Vancouver's Vertical Gated Communities
Saturday, January 30, 2010
There were the Street People and there were the Air People. Air People levitated like fakirs. Large portions of their day were spent waiting for, and travelling in, the elevators that were as fundamental for the middle-class culture of New York as gondolas had been in Venice in the Renaissance. It was the big distinction – to be able to press a button and take wing to your apartment. It didn’t matter that you lived on the sixth, the 16th or 60th floor: access to the elevator was proof that your life had the buoyancy that was needed to stay afloat in a city where the ground was seen as the realm of failure and menace.
In blocks like Alice’s, where the doormen kept up a 24-hour guard against the Street People, the elevator was like the village green. The moment that people were safely inside the cage, they started talking to strangers with cosy expansiveness. As we rattled up through the floors, it was “Hi!”and “Bye!”and “Where did you get that? I just love it” and “Don’t you hate this weather?”…little trills and squawks of sociability that registered everyone’s relief at having escaped the dreadful flintiness of the subway and the street.Hunting Mister Heartbreak
, Jonathan Raban, 1990, Collins Harvil, London
Five years ago I went to Buenos Aires with Rosemary and Rebecca. My nephew Jorge proudly showed me the Catholic barrios cerrados
(gated communities always called contrees
and pronounced like that!). The idea began some years befored when several families with shared expectations (all white and conservative Roaman Catholic joined forces to buy a large property (in the outskirts) that they would slowly urbanize with electricity, water etc. Walls would be built and houses would follow. My nephew had a contracting company and he made a fortune at this. Soon the gated community would have its little church within its gates. After a few years my nephew had finished quite a few of these. His mother was in charge of landscaping. One of his brothers was helping her with the heavy work of moving and planting trees. Another brother was the firm’s lawyer. Yet another was in charge of publishing a monthly glossy magazine on and about the communities.
The venture became so successful that my nephew travelled to Rome with a well dressed priest (he was Basque and I swear his habit was by Armani) and consulted with a couple of Cardinals who wanted a piece of the pie and so suggested that similar gated communities could be built in the City of Brotherly Love in the United States. I soon found out I could not talk ill of President Bush and gun control in the presence of my pious nephew.
One day having a comfortable lunch in my nephew’s home by an artificial lake he had built within the gated community he lived in, I asked him, “What are you going to do the day, that inevitable day, when the masses climb over your walls?” He beckoned me to follow him into a room. He opened a closet and pulled out a sawed off Argentine Itaka shotgun generally used by the police. From a drawer he removed a Luftwaffe issue Luger pistol and he then said, “I also have a .45 Colt Automatic.” I was speechless but managed to ask, “What are you going to do with these?” “I will target practice.”
The whole affair left me deeply troubled. I have mostly forgotten about it but I sometimes think that my nephew is right when I realize that my two granddaughters are not allowed to either walk to school or to walk back even though they are but a few blocks away. My nephew sends his children to a private Catholic school. They are bussed back and forth. My wife believes that Rebecca and Lauren would be better off in a school like Crofton House or York House. We managed to send our oldest daughter Ale to Yorkhouse beginning in grade 11 when we noticed that her English was spotty and much too slangish. Hilary (our granddaughter’s mother) flatly refused to go to a private school. Now we don’t have the money to help with the granddaughters and their parents would never send them to a private school as they consider them elitist. I am not all that sure as I am the product of private schools.
It was in 2001 that I was taking pictures of artist Alan Storey. I photographed him by his Coopers Mews sculpture. It is a (a whimsical look at what preceded the area(north west side of False Creek) before the condominiums were built. Part of the pathway includes steps that produce steam when one walks on them. He pointed at a nearby baby sitting centre. It seemed odd amidst all the concrete towers.
Storey and I had a fun time during our pleasant shoot. But it was partly jarred by an event that I will not forget. We stopped our picture taking when we saw an extremely beautiful and elegant blue car stop at the gate of one of the condos. It was an Aston Martin being driven by a young man. He glanced in our direction and then the gate went up and he disappeared into his building's garage. We discussed that the kind of luxury that we had previously associated with living in Shaughnessy had a much different counterpart here by his sculpture and that it was a luxury of which we had no inkling. It was a way of life for which we had no understanding.
