Thursday, September 26, 2013

Travel Diary ~ A Short Visit to Salta, Argentina ~ Seven Flights in Seven Days

Certainly I have never been in a city before jammed with tourists where no one was speaking anything but Spanish.  This is Salta, Argentina where all the tourists are from other parts of Argentina.  Some from a few other South American countries.  I encountered two American families, the parents in ex-hippie mode, the children teenagers somewhat sulky and uneasy about being seen in public with their parents.  They spoke English.  Other than that, Salta is not international.

Salta is in the north of Argentina near the Bolivian border.  This is high, flat desert country, surrounded by mountains.  The Andes one must cross to get to Bolivia begin here. Argentina runs very far south to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world; the jumping off spot for Antarctica. South America runs much further south than Africa or Australia.  There are direct flights from Sydney, Australia across the Pacific to Santiago, Chile but Chile runs much further south to Cape Horn.  Still a very difficult passage for ships.

The exploration and domination of South America is fascinating.  The Spanish came down from the North from Mexico in search of silver and gold.  They came by land.  The Atlantic coast was unexplored until much later.  Down the Pacific side of the Andes they came in the 16th century, less than a century after Columbus discovered North America.  They crossed the Andes and founded Salta in 1589.  A good 50 years before my ancestors, the Sumners, came to the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts.

I don’t know if I could have ever been a pioneer.  One had to be dauntless.  Of course, one’s life in one’s hometown was one of growing crops, heating with fireplaces, illuminating interiors with candles.  Pioneer life was only a simpler version.  But even so, to plunge across the Andes, stumble into the desert, establish a town?  The Catholic church is owed a great deal in these adventures.  The priests were always the first to go forth into these unknown, unexplored places.

Although Salta supposedly has a good climate all year round for growing the food supplies that supported the Bolivian silver mines, I wonder.  This may be wine country but it looks pretty deserty.  The guidebooks also say that the main business activity here in Salta for many years was the raising of mules which were used as transport and labor all over this side of South America through the 18th and 19th centuries.

Even though the cell phone is omnipresent in Salta, it still feels like a frontier town, even with its 300,000 inhabitants.  There are a few buildings of up to ten stories in Salta but it is for the most part a flat, spread out town.  Its old city center has several very old, large churches, an archeological museum which I skipped (I don’t care much for history where there is no fashion), a very interesting historic museum in the old Cabildo, whatever a Cabildo may have been.  It houses furniture, paintings, and in an interior courtyard a collection of wagons, stagecoaches and one car, a very large French-made car belonging to an important judge.  The largest car ever made by the manufacturer.  There was only one other, made for the President of Bolivia.  In 1909.  Very early. The chauffer sat out front without cover, the steering wheel was on the right, English style, and the back was large and roomy and outfitted with cushions now hanging in sagging tatters.

There was a stagecoach that made the run from Salta down to Alemania in the south.  A four-day run.  We did it in two hours in the car the next day.  It took four months to go to Buenos Aires.  I imagine one was really tired after that adventure. The driver and horses changed very regularly.  The poor passengers didn’t.

Buenos Aires, interestingly to me, was founded long after Salta when the southward push of exploration went on and on.  True also of Montevideo, where I live. Some two hundred years later than Salta, both of these now much larger cities.

Finally in the middle of the 19th century the connection to Europe was made regularly by ship and that is when the tides of Italians and Portuguese came in the Rio Platte area to Buenos Aires and Montevideo and became the dominant force in that part of South America.

Another Museum, the Museo Casa Uriburu, was a family residence for an important family for nearly two hundred years.  Built at about the time of our Revolutionary War, it is stark in its white plaster and dark beams.  It has some very early heavy oak furniture brought in from Spain.  One imagines a donkey with a heavy bureau on its back laboring over the Andes.  It was no joke getting furniture this size or quality way out into the vastness of Salta.

