfortable no matter the conditions. Happy feet make a happy hiker.

Antonio Figueroa on his ranch in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico - 2017. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Antonio Figueroa spent three days with working with Anders.

It was a pleasure for Anders to be reunited with Antonio Figueroa and his family.
Antonio took photos, video, recorded audio and provided a car for many street-road
videos. Locations included his family ranch east of Álamos, the new barrios to
the north and west, Uvalama, La Capilla, La Aurora, Hacienda de los Santos and
the Plaza. As noted, all of the wonderful photos in this article were taken by Antonio.

To see more about Antonio in the Spring and Summer of 1996 visit
Easter Sunday with the Figueroas on their ranch.

2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition

Anders Tomlinson arrived in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico on February 22 and
departed on March 6, 2017. Antonio Figueroa, an Álamos photographer
and friend from previous Anders visits 21 years earlier, spent three days
with Anders and helped document life in Álamos with video, photos and
audio recordings. This video are photos by Antonio Figueroa edited by
Anders Tomlinson. Soundtrack by Denver Clay and SonicAtomics.

Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, Mexico

The 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition visited Álamos, Sonora, México between
February 23 and March 6, 2017. This scene includes time-lapse of receding shadows
across the Álamos valley as seen from the Mirador. Video and editing by Anders Tomlinson.
Music by SonicAtomics/Dig Brothers under the direction of Denver Clay.

To see more 2017 Álamos, Sonora, México videos

©2017 Anders Tomlinson and Antonio Figueroa, all rights reserved.

2017 Álamos videos

Anders Tomlinson arrived in Álamos, Sonora, México on February 22 and left
on March 7, 2017. His goal was to document life in Álamos since his last
visit 21 years earlier with a focus on audio recording and time-lapse studies.
You can learn more about this media excursion by visiting the whirlwind
2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition. A fine time was had by all.

If you stare at a cloud long enough it will disappear

Álamos Skies looks at Álamos, Sonora, México in time-lapse from three
different hills and on the ground at the Plaza and Tianguis. Blue skies
have clouds come and go and returns to an eternal blue sky.

Everyday is History in this Living Tapestry

This is the first of many “Moments in Álamos” videos from Álamos, Sonora, Mexico
between February 24 and March 5, 2017 by Anders Tomlinson. These are small
moments in the living tapestry that is “everyday is history” Included scenes
are a police man directing traffic in the Alameda, a small family heading into
downtown, traffic and kicking a bottle in the Alameda, an art reception at the
Museo Costumbrista de Sonora,teenagers singing outside the Centro Comunitaro
Nelita Bours and Bishop Reyes Cathedral, and quiet nights scenes in
the “Kissing Alley” and the Alameda.

A Spring morning on El Mirador

This is Álamos, Sonora, México as seen from the Mirador lookout on the morning of
February 24, 2017. This photo by Anders Tomlinson if printed at full size would
be nearly 15 feet wide. Music by Denver Clay. Ambient recording and mixing by
SonicAtomics. Video editing by Anders Tomlinson.

Art reception at the Museo

On March 4 2017, an art reception was held at the Museo Costumbrista de Sonora,
in Álamos, Sonora, México for the “Exposición Cine mexicano” in collaboration with
the upcoming Álamos International Film Festival. The event also was held with the
coordination of Municipal Culture of Cajeme and Association for the Fine Arts.The
speaker we hear is Sergio Inzunza, Director of Education y Cultura de Cd. Obregon.

Centro Álamos en la Noche

Antonio Figueroa takes Anders Tomlinson on a car ride from the
Hacienda de los Santos to the Alameda, Álamos, Sonora, México.
It is around 9:30 P.M, March 4, 2017.

A brief visit to the Plaza

An afternoon in the Plaza de los Armas in Álamos, Sonora,México. The video starts
in the late morning on a hill overlooking Álamos from the nort directly across from
the Mirador to the south. Scenes include a bicycle rally that began in the Plaza,
young kids coloring, a tour bus and a child being pushed across the plaza.

From garden to table

Morning in the campo on March 1, 2017 with Antonio y Teresita at their ranch a
couple of miles east of Álamos, Sonora, México. Food is gathered in their garden
and feed to the goats and cows – a fine example of “from farm to table.” Music is
by Antonio Figueroa and possibly his brother at the ranch. Video by Anders
Tomlinson and Antonio Figueroa. ©2017 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Conga line at Hacienda de los Santos

Another Álamos moment, conga line, from early March 2017: 100 seconds with
the Estudiantina de Álamos performing at the Hacienda de los Santos in
Álamos, Sonora, México as a busload of tourists from Arizona join a conga
line. Estudiantina de Álamos is one of many cultural programs under the
guidance of the Museo Costumbrista de Sonora. The tourist group delivered
beautiful new acoustic guitars to the Estudiantina on this evening. Viva
Música! Viva togetherness! Video by Anders Tomlinson.

