Philippe Arnoux Photography

May 31, 2010


Filed under: Panama — Philippe @ 3:13 am

Blacken the teeth is an old custom in Vietnam, dated from Hung Vuong times. Besides women, men also blacken the teeth and this custom used to be quite popular. A set of black teeth used to be one of ten traits of beauty of Vietnamese women in the past:

“First love the tuft of hair
Second love impassioned way of speaking
Third love dimpled cheeks of girls
Fourth love glossy teeth blacker than apple’s pip”

In order to have a set of shining black , glossy and charming teeth “Black teeth who dye for me”, you must follow specific steps. To begin dying, your mouth and teeth have to be sanitized until they are totally clean. In the first three days, you ought to brush and pick your teeth with dried betel-nut husk and stewed powdered coal mixed with salt. One day before dying, you need to chew lemon, hold it in mouth and rinse your mouth by white wine mingled with lemon juice. The effect of the first extract of this juice is to erode the enamel to make depression on it. This time is when you feel most painful and your teeth, lip, tongue, gums and mucous membrane swell and two jaws are very sore. The dye substance is made of shellac prepared 7-10 days ago with the right portion of shellac and the first extract lemon juice, depending on individual. It will be daubed on a white piece of cloth or silk. Using dye substance happens after dinner, then the pad will be replaced at midnight.

In the next morning, the pad will be disengaged softly in order to avoid rubbing off the paint, which has just been made in the previous night. After taking out the drug, it is imperative to rinse your mouth with fish sauce, or maybe bittern to eliminate the substance completely. The person dying must close his mouth nearly all the night to prevent from the pad going out of the mouth. He needs to do this two times each night and in seven nights. In this period of time he can only gulp food but not chew. When you see the dark red color, it is time for the second stage of spreading blackening solution on your teeth. Blackening solution is a mixture of iron sulfate and shellac and is applied in two days. Then you have to rinse your mouth with a drug called black powder liquid. The last stage is to fix it by sap from dipper made of coconut shell. This sap is used by this way: dry coconut shell many times under the sun, then burn it on live coals and put this burning shell on an iron bush-hook. From that coconut shell, a liquid of black sap drops out and it is used to apply on the teeth. After that, it creates a layer of ferment on the teeth. This stage is called “killing teeth”. After finishing this step, teeth are beautifully black.


May 24, 2010

Abercrombie and F.

Filed under: Panama — Philippe @ 2:32 am

On June 4, 1892, David Abercrombie (June 6, 1867 – died August 29, 1931) establishes the company as Abercrombie Co. in New York City as a small waterfront shop at No.36 South Street in downtown Manhattan, New York, where wealthy New York lawyer Ezra Fitch was one of his regular customers.

1900          Ezra Fitch (21 September 1865 – 16 June 1930) joins as partner/co-founder.
1904          The company is re-christened as Abercrombie & Fitch Co..

Both David Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch were stubborn, hot-tempered men, and they had vastly different views about the future of their business. Abercrombie was more conservative, content to continue the store as it was, selling professional gear to professional outdoorsmen. Fitch, on the other hand was positive that the future of the business lay in expansion, selling the outdoors and its delights to more of the general public. Inevitably, the partnership came to an end, and David Abercrombie resigned in 1907.

Abercrombie & Fitch outfitted many great hunting and exploration expeditions, like Theodore Roosevelt’s trips to Africa and the Amazon and Robert Peary’s expedition to the North Pole. Ernest Hemingway bought his guns there. Presidents Hoover and Einsenhower relied on A&F for the best fishing equipment. Other famous clients included Amelia Earhart, Presidents Taft, Harding and Kennedy, the Duke of Windsor, Bing Crosby, Howard Hughes, Katharine Hepburn, Greta Garbo and Clark Gable. And there was more: Cole Porter ordered his evening clothes from Abercrombie & Fitch.

I definitively need to buy clothes there. Just in case I become famous….

