Sunday, April 20, 2008

I have been tagged

The picture is of a canyon with a stream bordering my rental property. There is a lovely yellow Reina de la Noche (Datura marginata, Angel Trumpet) growing there in the back, but I ain't a mountain goat and could not get closer to it.

by Ewa in the Garden. Thanks heavens it is Sunday and I am at "work" (= have access to internet).
Inspired by Ewa's monthly garden journal, I spent some time yesterday documenting what blooms in my jungle garden right now, but before I managed to upload the photos and post them, I have been tagged, and learned that
The rules are following

1. Link to the person that tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Share 4 things in these themes.
4. Tag 4 random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

Four jobs I’ve had:
Ok, let me try a variation: of 4 fun jobs when I was a student
  • a photo model when at film school in Lodz (NOT, however, of the clothes model variety)
  • a supporting actress, also when studying at the same film school
  • a journalist intern for Glos Wielkopolski , when I studied law in Poznan
  • a tour guide around Stockholm on both boats and buses when I was a graduate student at Stockholm University

and 4 "serious" jobs after graduating:

  • a "think tank" research fellow at various "think tanks" around Europe (Poland, Sweden, Austria, Germany, UK) and the USA (like Hoover Institution at Stanford University in California)
  • a guest professor at various universities and institutes internationally,
  • a management consultant for internationally expanding corporations (mostly high tech)
  • a non-profit organizational development consultant - mostly after taking an early retirement

Four movies I can watch over and over:

Now, I am not fan of repeating anything, so I doubt I have voluntarily seen ANY movie four times, except, of course, cinema classics I studied at film school, like

  • Citizen Kane
  • Casablanca
  • Hamlet with Lawrence Olivier
  • Bergman's: Det Sjunde Inseklet (The Seventh Seal)

Four places I have lived:

  • Poland (Lowicz, Poznan, Lodz, Warszawa)
  • Germany (Leipzig, Dresden, Halle, Berlin, Kiel, Hamburg, Munchen)
  • Sweden (Stockholm, Ystad, Simrishamn)
  • USA (California, Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia)

Four TV shows I love:

Is there anybody who really loves TV shows?
OK, I like "Law and order", especially the original and "Criminal intent".
When I lived in Poland I liked "Kabaret Starszych Panow".
I am sure I liked something in Sweden, but can't remember now... horrible, I am getting that old

Four places I have been on holiday:

How about three honeymoons and one divorce "celebration" ???
  • Tatra mountains - 1st honeymoon (of 1st marriage)
  • arctic Scandinavia: Sarek and Padjelanta national forests - pre-honeymoon (of 2nd marriage )
  • Rome, Sorrento, Capri - a "proper" honeymoon (of second marriage),
  • a Caribbean cruise (with daughter, after her divorce)

Four of my favourite dishes:
  • sushi andraw vegan sushi (made of matchstick cut vegetables, yummy
  • tapas - any kind, but especially fish and seafood ones
  • sourkraut, carrot, apple and parsley salad... or bigos, whenever I have a chance (rarely)
  • pierogi and Swedish meatballs (not together, but I could not decide on only one of those dishes)

Four Web sites you visit daily:

When I have daily access to internet I visit:

  • New York Times or Washington Post
  • Dagens Nyheter or Svenska Dagbladet (alternating between the two national Swedish dailies)
  • El Nuevo Dia or San Juan Star (two largest Puerto Rico dailies, one in Spanish, one in English)
  • blogger

Four places I would rather be now:

let's see, right now I am happy where I am, and don't want to be anywhere else, but ask me in August/September when it'll rain here and huricanes will start threatening, then I might rather (and probably in actuality) be:
  • in Sweden
  • in Poland
  • in Germany
  • in France

Four bloggers I am tagging:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Falling in love

I am a no-nonsense type of a person (or so I think) and actually pride myself on my inability to fall in love, that is, to accept someone or something with "warts and all", to suffer the feeling I can't live without this thing or this person. Perhaps because of it I am so flexible and always so ready and willing to explore new pastures at the spur of the moment and have been so resistant to "fence myself in", to choose a permanent (aaaaah, what a dreadfull word "permanent" - sounds like a lifetime prison sentence to me, lol) place to live, a permanent companion (my late spouse was the last one I have been willing to accept on a permanent basis and he died 15 years ago), a job, that would bind me to one place, to a routine or routines.