A family thats works together

It is March 1, 2017 on Antonio and Teresita’s ranch a couple of miles
east of Álamos, Sonora, México. They are busy working in the yard,
watering, weeding and building new beds for plants and vegetables and
discussing the day’s coming events. The scene shifts to the kitchen
with Teresita making tortillas on a wood burning stove. Video by
Anders Tomlinson and Antonio Figueroa. Music by Antonio and his
brothers. Editing By Anders Tomlinson.

Álamos Alameda Night Ride

A drive at night through the business and transportation
center Alameda in Álamos, Sonora, México. Antonio Figueroa
gives Anders Tomlinson a ride in his car on March 4, 2017.

Sunday night in the Alameda

It is March 5, 2017, a warm Sunday night, in the
business/transportation center of Álamos, Sonora. México.
The Alameda is busy with local friends and families
promenading around the plaza on foot, bicycles, motorbikes,
cars and trucks.

Yoreme Al-Leiya in Álamos

Februrary 26, 2017 Yoreme Al-Leiya, which means “cheerful Indian,” traveled
from nearby Navajoa, Sonora to perform at the Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos,
Sonora, México. Anders Tomlinson had the privilege of documenting this colorful
evening of dance, music, costumes and theatrical lighting. A wonderful time
was had by all.

Sunday morning in the arroyo

This time-lapse studies a March 5, 2017 warm going on hot Sunday morning
Tianguis outdoor market in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. If one needs something
there is a good chance it can be found here along with family and friends
out and about shopping. When Anders last visited in 1996 the Tianguis was
on dirt and now it is paved with decorative benches and rock infrastructure.
And is much is the same: people shopping, mingling, talking, laughing,
eating and music… Video and editing by Anders Tomlinson.

Up, over and around Loma Guadalupe

It is Friday February 25, 2017 – 10:30 A.M in Álamos, Sonora, México.
This car trip travels up Calle Chihuahua and turns onto Calle Galeana.
Rigoberto Grajeda Grajeda is driving the Casa Serena Vista’s car.

An afternoon in a La Capilla garden

On March 6, 2017 we visited a children’ garden at Lázaro Cárdenas del Río
in La Capilla, Álamos, Sonora, México, an Escuela Primaria Urbana Federalizada.
Jose R Nevarez, Trini, is the teacher and Roger Lewis, a local U.S. resident
who was very helpful at the start of this garden project. We were told it
is called the “Garden Abundancia” and we saw and heard
great exuberance
for gall things growing.

Another beautiful Álamos day

Rigoberto Grajeda Grajeda gives Anders Tomlinson a ride across
Centro Álamos, Sonora, México around 11 A.M. on February 25,
2017. The car he was driving was provided by Casa Serena Vista
where Rigo works as a driver, cook and gardener.

Saturday afternoon in Plaza de las Armas

It is a cloudy Saturday early March afternoon in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.
Tourists are out and about walking and riding tour vehicles. And as the
old adage goes “if you stare at a cloud enough it will disappear” the plaza
becomes bathed in full sunshine. Soundtrack by Denver Clay and SonicAtomics.

The sun rises and the shadows shorten

The 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition visited Álamos, Sonora, México between February 23
and March 6, 2017. This scene includes time-lapse of receding shadows across the Álamos
valley as seen from the Mirador. Video and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music by
SonicAtomics/Dig Brothers under the direction of Denver Clay.

A morning drive on an old old street

This is a drive starting in Plaza de los Armas along Calle Benito Juárez to Calle
Chihuahua in Álamos, Sonora, México on a sunny February 25, 2017, 10:15 A.M.
Rigoberto Grajeda Grajeda is driving. Video by Anders Tomlinson.
Music by Denver Clay, Soundtrack by SonicAtomics.

2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition

Anders Tomlinson arrived in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico on February 22 and
departed on March 6, 2017. Antonio Figueroa, an Álamos photographer
and friend from previous Anders visits 21 years earlier spent three days
with Anders and helped document life in Álamos with video, photos and
audio recordings. This video are photos by Antonio Figueroa edited by
Anders Tomlinson. Soundtrack by Denver Clay and SonicAtomics.

A special place in Álamos

Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos, Sonora, México is a special place
in a special town in a special landscape. It was originally built
for a wealthy silver baron in the 17th century. Photos and video
editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music is Los Hacendados performing
“Chan Chan” by Compay Segundo.

©2017 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved

Hacienda de los Santos

Hacienda de los Santos, Álamos, Sonora, México - February 26, 2017 photo by Anders Tomlinson. layout of resort.

Hacienda de los Santos is a resort with a mission of excellence.

