It's been a full dance card for me this past month. The PV International Sculpture Symposium took place here at Casa Alexandra for two weeks beginning in mid-Feb. I photographed the artists wrestling 1400 lb. chunks of pink limestone into the workshop next to the casa, then followed their progress for the next two weeks, including when they moved their sculptures at midweek to the malecon so the public could watch.
Mishaps abounded during the two weeks. The artists had brought several of their smaller pieces for a gallery show and sale. Pieces got chipped, bumped and mishandled. One gorgeous piece by my friend Birgit got dropped by an admirer. Fortunately, the couple decided to purchase it anyway, even with a chunk missing. One artist, Carole, worked long and hard on an enormous rounded figure of woman tucked into an "egg" position. As it was being moved to the gallery at the University of Guadelajara, it slipped out of the harness on the forklift and crashed to the ground, creating a starshaped crack and a gouge to the shoulder. The artists are used to compensating for "events," but the pieces end up not matching their original vision.
I especially enjoyed getting to know Birgit Grapentin, a native of the former East Germany, who is now a citizen of Australia. I liked her enormously, and I really love her sculpture. The photo to the left is her and me at a gallery showing two weeks ago.
Adventure on the High Seas
Three days ago, Birgit and I decided to take a water taxi from Boca de Tomatlyn to Yelapa, a tiny fishing village only accessible by water. It was sunny in the morning, but by the time we got to Boca, the sky in the distance was black. I would have been happy enjoying the hour of sun we had left hanging out on the beach in Boca, but she wanted to see Yelapa. So we boarded the water taxi for the 30 min. ride on open ocean, but in view of the jungle and cliffs to our left. By the time we arrived at the dock in Yelapa, it was pouring down rain. The driver informed us we had exactly one hour until the ride back -- the weather would be too dicey for later taxis. As it was, the wind and waves were increasing and the pelicans were huddling on the rocks in the rain. We hiked up the hill to the only bar that was open and drank an espresso along with some hummus Birgit had purchased in PV. We were dressed for the beach, so we hunted down someone who sold us plastic garbage bags for rain attire.
When we got to the covered waiting area next to the beach, the swells were three to four feet high and men were swimming out to their anchored fishing boats with buckets to try and keep them from getting swamped. A large group of tourists were waiting and watching as our taxi made repeated attempts to close in on the dock. Finally, one-by-one, we clamored onboard, trying not to fall in as the boat rose and fell. Needless to say, it was a cold, wet, harrowing 40 min. as the skipper of the boat maneuvered through the waves back to Boca. I got a face full of ocean a few times on the ride. Birgit and I laughed about the whole thing...just another adventure. I hope to go back to Yelapa on a prettier day...
Art and Jewelry Exhibition at Casa Alexandra
At the end of the sculpture symposium, I went into high gear making my jewelry for what was to be a sunset event, complete with wine and cheese and samba music. I partnered with a woman who was selling off hundreds of paintings she has purchased on her travels around third-world countries and intended to put up in condos around Vallarta. Well, it poured down rain the day of the exhibition. Even so, around 100 people showed up. Some friends came for moral support, but I sold only one inexpensive piece. It just wasn't the Bohemain crowd I needed. Mostly folks who've made money in real estate looking for paintings to go with their sofas -- not a hippie goddess type among them. I plan to take my pieces to a Gallery in old town. I think they might just sell there.
Me and Israel
Israel and I are still "on," but the realities of our situation are closing in. I will be ejected from the casa for two weeks beginning Mar 6 when a group rental moves in. I may have found a place to rent for the month of March, but the owners -- one of the sculptors -- have let me know I'm allowed no guests (i.e., Israel). That may put the kibosh on my new digs...Israel has no prospects. He is waiting on the sale of an apt. bldg in the Dominican Republic that could have him set up for life, but it hasn't happened yet, and he is broke and next to homeless if not for me. He gave up the room in Pitillal. The powdered concrete raining from the ceiling was aggravating his allergies.
As for things I've written about Israel recently, well, I'm not ready to cut him loose. Here's an illustration of why: one of the sculptors told me about a section of beach in Vallarta covered in round rocks. I am something of a rockhound, so I went and scoped the place out, then came back with Israel. We spent an entire afternoon collecting rocks, large and small. In that moment, as we sat on the sand with our tee-shirts swollen with rocks, we both realized we were soulmates. He has the same sensibilities as my dad did. Loves nature, simple pleasures. And within his means, he spoils me: bringing me gifts of flan and tamales. Rubbing my sore feet. Calling me his "queen." We are both dumpster divers, picking up treasures from abandoned piles of trash. I wish we could figure out how to have a life together here. I don't think our relationship would work in the States. He'd be like King Kong flailing around New York City, or Tarzan on display in London. Israel is a product of this culture and he can eek out a hand-to-mouth existence in a tropical tourist mecca. But in the states, with no real formal education (even though he reads Pablo Neruda's poetry), he would be a lost soul. At least that's my take on it right now.
I plan to drive back to the US in April for an extended visit with friends and family. Don't know if I will be able to return here for the long term. Am still considering purchasing a mobile home in a funky little park near Manitou Springs, just so I have a place to hang my hat...The woman wants 10k for the old mobile home, but I may offer her half that and see what she says.
I love Mexico and wouldn't mind dying here. But I think Israel and I need a miracle. More will be revealed.