Today I finally connected the dots in my mind as to what it is that often nags me when I drive my car or take the Number 10 trolley to town and I gaze at Vancouver’s skyline. I went to my library and located Jonathan Raban’s (my snap of him, above right)Hunting Mister Heartbreak
(an account of the immigrant Englishman, Raban, travelling around the United States until he settles in Seattle). He begins his story when he arrives by ship to New York (from Southampton, of course!). On page 80 I found what I quote from his book above.
Jonathan Raban’s more exclusive Newyorican Airpeople hardly ever venture from their sky homes. People from the street bring up the food and other required services.
It was from my half-brother’s 18th floor apartment on Avenida Libertador General San Martín, conveniently located near the exclusive shopping centre, Patio Bullrich, that I asked him what were some twinkling lights beyond the tracks of nearby Retiro train Station. “Alejandro,” Enrique explained, “that’s Villa 31 one of the most dangerous villas miseria
(shanty towns) in Buenos Aires.” The proximity of Villa 31 to my half-brother’s apartment and my nephew’s comment on the solution to the masses climbing over the fence clicked together today.
Vancouver, as all those head offices, business offices and financial institutions move out of Vancouver, those towers (the Electra Tower
and the former Westcoast Energy building are examples) and all the condos that are being built in our city are making it into a vertical gated community. The villas miseria
are not yet here. My friend Mark Budgen who lives in Strathcona says that the problems of the Downtown Vancouver East Side will never be solved until the problem is seen as a Canada wide issue. He says that as soon as shelters are built newcomers arrive from Surrey, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and other parts of Canada. The sprawl of the homeless will continue and soon a few will be recruited to serve those who live up in the towers.
Are we behind New York and Buenos Aires? When will we catch up? Do we want to?
A Photographic Imperative
Friday, January 29, 2010
April 17, 2007 I wrote this
blog about poet D.H. right. The blog has been in my thoughts of late. Since sometime in the late 70s I have taken an extraordinary amount of nudes in my studio, in my garden, on mountain locations, in beaches and even in cars.
Except for the few times that I have taken pictures in my garden I have maintained a strict separation of this delicate type of photography from my domestic life. There was one very beautiful model, called Ona Grauer
that for some reason Rosemary (my wife) admired and liked. She left me undisturbed when I photographed Ona without a stitch in the garden. Another time when Virve
(a.k.a. The Baltic Surprise) was my subject in the garden; Rosemary made it a point to tell me that the phone was for me, with nagging regularity, and would yell out into the garden. What was beneath all this was the idea (one that I find is important) that there had to be an area of our house that was sacrosanct and had nothing to do with my photography. After all, Rosemary would point out the basement was reserved for my darkroom and for my photo files. I worked as freelancer from the phones of the house, including the one in the kitchen.
For many years my studio on Robson Street was a refuge. It was a place I could do my photography. Before the advent of my buying a cellular phone I had no phone in the studio. It was also a neutral place where I could experiment with my lights and my subjects (who were often in the nude). With my letting go of my studio I have found many changes that affect me as I would have never suspected. Our basement has photographic booms, soft boxes, flash power packs and other detritus from my studio.
Should I continue with my nude photography? Is there some sort of photographic imperative that I do so? Should I consider that at age 67 I should be past all this and I should settle down, not get out of bed and just read or putter with my roses while we still live in this house?
I re-read D H's, A Poet Of Imagination & Daring, surprised that much of what I wrote then I have not wavered in opinion. If anything I feel more resolute. But this resolution is tempered that unless I shoot in the garden in the summer or rent someone else’s studio I am stuck with my living room and dining room. Is this intrusive? Will Rosemary understand? She will mind. That I know. And she will be quiet about it.
My friend Ian Bateson says if I quit my “experimental (i.e. nude)” photography I will die. Is he right?
I remember that in my 40s a topic of conversation that was in vogue began like this, “If I knew what I know now and went back to when I was under 20 I would be unstoppable. Women would fall at my feet.” I wonder if men say this sort of thing now?
It was some 15 years ago that I displayed at an erotic photography show two photographic narratives (6 pictures in a row) that were tight (very cropped) portraits of two different women. Only a few men ever caught on that they were a sequence of these women going through self-induced orgasm.
In the late 70s I would have been too afraid and too shy to ask any woman to undrape for my camera. Fifteen years ago I was taken to task by at least 10 women I knew who were miffed that I had not asked them to pose for similar narratives. In retrospect (with tongue in cheek, not too firmly) I suspect I could have obtained a Canada Council grant on the idea as a project!