There is a special place in Álamos, Sonora, México and its name is
Hacienda de los Santos. It is a charming resort that can only be truly
appreciated by being there and in it’s moment. This cultural oasis has grown
over the years as owners Jim and Nancy Swickard developed three adjoining
colonial mansions and a sugar mill into a resort of taste, craftsmanship,
beauty and grandeur with multiple gardens, pools, two gourmet restaurants,
theater, museum, gym, spa, putting green and 34 guest rooms, suites and villas.
The luxurious resort’s compound covers approximately 3 acres with some
85,000 square feet of buildings under roof including the extensive portales.

Hacinda de los Santos walkways, Álamos, Sonora, México.  Photos by Anders Tomlinson, March 2017.

Enjoy walking, looking, listening, relaxing, sharing, reflecting, feeling…

Enjoy walking, looking, listening, relaxing, sharing, reflecting, feeling…

This is a story in two parts, three if you count the videos following Anders’
account of his 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition’s visit. Anders Tomlinson
first photographed the Hacienda when it was the Swickard’s home and
they had just finished a three year renovation after purcasing Calle Molina 8.
Anders and innkeeper Jim have had a long running email conversation with
Jim updating and sharing his Álamos thoughts and observations with Anders.
One of the foundations of this continuing relationship is that “every day is
history.” The following correspondence, June 4, 2017, answered a request
by Anders for historical background on what is now Hacienda de los Santos…

Hacienda de los Santos, Álamos, Sonora, México - February 26, 2017 photo by Anders Tomlinson. Carriage on display

The Hacienda’s architecture and furnishings are a museum unto themselves.

” It is believed that part of the lodging portion of Hacienda de los Santos dates
to the late 1700’s (remember that Álamos was incorporated in the 1680’s).  When Álamos
went into decline between 1900 and about 1950, Mr. Levant Alcorn was solely responsible
for revitalizing the village by selling mansions in ruin to Americans who for the most
part were wealthy with names such as Astor, Pabst, DuPont and others.  One family,
Mr. & Mrs. William Walsh (she was a New York socialite and he was a famous lawyer who
participated in the Nuremberg trials) purchased the home at Calle Molina 8 in 1950.

 

Casa de los Santos, Álamos Sonora Mexico, 1992. photos by Gary Ruble.

Christmas 1992 – back in time with an elegant beginning. Photos: Gary Ruble.

Jim and Nancy Swickard purchased Calle Molina 8 in 1989 and it would
become the cornerstone of Hacienda de los Santos ten years later. The resort
opened in 1999 after purchasing the first of five adjacent properties.

The Molina 8 property is 14,000 sq ft under roof ( the Swickards home for the
first eight years), the additional acquisition (property number 2 which was
subdivided in 1870 and a dividing wall built between the properties
which we opened up with large cast iron Peruvian gates) was 8,000 square feet
under roof, thus restoring the property as it was prior to 1870 at 22,000
square feet. Molina 8 is thought to be the second oldest oldest building
in the compound.  

Hacienda de los Santos, Álamos, Sonora, México - February 26, 2017 photo by Anders Tomlinson. courtyard with museum and theater

Next to the two restaurants and bars are a museum and theater.

The stone theater, although less than 20 years of age, is a copy of an Andalucian
18th century structure located in southern Spain.  The brick, boveda, ceiling consists
of more than 10,000 brick expertly laid by the hands of ‘albaniles’ from Guanajuato.
There is a ‘Cava’ underneath the theater where wine and liquor  are kept naturally cool
and also temperature controlled to 50 degrees for ideal conditions, especially for the wine.  

Hacienda de los Santos, Álamos, Sonora, México - February 26, 2017 photo by Anders Tomlinson. travel guide gives nighttime presentation

Dining outdoors under the stars during a musical presentation.

The main portion of the hotel (Molina 8) in the 1800’s was leased to the various
managers of the Mexican Mint.  It is believed that an underground tunnel existed
which connected the home to the Mint and the possible location was recently identified
by local ‘diviner’ Señor Figueroa, along with a second tunnel running the length of
the main portal.  When acquiring the property, the Swickards inherited a Witte one
cylinder generator which is believed to have been the only source of electricity in
the village in the 1950’s, as well as have been the source of electricity for the
German military when present during WWI, covertly operating a very tall radio
station/antenna for transmissions to Germany on eavesdropping of naval ships in
the San Diego area.  Photos of the German antenna exist in the local museum and
there are remnants of its construction on Guadalupe Hill in the center of the village.

Bridge connecting Hacienda de los Santos, Alamos, Sonora México. Photos by Anders Tomlinson, March 2017.

