Posted by farid from customer-148-233-71-32.uninet.net.mx (188.8.131.52) on Friday, September 05, 2003 at 12:33PM :
Idling Thoughts and Racy Observations.
In 1989, after we installed the Ashurbanipal Monument we went to Europe to live...in Portugal. I'd never been to Portugal but it was the farthest point away from civilization and to the warm South I could find on the map. We landed in Lisbon, rented a car and headed for the southern coast but made a wrong turn that took us into Spain and that godawful Costa del Sol of theirs...right up into the asshole of it...Marbella. Mexico looked really good after that and on our way back to Lisbon I figured what my mistake had been and we continued due West to the very tip of the Algarve, as the coast there is called...right across from Africa.
As luck would have it. we stumbled across a delightful Englishman right out of Dickens, whose wife had just come into a bit of an inheritance with which he'd bought, among other things, a 400 year old fort in a small fishing village called Praia da Luz. It was a neat old stone building whose grounds had been nicely landscaped and the upstairs part turned into a commodious apartment with fantastic views of the sea, forty yards away, from a wide terrace in front from which you could see the fishing boats trawling at night, their kerosense lamps glowing faintly...and of course all the skinny dippers from every part of Europe your heart could desire. They have fantastic olives of all sorts in Portugal, hearty breads you could weep for and great cheap wine...just those three made the best of meals.
The gentleman was kind enough to give us the place to live in, plus his car, in return for sculpture. We were both pleased with the deal. We moved in and I found a ceramics factory in another village from which I took all the wet clay pots they threw out and smooshed them together to make the lioness for the monument of Shumirum. Brian, the English gentleman, had a fancy to convert the dungeons below, complete with holding cells with iron barred thick oaken doors, into a restaurant. It had been developeed as one by the previous owners, an American couple who drank themselves to oblivion before openning night.
One good turn deserves another so I offered to re-start the restaurant since Brian was still jetting between Portugal, England and Geneva, where they owned an old diamond cutting factory whose machines had been powered by the stream it had been built it on top of in the 1700's. It was now being converted to two ski chalets for the family. So I contacted the dealers, sampled ovens and sinks and china and cutlery, put together a menu, founf the delightful young people to run the place...got chairs and tables and people to build a sort of pergola on the grounds outside that we turned into an outdoor cafe with great outdoor seating and views of the ocean and naked beauties...it was a smash. We had crepes on the patio and appetizers...a full bar and inside there was this great smokey atmosphere of an old dungeon with lanterns and stone steps, traditional hearty Portuguese food and fish, always fish...we even used one of the cells as a private dining room and the other to store wine. It was fun.
The best part was after we openned...we lived above it...and in the evenings with the warm African breeze wafting over the sea and when Brian was in town, he and I would stand outside at the bar, brandy or whiskey in hand and sing show tunes. By training he was an aeronautical engineer who'd worked on the Concorde project...but at heart he was a dance hall comedian born in the wrong time and place...one of the last to be bron during the Raj, in IndjhA where his father was bandmaster to the Military.
Brian knew every British stage show song there was...some I'd even heard of. And to his delight I knew a mess of Broadway tunes that were also familiar to him. Neither of us had a voice worth spit but after a whiskey or two and facing Tangier and Casablanca...we sounded great. The sun would begin to sink into the ocean...we'd put away the last drink...sing a show tune in harmony and walk off arm and arm into the dungeon for a great meal. The restaurant is still there...last time I spoke with Brian he said it's the most popular one on the coast...for which neither he nor I can take any credit. You'd have to be a damn fool to blow one there...location, location, location...and fresh caught fish from the local fishermen helps too.
When I decided after year that it was time to leave he was so hurt...couldn't understand how I could leave. We were having so much fun...what more did I want. I couldn't take the tourists who descend like a swarm of Jewish take-out food in the summers. He offered the ski chalets but Geneva is my idea of where you go when Hell is full and you prefer somewhere cooler anyway. They also owned a chateau once belonging to a mistress of Napoleon's in Paris, but I couldn't see me in it. It was fun though turning down the offers...a very strange feeling for a free lance sculptor with three children in tow.
I started out to talk about Robert Louis Stevenson and went to Portugal instead because there was a great library at the Fortaleza in which I found a two volume set of the collected letters of Stevenson. He was the original Hippie and Beatnik of his day...long before such a thing could be imagined by white people. Consumption and the dank sooty cold of Scotland forced him to find a warmer climate, to prolong his life as much as possible...and happily for millions of boys and girls...he ventured to the South Sea Islands...to Samoa, Hawaii, Tahiti...places like that. In a letter to a friend back home as he neared the end...he wrote, and I think I can still quote it..."In the end one must write simply for the pleasure of it."
And that's what I'm going to do. I could care less about trends...the cutting edge, the next "Big" thing...acclaim...reviews...I get ill when I enter most galleries and even museums...of Modern Art. I'm not really any kind of artist...just as I'm not a man...refuse to be one. What I am is someone who will write what I feel like writing, for the pleasure of it. Sounds simple I know but you'd be surprised how much cool calculation goes into most of what's pawned off as "inspired" by what amounts to the salesforce at your local art-selling business. And as for the practical things of life...like food and clothes and taking care of your family...I have Jackie to thank.
