WARNING: to those that easily get creeped out, you might want to skip this story, or at least brace yourself for what is to follow. Okay, okay, with all the awful things going on in the world nowadays, this may seem tame, but at least make sure you don’t turn out the lights as you read on…
So, uh, what do you know about shrunken heads?
Remember the book The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins? I doubt if you’ve read it lately, unless you have kids or grandkids. It was written in 1938 by the late Theodor Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) and it’s a children’s classic. It’s about a peasant named Bartholomew Cubbins who was ordered by the king to remove his hat as the regal entourage passed by. Well poor ole Bart has a problem. Every time he removes his hat, a new one appears on his head.
This keeps going on and on and really perturbs the king to the point that he threatens to have Cubbins executed. And then, suddenly at about hat #451 the new hats keep getting more and more ornate until at #500 a beautiful jewel-studded crown appears, the king grants him a reprieve and gives Cubbins 500 gold coins for the crown. Geisel, who collected hats, wrote the zany book as a social commentary about abuse of power.
If somehow you’ve missed it, it’s worth the read.
John and I are “go” people. Whether it’s hiking in a jungle, climbing an ancient pyramid or jogging along a roaring river, we love discovering new places, as well as meeting new people. We’re outdoor adventure junkies. So before coming to Ecuador, we did our homework on the really cool places around Cuenca. It’s our first time south of the equator, and while our friends and families are sweltering with summer heat in Texas, it’s winter time down here! It’s the first time, ever, that I can remember wearing heavy wool socks and jackets in June! Go figure!
Next week, June 1st, 2019, marks the 2-year birthday of Barefoot Diary! Yay! Hooray! Whoopee! Bravo! (Imagine thunderous applause from the balcony section!)
Yep, on June 1, 2017, we left Dallas, Texas, and arrived in Puerto Rico for our very first house sit and the beginning of our lives as full time world travelers. On June 1, 2017, Barefoot Diary was born.
We can spot tourists a mile away. The Barefoot Diary definition of a tourist is not quite so tame as Webster’s cited above. Come on, you know what I’m talking about. Tourists are those people, clad in flowery shirts and big hats, cameras in hand, that wander around the world in flocks taking selfies, slowing down and meandering against the flow of foot traffic, spilling food and drinks because they can’t keep up, while exclaiming loudly, “Wow! Will you look at that…we’re not in Kansas any more!” In fact, nowadays it’s not a good idea to even look like a tourist. Not only are they a nuisance, but they are often the targets of pickpockets and petty thieves.
Phooey! We never, ever want to be labeled as tourists. EVER! This is why no matter how lost we are, we always try to “look” like we know where we are going. It’s why I don a carefully concealed fanny pack (that John hates) rather than a purse or back pack. It’s why we generally never run with “herds” of people and never do guided tours. We consider ourselves, uh, sophisticated travelers…globetrotters…experience creators…adventure junkies…anything but tourists!
We love art.
In fact, prior to leaving the United States we had started a collection of some pretty incredible pieces. So it makes sense that we are “in love” with San Miguel because it is an artist’s mecca. In fact, here, you don’t even have to venture inside galleries to see amazing artwork…all you have to do is walk down the street!
Because of the efforts of an innovative woman named Colleen Sorensen, the colonia Guadalupe area of the city is an imaginative world of colorful expression that makes you go, “WOW!” But it wasn’t always like that. In fact, prior to 2013, street art was not permitted anywhere in San Miguel.
When Colleen moved to San Miguel from Texas (a lot of great things and people come from Texas…wink!) she created the Muros en Blanco project and championed the very first Street Art Mural Festival. During this event artists got together for three days to create a little magic on the streets of the city.
One of the coolest things about our travel lifestyle is getting to experience the holiday traditions of the countries we visit. We’ve been fortunate to celebrate two “biggies” (Christmas and Easter) here in San Miguel. After strolling through San Miguel’s streets, parks and colonnades adorned with poinsettias and ornate Christmas decorations, I figured that Easter was going to be something spectacular. Believe me, it was over the top. Way more than anything either one of us have ever seen or experienced.
Many of you know that I used to be in the theatre. I acted, did radio/voice-over work, directed and taught theatre for many moons in a previous life. In fact, I go all “apey” when an artist “becomes” someone or something else and then performs in the new façade. When a person puts on a mask, a miracle occurs. The wearer enters a new world where fantasies, rituals and dreams come to life. To me, whether it’s an actor on a stage or a masked performer at a religious festival, it’s the ultimate creative expression. Right up there with cartooning and karaoke singing! I love it.
So when our new house sitting friends, Sandy and Rob (BritsHousesitting.com), invited us to accompany them to the San Miguel Mask Museum, I was thrilled. Another house sitting couple, dear friends from our Xcalak sit, Manuel and Xochitl (www.wanderingfolks.com), just happened to be passing through San Miguel at that time and joined us for breakfast and then the tour.
Great food, great friends and, of course, touring a magical place that honors my very favorite artistic expression…well, it doesn’t get much better! We had a blast.
We rarely rant and rave about issues that are pet peeves, irk us, or even send us into orbit. Don’t get me wrong, we have very definite opinions about things that are going on nowadays, but we tend to keep our mouths shut. We’re not Tweeters, and you’ll never see an emotionally charged political or religious rant or rave from us on any of the social media platforms.
One of the coolest things my mother did for her children, as we were growing up, was to make our birthdays an extravaganza celebration. Our special day always had a theme with hand-made invitations, costumes and decorations. My brother, Dub, has a birthday in October, so his parties centered around cool weather things. One year he had a Football Party and we welcomed the star quarterback of the local high school team as the celebrity guest. Another year his party had a TV Heroes theme, and everyone dressed as their favorite TV idol. I was Morticia Addams and Dub was Napoleon Solo, the Man from U.N.C.L.E.
My birthday is the end of August so we had all summer to make plans. Where most little girls had pajama parties or celebrated Barbie along with their birthday, I had super events that included a Hawaiian Luau and a Mexican Fiesta.
For my 9th birthday we had the crème de a crème of all parties, with a United Nations theme. It was the rage of the neighborhood, because everyone dressed as a delegates from a different countries. We tie-dyed an old sheet and I draped it around myself, Super-glued a fake jewel to the center of my forehead and became the delegate from India. Dub represented Mexico, touting a sombrero, serape and a moustache, drawn on with an eyebrow pencil. I was a ravishing Rani, and Dub was one cool hombre.