Monday, February 02, 2009

#46, Part II

A visit to the Casa de las Flores is always a treat. Over the years, Stan and Jose have turned a little house in a modest neighborhood into a wild, wacky, colorful B&B chock full of arts and crafts they have gathered from all over Mexico. Stan is the main cook, Jose is the main gardener. They, along with a delightful staff, run a real "destination" hotel. This was our sixth visit and every time I walk through the front door, I feel like Dorothy entering Oz.

I would venture that Stan is the real craft collector of the group. When he finds something he likes, he never buys just one. He'll buy all the vendor has. As a result, the walls and shelves are covered and crammed with things he has found; masks, plates, planters, prints. Every surface is crowded with things to look at.

This is the back wall of the outdoor patio/bar completely covered with carved masks of every description. The ceiling of the patio is hung with lights and five or six strings of papeles picatas, the traditional Mexican cut paper decorations. These are made of plastic, a real find, especially for us here at the beach. The paper ones get filthy and soggy overnight.

There was once an inner courtyard where guests could gather. But Stan decided it should be enclosed because it would provide (a) more wall space for more art, (2) a party space for the gallery presentations they host for local artists, and (3) a gathering spot for guests during rainy or cold weather. It is now a sunny, high-ceiling'd room with a 2-story fireplace, shelves and ledges to display more art, comfortable sofas and chairs and a nice place for the breakfast overflow from the little dining room.
Spread out along a tall ledge under the windows are a whole barnyard of red clay roosters, a signature piece of a local artisan. And when you take your leave from this wonderful place you take a miniature as a parting gift. I am gathering quite a collection.

Stan has also set up a little in-house store when guests can browse through and buy some of the crafts that are part of the region; clay pots, clay dishes, all sorts of little artifacts.

The mind boggles. I am always on sensory overload while I'm there.

The rooms are large, comfortable, airy, beautiful furnished. There are only 7; six in the back building, one in the main house. The six in the back all look out on José's exquisite garden, tended by him and two or three others. This area of the property was basically a junk dump for the neighborhood when they bought the house. Now it's a veritable jungle of trees, flowers, shrubs, herbs, little walkways, raised beds, hundreds of pots of every size and description, and this fountain in the middle.

There is a very nice seating area outside with a big fireplace for evening sitting and chatting in fine weather.

It was there, and here

that I spent my reading hours.

Saturday morning we left early so I could get home to listed to "Rigoletto" from the Met. However, we had no internet connection until about 3 o'clock and by that time they had folded up the sets, put away the violins, and it was over. Patti called to cancel my massage, too, so all our hurry was for naught. But it was good to be back to the soothing atmosphere of my mostly-bare walls.

While we were gone, however, Fernando was busy at work preparing the back overhangs for their new configuration. The "floor" of the iguana condos has been removed. Next he will lay lath to act as supports for the tiles.

He will be back tomorrow to finish some painting and to start building the frames.

So that's how it was in celebration of #45 and to get well-launched into #46!


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