Álamos 1984

Confluences and circumstances influence who we are and where we go.

All the elderly women dressed in white with their stories have left the beach.

I first visited Álamos, Sonora, Mexico in 1984. We all have stories about how we came to discover a place that is special to ourselves. My personal Álamos story began when a UCSD art major girl friend, Lisa, asked me to accompany her to a performance art 
project dress rehearsal on a La Jolla, California beach. This was the conclusion to a year long (1983-1984) effort by 
Suzanne Lacy and Sharon Allen: Whisper, the Waves, the Wind

On site there was one local TV crew and Suzanne Lacy, white tables and a large group of women all dressed in white. Suzanne was orchestrating and protecting the unfolding events. There was also a freelancer in a collared blue t-shirt and a big video camera who quickly introduced himself as Kit Nuzum. He was filming for Channel 38, a Del Mar, CA public access station. We struck-up a quick friendship. Several months later he invited me to join him and his girlfriend in his Chevy Nova on a car ride to a town in México that he told he knew I would like. And Kit was correct. I did, and do, like Álamos, Sonora, México. Gracias amigo.

Álamos, Sonora, México the way it was on Anders’ first visit.

Álamos, Sonora, Mexico in 1984, Spring time, as seen by Anders Tomlinson via black and white film. Music is “A New Dawn” by the “Dig Brothers” under the musical direction of Denver Clay. Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. It is warm and breezy. The sky is blue. If you stare at a cloud long enough it will disappear.

Below are several photos from the 1984 Álamos expedition. With the photos are a look at what the world was like back then in the United States and around the world.

alamos sonora mexico. 1984. photo by anders tomlinson.

Álamos is at the end of paved road.

•  The Cosby show premiers.
•  Three hundred slain as Indian Army occupies Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, India.
•  Indira Gandhi is assassinated.
• Toxic gas leaks from Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, killing 2,000 and injuring 150,000.

The Mercado in the Alameda is under construction.

• Geraldine Ferraro becomes the first woman Vice President running mate.
• President Reagan re-elected in landslide with 59% of vote.
•  Reagan ends U.S. role in Beirut by relieving Sixth Fleet from peacekeeping force.
• Congress cuts off aid to Nicaragua, illegal guns sales start to fund the contras.

Turning a corner: embracing the present by making music.

Here are examples of 1984 music that was in fashion: Phil Collins, Alison Moyet,
Billy Joel, Tina Turner with ” What’s Love got to do with it,” David Bowie
Wham! with ” Wake Me up Before You Go, ” Billy Ocean, UB40, Cars,
Stevie Wonder with ” I Just Called to say I love You, ” Kenny Rogers,
Bruce Springsteen, Bananarama, Duran Duran with ” The Reflex, ” Ultravox.

Centro Álamos has several one way streets for horses, bikes, trucks, and cars.

• Stonewashed jeans are introduced.
• The first megabit chip is made at Bell Labs.
• Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, US. The Soviets boycott.
• Mary Lou Retton wins two gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

Two powers, side by side, working together

• Old nude photos of Vanessa Williams, first African American Miss America, forced her
to give up her crown.
• The AIDS virus is discovered.
• On January 28, Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire during the shooting of Pepsi commercial.
• The first infomercials appear on TV due to de-regulation by the FCC.

A quiet afternoon in the Alameda.

• The first all rap radio format is introduced at LA’s KDAY.
• Run-D.M.C. are the first ever rap group to have an album certified gold.
• The term cyberspace is coined by William Gibson in his novel “Neuromancer”.
• Bob Geldof and Band Aid release “Do They Know It’s Christmas”.

Bishop Reyes Cathedral seen from the old miners’ hotel.

• In 1984 Reagan makes famous joke: “My fellow Americans, I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” He supposedly didn’t know the mic was on.
• Apple Computer releases the Macintosh personal computer. It has 128K of RAM, a 7,83MHz processor, no hard disk, and the cost is US.$2495.00.
• Calling themselves the PMRC (Parents’ Music Resource Coalition), concerned parents, including Tipper Gore, wife of then-Tennessee Senator Albert Gore, Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker, Georgie Packwood, wife of Oregon Senator Robert Packwood, and Nancy Thurmond, wife of South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, construct a campaign designed to ‘educate’ parents about certain alarming new trends in rock music.

Mt. Cacharamba is seen two through windows of an adobe ruin.

