Saturday, July 19, 2008

Closer to home, I received an unexpected thrill yesterday as I sliced open one of those watermelons that's about the size of a bowling ball... Is this not glorious? Very pretty at the least.
It tasted great also!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This all got me to thinking about what travel is about. Is it - to stay in a lush resort and spend all the time locked in the confines of only what IT is? Or is it about the flavor of the place you're visiting?

Many years back we traveled to Athens, Greece and as a city - it was a bit overwhelming. We did the normal touristy things - seeing the Parthenon and walking around the streets - but it was too much. Then we caught a ferry out to Paros, a little island out near Naxos... as the ferry approached the dock - there was a group of people standing at the end of the dock holding up pictures of places to stay. Some of which looked like their very own homes. We headed to a place called Hotel Dina in the old city of Parikia on Paros, where we settled in to a second floor room that had two sets of doors out to small balconies - one of which looked out onto the roof of The church of Enangelistria, and the other out onto the rooftop of a restaurant where we would enjoy breakfast the following days. It was quaint, charming and absolutely beautiful.

(These two photos are from the Hotel Dina's website - I didn't take them)It's a modest hotel, fresh and neat - we slept with the doors open and in the morning went to the other balcony to watch an elderly woman with a bucket of whitewash... re-marking the spaces in between the flat rock paving stones on the narrow walkways... life is slow - and I think that's part of the charm - it gives you time to savor the beauty.
Puerto Rico is an island with a very pretty coastline and an interior that is rainforest. Off in the distance here you see the large mountain that is revered in hushed tones almost as if it were a living god. El Yunque as I have read it's name translates as "forest of clouds". It seems early every evening - while the coastline is still basking in sunshine, you can turn inland and see large ominous clouds 'hitting' the top of this mountain and letting loose with rain. I wish I had been better able to capture the varying degrees of grey clouds that defined the different hills that were visible - but this is about as good as it got.

A few days out on the eastern side of the island, then a few in Old San Juan were just the ticket. As with all large remote resorts, you have a feeling of being held hostage to only their amenities. Whereas, the freedom of a hotel in Old San Juan allowed us to wander and get a feeling for the city that we wouldn't have experienced had we stayed solely at the resort.

The buildings were painted cheery pastels - much like what we had seen in Prague - the streets were cobbled and narrow... it could easily have been Europe. We found wonderful restaurants and really had our cups topped off when it came to basking in the local fare.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Now, do you 'get it' when people talk of Carribbean colors? It's right here. Along with this idyllic castaway island. Imagine being shipwrecked on something like that? Not my cuppa tea. Beautiful for the moment - Hellish, any longer than you want to be there.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Between the forts I mentioned yesterday, there is a small cemetery with above ground crypts perched just on the edge of the sea and this little chapel in its center. This image offered just a peek of the pinky top, was enough to send my shutter snapping.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Breathtaking? Yes. We toured both El Morro and San Christobal forts located at the leading edge of the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico. These forts were poised to protect the port/city from invasions from Pirates and (ahem, yes...) Americans among other long-ago conquerers. I was particularly taken with the turrets and wall structures pictured here against the sea.
This shows one of the Devil's Sentry Boxes - click to read the story about the legend...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Remember that telelvision ad for some cellular company, more towers more places? This resort is on top of a big hill *I think it'd be a stretch to call it a mountain* in Puerto Rico - where in the evenings - large and very threatening clouds roll in - and hit the top of these hills. I saw many amazing views that showed different almost 'grayscale' layering of hills off in the distance. Photos just didn't capture it. But these palms were pretty cool too.

Lots of pretty flowers and lush grasses...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My first job, straight out of college, was working for a retail store that sold imported marble and tile to local architects and designers. I loved the bold graphics of the Mexican tiles as well as the eye-popping colors. In this one particular photo, I see Talavera tile, A version of Saltillo floor tile and what looks to be Cantera paving stone. A warm reminder of how these items all come together once again for that 'total look'.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Years ago I remember seeing absolutely beautiful Beauganvilla in Greece, it was fuchsia - I don't recall ever seeing white... but then today stumbled upon this.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Twice the blessing today, RAIN... and a beautiful display on the caladium leaves. It looks as if it were sprinkled with diamonds! Years ago, I saw a leaf that had fallen, and the rain had formed these tall droplets on the upturned underside surface. My how they amplified the leaf... and I use that inspiration quite often in my work, to call attention to detail. Loved the rain!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Beautiful soft and feathery... colorful to boot. Out of its natural element - planted in a pot by a friend who so wanted this grass to be 'native'... I applaud you.
Val has surfaced, and says: "The grass is called "purple fountain" grass. Just an annual, but grows great in our drought situation! Actually, seems to do better with no water. " I defer to the one with the knowledge! : )

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What is it, you ask? Why it's a simple bird feeder... for the simple birds. What it's not is a squirrel feeder for those complicated squirrels. After spending a few hours hearing about the pack of 10-12 squirrels who were gorging themselves on the birdseed... and watching my friend trying to scare them off... and also her tales of greasing up the post - to no avail. What seems to have finally worked is this large diameter tube - one that the squirrels can't get their little arms wrapped around. Funny, eh? To what lengths we have to go to to outwit those little critters!?