Spanning Arroyo Escondido and bridging Haciena de los Santos

The stone arched bridge which connects the two sides of Hacienda de los Santos
was built in 2000 and was designed by Mexican Architect Felipe Almada.  After the
‘Álamos Flood’ of 2008, the city requested permission from the Swickards to duplicate
the style for the village and five additional graceful bridges were built in the village.

casa de los santos, alamos, sonora mexico. the largest fountain which was originally the sugar mill's 'Mill'.  It had oxen and a stone wheel to crush the sugar cane.  The operation went into bankruptcy in 1710 and we are the second owner's of record.

Listen closely and one may hear the past come alive. Photo: Tomas Escalante

What is called the ‘Sugar Mill’ was an actual sugar mill which was built in the
late 1600’s by the Murillo family and it went bankrupt in 1710. The same Murillo
family, many generations later, still live on two adjacent properties to the former
mill. The Cafe Agave was built by the Swickards, utilizing much of the original foundation
of the mill. The present day large fountain is the actual ‘Mill’ where the sugar cane
was ground with two oxen pulling a large mill stone in a circular fashion. The original
well at the mill is still in use today, providing excellent water for the Hacienda.
The ‘Zapata’s Cantina’ dates also to the late 1600’s and was part of the sugar mill complex.

Hacienda de los Santos, Álamos, Sonora, México - February 26, 2017 photo by Anders Tomlinson. art in patio

Wherever you look there is something to see.

Hacienda de los Santos has received numerous awards including:
Alvaro Obregon Humanitarian Award to Jim & Nancy by Governor Eduardo Bours &
Janet Napolitano. 18 Consecutive Years the AAA Four Diamond Awards (5.9% receive
this award of 28,000 rated hotels worldwide). Historic Hotels Worldwide (Member of
this U.S. National Trust Washington, DC non-profit group). #1 Small Hotel in Mexico
by Trip Advisor. Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Mexico by Trip Advisor.
#1 Hotel in Northern Mexico by U.S. News & World Reports.

Map of Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos, Sonora, México - 2017.

A map is helpful navigating the sprawling grounds and beauty buildings.

 With concerns about our environment, the Swickard family continues to make the
resort more ‘Green’ by having converted more than 90% of the lighting to LED.  Also,
most of the hot water used by their state of the art commercial washing machines,
which require the least water possible for perfect cleaning, as well as the kitchens
and many of the rooms and suites are heated by solar collectors which are not
visible to those staying at the resort.  For irrigation purposes, there is roof
catchment to harvest rain water which is stored underground including
two “aljibe” or cisterns..

Details at Hacienda de los Santos, Álamos, ßonora, México. Photos by Anders Tomlinson, March 2017.

The past, present and future come together – the best of all worlds.

The Hacienda have been converting all air conditioners to heat pumps to conserve
on electricity and offers three types of bicycles to guests including electric.
The Hacienda is one of the very few, if any, Álamos hotels which have
a complete electrical back-up system for the kitchens, dining areas, water
supply and one fourth of our rooms.  This was done primarily
so if there was a power outage during a major event with hundreds of people,
the party would continue and there would not be any accidents or possible
hysteria in the dark.  Half the cost of the expensive project was the Caterpillar
generator, the balance was dealing with esthetics so it would not be heard or
seen by the guests… in other words a colonial structure was built
to conceal the unit.

.

Hacienda de los Santos airplane hanger in Álamos, Sonora, México.

The Hacienda’s elegant private secure airplane hanger. Photo: Peter Offerman

As a pilot, Jim Swickard, was instrumental in saving the local airport from closure
in 1999.    It is the only resort in Mexico which offers private, secure hangar space
for a dozen single and twin engine aircraft.  Also, the resort has 52 acres adjacent
to the runway which includes a two bedroom ranch house for guests that might want
to stay in Álamos for a month or even long term.  It is in a beautiful mesquite
setting, has all city services, an oversized one car garage, large laundry,
two baths, new kitchen, etc.  All of this is in a park-like setting with an
18th century Andalusian style gatehouse and is expected to be operation by
December 1, 2017.  The airport is rated for business jets.   The resort
boasts the largest private pilot’s club in Mexico with more than 500 pilot members
in ‘Club Pilotos of Mexico’.
… Jim Swickard, March 2017.

Anders Tomlinson at the Hacienda d los Santos grpahic.

Walking through the large gardens of Hacienda de los Santos. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

After months of planning, the Álamos Sonic Expedition 2017 was scheduled
to kick off February 23 with Anders Tomlinson arriving and spending his first
night in Álamos at the Hacienda de los Santos. The expedition’s goal was
to film an epilogue for Anders’ film project, Good Morning Álamos, Sonora,
México
, which began in 1983 with his first Alamos visit and concluded
in the summer of 1996. Anders was interested in what had changed over
the past 21 years since 1996. He emailed his Álamos contact list for
changes that they had seen. Everyone mentioned Hacienda de los
Santos’
expansion and the increased number of cars on the streets.