• 1 gallon of gas $1.10.
• Dodge RAM 50 Truck $8,995.00.
• Chrysler New Yorker $13,045.
• Chevrolet Corvette $23,392.

Calle Comercio is a quiet street in Centro Álamos.

• Yearly Inflation Rate USA4.3 %.
• Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average is 1211.
• Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve 10.75%.
• Recession continues to be a problem in the US and 70 US Banks fail in just one year.

Here one can visit with loved ones and take in the big sky overhead.

• Leader of the Soviet Union, Andropov dies at 69; Konstantin U. Chernenko,
is named as his replacement.
• First robot related death in the US.  A worker in Jackson Michigan is accidentally
crushed by an industrial robot.
• United Kingdom agrees handover of Hong Kong to China.
• Explosions at the PEMEX petroleum storage facility in Mexico City kill about 500 people.

There is the only gas station in town.

• Desmond Tutu wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
• Bell Telephone System broken up.
• France gets first deliveries of Soviet natural gas.
• Syria frees captured U.S. Navy pilot, Lieut. Robert C. Goodman, Jr.

Alone in thoughts surrounded by family and history.

• Average Cost of U.S. new house $86,730.
• Median Price Of and U.S. Existing Home $72,400.
• Average U.S. Income per year $21,600.
• Average U.S. Monthly Rent $350.

Young entrepreneurs sell cool ice cream on a warm Spring afternoon.

• The big films of 1984 were Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,
Gremlins, Beverly Hills Cop, Terms of Endearment, The Karate Kid,
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Police Academy, Romancing the Stone,
Splash, The Terminator, Amadeus, The Killing Fields, A Passage To India.
A movie ticket on average costs $2.50.

The village of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico lives on another day.

• A Man shoots 20 dead and wounds 16 in McDonalds Restaurant in San Ysidro California
• Colonel Joe Kittinger becomes the first person to complete a solo transatlantic flight
in a helium balloon
• The first ever flight in space by humans un-tethered using jet back packs takes place
Astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart make the first untethered space walk.

There is much we can learn from the Álamos logo on a work truck’s door.

• John DeLorean is acquitted of all eight charges of possessing and distributing cocaine.
• Jeopardy! begins its syndicated version.
• U.S. performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.
• The world-renowned, critically acclaimed Canadian entertainment company,
Cirque du Soleil is founded.

Salvation and shade can be found at Bishop Reyes Cathedral.

• Sony and Philips introduce the first commercial CD Players.
• Sony makes the first 3 1/2″ computer disk.
• Genetic fingerprinting or DNA profiling was developed and is now in wide by Forensic scientists when obtaining evidence in a crime.

Two good friends are walking from here to there arm in arm.

• Miguel de la Madrid is President of México.
• U.S. and Vatican exchange diplomats after 116-year hiatus.
• Widespread Famine in Ethiopia after political conflict with charities believing as many
as 10 million people are facing starvation.
• Planet Earth’s human population in 1984 was 4.769 billion.

Anders’ shadow was here and enjoying every moment.

Alamos, Sonora, Mexcio has made a deep impact on Anders Tomlinson. As a youth
in Southern California he would stand on the El Camino Real, the King’s Highway,
and look north and south. His imagination took over. Where would this road,
in either direction, take him?

Anders enjoys a warm summer night in the Plaza after a long day shooting.
photo-Antonio Figueroa

He would eventually travel north on El Camino Real to San Francisco, California.
Later, Kit Nuzum, who had family in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico, invited Anders to come along
for a spring time visit. The journey was magical, traveling across the
Sonoran Desert under a warm star filled sky while listening to an all-night radio
broadcast of Jethro Tull. Arriving in Alamos during predawn hours was
arriving in another land… another era… another spirit.

The lights of Alamos from the Mirador overlook. Every night is a holiday.

For more information visit About Good Morning Álamos, Sonora Mexico

Super-eight Springtime 1984 in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico

It is the spring of 1984. Anders Tomlinson and Kit Nuzum arrive in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico to begin shooting super-eight film footage with single-frame and additional short bursts and several time-lapse sequences. They used Kodachrome asa 40 film stock with a Minolta news camera.

©2017 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Atop Sierra de Álamos

Late spring as seen by high up both sides of the Álamos Valley…

Looking at Alamos, Sonora, Mexico from the north.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

It was an effort to get this shot. But it was the right season to do it.

