Saturday, August 25, 2018

Santa Fe Mermaids and Miracles

Last week we spontaneously materialized a road trip on a wing and a prayer.  On an idea to go visit the Indian Market in Santa Fe, which happens once a year.  Why?  Because lately I've been feeling stagnant in my work, lethargic in my shows, and in desperate need of a shift in energy.  This trip once again proved to me that you can basically make anything happen that you would like to happen.  It was positively rejuvenating!  So here's the abbreviated version.  
First stop, Kingman, Arizona.  There I was delighted to discover a Mermaid lover in the desert, namely Carmella, owner of Sirens' Cafe.
And not only that!  Carmella stays open late one night a week and makes PIZZA.  Homemade GOURMET PIZZA.  Serendipitously the same night we were in Kingman.  Double score!!  We got to enjoy her amazing food while surrounded by her Mermaid collection, AND I got to share my Mermaid work with her as well.  Here we are spreading the Mermaid Love.
Next Stop:  Gallup New Mexico
In Gallup the highlight on the way out was visiting the Flea Market on Saturday Morning.  It was definitely a local event, and so fun.  You could buy everything from beads
to bunny rabbits,
to herbal remedies for everything from allergies to spider bites.
And everything and anything in between.
Back on the road, the landscape turned even prettier.
We spent the night in Albuquerque and headed over to Santa Fe on Sunday Morning.  Seeing the sign for the Indian Market brought tears to my eyes, because a week earlier we were just imagining we might go, and then POOF!  Here we are.  Incredible.
This is a BIG market.  600 Native American Artists.  And we walked the entire event.  The work was simply another level.  Very, very beautiful.  Highlights for me:  
Finding a Mermaid in Santa Fe.  This is the work of Tiffany Adams, of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe. I am here with her painting of the water spirit that she calls Watseep Malputs.  A very beautiful piece, by a very beautiful and kind spirited artist.
The next highlight:
Meeting Navajo Jewelry Artist Tonya June Rafael, enjoying her large drop dead gorgeous pieces, and then spontaneously selling her the Mermaid pendant I was wearing around my neck.  What an HONOR that she loved my piece.  That was a very special moment for me!
And finally meeting up with our Native American Jewelry collector friend Robert from Los Angeles,
who was selling for the first time at the El Dorado Hotel off the Plaza.
Here we are with Robert and Friends...
I know Lalo enjoyed bonding with the Turquoise.
And believe me, there was no shortage of Turquoise at this event.  
It's a staple in these parts.
It was a fabulous and inspiring day, and we spent the night in Bernalillo,
heading back the next day for another go round in Gallup.
And guess who we end up bumping into in Gallup?  Robert!  What are the chances.
Robert introduced us to one of our new favorite places there,
Perry Null Trading Company, where they let you try on anything you like.
I opted for this little Squash Blossom number by Navajo Artist Andy Cadman, priced at $15,000.  It was simply to die for, but alas I needed to leave it there.  Sigh.
Robert, however, was able to bring home a Turquoise Butterfly, and he was pretty happy about that.
Robert treated us to dinner in Gallup at Jerry's Cafe and it 
Lucky us and "Thanks, Robert"!
We stayed in Gallup one more night and I finally got that swim that every Mermaid needs.
Highlights on the way home were another day in Kingman, Arizona,
where we coveted more Turquoise...
This was my favorite cab,
while I think Lalo preferred this piece.  Alas, at least for now those pieces needed to stay there, too, just like Gallup.  But it sure was fun to look!
The last wonderful surprise was discovering Laughlin, Nevada on the way home, a place where neither of us has been.  We had a great buffet dinner at the Avi Casino with a view of the Colorado River, proving yet again that this Mermaid can find water in the desert.
We came back to Los Angeles content and happy, and it was great to be out on the road again.  Thanks so much for following along!


Friday, July 15, 2016

Deep History, College and Culture in Montpellier

After our coffee in Sete, we continued on Wednesday to Montpellier for a quick walk through the historic center.  Montpellier is the capital of the Languedoc Roussillon region of Southern France, and the third largest city on the southern coast.  It has three major universities, and is steeped in history dating back to 985 AD.  The first thing I saw when we came up the stairs from the parking structure were these pillars that looked to me like Mermen, which naturally took my breath away.
Here's a closer look.
And a closer one yet.  The detail in his face is just great.
You're probably figuring out by now from my posts that this kind of building detail just makes my day.  Especially because they could be Mermen.  I haven't had much luck finding Mermaids in France, so these were really a bonus.  And on that same building, this was pretty interesting as well.
Dragging myself reluctantly away from the Mermen, we continued down the street, where I saw more beautiful details.  All of the architectural details in this part of town made me think of Paris.  Sigh.
And again there were plenty of those wrought iron railings on the buildings that are so prevalent in this area.
Of course there was no shortage of narrow streets,
and everything was so clean, thanks I'm sure in part to this adorable cleaning crew that was all dressed in green.
I noticed yet another one of those mural stickers that we've been seeing all around the South of France,
and although the church was closed at the time we visited, it of course had some beautiful details on the exterior.
There was a cute little tram running through the center of town,
and a soccer scoreboard outside of an Irish pub.  The finals were currently going on in Marseille.
All in all, we only had a couple of hours in Montpellier, so the things that most struck me during our very short visit were the building ornamentation, the cleanliness of the historical center, and the fashionable feel that you got there.  With more time, I'm sure there is plenty to explore, and I would love to visit this town again.