Reception room at the Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos, Sonora, México. photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The reception room is entered from Calle Molina. Friendly staff await your arrival.

Anders arrived in Álamos before noon by bus from Tijuana and Navajoa.
On the ride into Álamos he was struck by the new construction west of
the hospital. He walked from the bus station in the Alameda, up
“Kissing Alley” and across Plaza de los Armas to the Museo
Costumbrista de Sonora
where he found Tony Estrada,
the director, at his desk. Tony gave Anders a short car ride to
the Hacienda de los Santos. Humberto Enriquez was at
the front desk. Humberto had been in contact with Anders for
over a year and had contributed photos and notes to
alamos-sonora-mexico.com. Jamie (Swickard) Alcantar entered the
reception area, just as she had in 1992 as a teenager while Anders’
film crew was photographing the very same room which at that time
was the living room. She selected Room 3 – Bugambilla
for Anders’ stay. One of the gardening staff carried the big
backpack that had all the cameras and audio gear to the room.
Anders had returned to Álamos.

Flowers at Hacinda de los santos in Álamos, Sonora, México. Photos by Anders Tomlinson.

During Anders’ visit the Hacienda employed seven grounds keepers.

On the walk to the room Anders noticed that art and gardens were
everywhere. Room 3 – Bugambilla was well appointed and felt like a
guest room in a friend’s luxurious home that opened a window to another
era back when Alamos was one of the richest towns on earth. Modern
amenities in the bath suite made life comfortable for a traveler who
had spent 22 hours on buses. Anders was relieved to see no television
to connect him back to where he had just come from.

Teatro Almada , Hacienda de los Santos, Álamos, ßonora, Méxicoi. Photos by Errol Zimmerman

Teatro Alamada is a place to share in style and comfort.

Later that afternoon, Anders and Humberto ran through a soundcheck of the
presentation for the Álamos History Association the next morning.
The theater’s acoustic properties impressed Anders. A ceiling of three
brick semi-domes, walls of different materials and a variety of chairs
including sofas and large upholstered club chairs enhanced the sonically
enchanted Teatro Alamada. The seating capacity is 88.

A view of Mirador from Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos, Sonora, Méxicoi. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Mirador lookout can be seen atop the hill behind the Hacienda’s gym roof.

Anders went up to the Mirador before sunrise on February 24th to take
in Álamos 2017 – the big picture. All the mountains were where he last saw
them two decades ago and there were more lights going up into the foothills,
especially on the northern side of Arroyo Aduana. The village had grown as
time and events marched on like they had in his own life. He was thankful
to be back. To the east the Sierra Madre spoke of other eras and Anders
listened lost in memories. Anders heard a familiar voice singing and
turned around to see the distinctive profile of Chaco, who had taken
Anders on a magical walk up Tecolote Hill on Anders’ last day in
Álamos during his first visit in 1993. De ja vu.

View of Hacienda de los Santos from the Mirador in Álamos, Sonora, México. Photo by Anders Tomlinson - 2017

Looking back at the Hacienda from atop Mirador. Notice one of the bridges.

There was a cool biting wind as Mirador’s shadow retracted across
the valley floor with the rising sun. Anders could see Hacienda de
los Santos’
large footprint spanning Arroyo Escondido. In a
couple of hours he would be presenting video clips that
demonstrated his Álamos film project and supportive websites.

Pool at the Hacinda de los Santos in Álamos, Sonora, México. Photos by Anders Tomlinson

Arriving at the Hacienda one is welcomed by the pool patio in all its glory.

Anders walked down the Mirador rock stairs that had been built since
he last visited. He arrived at the Hacienda de los Santos a
half hour before showtime. There was no time to shower and change.
He had a bountiful fruit bowl in the Cafe Agave and a brief conversation
with Jim Swickard who informed him a large crowd was expected and
it might be good to delay the start to make sure everyone had
arrived. As Anders walked across the grounds a woman, also headed
to the theater, asked what was happening. Anders replied that there
were going to be Álamos videos presented by someone from out of town.
The theater did fill up. Once the show was ready to start a college
class from Álamos came in and lined up on both side walls and joined
Anders in standing through the show which started with a video of Álamos
circa March, 1983. When the show ended Anders thanked the crowd as they
left the theater and he went back to “Room 3 – Bugambilla” to take a
shower, rest and prepare for his first afternoon shoot exploring Alamos
2017: walking, listening and looking with camera/audio recorder ready.

Photos of Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos, ßonora, México by Antonio Figueroa.

A splendid March afternoon at the Hacienda.

Hacienda de los Santos provides guests with a map of the grounds which
Anders found helpful since he was getting lost amongst the buildings
and gardens. He spent a second night at the Hacienda and enjoyed one
of the best sleeps in decades.

Hacienda de los Santos at night time. Álamos, Sonora, México. Photos by Anders Tomlinson.