But now driving daily up and down route 184, I admire the tremendous vistas from many places on it. There are places where you have a vista of the rainforest slopes, then pittoresque Lake Patillas under them, a village (city?) of Patillas under it and finally the Caribbean sea.

Views to die for!

And there is a house, old, ugly (too few windows, too much cement - why, on earth, people here build so haevy, so "substantial" so "closed in" houses in a climate where neither heating nor ac is needed and surrounded by fabulous nature and views, is beyond me. I love open architecture - French colonial style with every room having an access to the outdoors, but with a modern twist: lots of glass, local materials: bambu, wood, stone, airy, translucent, blurring the boundaries of in and out...), in need of serious repair, perching over a steep slope, in the hurricane zone, so it might slide or be blown away ...but with this view.... and this property seems to be coming up for sale... while I seem to have fallen in love with the view!

And with the location: the Caribbean sea within a few miles distance, yet the house high enough to be in a temperate climate, needing no - unsustainable - air conditioning, when it is steamy down at the coast... reasonable distance (about an hour's drive) to San Juan and its urban pleasures , including Borders (and good bookstores are one of the things I am addicted to) ... so I am awfully tempted to make an exception to my "living light and being easily movable" rule and buy that view ... with an ugly, unfunctional for me house, which would require a total remodeling..,. if not demolishing.

Totally nonsensical .... so if this is not falling in love, I don't know what is.... ;-)

Blog neglect

I know I have been neglecting this blog for over a week now. Not because I have no pictures and no stories to share, but because I still have not been able to arrange for internet or cell phone to work at my casita (satelite internet is not only expensive, but it seems to require considerable equipment expense as well, too much for a rented place - here. I discovered one disadvantage of renting in a remote rural location), and whenever I am at Las Casas I am too busy using internet for other things, so blogging must wait. But hopefully, soon, the problem will be resolved - one way or another - and I'll share with you stories from the jungle - and not only.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A tiny night visitor

Living in the rainforest, especially in a casita that does not have screens, you need to take precoutions if you don't want to share your bed with jungle life.

Yet yesterday, as I was closing the aluminum window blinds for the night, I noticed a little visitor, a coqui, on the now closed blind.
(top picture) . It looked at me and jumped on my pillow.

It is a coqui, a Puertorican tree frog, a tiny creature, not bigger than a top digit of your thumb, yet a mighty singer! The nights in the rainforest are filled to the brim with the sounds of its songs. The locals say that some people can't sleep in the jungle, because of all the noises, while other can't sleep anywhere else, missings the jungle sounds.

Surprise: it rains in the rainforest!

And how! (See the big raindrops on the picture above?)

But the vistas are awesome in the pouring rain, too.

I know that during a rainseason it can rain like that for days at a time. But right now the downpours come and go, and soon the mist disappears under the rays of sun.

(A comment for gardeners: yes, on the left hand side of the top picture you do see a grapefruit tree, and on the right hand site, slightly more down the slope, a big mango tree)

Life in the jungle

... might be adventurous, filled with wonders of nature, but modern conveniences take money and effort to arrange. Ursula's casita, where I now live, has water, indoor plumbing and electricity, but cell phones do not work there, there is no internet - untill I arrange a satellite one, and no TV.

Also, it is located up on the hill, high over a small (5 houses) barrio of very friendly people, who let me park in front of theor houses, because there is no road to the casita, only a steep path, so I have to park my car in the barrio and walk - practically climb - almost half a mile up hill - mostly carrying stuff.
So, without the internet in the casita, blogging was not possible last week and it still requires lugging my heavy and too big - due to its 17" screen - for my day backpack laptop to Las Casas de la Selva, where they have satellite internet. But now I can share with you a few pictures of the casita and vistas from it.
The casita is an interesting construction: the front half of it consists of an old (after 1956 hurricane) container, and the back half is a normal cement and plywood, all - Caribbean style - painted electric blue ...

and with a big and comfy front porch, from which there are fantastic jungle views in all directions.

( A comment for gardeners: at the top picture you see a grapefruit tree to the left, a top of a flamboyan tree in the center and in the second picture, and a breadfruit tree - the one with the big leaves - to the right.)