While many will cite the atom bomb as the defining moment of the 20th century I believe that the most important event of the 20th century and of most of the other centuries was the 60s introduction of the contraceptive pill. I believe that the pill made woman truly independent. I believe that most of the ethical rules of morality of most religions are there to affirm and to try to assure the all-powerful man that the woman next to him, the pregnant one, is pregnant by him and by no other man. These rules of religious morality were based on a man’s fear of the “soiling” of his possession.
I believe that is only of late that I have located representations of St. Joseph, the Virgin Mary (holding the infant Jesus) where St Joseph is actually leaning his arm or embracing his lawfully wedded wife. For many centuries she was the super woman and Joseph was the inferior man. He was a man of patience who could take all the jokes that were thrown in his direction. Most gospels and theologians try to dispel the idea that St James might just be the younger and real brother of Jesus. Would this make the Virgin no longer a virgin? We men have bee too obsessed with this concept of virginity.
But there were always vestiges of the idea that we men were direct, boringly direct in what we wanted from women. Women were coy, indirect and somehow at a higher plane of sexual consciousness.
That idea was in my head for years. I would photograph women in my studio and some of them after some frustration would say, “Alex, you want me to take it all off. Why don’t you just ask?”
For me it all began to change when I received that phone call from poet DH in 1981 (see above link). Then in 1987 I bought a little photo book called Helmut Newton
(Pantheon Photo Library). There was a picture reproduced here with the title Vogue
(USA), 1975 Saint-Tropez, Calvin Klein. In this photograph I saw the woman I had begun to suspect was the real woman, a woman no different from us men.
I have been thinking about D.H. as I wrestle with the idea of taking more pictures of “this sort”. I began this past Monday with some living room pictures of Anita (the woman from Prince George). I did not use a big camera but instead opted for my Nikon. I used almost no artificial light. The next step would be to continue with better lighting and a bigger camera. I wonder if I will continue. Is it truly an imperative?
Before Anita left she told me how she liked being photographed in the nude. I countered by telling her that in other times she would have been called an exhibitionist. Is that word still in circulation? But we did agree on one thing that for every man that wants to paint, draw, photograph and sculpt the nude female body, there is a woman out there who has that same reciprocal imperative - to pose undraped.
Perhaps Ian Bateson is right. If I quit I will end up in the loony bin more quickly.
Boys become angels
The Simple Things In Life & A Manzanilla Papirusa
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Yesterday I attended an informal gathering at the Irish Heather on Carrall Street. The occasion was the visit to Vancouver of our friend Chandler Keeler. He now lives in the south of France. He wears a beret and has become pleasantly Frenchified. He has had an idyllic existence of taking pictures, eating good French food and sipping on good wines. In Vancouver Chandler used to run one of the best Ektachrome development labs in Vancouver called Quad. If any of us considered ourselves to be serious professionals we gave Quad our business. I gave Quad my business. When things started changing with the advent of digital technology Chandler saw that a warmer climate elsewhere might just be his ticket.
His peripatetic life in France was shattered by the shocking news that he had cancer of the esophagus. Chandler was pleasantly surprised (under the terrible circumstances) that the French Government was going to do all possible to help him as if he were a citizen of the country. The prognosis for Chandler is still in question.
On Monday Chandler dropped in. While savouring a half bottle of Lustau’s Manzanilla Papirusa ( a very dry sherry that hails from San Lucar de Barrameda in Spain) Chandler matter of factly informed us (Rosemary, Lauren and Rebecca) that he was in town to close his safety deposit box and deal with his will. I was afraid to ask. Chandler looked very good (he is a handsome man of the urbane type). He looked just as good at the Irish Heather where we met with veteran (in all the meaning of that word) photographers Hans Sipma
, Colin Goldie
and Mike Paris. We had a few beers and chatted about the whereabouts of other photographers of our generation.
It was last night that I found out that I had an unpleasant reputation that preceded me. It seems I have been a ranter all these years. Those present at the Irish Heather seemed to notice that something had changed. I promptly showed them my Timex
that was strapped to my right wrist. I changed its location in the beginning of the year vowing to be kinder, gentler and less inclined to rant. My Irish Heather companions were disappointed but as soon as any others had the opportunity to malign some vacant colleague of ours they caught themselves and taking my new found kinder gentler self they, too curtailed their criticism.