Every night is a holiday at the Hacienda de los Santos.

The next morning Rigo from Casa Serena Vista picked up Anders at the
Hacienda de los Santos and drove him over to Joan Winderman’s
Casa 6 Toluca where Anders would establish a base camp
for the expedition’s duration. It takes a village to make a film.

Anders would return, in passing, to the Hacienda and photograph,
while audio recording, its grounds at different parts of the day.
He also videotaped two evenings of musical entertainment. Twice he lost the
windscreen to his small audio recorder and both times the groundskeepers found
it. The uniformed full-time staff of 45, and as many as 65 for large events,
were professional and attentive to their guests and represented the best
that Álamos has to offer. Hacienda de los Santos Resort
is truly a place where time stands still – a place where comfort
and elegance reigns in Álamos, Sonora, México.

2017 videos at the Hacienda de los Santos graphic

Conga line at Hacienda de los Santos

Another Álamos moment from early March 2017: 100 seconds with the
Estudiantina de Álamos performing at the Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos,
Sonora, Mexico as a busload of tourists from Arizona join the conga line.
Estudiantina de Álamos is one of many cultural programs under the guidance
of the Museo Costumbrista de Sonora. Rafael de Jesus Figueroa Ju, the
fantastic accordion player, is the current Estudiantina director. On this
evening the group leaders delivered beautiful new acoustic guitars donated
to the Estudiantina by the Desert Museum in Tucson.
Live Music and togetherness! An evening under Sonoran stars.

Yoreme Al-Leiya in Álamos

Februrary 26, 2017 Yoreme Al-Leiya, which means “cheerful Indian,” traveled
from nearby Navajoa, Sonora to perform at the Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos,
Sonora, México. Anders Tomlinson had the privilege of documenting this colorful
evening of dance, music, costumes and theatrical lighting. A wonderful time
was had by all.

A special place in Álamos

Hacienda de los Santos in Álamos, Sonora, México is a special place
in a special town in a special landscape. It was originally built
for a wealthy silver baron in the 17th century. Photos and video
editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music is by Álamos’ own Los Hacendados
led by local Jose Ramón Alcántar Hurtado performing “Chan Chan”
by Compay Segundo.

To see it as it is today visit Hacienda de los Santos Resort and Spa.

©2017 Anders Tomlinson and Hacienda de los Santos, all rights reserved.
All content by Anders Tomlinson unless noted.

Álamos Cine Festival

april 3-6, 2014 alamos film festival header

Come One, Come All… It’s movietime!

A Magical moment in a Magical Pueblo.  Photo: Joel Gastélum

A magical moment in a Pueblo Magical. Photo: Joel Gastélum

r for the fourth annual alamos film festival, small.The photo above is from the closing ceremony at the Palacio.  The theme of the festival was “100 years of Maria Felix” and Miguel Castillo is singing “Maria Bonita” with Maria Felix’s eyes projected onto the screen behind him.  After he finished singing we played the movie “Yerba Mala” which was filmed in Alamos two years ago.  There were 700 seats filled in the Palacio for the closing ceremony.

Audience inside the palacio for the 4th annual alamos film festival.  alamos, sonora, mexico. 2014. photo - Joel Gastélum

What is a festival without an audience? Photo: Joel Gastélum

Meanwhile outside in the streets

line of people waiting outside the Palacio, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico to watch the film festival.  photo by Joel Gastélum

They came to be part of the film festival. photo- Joel Gastélum

 
More people were lining up outside and we were out of seats, so we made the announcement that we would also show “Yerba Mala” in the Plaza.  An additional 500 people showed up to see it in the plaza.

Outdoor Cine on a plaza side street.  photo - Joel Gastélum.  alamos, sonora, mexico.

Outdoor Cine on a plaza side street. Photo: Joel Gastélum

Maria Felix exhibition

inside the Museo Costumbrista de Sonora.  april 5th, 2014 opening of an Maria felix exhibition.  alamos, sonora, mexico.   photo - Joel Gastélum

Inside The Museo Costumbrista de Sonora. Photo: Joel Gastélum

On Saturday, April 5th there was also a Maria Felix exhibition in the museum. The exhibit was organized by our festival president, René Solis and was put together by a curator from the museum of Popular Arts in Mexico City. The exhibition will stay in the museum for at least a month and then will go to Mexico City and Paris this summer. Seen here from left to right are Benjamín Anaya (Presidente Municipal), Maria Duran (Representante de IMCINE) and Monica Luna (representante del Intitudo Sonorense de Cultura).

Inside museo costumbrista de sonora.  april 5th.  maria felix exhibition. photo - Joel Gastélum

History is for us all, young and old. Photo: Joel Gastélum

Here are some of the people that make the Festival happen.

caroline Duarte, larissa veg, joel gastélum, john sheedy and Andres Montiel.  alamos film festival april 3-6 2014. alamos sonora mexico.  photo by joel gastélum.

