Why I don’t like Frida Kahlo

frida-kahlo-1

The other day, I was on the phone with my sister and we were talking about how the world has become a boring politically correct place and of how ignorance can be really irritating and how we are so impatient about the massification of things. I thought about Frida Kahlo. Until then, I had not seen the 2002 movie with Selma Hayek, maybe because of resistance or because Frida’s work had never provoked my curiosity.  Seeing her self-portraits everywhere and the fridge magnets might have helped and I had conformed myself to that place ‘haven’t seen it, and I don’t like it’.

Two days ago, without even knowing that it was the anniversary of her death, I decided to put an end to it and at least, watch the movie. I remember that one of things that irritated me was the language, for as fas as I knew it, the actors could all speak spanish, the movie is set in Mexico and the historical background is deeply important, but go figure director’s choices.

After finishing with it , I searched for a documentary on Youtube and found a very interesting one, which put the other pieces of the puzzle together. I could see how she painted, always in pain, and the stir that her work caused across the seas. Braque, Duchamp and other surrealists at the time went to visit her in Mexico. She used to say though, that she was no surrealist as she didn’t paint her dreams, but her reality, something which, for the french then fascinated by the early Freud theories, was difficult to grasp. That’s where cultures make all the difference.

A arte imita. A vida também.

In a certain way, I understood why I don’t like her work; on the other hand, why I do like it. And there is where I go full circle, knowing that the masssification of things take away their value, contaminate the eyes. What I really like about it is the process, her honesty in vomiting her guts with no intention of making statements, raising banners or provoking scandals: she painted her inner world and said that she did it for herself.

I’m still not sure if wether or not I like her paintings, but what difference does it make? None. All I can say is that I’ve been revising some concepts and re-thinking other things and because of that, I know her work is good. And that is enough. Liking it or not, is a different issue.

Gotta work.

Paris is Paris, London is London

When I was a little younger, I lived in London for a while and although I got to know the city, life was happening, I was studying, working and feeling cold all the time. The Island has a cruel wind in the winter and in the summer…well, let’s say that there is a slight increase in temperatures between autumn and winter. They say it has changed, but I doubt it.

I caught the Eurostar train from Paris, that one that goes under across the Channel and in 2 hours we were in the UK – I think it is amazing, truly amazing, how they have managed to dig that tunnel. It was nice to be in a place where they could fully understand my sort of British accent.

This time I was a tourist in London, with all the rights to a fish and chips with vinegar, rest and sunbathe on the gardens of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, before climbing the 528 steps to the top, and visit the royalty places.

Ive missed the charm of  the London cabs.
I’ve missed the charm of the London cabs.
A little street closed to the hotel in Earls Court
A little street closed to the hotel in Earls Court

I enjoyed the feeling of being at home: I remembered the places I’d been, the tube map, where to go. As we didn’t have any time to spare, we decided to make some strategic sightseeing.

Tower of London: this is when you understand the Royalty life
Tower of London: this is when you understand the Royalty life back then
As a friend said well, this is the best looking guy in town.
As a friend well said, this is the best looking guy in town.

Before leaving for the trip, I’d read that the Parliament is always open to visitors to watch the debates in the House of Lords. The tourists either don’t know this or are not interested, so we passed through the multitude of people and selfie-sticks on the streets and walked right in, to check how the Lords behave. There are some that look like 100 years old, mummified, sleeping on their seats while the debate is going on.  Pictures inside were not allowed, but sitting on the gallery, I could hear the years of history in every single corner. As we were leaving, going through the hall, I looked at the floor and saw this:

Yes, she was here.
Yes, she was here.

One of my favorite places is Camden Market, a festival of people, punks, food and bric-a-brac.

A bar in Candem
A bar in Candem
...I was not in India
…I was not in India

Walking by, I saw the sigh and asked Mike if he knew the answer for the riddle. After thinking for a while, he asked me to call the guy. I walked out with my free strawberry and banana smoothie. Of course, I had to take the picture.