If it turns out that the land we bought together does really belong to the native village that thought they owned it when they sold it to us...we...that is I (and a someone who shall remain nameless) own some pretty expensive property we bought for a song but cost Jackie an entire symphony...to hear her tell it. All around that region there are four-star hotels and others that just charge like they were...rooms start at $400 a night and suites...five years ago, were $2000-plus a night. There are less expensive places to be sure...but at the same time there's an awful lot of money being spent down there...condos, one bedroom...for 1 million and more. It all looks very rustic and natural...but people are willing to pay for those amenities...and then make it all appear to be down home like and funky.
Well guess who owns several square meters right smack dab in the middle of this waving greenery...on a lovley beach...palm trees and all...and the best part is the tide there is so treacherous and everyone knows it...so no one goes there to swim...which is fine by me. A little further down the beach, a pleasant walk, is a rocky outcrop people come from all over to snorkle at...and on the far side of that, about fifty meters is a long long stretch of smooth and level beach where the swimming is excellent. On that beach there are fish restaurants...basically, right in the sand...where the beer is cold and the warm water just a stumble away from where you sit.
I'm thinking about turning MY land into a trailer park...I kid you not. It would be high end...if there is such a thing...see, it costs a whole hell of a lot to drive one of those behemoths down to that spot and the kind of people who can afford to...could also afford staying at the hotels...but not both...and the old timers especily like to have a toilet handy...so they drive one down there. You could charge a good fee and they'd be happy...it would be a bargain too. And most of them tow cars, that color cooridinate nicely with their Winnebagos so they like to set down in one spot and go exploring.
I wouldn't live there...are you nuts...but could hire a couple from the village to maintain the place for very little...providing them a house of course. There'd be some expense in putting in septic tanks and digging a well, but the water's practically at the surface there...and you'd have showers and toilets and a laundry so people wouldn't have to stay cramped in their campers if they didn't want to. And what the hell...why not a pleaasnt seaside cafe and a little store too. Later it could be converted into bungalows even and you'd make a whole bunch more money. There are no fees or regulations...no Health Department or Fire Department snoops...you open and you try your best and if people get sick they don't come back and you fold...end of story. Maintenance would be minimal...initial costs next to nothing...I could even get a bank loan using that very expensive property as collateral...but why do that.
"We" also own two nice lots at the end of the beach...with lots of empty space and those could be built into an Assyrian Convention Center...why not...think outside the meatball for a change.
And I owe it all to Jackie and Lincoln...who said I screwed them...and gave me the idea, as well as the motive to do exactly that. Let's call ourselves a little more "even". Lincoln told me a friend of his had visited that beach and been chased away by hordes of mosquitos...and it's true that if you stick around past sunset you're going to be attacked...comes from a lagoon that forms from all the rainwater in summertime...but that can easily be drained by cutting a chanel at the low end. It's been done in other parts of the coast...you think some bugs are gonna stop developers? Anyway Lincoln went on to say that this Assyrian friend had gone further south to Manzanillo where he'd bought a nice lot in a commercial development...just the sort of place I hate...where there were NO bugs at all. I didn't ask if the same friend had ventured another to the south to where an anormous petro plant is spewing tons of garbage into the air that happily, due to trade winds and all...only waft as far up the coast as manzanillo, where they take a hard right and go inland. There are NO bugs of any kind in Manzanillo, not many birds either and the whole place, once a very promising and up and coming resort area has taken a nose-dive and was only saved by dummies from the States wo don't like bugs.
I figure Lincoln and Jackie and me are almost even because the Jackster, together with a few others put an end to my Assyrian sculpting career after I'd worked like a mule for 20 years to get to somewhere... ruined the $90,000 Hammurabi, with Golani's help and cost me six wasted months in California plus lost sales and donations from the San Jose convention. Fortunately the deeds all had to be in my name...even though I urged Lincoln several times to transfer them to his own, he never did. It's like the horses...technically Lew DID buy them...but with my money...which I can sort of prove but it will take some doing. I'm the one who bought their land on the beach...with money sent by Jackie...which she can prove...but so what? Let her come down here and sue...Shawn could use a vacation.
Oh...one slight detail...the lands were transfered to a trust and can't be touched, as in sold, by anyone...not even me...it's that great Mexican legal system again...the one that knows a Jackster from of old and took steps to remove her fangs even before she was conceived...much pleasure there must have been in THAT bed! Besides...she already has a judgement against me for telling everyone she has a cunt, or is it balls?...for $130,000 or something like that...and I am working hard every day to amass the funds forwith and withwhich to pay the bigbitch.
She reads here all the time...they all do. Hi Jackie...see you in October...I think you have to actually appear this time...I've got a surprise for you...big enough for you to choke on this time...not like that other time...remember?
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