Hard work and good friends help make a festival happen. Selfie: Joel Gastélum


This happy moment is shared by some of the folks involved with the Festival. From left to right: Carolina Daurte (Festival coordinator), Larissa Vega (Maestra de ceremonia), Joel Gastélum (festival tech guy/ photographer), John Sheedy (Festival director) and Andres Montiel (actor, workshop teacher). This looks like a place to be having fun.

It takes a community to present a film festival

A group portrait of alamos film festival organizers taken in the Alamos Museum. Photo: Joel Gastélum.  alamos sonora mexico. april 3-6, 2014.

A group portrait taken in the Alamos Museum. Photo: Joel Gastélum

The Festival organizers in the photo above from left to right: Rosario Alvarez (El Turismo del Palacio), luz del Carmen Parra (Representante del Turismo del Estado), Angel Flores (Representante de la Educación), René Solís (Presidente de FICAM), Monica Luna (representante del Intitudo Sonorense de Cultura), Benjamín Anaya (Presidente Municipal), Maria Duran (Representante de IMCINE), Antonio Estrada (Director del Museo), Sandra Bustillos Sheedy (Secretaria del Festival), John Sheedy (Director del Festival), Carolina Duarte (Coordinadora del Festival), Marisol de Vega (amiga del festival). This group portrait was taken in the Alamos Museum on April 5th during the inauguration of the Maria Felix exhibit. The exhibit is sponsored by FICAM and will go on to Mexico City and Paris this summer.

now and then spacer

Notes courtesy of John Sheedy. John is a teacher at the United World College as well as Director of the Alamos Film Festival and a filmmaker.

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One can see more photos by Joel at joelgastelum.com

©2014 Alamos-Sonora-Mexico.com and Joel Gastélum, all rights reserved.

Bandstand – Kiosk

76… Quiet days in Plaza de Las Armas as stewardship continues on…

Kiosk- band stand with green roof, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

1984, It is a quiet day in the well-maintained Plaza de Las Armas.

All sight lines lead one to the Kiosk, the visual centerpiece of the Plaza de Las Armas. In days of old, traveling dance bands would donate an hour public performance in the Kiosk to avoid paying a municipal tax and also help promote their evening concert. The elevated bandstand Kiosk offers a wonderful vantage point of Plaza activities and surroundings. Bishop Reyes Cathedral and Sierra de Alamos as a backdrop,especially with magic sunrise-sunset light, is a stunning vista from the Kiosk. Here, curious imaginations can sense the past.

Summer day in the Plaza de Las Armas, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

1996, large rose bushes filled up the park surrounding the Kiosk.

Twelve years have passed from the first photo to the second. Much is the same and some has changed. The landscaping is different: roses cover much of the bare ground have replace small trees and scattered bushes. A decorative backdrop for a drinking fountain has been added to the northwest corner of the park. And the kiosk’s canopy is now painted red. Many of my North American friends in Alamos were displeased with the change, they felt it was a cheap move to make the plaza more touristy. Ah, the hands of change move in synchronized concert with the hands of time as man restores, rebuilds and remodels.

restoration work on the Kiosk in Plaza de Las Armas, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.

Restorers begin work on the inside panels of the Kiosk canopy.

The cloth painted mural panels in the Kiosk were badly deteriorated and pigeons nests were inside the torn fabric and the canopy ceiling. Museo Costumbrista de Sonora’s director Antonio Estrada was in charge of the restoration project. Antonio, a fine-art sculptor in his own right, has strived to maintain the colonial integrity of Centro Alamos. As I write this post I realize I have images in one of my Alamos books of un-scanned slides of the panels just before these men started to remove them. Later today I will find and scan the slides and add them to my digital Alamos image database. I saw on the beautiful tourism site Alamos, Pueblo Magico that the panels were restored, and maintained, to their original magnificence. Stewardship in the face of advancing time and the hands of unrelenting gravity is never done until there is no more to steward.

Plaza de Las Armas seen from Mirador, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

A bird-eyes view of Plaza de Las Armas as seen from Mirador.

Even from a great distance the Kiosk draws the eye as one takes in the Plaza from up high on Mirador to the east. The colonial charm of Alamos, and the interaction of its citizens, is evident in this photo. On November 23, 2000, President Zedillo declared 188 Alamos, Sonora, Mexico structures as National Historic Monuments. The buildings seen here were built in the last half of the 18th century on older existing sites. I am certain that a photo taken today from the same place with the same lens will be much the same. Plants and paint may be different but the historic structures will be the structures that have been here for over 200 years.