Very well escorted
Very well escorted
People chilling
People chilling
Beer break. This is other people's table.
Beer break. This is other people’s table.
Outside a shop
Outside a shop

There was the classic visit to the Buckingham Palace

All the queen horses...
All the queen horses…
Classic. Looking closely the one in the left can barely see anything.
Classic. Looking closely the one on the left can barely see anything.
The Queen has a park for herself
The Queen has a park for herself
The English sunbathing on lunch break, at the Saint Paul's Cathedral gardens
The English sunbathing on lunch break, at the Saint Paul’s Cathedral gardens
The view from the Dome of Saint Paul's
The view from the Dome of Saint Paul’s.

We end the Friday at Greenwich

Ha!
Ha!
I think this was an important historical figure, maybe from the Trafalgar or Waterloo battles. Don't know, he had his back to me.
I think this was an important historical figure, maybe from the Trafalgar or Waterloo battles. Don’t know, he had his back to me.
The Greenwich park
The Greenwich park
...where you can take a walk
…where you can take a walk
...and where a Robin come for a visit
…and where a Robin come for a visit

At the end of trip I succumbed to the five o’clock tea at Liberty, and I was happy. London has a way, different from Paris, but London is London.

La vie en rose

Things look very different  in Paris from the first time I went to visit it. I was going to say about 28 years ago, but let’s stick to  before the Internet age. Somehow the French people are more friendly to tourists trying to find their way around the city, or the way back to the hotel or other places of historical significance.

To my 5 readers I must confess that, besides preparing my miniature world of necessaries, I spent over a month studying and practicing my rusted french. Thanks to the patience of ma soeur Marô and the conversations over Skype, I arrived ready to go and a Je comprend plus que je parle, took me a long way.

The city is still insanely beautiful, people still read books in the park and behave inside the museums, something that nobody under this earth has yet learned. Bring down the selfie-stick. Full stop.

Close to the hotel, there was the Jardin de Luxembourg

People watching
People watching
Because to fish is for the weak
Because to fish is for the weak
Time
Time

On the way, to the Champs Élysées

Bike ride on a Sunday morning
Bike ride on a Sunday morning
Crafts
Scarf and bourre
Fromage
Fromage
Self
Me, looking good in the picture at Place Charles de Gaulle
Arc du Triomphe
Arc du Triomphe

Yes, in Paris we go on foot. And come across things like this:

Paris from another angle
Paris from another angle 

Trocadero

I did go to see the Louvre, but there is no photo. The Chinese took ALL of them.

Latin Quartier
The Latin Quartier is a charming neighborhood, with irregular charming buildings. They say it used to be home for many artists, poets and intellectuals.

A walk at Mont Martre, where once lived Van Gogh and the Impressionists gang.

Mont Martre
Drying in the sun
Carrosel
Charming carrousel

After four short days and a  few blisters on my feet, I had to move on to London.

Time to say Au revoir.

Au revoir
Au revoir

Planes, trains and automobiles

Vacation plans, as it is well known, usually start with trying to save money to spend on the trip; but you need to prepare for the trip, so you end up spending the money you saved buying miniature versions of things like shampoo, liquid soap, contact lenses cleansers, Tide sachets to wash nickers, smelly socks and the like etc. This is when you enter the Land of the Giants without knowing.

After almost reaching the end of the internet, I had applied all the tips on ‘how to pack light’ and I was happy with the results. Things tend to feel ever so lighter when you excited about something.

First stop was Paris, to catch a TGV to the South and from there another packed train to the small village and then a lift on a Jeep to Mas Pinet. The light and small suitcase was weighting a ton and by then, I had lost my sense of time and direction, but my eyes were still open to see this:

View of Mas Pinet
View of Mas Pinet
The house
The House
Bienvenue
Bienvenue
Petit déjeuner. I've learned that chia seeds soaked in water overnight tastes great with yogurt.
Petit déjeuner. I’ve learned that chia seeds soaked in water overnight taste great with yogurt.
Kiwi flowers
Kiwi flowers. The little kiwis were showing up by the time I was leaving.
A resting place
To rest looking at the view: priceless
Details
The little beautiful details

After a week of painting, meeting new people, eating wonderful foods and drinking amazing wines, I’d decided that I should have been born there, and there I should stay forever. I’ve never thought I could do this:

High wire
Trying to get on the high wire. Scared.

I think I’ve managed to celebrate my 50’s in grand style.

Paris, à suivre.

Au revoir.