There are very handsome and beautiful people here, but not as we know them in North America.  There are women with strong, clear features of our early movie stars.  Many great profiles, strong noses, beautiful chins and jawlines.  There are men, too in the Spanish tradition.  Great profiles, great sweeping eyelashes.  Again a look of early film stars.          

Also, the nose is prominent.  It seems to me when I was very young there were more prominent noses.  Many here are beaked and sweep downward and made me think of Michigan in the 1930s.  I wonder if the nose job has condemned North America to a look of some kind of uniformity.

Many of the women are tall here.  Some very tall.  I’ve seen any number of young girls with long legs, great faces, and strong profiles who could work in the modeling industry.   Perhaps it is their good fortune that there is no one in Salta to encourage them to pursue this destiny.

There is also a very high proportion of inhabitants descended from the original Indian inhabitants.  Tan, dark hair and eyes, tending to be shorter, with strong interesting features.  It’s strange, but in the United States exotic locals intermarried and became part of the national gene pool.  In the U.S. we like blondes but everyone is considered American and we pay little attention to racial background.  Black people excepted, of course.

In South America racial background continues to be very important.  And even has some connection to class level.  The upper classes are certainly fairer and have lighter hair.  Without discussing it ever I think they are very aware of the connection between class and racial descent.

I should mention also that there are no black people or anyone of Asian background in Salta at all.  None.  I did see one Chinese restaurant but that seemed to be it.   Everyone here is from the original Spanish settlers or Indians.  Not at all like Montevideo, which is very international in its inhabitants.

Overall impressions:

1. There are a lot of dogs and babies here.  In the central square of the Plaza 9 de Julio with its trees, grass and national monuments it also has many sizeable dogs who lounge around on the lawns and under the trees and many sprawl out to sleep in the middle of the sidewalks and you must dodge around them.  I think they have owners somewhere and are well fed, although quite dirty.  As I was walking down the street along the square one came up from behind me, bumped my hand.  I pulled away and scratched his ears and petted him.  He romped a bit, munching my hand as dogs do and accompanied me to the corner and there wandered off to be on his own.

2. There is also an enormous presence of small children, many of them babes in arms.  Argentina must be going to have a vast population jump as every young couple has at least three children.  There are many young mothers under 30 with three children, which would have been a pattern in the United States some hundred years ago.  My mother married rather late for the period (at 24) and had four children by the time she was 34.  There are many strollers about and on all the South American flights we took lots of babies on the plane.  True also of the Montevideo to Miami flight.  There are some small children about in Miami Beach but not to the point where they are almost equal to the adults, which is true in Argentina.

Other interesting things in Salta.  The trees in the streets are orange trees.  The oranges, perfectly edible, fall into the gutters and onto the streets.  Mr. C. said “If you’re going to be a street person this is the town to do it in.  You will stay alive just eating the oranges that fall from the trees.”  There is so much evidence of this also, with a lot of orange peel littered about.  Somehow it didn’t really look like litter.

Salteanos (I think that’s what they’re called) also like their pastries.  The croissant is very present although called “media luna” (half moon).  Which, of course refers to the same moon the croissant is named for.  The crescent moon.  Smaller but very tasty, some are plain and a little salty, some are sweet.  Breakfast at the hotel was presented with many croissants and other pastries I found less tempting.  No bacon and eggs.  As in Europe, breakfast here is largely a cup of coffee and a pastry of some kind.  It’s not a big meal.

I should also mention there is a high level of police about and a large percentage of policewomen.  We stumbled into the main square one morning and found there was a kind of police event occurring with ranks of police people about four deep on three sides of the square.  They came to attention at the sound of whistles and had a variety of uniforms, one group looking like paratroopers.  Mr. C. thought they might be a special attack group, plunging from the sky.  I rather doubt it.

The women of Salta are rather prominent bosomed and full buttocked but not in an overdone way.  They looked fine in uniform, hair pulled tightly back into buns, forepiece caps pulled down over their eyes.  Patrolling the streets, frequently alone, they didn’t look like people you wanted to fool around with.  There are not a lot of overweight people in Salta either.