Estudiantina de Alamos performs before a packed Plaza as a film crew captures the event.
It is a big day in the Plaza. A TV crew has come to town and is filming a music concert. Estudiantina de Alamos, a crowd favorite, is performing. They will also back up several other acts. The bandstand is surrounded by adolescent girls and an scattered smiling mothers.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Mirador Kite Festival

101… On Mirador for the kite flying contest.

Kite festival in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Kite flying is a popular past times for the children of Alamos.

The winds of Álamos more come than go and when they are blowing kite flying takes place across the barrios. Sticks, paper, string are a child’s opportunity to take flight and be one with the elements. The child in all of us enjoys watching children enthralled with their kites dancing on a breeze.

Participants in the kite flying contest parade through the town on their way to and from El Mirador, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Many of the festival's colorful kites parade proudly through Alamos.

On the day of the festival kites, and their builders-owners, are seen on their way to and returning from El Mirador. Colorful pennants snapping in the winds on El Mirador announce to the people below that today celebrates a special event.

Kite flying participants atop El Mirador, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

This is the place to be: a windy day on top of the world with friends.

The kite flying contest was started by Cammie Nuzum and her then husband Chaco Valdez. These photos are from the 1996 festival. The recent 2012 contest was sponsored by Cammie and Elizabeth Nuzum. Kites were not always a place for children’s imaginations to soar. One of the first written records of kite flying is from around 200 B.C., Chinese General Han Hsin of the Han Dynasty wanted to know how far his troops would need to tunnel to enter a rival city. He flew a kite to measure the distance. With this information in hand his army was able to surprise the enemy and capture the city.

Detrails of competing kites flying in the Alamos kite Festival with Earle and Joan Winderman watching, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  photos by Anders Tomlinson.

The kite festival is a colorful event to attend with all of Alamos at your feet.

Joan and Earle Winderman, that is a nice kite flying name, enjoyed a sunny day on El Mirador. Besides myself, they were the only gringos I saw at the festival. Whether one is flying a kite, or a spectator, everyone watches the kites.

Close-up of a festival kite's construction, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

It is colorful and well constructed but it will if fly with grace and agility.

The kites become what their builders want them to be. Days of design and construction lead up to contest. There is much to learn building a kite. Natural science, mathematics, aeronautics, history, culture, art and crafts come together as a flying objects and opportunities for self-expression.

Kite being presented to a judge for judging, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

A kite awaits inspection by a judge. The event was organized by the Museo.

The Museo Costumbrista de Sonora displays the kites after the contest. For centuries kites were used by only by the military. Around the year 600, during the Silla Dynasty of Korea, General Gim Yu-sin’s troops refused to continue fighting because they has seen a shooting star and believed this was a bad omen. The General sent a fire ball into the sky with a large kite. The soldiers, seeing the star return to heaven, rallied and defeated the rebels.

Buddhist monks brought kites to Japan around the 7th century. They were thought to be able to protect rich harvests and deter evil spirits. During the Edo period kite flying became very popular when Japanese people below the samurai class were allowed to participate. The Edo (now Tokyo) government tried unsuccessfully to discourage this pastime as “too many people became unmindful of their work.”

Kite Festival in action, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Amongst all that is going on a flyer must keep his focus on his kite.

Álamos is a wonderful place to fly kites especially from El Mirador up high and open to the winds that carry molecules Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci and Marilyn Monroe breathed. There is a timeless quality to kite flying. It is as as much about the flyer’s thoughts as it is about flying.

Kite flying began in Asia and slowly word spread to Europe. Marco Polo, around the end of the 13th century, brought back to Europe stories of kite flying. Period Illustrations showed military banners with non-flying dragon kites. 16th and 17th century sailors brought kites back from Japan and Malaysia. Kites at first had little impact on European culture and were regarded as curiosities.

Flyers work their kites on a western wind, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Boys and their flying machines work winds off the Sea of Cortez.

Standing with their backs to the Sea of Cortez, the kite-flyers work the western on-shore winds and the drafts that come from the eastern Sierra Madre foothills.

As time marched on kites became universal and many used kites as scientific research tools.
In the 18th and 19th centuries men like Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Wilson learn more about the wind and weather used their knowledge of kite flying. Airplanes came about with the help of kite experiments by Sir George Caley, Samuel Langley, Lawrence Hargrave, Alexander Graham Bell, and the Wright Brothers.

A young boy flying his kite at the Alamos Kite Flying contest, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

And all the world, this very moment, is in his hands and in his control.

Here atop El Mirador the Sea of Cortez is some fifty miles to the west and the Copper Canyonlands are some fifty miles to the east. One could say the kite-flyer’s feet mark the center of the universe and their kites announce ownership of the moment.

Warmth Radiates off of Adobe Walls as Another Winter Day Begins.
Kite flying is popular in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. Drinking beer outside the pickup with friends is popular. Fun and work go on side by side as we visit a wood shop.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.