16 June 2014

Overlander from Down Under in Barrio Viejo with Mark Shea

Overlander from Down Under in Tucson with Mark Shea 

Notes from the barrio.

Mark Shea  editing before the next leg of his journey across the USA.
Mark interviews Vanda J Pollard in Barrio Viejo, Tucson,AZ
Sometimes it takes a visitor to help you see your world anew and learn more about the place called home. The history of Barrio Viejo unfolds and takes ahold. I am learning even more about this compelling shrine just a few blocks away from where I live. It still captivates me just as it did the very first time friends Keith and Carli walked me through their world.

Yes it is hot in the desert this time of year. I've heard if you're a local you're not suppose to talk about the heat. I am still settling into new ground.  In our little pocket of our barrio Viejo my vecina(neighbor) Vanda Gerhart  hosted fellow digital story teller Mark Shea, an Aussie global explorer in his post Vegas recovery. As they say, what happened in Vegas stays in Vegas or you can check out the videos. They joined me for my 49th birthday Mexican dinner sharing the finer detailers of Greyhound travel and stories of far away lands; food;biology;history; Irish immigration;mesquite harvesting. The local history of the  El Tiraditio, the Shrine of the Unforgiven caught fire his imagination.Next thing I knew we were standing in a 100+ degrees  on revered ground making a video.


Mark  has since discovered in less than 24 hours more details about the event of the shrine and fleshes out the story far more than the plaque could ever explain. After our interview I thought of more things I would have like to say in less than two minutes.

The Tiradito still brings me great hope and comfort to many people who come to visit.He is perhaps like an old friend to share your troubles and stories to. For such a tragic event the shrine of the Unforgiven offers an eternal refuge of compassion for  people of all walks of life and beliefs.  People in Tucson gathered at the shrine after  the tragic shooting and miraculous recovery of Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords  made international headlines and contributed to the dialogue of the ongoing debate about gun control in America. 

Barrio Viejo poet Issak Kirkman at El Tiradito, The Shrine to the Unforgiven in Tucson, AZ.
The love and empathy felt here in this ancient altar of adobe comprises years of devotion. His Spirit and a cast of other Divine intermediaries, saints and personal totems create an ambiance of reflection that the veils between worlds isn't too far especially where love is concerned. Even in middle of the day I am blinded by such tender expressions of love and a much larger faith standing under the hot desert sun. The old adobe wall looks like it is weeping. St. Jude, St. Francis, Our Lady, the photos of family members, beloved strangers all are gathered in the notes, flowers and dust of the seasons. The salt of tears and the wax of so many candles over the years seep through the wall and seal the ground. How nice it was to meet a fellow traveler and share a part of Tucson that still captivates us with mystery.

In less than 48 hours we shared my 49th birthday dinner. We were both inspired to see Mark's social media process and each had our ah ha moments. He blew us away with his media savvy. In less than two hours a story idea was locked and loaded at Vanda's work table. He Shot it. Edited it. Compress it. Upload it and share it with his followers - bing bang boom!  Next thing I knew,  they were off  in the opposite direction of the setting sun heading east with Vanda at the helm to get him closer to his next destination. From the roadtrip notes looks like he's somewhere  in the middle of nowhere  in the wild west of New Mexico. Closer but still has further to go. Gracias Mark for sharing some of our local southwest history with your readers. Have a great odyssey gathering stories from across the USA! A Dios Bendiga!

Here's a song about our Barrio Viejo sung by Lalo Guerrero born and raised here.

Follow the journey : 

The Aussie Overlander Mark Shea Travel Blog: 

Stay tune for the interview with my vecina Vanda Gerhart and her work documenting international food traditions and cultures. 

Vanda J Pollard

For more information on Tucson's Barrio Viejo visit the Pilita Museum next door or have a meal at El Minuto Cafe.

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