Our second day in Salta we drove to Cafayate, the heart of the vineyards.  About 200 kilometers to the south, maybe about 125 miles.  We estimated about a three hour drive.  However we did not anticipate that the road would be two lanes and very winding.  A double yellow line was almost always present in the middle of the road, and frequently twelve or so cars would be backed up behind a slower driver, unable to pass.  We had gone almost eighty of the miles when we reached Alemania, the town that had been the end of the stagecoach run from Salta to the south.  Now Alemania is only three of four buildings, one of them the former train station.  This is now a small restaurant.  Other buildings that had been warehouses had a garage and what seemed to be dwellings.  The railroad tracks, and there were three or four different pairs in front of the station, had not been used in some time.  There was even a fairly large tree growing in the middle of one pair.  There were a number of tourist cars parked about to look at the metal railroad bridge that crossed a small river quite near the station.  At one time this must have been a busy hub, probably for shipping grain, or wine or whatever they were raising in the fertile area to the north.

The little restaurant only had empanadas, the little meat pastries, but we ordered about four each and some soft drinks.  There was a black mother dog and her gangly black pup hanging about the restaurant and my heart went out to them.  I played with the pup and rubbed his stomach, as I do to my dog Sophie in Miami Beach.  Both dogs were very thin and one could only hope that passing tourists gave them food.  The Argentineans are very dog prone but even so, I thought of that pup a lot and still do.  All the dogs we saw were so friendly and playful you felt you owed it to them to take care of them.

As soon as we left Alemania we understood why the train line stopped there.  We immediately were plunged into a mountainous landscape where the road wound perilously along the edge of a snakelike river.  There had been volcanic upheavals here long ago and the mountains were tipped on edge with striations revealing the centuries of earth accretians.  The earth’s shuddering upheaval had tossed them about in gigantic scraps and bits.  Mr. C said they looked like gigantic pieces of cake, tilted this way and that, layers all exposed, rising high above our heads.

They reached off in all directions and the light was beautiful.  The mountains were striped across in pale brown, yellow, red, lavender.  The soft light veiled them so they were pastel-like and every few miles the colors would shift and suddenly they would be largely yellow, then in a few miles shifting to rust with stripes of dark brown and beige.  There were also leafless small trees along the road that were brilliant chartreuse.  A bright yellow-green I have never seen in nature before.  The road was also lined with crosses and shrines.  There had been many accidents along this treacherous route. “This is really driving.” Mr. C. said. “Not just drifting along holding the wheel for miles and miles.” He is an excellent driver but the road required his complete concentration. Again, just two lanes and whipping around sharp cliff corners and under looming overheads with signs warning of falling rocks.  The falling rocks were often huge boulders as large as a small house precariously perched on the mountainside above.  A few smaller rocks seeming to hold them in place.  I wouldn’t want one suddenly bolting down the hill, rolling and tumbling, as I drove beneath it.  We are rarely in what we can call real danger when driving.  But this road seemed to be. And it made you think that the early settlers faced this kind of thing on a daily basis.  How many of the passengers on the four month run from Buenos Aires didn’t make it at all?

It took about an hour and a half to get to Cafayate, a small flat town that is evidently heavily visited by tourists from the south as it is the center of the wine industry in this part of the country.  They had quite a remarkable museum brilliantly designed and lit, ultra-modern, to tell the story of the history of this region’s vineyard and then a second section really detailing how wine was made and is made, showing all the many antique tools and kegs and bottles from the past. Very well done and surprising in this very isolated and not well known town.  With Mr. C. there was much scouting about from museum shop to store to vineyard buying some of the wines that are grown here.  There is a business to be made of importing Argentian wines and making them as well known and sought after as French wines.  They are of excellent quality and as they are completely different from European wines, the Malbecs and Tannats and other types could become very popular I think.  My own favorite is Tannat, a red wine that is actually best grown in Uruguay.  You can buy a vineyard in Uruguay now for not much money.  For anyone who longs to own a vineyard, now is the time to decamp for Uruguay.