Thanks for following!


Monday, July 11, 2016

Impressions of the Enchanting Port City of Sete

Free to roam about the South of France, Julie and I headed over on Wednesday, June 29th for an afternoon visit the Port City of Sete.  Julie was on the lookout for possible interesting new locations to add to her agenda for Workshops in France.  On the drive over I noticed some fish graffiti.  Looks like this is about as close as I'm going to get to a Mermaid.
There is quite a bit of graffiti in the South of France, by the way.  And most of it is not that good.  I found that surprising for such an ancient and artistic place.  I think they need to step up their graffiti game!!

But what we did find in Sete was an absolutely enchanting town, built in the 1600's, known as the "Venice of the Languedoc" because of its network of canals, and bordered by the Bassin de Thau, an enclosed saltwater lake (where they raise oysters and mussels), on the southeast and the Mediterranean Sea on the southwest.
 It is definitely my kind of place.
You can see the ships on the Mediterranean Sea at the end of the Canal du Midi.
Because I live near the areas of Belmont Shore and Naples in Long Beach, California, I was reminded a bit of home, but with historic buildings thrown in.  It captured my heart.

Notice the sunken ship.  This poor guy had the one boat that was below the water, instead of above it.  Perhaps now a vessel for Mermaids?
There is a lot of wrought iron work in this area on the balconies of the buildings, and I remarked to Julie how they were just like New Orleans.  To which she reminded me, "No!  New Orleans is just like HERE."  Duh!  Of course!
The town center was filled with shops,
and of course, a Farmer's Market.  We just caught the tail end.
Boulangeries and Cafes lined the streets, and I got to have my first macarons since we arrived in France.
I went for the pistachio and the chocolate.  With un grand creme,
and a lovely view.
I also needed to give these little piggy cakes some press.  As my kids would say, they were totes adorbs.
 Here's an interesting boxed out window design that looked very French to me,
and some of the ornamentation on the Chamber of Commerce building.
But this is my very favorite building in Sete.  Look at these amazing figurative pillars.

Gorgeous work!  These kinds of architectural details just kill me.  One of my favorite parts about Europe.

I have since read that there are some very nice Mediterranean beaches in Sete as well, so I definitely want to revisit this beautiful place on my next visit to the South of France.

Next up, Montpellier.  Thanks for following!


Friday, July 8, 2016

A Two Night Stay in Frontignan in the South of France

On Tuesday, June 28th, our departing day from "Workshops in France",  our fearless leader Julie Snyder spent the morning and early afternoon delivering guests to both the TGV and Center train stations in Avignon for their various departures.  Some were going on to Rome or Paris, some to other destinations in France, some heading home.  Waiting back at the Chateau and helping guests prepare for departure, I watched the sunrise for the first time since I had been there. It was glorious.
After all had been delivered safely, we bid a fond farewell to the Chateau, and Julie and I headed for Frontignan in the South of France, about a two hour drive to the southwest, on the Mediterranean shore.  We passed fields of sunflowers,
and RV'ers, to whom I need to give a lot of credit.  The streets in the towns and villages are SO narrow that it would be a real challenge to maneuver a vehicle like this.
I watched wistfully as we passed signs for Barcelona.  So close, yet so far!  Note to self:  Must get to Spain on a future visit.
Upon arrival in Frontignan, we connected with our host for our Air Bnb, and got the keys to the apartment.  We were located two floors up on a tiny narrow street,
with a view of the rooftops and the birds swooping past our window at sunset.  It was charming. 
 We took a walk around the tiny village to get acquainted, and discovered it sits along the Rhone Sete Canal (sorry for no accent marks on my French here in these posts, but I don't have a French keyboard on my ancient laptop),

which was lined with pleasure boats.
Anyone who follows me knows I always love a good sign.  This one is a valid reminder of what happens if you get too close to the edge.
Two of the boats that we passed were playing a game.  Kids on opposing boats walked up the plank and batted at each other with some type of baton, to see who could knock the other one off the boat.  As a side note, notice that one of the boats says "Muscat".  I discovered later when reading about Frontignan that they are known for their Muscat grapes.  Had I read that earlier, I would have checked out our their Muscat wine!

Heading off into the village we passed another one of those large "sticker murals", like we had seen in Bonnieux.
In the Town Center sits the historical Hotel DeVille.  I learned that this is not a Hotel at all, but rather the Town Hall.
It's surrounded by shops and cafes.
We had a delightful dinner of pizza and salad outdoors at one of the cafes, and then headed home for the night.  The next morning, some of the locals on our tiny street hung their laundry out their windows to dry.
while cats napped in windowsills.
We took a drive to Sete and Montpellier, which I will tell you about in my next posts.  On our way back into Frontignan, we stopped at the Frontignan-Plage, their beach on the Mediterranean Sea.  It was early evening, and a fog had begun to roll in that made the whole place feel enchanted.
It didn't seem to bother beach goers in the least.
I got to dip my toes in the Mediterranean and pick up a few seashells, so I was a pretty happy camper.  We had dinner in our apartment that night and enjoyed their Farmer's Market the next morning, which happens every Thursday and Sunday.  You can find dried fruits,
scalloped zucchini,
and much more!  Coming up next are our side trips to Sete and Montpellier.

Thanks for following!