Thursday, March 09, 2006

Caribbean Art Heart

Grab yourself a comfortable seat, 'mon, while I tell you 'bout my trip. That colorful chair is right out front of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in Jamaica. Too bad it was 10am and I'm not a fan of margaritas. It was my first foray off the ship and about 15 minutes aftr we stepped foot on land, the heavens opened and we were in the midst of a tropical rain pour. But as
Laura remarked, "You'll get better photographs without the glare of the sun." Ture, true. The color was so vivid, even with the steady rain. But because we were unprepared (no umbrella), and the rain was heavy and steady, we never ventured further than the very commercial visitor's compound (barbed wire and all). While we waited for the break in the rain that never came, I spied this bus stop across the street. If I were an adventuresome lass I would have gone and hopped the bus in search of more color and beauty, but alas, I am a timid, 50-something, girl who has never strayed far from home, and whose adventure is usually from an armchair. But there is beauty right at your feet in Jamaica. Look at the mosaic tiled floor on the porch. Some of the tiles were iridescent and glistened in the rain. Even the painted concrete looked like water.

So, next day was Georgetown, Grand Cayman. I took a look at the island - flat, many, many buildings in sight. The cruise director said there were many banks in Georgetown which made is sound too much like home, so I opted to lay by the pool on the ship and have Strawberry Pina Coladas delivered to my chaise....well, OK, not till 4pm. It was perfect for me, because when the ship is in port, most of the people get off and do their excursions, leaving the ship fairly empty. So I enjoyed the quiet time...something I never get at home. Actually, it took me several days to be able to kick back and relax. I taught on Sunday, the first day at sea, so the rest of the week was pure vacation. I brought 3 good books but only got through one (Colour - Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay. The perfect read for this trip.) I also worked on a new fabric altered book - but that was really play, not work. Like the Jamaican juice booth said, life was EASY. (Check out the left side of the photo - I got a big thumbs up from the owner. He was happy that I found his booth photo-worthy.)

Now Thursday was a different story. It was my day of adventure.Our day trip was toTulum, Mexico to see the Mayan Ruins. We took a ferry from our port in Cozumel to Playa del Carmen and walked from that port to our bus. What a colorful town. We wanted to stop at all the shops and drink in the color but there was no time. The long bus ride down the Yucatan Pennisula went quickly as our guide, a Mayan native, filled us in about the Mayan culture and history. He called our route the Mayan Riviera as the road ran along the coast which was dotted with gated luxury resort hotels and spas. The land is relatively flat and the vegetation sparse. Hurricaine Wilma did a number on this part of Mexico. Playa del Carmen appears to have been spared but along the coastal highway to Tulum, there was still evidence scattered about. It the port at Cozumel, the docks platforms were lifted right off of the footings!

Tulum was beautiful, but I was disappointed that we could not actually go "inside" the ruins. This specific site is about 1000 years old, not that old as Mayan sites go. There were still vestiges of paint on one of the frescoed walls that I was only able to see by enhancing the color saturation on my photo. The sunlight and shadows and the distance from which we had to view the wall prevented us from seeing any color while we were there. Apparently the whole city was once a riot of color.

The ruins were home to many iguanas, creatures that bob their head as if to say "hello."

The Mayans told time and seasons but the shadows cast by the sun through these holes. There are not windows, but clocks! The whole city was situated according to the sun.

I took this next picture because I saw what appeared to be random carvings in the stone. It wasn't until I was working on the photo to upload it to this blog that I saw the face, a Mayan warrior! Can you see it?I also enhanced the color saturation in this photo and that's when the face popped out at me. I think we were all too close at the time to recognize it and our guide had let us roam on our own by that point. Each structure was built stone by stone, but I can see that the stones were carved to achieve this relief. I want to go back and see it in person, now that I know it's there!

The Mayans built their city high atop the cliffs, with a view to the sea below. There are many, many steps to travel down to the beach below. I wasn't prepared for a dip, but I couldn't resist the call of the sea, so I navigated my way down, took off my shoes andstepped into the Caribbean Sea! Pacific Ocean to Caribbean Sea in less than a month. I am blessed and amazed at my fortune. I am fulfilling dreams I never knew I had. Perhaps this is a lesson to me to dream big.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~ Mark Twain


claudine hellmuth said...

Wow! your photos are amazing! So much color. Looks like you had an incredible time - next time I get to go with you!!!

Scraps of my Life said...

Your Blog is written so well-as usual-like a narrator-I felt like I was with you too-We will have to go on a Cruise together sometime!! I particularly liked your quote...a good one to remember!!I am glad you relaxed and had fun-you deserve it-you work very hard with 6 kids,grandchildren,husband,house,family,2 businesses and your Art and personal life to fit in too!! I want to go next time too!!Love,Lynn

Peg Keeney said...

photos are all those places
Iam going to be in chicago too...working at the SAQA booth...come and see us

downunderdale said...

Sounds like you had a great time, Lesley - I wanna go too- cheers Dale

lynn said...

I just realised how to change my name on my post...what a dummy!!!!How do you get posted by Lynn Simpson at whatevertime to appear at the bottom....?

LoriLaurieLauri said...

Oh my gosh! Is that the real color of the sky? Gorgeous!

Cheryl Doran Girard said...

Your great photos and wonderful descriptions make me yearn for a long trip to "those far away places with the strange sounding names!"
You so richly deserve all your dreams coming true.
Love, Cheryl

Pokey said...

Lesley, these pictures are incredible. That exhausting day trip in Mexico was worth the effort! And no, I will not be posting the horseback riding-in-water pix (it's good blackmail material though, if you ever find them!)