We drove back from Cafayate more rapidly than we descended.  It was still daylight and I wanted to at least get through the canyon road while it was light.  It was like driving at the bottom of the Grand Canyon for overall effect and not to be taken casually at any time, let alone night.  We were almost back in Salta before nightfall but then got trapped in the endless backups behind slow drivers and got to our hotel after dark.  But then a lovely supper in the elegant dining room!  But no, it was Sunday and the dining room wasn’t open.  We marched across the square to the Alejandro Primero (Alexandre the First) hotel, a much larger enterprise but with a less ambitious dining room.  Lots and lots of families with many older parents and one or two adult or later teen children along.  There were many really lovely daughters with relatively nondescript parents.  There was something almost late-Victorian about it.  Beautiful girls being launched in society.

On Monday, our last day in Salta, we did some shopping after returning the car.  A very handsome young man was reluctant to believe us when we said there had been a gas leak during our drive and we were hesitant to refill the tank completely as we feared it would just leak out.  He had that Tyrone Power style of many young men in Salta.  His cohorts finally got him to agree to charge us for the gas to be put in at the rate of a gas station, not the normal high Hertz price.

We then tackled the telepherique that was to carry us onto the very high hill looming over Salta.  It was not really a mountain, but high enough to see the city down below.  And popular enough that it required a two and a half hour wait in line to board the little six passenger car.  We were plenty high in the air as we creaked and tottered up to the top.  I looked up at the smallish cable supporting the car and wondered if they regularly checked it.  Yikes! At the top there were ornamental gardens and a tightly packed little restaurant flooded with hungry tourists.  We lunched there anyway.  Service was so slow that families would come, occupy a large eight person table, wait a long time and then depart having never ordered.  We managed to catch a waiter’s eye and did all right.  I think it might be able to earn a spot as the worst restaurant in the Western Hemisphere.  Certainly up in the top ten, but then again it was on top of a mountain. 

Once we regained the ground we walked back to the hotel and passed the consulate for Serbia and Montenegro.  I was startled.  How many consulates for Serbia and Montenegro must there be in the world if there is one in Salta?  Much of the population of these tiny countries could be assigned to the consulates if they have one in a far-flung spot like Salta.  Or perhaps this is a desirable destination for Serbians and Montenegrins.  Who know? I love mysteries like this.

After dark Mr. C took me up to the open air swimming pool on the roof so we could see the lights of Salta reaching out and out through the valley.   We were as high as any building in town and there were only a few at this height.  We packed that night and the next morning dashed about town to do some last minute shopping and buy a knee brace for Mr. C. at a medical supply store which had stretch things not available in Uruguay.  Mr. C. is a handsome, fit young man with a myriad of physical problems from having been battered about playing soccer. Or “futbol” as it is called there.

We flew back to Buenos Aires in the early afternoon, lunched at the airport and replaned for Montevideo across the Platte River.  About a half an hour flight.  And there the trip was done.  May I add, Mr. C is the best looking, most capable, great at planning, decision-making guy with whom I have ever been involved.  Great trip.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Travel Diary ~ A TRIP TO CANCUN ~ Cancun is very much like Miami Beach on drugs

Here’s my Cancun Travel Diary, thought you’d like to see it!

My initial impression of Cancun, the Mexican resort in the Yucatan peninsula, was that it was very much like Miami Beach on drugs.  On the outward coast of the peninsula facing into the Atlantic Ocean, Cancun is the mainland town with a large lagoon and a great strip of beach on the other side of the lagoon.  Very much like a miniature version of Miami and the large bay that separates it from the long peninsula of Miami Beach.