I always looked north from Plaza de las Armas at two peaks that reminded me of camel humps. I knew they would provide a wonderful vantage point of Álamos and surroundings. Chon, my guide, and I started up a trail early on an overcast morning. Two others, possibly miners, with a supplies burdened burro, were ahead of us. High up, they took a fork in the trail to the east and we continued climbing to the west.

alamos, sonora, mexico seen from the north, mirador and plaza de las armas are clearly seen, photo by anders tomlinson . 1995.

In late spring, the summer jungle is bendable bare branches.

I was hoping the sun would break through. It didn’t. We reached the top under cool cloud cover. I would later learn this was a blessing. I began to film. We now go back in time to this moment contemplating the big picture. Timeless.

sierra de alamos, towering above alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.  1995

Sierra de Álamos towers over the village wiping sleep from its eyes.

To the immediate south of Álamos is the Sierra de Álamos mountain island. It runs east-west, perpendicular to the coast and the Sierra Madres. It has always taken me and my guides several hours to reach the top from the Plaza de las Armas.
The most comfortable time to start is the cool pre-dawn hours.

View from Gringo Point, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Good morning Alamos from Gringo Point in the Sierra de Alamos.

A week later, Chon and I spent two days and a night atop Sierra Álamos. Gringo Point is a rock outcropping that looks down directly on Álamos. Truly a bird’s eye view. Again, overcast persisted. But what can one do but do what one does?

alamos, sonora, mexico seen fro sierra de alamos in the spring of 1995.  photo by anders tomlinson.

One can almost hear a 1,000 silver mule train leaving Álamos south.

Chon created a fire in the high altitude morning chill, a bed of embers no wider than his palm with a flame no longer than his thumb, and brewed me a cup of tea. I unpacked three bags of camera equipment and began to film. We did not talk. Below, a church bell persistently called for morning mass. And we could hear the past that becomes today and will be tomorrow. I have never forgotten that civilized cup of tea.

pines forest at the top of sierra de alamos overlookiung alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.  1995.

Pine trees rustle in the wind and parrot calls echo off stone canyon walls.

Pine aromas in a dry tropical rain forest, with tea in hand, is truly a top-of-the-world experience. I felt safe with Chon guiding the way. it is always best to travel with a guide so you don’t go where someone doesn’t want you to go. Recently, life had been hard on Chon and these moments above and beyond the village were good for his spirit. And I was thankful for the opportunity to capture scenes from the highest vantage point.

Chon in the red hat behind Kit Nuzum

Chon in the red hat behind Kit Nuzum

Chon was Kit’s right-hand man during much of Pedregral’s early construction in the shade
of the giant fig tree. Chon took pride in doing a job well and enjoyed a good joke and a cold beer.

Sharing A Moment With Chon

We come and go, in the short term, like the birds and in the long term as do mountains.
This video scene celebrates Chon who worked on many projects for the Nuzums including
the strawbale casa on El Pedregal in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

Chon   portrait by Kit Nuzum, 2015.

Chon portrait by Kit Nuzum, 2015.

Another day, another smile amongst old friends in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. Time passes,
every moment history, every scene a moment. We are all part of the river of life.

Antonio Figueroa and Mountain , Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

A summer return to the northern rock outcroppings.

One of 1996’s summer-photo-expedition goals was to return to the camel humped rocks. Local photographer Antonio Figueroa joined me on an effort to repeat the spring shoot. We knew summer heat and humidity would challenge us. We set off early in the morning. When we left the trail at the base of twin peaks we ran into a dense jungle of tangled vines, limbs, overgrown brush, stickers… We couldn’t get to the top. The air became hotter, oppressive, as the sun climbed into a watery sky. We had to return without our photos. Talk about disappointment, but it was what it was. And it would become worse. On the way down, Antonio ran head first into a hornet hive. If you could see Antonio’s swollen face in the photo on the trail you would realized his pain. As soon as we reached Alamos he went to the hospital for treatment. A tough day was had by all, but none tougher than Antonio’s attempt to capture the big picture. Jungle one – photographers zip.

View from Above

Mt. Alamos is some 6,500 feet above sea level. It towers 5,000 feet above the town of Álamos. It is another world, wild parrots, dry tropical forest, granite and… Up and down is a day’s effort, it is well worth it. To reach the top it is recommended to start hiking early while it is still dark and cool.
Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.