Category Archives: On Assignment

“The Woman At Swayanabath…”

There is an area at the top of a hill in Kathmandu, Nepal called Swayanabath. It goes by a second name, Monkey Temple…aptly named, as there are monkeys roaming around freely amongst the locals and tourists. While on assignment there I met a woman.

She just stared and stared and stared at me and my Canon, watching me shoot.


(photo: Fidel Amos)

After I while she began chatting in her tongue, so I listened.

She then pointed at the area around her; temples, shrines, souvenirs, the people, the monkeys. I looked as she pointed, not understanding her words but getting a visual grip on what it was she was showing me.

She giggled, I smiled.

She became quiet…I took a picture.

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Filed under Globetrotting, On Assignment, The Story Behind The Shot

“Chips & A Soda…”

Two or three years ago I was sitting on a step outside a tiny corner store near a highway in India to a pitstop meal of chips and a soda. A ragged, shoeless, dirty, teary-eyed little boy came up to me holding two balloons. He didn’t speak English and I don’t speak Hindi so we traded unfamiliar words for a minute or two. From what I could gather he was trying to sell me the balloons, or he had just found the balloons…in either case he was holding onto them tightly.

He made a motion for my potato chips so I gave him the bag I had just opened. He ate very slowly and stared at me blankly while I shot his photo. After finishing, he motioned for my Coke. I opened the bottle and gave it to him…he drank, slowly again. He then sat on the step next to me for a few minutes, jabbering on again in his quite voice, holding onto the balloons with both his little hands.


(photo: Fidel Amos)

Then he left…

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(photo: Fidel Amos)


(Taken while on assignment with a group of Mission: Restore surgeons in Dehradun, India last year)

This woman was moments away from being anesthetized and operated on (to remove massive burn-scarring around her neck and chest). The anesthesia she would receive would be local, meaning she’d be numb in the areas that would be cut, but she would remain conscious. She didn’t speak a word of english but listened intently to every word said between the nurses and surgeons. She knew what was about to happen but showed no signs of nervousness or fear…no emotion whatsoever.

– F


Filed under Globetrotting, On Assignment, The Story Behind The Shot

“This Little Piggy Cried ‘Weeee’ All The Way To COCHON555.”


It’s not often that I start a blog entry with a single word.

I thought it best in this instance however, not only for the mere humor of the word in its singular form “pork”, but also for its more down to earth, serious meaning. Pork (in this case the physical meat, not the word) could be defined in a variety of ways: food to some, a pet to a few, an item to avoid in some religions and a sacred animal in others. Even if you set aside the cute, Disney portrayal, as well as the religious and “I want the one in the pink bow mommy” point of views, you’re still left with one very large area of conversation….pork.

Or, more specifically, eating pork.

Pork is one of the most commonly consumed meats in the world. According to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, nearly 100 million metric tons of pork was consumed worldwide…and that was just in 2006. There are dozens of cuts of pork and, depending on what country you’re standing in while doing the cutting, dozens of ways to name them!

There are literally hundreds of ways to prepare pork, depending on what part of the animal you’re cooking and how you’re cooking it. It can also be made into ham, confit, sausage, terrine and pate…as well as its most popular form here in the United States, bacon. Truth be told, I didn’t know most of what I just said to you up until a couple weeks ago (except for the part I mentioned about eating it). This is due mostly to the fact that up until a couple weeks ago I had never been to COCHON555.

The brainchild of Taste Network founder Brady Lowe, COCHON555 is a national event that takes place in 14 major markets with the goal of supporting sustainable agriculture. Every year (this is its fourth) it holds a culinary competition in ten cities. Fifty chefs (five in each city) are given one heritage breed pig each, after which they must create a menu using said pig, ‘snout-to-tail’ style.

Competing chef Barry Maiden (& team)

Competing chef Tim Gushman (& team)

Competing chef Steve 'Nookie' Postal (photo by: Julie Burba)

Competing chef Barbara Lynch (& Colin Lynch)

Competing chef Jamie Bissonnette (& team)

Ten winners (one from each city) are picked to fly to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado for the final event, Grand Cochon. As the event grows in size every year, so too does Brady Lowe’s cause: utilization of the entire animal. And believe me when I tell you….at COCHON555, the entire animal is utilized.

Although I’ll make an attempt for the sake of this blog, actually trying to describe to someone what a day at COCHON555 is like is a lost cause, as no mere words can explain the total explosion of “pork madness” that one experiences. It begins with an hour of VIP pork-tasting and private dish-sampling by various guest judges.

It continues with additional hours of general admission perks, including raffles, multiple rooms filled with food, wine and cheese sponsors, a full whiskey bar, giveaways, demonstrations by award-winning butchers and cameos by celebrity chefs.

There are recipes to try, t-shirts to purchase, knives to sharpen and World Series trophies to pose next to (at least, in Boston there was!)

The day’s end brings music, a winner, a few gift bags and a 500-person mini-BBQ that seemed to materialize out of thin air. There are a dozen more COCHON events between now and the end of the year…with any luck I’ll find a ride to each and every one of them.

(Boston winner Jamie Bissonnette)

…also with any luck I’ll find a dozen ways to explain to my friends and family why I have to leave town every few weeks because of “pork”.

– F

(All photos by me unless stated otherwise)


* Click here to view the rest of the photos via my Wandering Eye’s Facebook page * 

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Filed under Globetrotting, On Assignment