I was in Cancun, meeting up with Mr. C., who made a much longer trip up from deep down in South America’s tip. Winter is approaching there and he wanted to go somewhere the sun was shining and swimming in the ocean was possible. Hence Cancun.  I have relatives who own property in nearby Playa Del Carmen so I knew a little about it.  What I didn’t know was that all the other guests would be from Wichita and St. Louis and Minneapolis and that they would all be forty pounds overweight.

Cancun calls the long peninsula of oceanfront The Hotel Zone and well may it be called that.  There must be at least twenty very big hotels along that beach.  Most of them representing major hotel chains.  We stayed at the Sandos Exquisite Beach Experience Resort.  Which actually was one of the nicest hotels in that long chain of caravansaries.  And it was all paid for by my American Express travel points!  True.  I had piled up a lot of points and my very deft assistant, Reniel Diaz, wangled the entire holiday on points.

I had never really done anything like this before.  Everything at the hotel was paid for in one fell swoop.   All the meals, all the drinks, all the room service, the room, all was prepaid.  A red band was fastened about your wrist and you signed in and the rest was gratis.  You didn’t have to search the prices on the dinner menu.  Or check out the wine list.  Have what you want.  You have already paid.  It was kind of swell to just relax and sail through.  And since we weren’t in a city or town, there were no restaurants or cafes or shops to go to across the street.  Just a drugstore.

I say that Cancun was like Miami Beach on drugs because of the other guests.  I had never really ever been in a hotel with this kind of mix before.  Firstly were the younger group.  Not just out of college, maybe 25 to 30 years of age.  Unmarried, sort of semi-attractive guys behaving like fraternity brothers on the loose.  And quite good-looking slender women who behaved wildly but I think were there to separate one of these men from the herd.  This crowd used their prepaid status to drink heavily almost all of the time.  Champagne at breakfast, wine at lunch and lots of tequila at the bar after dinner. In that bar there was non-stop entertainment in the evening with a D.J. and lots of games where people had to try to build a house of cards, balance things on their chin, etc.

At about ten in the evening the other side of the guest list emerged in the bar.  These were older couples heading towards sixty and maybe already beyond.  The couple usually consisted of a male who stepped heavily forward, something like a battleship being herded out to sea by a small tug.  The small tug was the wife who circled around, heading her spouse this way or that.  It struck me with both groups that Americans are almost always ill at ease in public.  The younger group behaving in a kind of frantic way I believe they felt appropriate for their “wild and crazy” single young adult image.  The older group much more contained but again all very similar to one another, all exchanging banalities, all drinking very heavily until they woozily oozed towards the elevators sometime after midnight.  I also noticed the older couples never touched each other in a fond or familiar way.  They were ill at ease with each other too.  I only visited the bar a few times.  Mr. C. loves to watch North Americans and sat in a corner nursing a Coca-Cola for several hours each evening while I slept.  And slept and slept.  I love sleeping and these hotel excursions are no exception.

I had one big question which was never satisfactorily explained.  How did these young people afford the three hundred or four hundred dollars a night room rate?  Mr. C. thought they were all the children of the older crowd.  I was not so sure.  I did not see them eating together or mingling at the pool.

Mixed in this mob were a certain number of foreigners.  There were Asians.  Quite a few.  Some families with grandparents, parents and quite a few children.  Overhearing them talk I was surprised to hear they were speaking Portuguese.  Inquiring of friends in the hotel management, they reported, that these Asians were from Brazil.  Asian families have been established in Brazil for quite some time and if they were from the southern part of that country, winter could be approaching there too, too.  Hence up to the tropics in Cancun.