I would have thought that last night’s gathering would be a morose and depressing one. I went prepared for just that. But to the contrary and to my surprise it was all the opposite. I had a good time and I left with a smile on my face as I wished Chandler all the best. Somehow Chandler was a catalyst to bring the best out of us.
As I looked at a digital contact sheet this morning of a processed roll of Kodak Tri-X pushed to 800 ISO I spotted this picture of Lauren and our 20 year-old cat Toby. I smiled and it seemed to prolong that wellbeing from last night. I am reading Lauren’s favourite book (and mine, too) Nothing
by Mick Inkpen about an old, beat up and lost plush toy that has forgotten that it is a cat. That it ultimately finds itself with the help of a happy tabby cat called Toby ads to the pleasure of reading the book.
For many years since we moved to our present house in 1986 we have had an old, dusty sofa that we had purchased when we lived in Burnaby around 1977. A few months ago I decided it had to go but we knew we could not afford the leather sofa that Rosemay had set her heart on. One day, by sheer impulse I told Rosemary I wanted to brouse in the Sally Anne store in Kerrisdale. It was there that I spotted a pristine sofa with a strange pattern and colours that mimicked an Emily Carr painting. I enquired. It was $49.00. I was further informed that delivery would be $35 and it could happen that very day. Rosemary said her usual, “Let’s think about it.” Just for once I made the decision and paid. The man who delivered our sofa a mere 50 minutes later told me he would unload our old sofa for $25!
Since the sofa was installed in our den we have all gravitated again to it to read, watch a bit of TV and enjoy the fireplace. But always in competition for space with our Toby who likes the sofa and the room and now spends most of the afternoon there. If you happen to sit on the sofa, Toby will sit on your lap. He has a fondness for sitting on Lauren’s lap.
As I look at the picture I feel that while I don’t live in the south of France I do believe that I may have something in common with Chandler Keeler and that is our mutual appreciation for the simple things in life.
Chandler Keeler's picture was taken by his Norwegian friend Torsten Mogenson. You can find Chandler's web page here
. The picture of Toby, Lauren and me was taken by Lauren's sister Rebecca.Manzanilla Papirusaand more on pale, dry sherry
Forward To The Past
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Every couple of days as I watch the present rush past me like a hummingbird on amphetamines I find a need to reflect and exchange thoughts with three friends in particular. They are writer and novelist John Lekich, designer Ian Bateson and freelance writer and English eccentric Mark Budgen
. It is with the latter that I spend many minutes per day discussing the state of journalism. Of late it has been all about pay walls on the internet.
, a once avid television (John would never utter that as TV) viewer restricts himself to the Turner Classics Channel and even that one is losing some of its luster as Lekich finds he has seen most of those films. He does not indulge on Twitter as Twitter would ban his beloved ajective, syntax and good writing.
, who has a small but efficient design firm called Baseline Type & Graphics
has a deep interest in social change. Of late Bateson has been exploring new ways to do business. One of these has been in navigating the business social networks like Linkdin and social networks like Facebook. He has been communicating with like-minded designers but finds that most comments are very short and mostly banal.
Mark Budgen, somehow went from sound recordings on records and bypassed everything that happened in-between and incorporated the iPod and podcasts to his life. He listens to esoteric classical music stations from Norway and reads the Guardian and the NY Times on line with great detail. Budgen is very informed on trends even though he has never driven a car or had a driver’s license. It was in the 80s that he got rid of his credit cards.
I have another friend writer Les Wiseman
, who ever since I met him back in the late 70s always knew who was the latest very good but obscure rock singer or the finest up-and-coming porn star. It is no surprise to me that he now has Facebook friends that number in the three digits and that some of his e-mail messages to me have this at the bottom:
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network
Many of his friends are reformed and aging punk rockers who spat on the stage while performing but now have developed fine manners. I looked at some of the profiles of these people and it occurred to me that most of us see the world as a past/present/future continuum and in that order. Some others live in the past. But using lateral thinking I do believe that Les Wiseman and his friends have simply changed the past/present/future configuration to future/present/past and look, paradoxically ahead to the past.
I am not too sure that what follows has any relevance to the above.
