Friday, January 31, 2014

A Good Read in Costa Rica

I love to read while traveling and was so glad that my friend Wendy had this book in her luggage when I too quickly finished the one I had brought along and was facing another ten days with no book!

Because we were in Central America, this book echoed many of the things we were seeing and experiencing.  I won't write a review because you can read a much better one than I could write here or here, but I will say that as with most historical fiction, I learned a lot about the events of another time.  Barbara Kingsolver spent years researching this book and bring alive a time of revolution and significant change while weaving together the fictional main character, Harrison Shepherd with the lives of Diego River, Frida Kahlo, and Lev Trotsky.  

Perhaps The Lacuna is not Barbara Kingsolver's best novel, but I found a disturbing and facinating parallel between the apolitical Shepherd's associations with the revolutionary figures in Mexico drawing the scrutiny of the House Un-American Activities Committee with the current climate of abridged civil rights since the events of 911.  

Would love to know what you think about this novel if you have read it.  If you have not, I would recommend it.  Much has been written about Frida Kahlo as an artist.  This book, fiction or not, makes me wish I could have been her friend.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Adventures in Costa Rica -San Juan

Three weeks ago we flew off for another immersion into the Costa Rican culture with its "comidas typicas", indigenous artwork, happy people, gorgeous countryside, and wildlife watching.  Oh, and how could I forget...white water river running?  
Fellow travelers enjoying cocktails on the front patio.

We flew into San Jose to stay for a few days of the big city life.  For the past three years the Don Carlos Hotel has been our base in San Jose.  Its wonderful patio, decent breakfast, friendly staff and large rooms are located just across the street from the Jade Museum close to the downtown walking mall.  

No photos of the oddly shaped but gorgeous "ladies of the evening" who are definitely NOT allowed into the hotel Don Carlos.  We were told that they are not ladies at all but guys in drag who hang out a block away and rob their unwary customers.
Lobby courtyard at the Don Carlos
Passage way to another group of rooms and the outdoor patio.
All of our group likes the Don Carlos, but I am especially fond of the extensive collection of Colonial artwork that the owners have collected for years and generously shares with their guests rather than keeping them in their home.

Not that we got to see the Jade Museum which was inexplicably closed with no signage to explain why. 
Last year we skipped the Jade Museum in favor of seeing the Lola Fernandez art exhibit which you can read about here.  Oh well another reason to return to Costa Rica and now off to the other museums and shops....but wait, I'm late for a meeting so will save that for another post.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ana's Building a new "Necessary" for the Williamsburg Dollhouse

Anastasia is very happy with the new landscaping which is nearing completion, just in time for a house tour.  Ana hasn't been told yet that the house tour will be part of the Miniature Show at St. Mark's Episcopal church and will involve packing up and transporting everything across our bumpy dirt road. (Shh! don't spill the beans until the last minute, so we don't have to listen to her complaints!)  Lydia, the cook, had to be told as she will have the burden of packing up the kitchen.  Lydia loves to travel, so she is a bit excited about this temporary re-location.

The old "necessary", i.e., outhouse just was not elegant enough to fit into Ana's scheme of upgrading her Williamsburg townhouse, so before construction begins on the ballroom, she is having the carpenter (that would be me) build a new one.  In Ana's opinion, it should match the house to some extent, have discreet screened openings to reduce the odor, and have two for the gentlemen who seem to often miss when "in their cups" and one for the ladies with a seat.  Ana is tired of having her skirts soiled!  Noticing that guests frequently don't wash their hands when returning from the "necessary" Ana plans to have a water source, soap, and towels at hand in the building. She just cannot abide folks who don't wash their hands.  

She has endured a good deal of ridicule from Jame's friends about this "folly" as they call it, but as usual James just smiles and lets Ana have her way.  Ana keeps her tart retort to herself.  As usual James friends don't know the meaning of many of the words they throw about.  Ana knows that a "folly" is constructed for absolutely no practical purpose and her "necessary" clearly has an important purpose. Ana wonders how long it will be before her circle of lady friends will be begging their husbands for their own new "follies."

Drop by St. Mark's to see the main house and kitchen which my sister, Rosalind built.  I added the landscaping and some accessories and am now finishing the new "necessary" which Anastasia so ardently desires.  For those of you outside the Albuquerque area, I will post photos soon.