 And there were clutches of Asian young women, three or four together and one group of three very beautiful girls from somewhere in the Near East.  Saudi Arabia somewhere.  The young Asian women got really drunk in the bar every night and the little group of Near Eastern beauties reveled in not wearing burkas and had beautiful bathing suits, sarongs, short shorts, t-shirts, you name it.  They seemed quite young and it surprised me that they were here, very evidently not husband hunting but truly more to just show off their fashionable beauty.  Perhaps before it disappears from public view in some place like Bahrain.  The Asian women too may have just been having a high old time before they too, were sentenced to arranged marriages and family responsibilities and role playing.  I noticed these groups were not at all ill at ease in public.  They ate, swam, spirited about with much pleasure and obviously weren’t wondering what other people thought about them.

Mr. C., being dashing and very sociable, soon made friends with the quite beautiful woman who was the manager of the hotel and her handsome second-in-command.  He told them he was my bodyguard, which immediately gave me a great deal of allure in the eyes of the management, who were constantly inquiring if I was happy.  If I am with Mr. C. I would be fine in the Sahara desert, so all went well.

The high point of the Cancun visit was out trip to Chichen Itza, the Mayan city some two and a half hours to the west of Cancun in the center of the Yucatan.

What I began to understand as we headed west in a small tour group is that the Yucatan Peninsula is one big swamp.  The Mayans had to build rock roads some ten feet above the level of this swamp, which is true today for more recent road builders. Today’s roads sail along above the swamp grass, low bushes and small trees below the level of the car wheels and road edge.

These roads are in many places built upon the Mayan roads which were built with slave labor as long as a thousand years ago perhaps more. The mind boggles at the effort to bring rock, probably on men’s backs, from many miles away.  This idea becomes even more difficult to comprehend when one arrives at Chichen Itza the city itself.  The foundations of the entire city are built on this same rock in a giant square.  On this square there is a huge pyramid, great lengths of sculptured wall, a number of lower but still very large stone buildings.  The Mayan culture was anything but primitive.  The stone work is beautifully chiseled, the very large stones of the pyramid and walls and buildings built with great craft, smoothly fitting together.  The pyramid has great flights of steps running up it, dizzying to think of climbing and now forbidden to tourists.  There were workmen up on the terraces that lift and set back, lift and set back all the way up to the pinnacle where sacrifices were conducted.

  The Mayans did not have the wheel or metal.  Stone was cut with flint.  Evidently the great stones were brought rolling them on tree trunks, as the Greeks and Romans did.  As with the Great Wall of China, the work effort is hard to comprehend.

There was also a very large playing field where the origin of soccer began.  The soccer goal however is a circle of stone high on each sidewall.  And another difference; the losing captain was executed.  Really made you want to win.

The Mayan calendar was only 260 days long (this was the tropics with no real seasons passing) and they reached high levels of astronomical understanding, studying the skies with great intensity and calculation.  Their culture was one of violence and death on every hand.  They believed everything was alive and at the same time did not value life highly.  Also at Chichen Itza is one of the giant sink holes where young women were sacrificed annually to the rain gods, as their lives depended on rain as there were few water sources such as rivers, even though they lived in a swamp.  I did learn that if you happened to survive being thrown into a sinkhole as a sacrifice (swam to the side and clung to it?) you were allowed to live.

The Mayans had a curious history in that they would create large cities which would thrive form some centuries and then suddenly be abandoned.  Or the population would die in large numbers.  Something historians are unsure about.  And then another large city would grow up in yet another part of Mexico.  All these cities were lost in jungle overgrowth by the mid-nineteenth century.  The Spanish had destroyed those that were still existence when they arrived in the sixteenth century.  The great city of the Mayan kings on its island in a lake is now sunk beneath contemporary Mexico City.  Although most of the cities have been discovered and partially restored there still remain many square miles of Mayan cities lost in the jungle, yet to be explored and restored.

 I read a good deal about their culture and others in South America.  I want to go see the Nasca Lines in Peru, where the early tribes drew great figures in the sandy desert which can only be seen from the air.  There are no mountains.  The figures sometimes overlap which indicates they were done at different times and depict birds, monkeys, different other animals and are sometimes just shapes.  Historians have no explanation how they were able to draw these accurate designs in the sand on a gigantic scale and why they were done.  I like to think they were done so others out in space could see what resident animals on earth looked like.  There are no figures of humans of course because we came from outer space.  I love this thinking.  So contradictory to scientific thought.  Come on! Explain this stuff to me.