It was in October, 1981 that Les Wiseman and I spent most of a late afternoon and long evening at Gary Taylor’s Rock Room trying to secure an interview and photo session with ex-New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders
who was in town to play with his band. His band included one Rat Scabies on drums. Until Thunders finally did himself in on a drug overdose in 1991 many who went to his performances where like the Vancouver Sun photographers who used to collect at the hairpin curve in Westwood waiting for some racing car driver to crash and kill himself. Johnny Thunders concerts were full of those waiting to see death on stage.
In 1981 I still subscribed to the idea that a camera recorded an event, exactly as it was and that the only personal interpretation to be gleaned from a photograph was the accidental or random fact that the photographer chose to press the shutter now as opposed to then or in a bit.
I snapped pictures of Thunders throughout the night mostly backstage. He would disappear to the bathroom for long half hours where he probably pierced with a needle whatever little patch of skin that was left that was intact. You can see here Les Wiseman’s account (part of it) on this Vancouver Magazine tear sheet. I know of many who think this is one of the pest snaps I ever took.
By 1986 Annie Leibovitz
had changed the world of photography. It was New York City photographer Gregory Heisler who said for the record (American Photographer) something like, “Before Annie we could photograph people as they were and we took the best portrait we could. Now because of her we have to photograph people doing something.”
By 1986 my rock shoots for Vancouver Magazine had gotten ever more elaborate. We had enough clout that we would reject to photograph The Cramps
while performing and insisted and demanded (and got our wish) to photograph them back stage, exclusively without any other journalists or photographers. By 1986 we had the custom of featuring a local rocker in a Christmas spread. In December 1986 Les Wiseman decided on heavy metal singer Darby Mills.
Out of the blue I decided to photograph her, dressed in a white teddy) with 100 white teddy bears. I filled my wife’s very large Audi with the bears which I obtained from the owner of a West Vancouver store called Bears Toy Store. The picture is slick and I used a complex lighting setup.
John Lekich would appreciate the Darby Mills shot. He would appreciate and probably count to see if indeed there are 100 teddy bears in there. Lekich might not understand the on-the-fly virtuosity of Johnny Thunders who might play brilliantly for 5 minutes and then crash for an hour with a cocktail of Courvoisier and heroin. In some ways many would say that my incidental grab shot of Thunders represents that momentary brilliance of the doomed man.
In a similar way I have approached nude portraits with elaborate lighting, large cameras and exotic locations. Even when I used my more neutral studio the cameras were still big and the lights powerful. I took some pictures on Monday of Anita a new model I have discovered who hails from Prince George. She has an easy smile (she had a bit of time following my instructions not to). She looks very young yet she is 35. I look at her pictures and see no connection to Darby Mills and all those bears. I see a solidarity to my images of Johnny Thunders.
Is simple more authentic? Is more elaborate less honest? As I pressed the shutter of my Nikon FM-2 (not much different than the Pentax MX I used to photograph Thunders) to photograph Anita in my living room, I felt a rush of youth as if, indeed the past were in front of me and all I had to do was to reach and find all that I thought I had lost, right there.
Le Petit Chaperone Rouge
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Why should a horror film be just a horror film? To me, The Company of Wolves
is a fairy tale; it’s got all those elements plus a lot more. And we know that fairy tales aren’t innocent any more.
Neil JordanThe Company of Wolves
was a story in a story in a story, which is actually a dream a girl dreams within which her grandmother tells a story.
Evening At Home (With Bitterness)
Monday, January 25, 2010
Evening At Home
There you are
Sitting before me,
Your newspaper making little
And I am here
In the red armchair,
Hands loose in my lap,
Not a word has joined us
For half an hour.
The silence is not expectant,
A dull, slate colored silence.
I ask myself, wonderingly:
“How can you miss someone
Who is right before you?”
Because I miss you,
I am unspeakably lonely
Even as I gaze upon you.
(You turn a page…there is a
You light another cigarette.
And I reach for a magazine
Three months old.)
Such As These – Dolores de Iruretagoyena de Humphrey, Mexico D.F. 1955
I became curious this evening thinking about my beautiful Aunt Dolly, my mother’s younger sister, with whom I have not had a word for at least 37 years. When my mother died in 1972, Aunt Dolly called me to tell me that it was such a pity that my mother had died a thief. A thief she was as she had kept what was left of my grandmother’s jewels. Most of them had been pawned (my mother's side of the story) to finance my Uncle Tony’s divorce and Aunt Dolly’s divorce to Uncle Joe Tow, both in Argentina where divorce was not recognized. My aunt had no words of comfort for me at my mother’s death. She told me that I, too was a thief by association. That was the last time I ever talked to her.
