Friday, October 3, 2008

VISITING MY FRIEND’S GIANT TURTLES VICTOR AND VICTORIA

Counting on a friendship when you are in a strange place is truly tonic. I happily, have one friend here in La Paz outside of my family circle who is of like mind – she is a jewelry designer and artist and very much in tune with the things I like and dislike so that visiting her is very freeing. I love my family of course, but a long visit to family is yielding your familiar world to their range. They know you as one thing and who knows how you grew or how different your notions of the world are – learning to be family again for a person used to no constraints is hard – they love 24/7 media and I prefer quiet meditative days filled with reading and dreaming.

I went to lunch at my friend’s house yesterday and perhaps the tone of this post will mirror the fact that I am deathly ill today from a bad lettuce. Things could be so much worse than a bad lettuce!

My friend is a pet fanatic! She has four dogs and two giant turtles in her garden. The dogs have their own fenced-in yard and each dog has their own separate house completely furnished. It’s like visiting the three bears since they are all different size dogs and their houses look like a little community. Even more amazing is that the yard does not reflect so many dogs roam there and the gardens were fragrant and amazing -- we picked a bunch of sweet peas for me. I adore sweet-peas and these were dark purple and pink! An interesting thing about gardens in La Paz is that they are all behind walls – you don’t see the gardens from the street. The homes are either hedged with tall pines or walled up, so that entering these gardens is magical because you have no idea what to expect. I think this makes for more interesting gardens because you aren’t particularly allied to matching the lavender of the next door neighbor and can do what you want with your own species of plants. The gardens I have seen thus far are all extremely personal and I like that.

What I loved most about my visit though was feeding Victor and Victoria – the giant turtles -- their fresh papaya/banana salad. These are well fed turtles! They live in their own HUGE home built to protect them from the cold with a bathing pond. It is always amazing to hear the lengths to which pet owners go to make sure their animals are well. Apparently Victor had a parasite last winter and only one veterinarian was willing to help Victor come back to life by giving him antibiotics. Of course you treasure the animal even more!

My friend also has an incredible collection of original paintings by renowned Bolivian painter Ricardo Perez Alcala who is a family friend and many of his paintings take their themes from her house. I’m sort of reminded of Frida Khalo’s blue house where what populates the paintings is in evidence in the house. I notice that there seems to be a trend (in the houses I’ve visited) to display antique sewing machines, old irons, locks, trunks, folding toasters . They are usually displayed in masses at the entrance – 10 irons, a couple of sewing machines – interesting sort of ties to the past. Perez Alcala in one particular painting in the house shows these antiques surrealistically lined up in space with a modern building in the background. The things we like to keep in our modern apartments are floating in the air and it is an interesting tie our modernity and our love of the old. The painting is extraordinary. The majority of the paintings are moody in color but are populated with surrealistic details that one might miss but in time after looking a while at the washed out colors one find’s oneself in a city falling off a cliff. So like this city. It is always definitely a privilege to see original art in a setting that is not museum. Hopefully next time I will have my camera and can take pictures of the garden, dogs, turtles and paintings.

1 comment:

david said...

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