 Mr. C. and I made several exploratory trips to shopping malls on the way to the city and one day went to a very large small in the city of Cancun on the mainland.  A huge mall with every amenity and most of the shops that we would have in the United States.  As I walked through the great food courts where restaurants line the outer edges and a horde of tables and chairs hold the tribe that comes there to eat are in the center.  The food court is designed to trap you as you pass from one side of the mall to the other.  It is all very thoroughly thought out.  It occurred to me, “This is the future.”  As with everything being on your computer or i-phone, your real world will all be pulled together in one place and you will just move from one shop to the other, all exactly like any other mall you might visit.  Will young people in the future revolt against all this sameness someday and start to want to grow their own food, make their own clothes, read and write instead of always being an onlooker to a life that is created for them by other people to see and feel?  None of this would exist if it wasn’t what humans wanted.  It’s not being forced upon them.  Curious, curious, curious.

One thing I noticed was that in the shops the sizes were smaller, none for someone as tall as I am.  The Mexicans are not as big as the people of the United States, which of course I true in Europe also.  All the time I lived in France I was always one size too big for the clothes.  My French clothes were always made for me.

I just finished reading the remnants of an autobiography by Marsden Hartley, an American artist who was given a grant to work in Mexico in the 1920s.  He did not like it and was actually frightened by it.  He felt it was a country of volcanoes and earthquakes and mystery and that the Mayan culture was the only one that was generic to the topography.  Which gave me the idea that cultures are frequently the outgrowth of the area of the world they rise from.  The Mediterranean gave birth to cultures that loved living and were tolerant of others.  Life was much easier there.  The further north, the more people depended upon each other, they were concerned about what the neighbors thought.  Hence Germany, England, the foundations of our own country.  Hartley felt the Spanish invasion of Mexico and the destruction of the Mayan culture left the country with a very artificial governing class, trying to be like Europe in a country that had few physical similarities.  I thought this was very interesting.  There is something violent underlying the Mexican world as we see it today with the drug gangs, the murders, the inability of the government to really control the corruption.  They just don’t value human life as much as we do.  All those celebrations with skulls all over the place.

Even spending most of our time with the Middle Western overweight as we did in Cancun, I still came away with some feeling of what Mexico is truly like and its great differences from other worlds I visited.  South America is so near and yet so unknown to most North Americans.  It will be very important in this century with Brazil becoming a world power.  The one thing they don’t do is have a lot of wars.  That’s a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Spicing things up here at David's Gay Dish!

Hello my darlings! We are spicing things up here at David's Gay Dish. I am going to post a few times a week instead of everyday and focus on those posts being more interesting and still answer questions as they come in. So if you have a love, life or career question please email:


There are few films I want to see as I always find my own life more interesting. I sit in the theater and think, "Why am I here, my life is more interesting than this!" But I did want to see Blue Jasmine to see the clothes. According to the New York Times Woody Allen gave the stylist a budget of $35,000 to dress Cate Blanchett in French Couture. A Hermes bag costs more than that but the stylist did it. Everyone loaned things and the clothes were excellent. She repeated them a lot and you got the feeling of someone down on their luck wearing clothes from a better time over and over again. The casting and performances were great but I came away sort of deflated as the central character really never gets it together. And the plot depends greatly on an unexpected meeting in front of a jewelry store. I like reality. Life rarely hinges on an unexpected meeting at a jewelry store. That's a forced plot device that makes you think immediately, "This isn't real."

Walking the dog this morning I wondered if there is a social world for Mrs. and Mrs. Woody Allen. He married his adopted daughter. What do you chat about with someone whose wife used to be their daughter?!