Through the years I have missed my Aunt Dolly who was our family’s Audrey Hepburn. Aunt Dolly was beautiful, slim and knew how to dress, wear jewelry and hold a martini glass with class. She could also write very well. When I was in the Argentine Navy in the 60s I corresponded with Aunt Dolly. I think I may have not only honed the few writing skills I might have now with those letters but in retrospect perhaps it wasn’t only from my father that I inherited a desire to write.
Aunt Dolly is not well as she is close to 90. I will probably never speak to her again. Today I had a pang of curiousity and I opened a book of poetry (in Spanish and in English) she published in Mexico in 1955. I read this poem and it wrenched my heart.
Her second husband, Bill Humphrey was an American geologist, very handsome with a nose that had been broken a few times in a boxing ring. Bill was tough. He mistreated Dolly’s son Robin and was not too kind to Robin’s sister Dolores. Bill loved his wine red 1955 Buick Century which he drove with only his right hand. His left hand was outside the window.
For reasons that I was never able to figure out he treated me with affection even though I was not an altogether likeable boy. I thought he was cool.
I remember the conversations between Dolly and my mother involving the latest problems from Bill and how he had done this or that to Robin and Dolores. People were afraid of the man. I never understood this because I never saw anything but kind attention and a smile in my direction.
When I read this poem I almost cried for my Aunt Dolly and I can picture her alone in her home in Houston. I only wish I could be there and tell her, “In spite of everything I am your nephew and friend.”
A Pomelo & Queso Tipo Roquefort
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Rosemary loves grapefruit so she starts buying them about now when they can be had for $0.50. She bought two without telling me and just a few days I bought two but told her. Rosemary loves grapefruit and so do I. So I pondered what to write about for Sunday’s blog after visiting my neighbours Robert and Patricia where we have been watching the Inspector Montalbano series (an Italian series that Patricia ordered as DVDs from their winter condo in Phoenix). I got home at 10:30 making the decision to finally get caught up and write my day’s blog on that day.
I saw four big grapefruits in the kitchen so I picked up one and scliced it in half. In Argentina we call a grapfruit a pomelo
but in Mexico they call it a toronja
. After just about finishing one half of the ruby-red grapefruit (to which I had sprinkled some white sugar) I had an odd feeling. First I thought it had to do with my using a special grapefruit spoon. This is a “recent” invention as I never ever bothered to use them. It was Rosemary who bought the spoons.
The odd feeling became a fond memory as soon as picked up the grapefruit half and squeezed it carefully on the spoon to get every little drop of juice.
It was my mother who did this often and particularly in the morning. In Buenos Aires in the early 50s grapefruits were never pink or red. She would have them after having her coffee and toast which was liberally spread with Argentine queso tipo Roquefort
. She invariably had a big smile on her face. Her smile was biggest when she squeezed the grapefruit half as I did just a few minutes ago.
In Mexico is was no different except she complained that Mexicans did not know how to make good cheese. She skipped the expensive imported Roquefort and settled on the Mexican strawberry jam which has to be one of the best anywhere. And then she would feast on her grapefruit, without sugar, and smile as I did today when I squeezed it and remembered my mother.
What my mother did not know is that the hollowed out grapefruit halves have some sort of scent that attracts snails and slugs. I start putting them upside down in my hosta beds just about now. When I check under them every few days I will find many slugs which I will cut (as my mother used to) with scissors.
My mother used scissors to kill slugs in our Buenos Aires garden. It would seem we had no flashlight so she used a candle to see. Slugs are quite nocturnal. One day she got her candle much too close to one of our palm trees. The palm immediately caught fire and the fire raced up in seconds. She called the bomberos
. By the time they came the fire was out. And would you believe that the palm tree survived just fine?
I am sure my mother must have been worried for a while but as soon as she saw new growth on that palm she might have had an extra slice of toast with queso tipo Roquefort and then her usual grapefruit halves; all with a big smile on her face as she squeezed the halves to get every drop of juice.
target="external>Queso tipo Roquefort & the NY Times in bed