May 16, 2010


Filed under: Panama — Philippe @ 5:41 am


Souvent, pour s’amuser, les hommes d’équipage
Prennent des albatros, vastes oiseaux des mers,
Qui suivent, indolents compagnons de voyage,
Le navire glissant sur les gouffres amers.

À peine les ont-ils déposés sur les planches,
Que ces rois de l’azur, maladroits et honteux,
Laissent piteusement leurs grandes ailes blanches
Comme des avirons traîner à côté d’eux.

Ce voyageur ailé, comme il est gauche et veule!
Lui, naguère si beau, qu’il est comique et laid!
L’un agace son bec avec un brûle-gueule,
L’autre mime, en boitant, l’infirme qui volait!

Le Poète est semblable au prince des nuées
Qui hante la tempête et se rit de l’archer;
Exilé sur le sol au milieu des huées,
Ses ailes de géant l’empêchent de marcher.

Charles Baudelaire

The Albatross

Often, to amuse themselves, the men of the crew
Catch those great birds of the seas, the albatrosses,
lazy companions of the voyage, who follow
The ship that slips through bitter gulfs.

Hardly have they put them on the deck,
Than these kings of the skies, awkward and ashamed,
Piteously let their great white wings
Draggle like oars beside them.

This winged traveler, how weak he becomes and slack!
He who of late was so beautiful, how comical and ugly!
Someone teases his beak with a branding iron,
Another mimics, limping, the crippled flyer!

The Poet is like the prince of the clouds,
Haunting the tempest and laughing at the archer;
Exiled on earth amongst the shouting people,
His giant’s wings hinder him from walking.

— Geoffrey Wagner, Selected Poems of Charles Baudelaire (NY: Grove Press, 1974)

May 10, 2010


Filed under: Panama — Philippe @ 3:40 am

On the 4th October 1909 the beer business started in Panama when the Panama Brewing and Refrigeration Company Limited was founded by José G. Duque, Idelfonso Preciado, Manuel Espinosa, Alberto de Obarrio y Jesse H. Hayll. In September 1910, the “Balboa” beer was launched.

Later, in July 1926, the Atlantic Brewering and Refrigeration Company was founded in Colon by Henry de Jan, and 2 years later the beer named Atlas was launched.  It became immediately a big success.

Many other beers appeared in Panama such as  the “Tropical Munchener”, the “cerveza Bolívar”, the “cerveza Milwaukee Brew” or “HB”. So many manufacturers for such a small country! Panama population increased by 4.78 per cent between 1920 and 1930, reaching 467459. Finally, in a monopolistic instinct, the main companies merged and created Cervecería Nacional S.A. They also added new brands such as Guaymy, Barrilito Tap, Champeil  and Maxi Malta.

But in 1958 Joaquín Vallarino Jr. , Eric Del Valle and some investors decided to create a new company, based in David, in the Chiriqui province. In June 1959 the Brewery Barú S.A. was inaugurated and it started a modest production of a new brand, the “Cerveza Cristal” and 6 months later the “Cerveza Panamá”.

The “Panama” beer is my preferred one. But some say that the “Atlas” is for real men.

That day, 2nd February 2010, these men came to build the main floor of a house. They arrived at 6am and worked for 4 hours without discontinuity, as a perfect team, singing Hector Lavoe and drinking beers and beers and beers. In fact they drunk up to late in the afternoon, and sang the full repertoire of Hector Lavoe or some Mexican ballads.. I took that photo at 9:53am.

They all had Atlas, because there was no more Panama´s at the bar.

May 3, 2010


Filed under: Panama — Philippe @ 12:14 am

(La Chanson de la main, Noir Desir)

” Non, j’n’ai pas les doigts qui pendent
ou comme des tentacules
le poulpe independant court le long du couloir
avancez, avancez petits doigts
que je vous considère jusqu’a c’que vous fuyez
beaucoup plus loin de moi
elle vient, elle vient
de loin la chanson de la main ”

These fingers are those of Nicolas Felizola.
Photograph and fashion designer.

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