The intrepid globe trotter

I his dreams, he found his own truth… and never! shared it with anyone else.


El café París, Francia
The café
Paris, France

“So, my most intrepid globe trotter, you who visit us from the faraway Americas”, he began to say in a hushed and low tone, suddenly interrupting his guest’s train of thought. It seemed as if he was secretly scheming together with his visitor on some clandestine and shadowy underground plot…

“It was in the City of Love!” Sir John exclaimed in a loud and ecstatic voice, abruptly getting up from his seat and raising his both hands in the air, this followed by a dizzying twirl on the tip of his toes, which culminated after having done a complete 360-degree spin.

La plaza París, Francia
The plaza
Paris, France

As if it were a highly orchestrated choreography, he let himself fall on his right knee, with surprising agility… not without first retrieving his white handkerchief from his pocket, with his right hand, and placing it high over his head. He ended his movements by describing and arch with the handkerchief in his hand, delicately lowering it until it gently touched the floor. The he posed on his knee, before his most astonished and absolutely amazed visitor.

Graffiti callejero París, Francia
Street Graffiti
Paris, France

After which he exclaimed, in a profoundly emotive voice:

“Paris… my dear lady. Better known as The Eternal City of the Enamored!”
The reaction did not take long. Overwhelmed by the brilliant performance of her host and his sudden change of mood, she found herself on her feet and next to her seat, without realizing how, nor much less, while rendering a deep, heartfelt standing ovation in appreciation of this man’s more than colorful act.

El Río Siena París, Francia
The Seine River
Paris, France

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The doors of a hotel

People are strange when you´re a stranger

People are strange, song by The Doors


Caminando las calles de la ciudad París, Francia
Walking the city streets
Paris, France

“Allow me to clarify, dearest traveller from far away Colombian lands; you who have dared the vast Ocean. What I have to offer I shall express in a simple and straightforward way…” 

El café Paris. Francia
English spoken
Paris. France

“The memories of that unexpected trip to France, touch the deepest chords of my heart, even today though so many innumerable years have gone by since then… Irrevocably, they make me feel young once again. To dream that the world awaits my touch. It’s there, suspended and at my reach, waiting for me to stretch out my hand and take it. as my own personal treasure.”

Vista desde Plaza de la Concordia Francia, París
View from Concordia Plaza
Paris, France

This last remark was followed by a rich and heartfelt laughter, exquisitely sweet, as it exploded from deep within his guest. Alicia was fascinated by the thought of considering herself the exotic traveller from far away lands. And to think that she had arrived by mere chance to this most curious shop, this kind of a museum, after walking aimlessly, distraught and absorbed, enjoying the streets of an unknown city. Now, here she was, absolutely enjoying this unexpected morning.

«“The doors of hotels not only open towards the streets of their city. Better said, they direct us to fortuitously explore worlds that were unknown and unsuspected until the moment…” she pondered to herself.

El mueseo París, Francia
The waiting
Paris, France

 

 

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The Diaz farms

Chapter 3… The Chinandegan magpies


Encounters Miraflores Reserve, Esteli, Nicaragua

Encounters           Miraflores Reserve, Esteli, Nicaragua


     Grandfather´s mother, doña Leonor, was the owner of an established and rather highly regarded restaurant in the nearby port-city of Corinto. She was a happy and carefree soul, maybe leaning a little towards the plump and a bit portly side; most probably caused by the long hours she spent in the kitchen, during the weekends, cultivating those heavenly culinary arts of hers.

     To the north of León and in the south of Honduras, she was particularly acclaimed for the huge and delicious servings of Gallo pinto. She heaped it onto the huge dishes she served, abundantly sprinkling them with delicately seasoned shrimp and fresh shredded fish (the preponderant Nicaraguan dish, prepared with white rice and red beans).

     The Díaz farms (belonging to don Leobardo and his four brothers) were located at the foot of a mountain range called Los Marabios. There stood Nicaragua’s four tallest volcanoes. The San Cristóbal volcano, for instance, is considered the tallest volcano in the country. Another of the volcanoes, the Cosigüina, is well known for the most violent and dramatic volcanic eruptions, in the history of the continent, during the mid-XIX century.

     Due to the acidity of the soil, so characteristic of these volcanic lands, the sugar-cane and delicious peanut crops tended to grow in a plentiful and most abundant way, with bountiful harvesting all year round. Needless to say, these plantations were excessively lucrative and decidedly successful; consequently, the Díaz family was considered one of wealthiest families of northern Nicaragua.


Versión en español            In the land of volcanoes’ Chapters           Purchase the book

The city of light

in his dreams he found , life offered many an answer to all of his questions


Puente sobre el río Paris, Francia
Bridge of the river
Paris, Francia

«“How could this happen? Which was the most unforeseeable and ridiculous combination of incredible circumstances that paved the way for my grandfather, among the uncountable thousands of people inhabiting this spacious Island, would fall upon this exotic and wild idea of becoming the antiquarian of Stratford-upon-Avon? Certainly, this is an absolutely valid question that may be indeed formulated, especially in the most peculiar case of my grandfather.” 

La esquina Paris, Francia
At the corner
Paris, Francia

“That man was the least innovative person the world has ever known. Of a most confining and narrow imagination, prodigiously reduced, not to say so absolutely scarce… he could not see past the modest rents that he received from some properties he owned in Rugby (inherited from his parents, by the way). It was with this income that he held a truly modest and boring life, absolutely uncomplicated and so perfectly tailor-made to fit his extreme conservative style.”

El reloj Paris, Francia
The clock
Paris, Francia

Alicia could not hold back her laughter as she heard Sir John’s remarks and observations. In effect, the refined and polished gentleman held a magnetic personality that captivated her. Possibly, the theatrical stages would have welcomed him, happy to receive such a charismatic character, who could charm his way with his manners and that contagious smile of his that positively shined with his high spirits and good-natured humour.

“Paris!” he theatrically exclaimed all of a sudden, as he fixed his intent gaze at the visiting lady with that smile that could dazzle and delight anyone who came close to him. “The responsibility for such a preposterous incident belongs to the stunningly beautiful City of Light…!”

La rueda de la fortuna París, Francia
The merry-go.round
Paris, Francia

 

 

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A love is born

Inadvertently, one day, he ran into the love of his life, whose passion would illuminate his wanderings for the rest of his lifeLL


El poste Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Lamp post          Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

“The town is called Stratford-upon-Avon. The word Avon is Celtic, and it means river. This picturesque, small town has a river that runs through it. Besides, it boasts a long tradition that can be traced back to the 11th Century. In those far gone days, the king was the beloved Richard I, also known as Lionheart. Surely you have heard him mentioned before this, have you not?”

“But, of course! He was born a few years before my time”, she answered smiling.

Calle del pueblo Rugby,Warwickshire, UK
City streets
Rugby, Warwickshire, UK

Sir John, smiling warmly as well, continued his story in that kind, melodious voice of his.

Well, this well-beloved king, entitled the town to open a marketplace. It would open once a week on Sundays. And that was exactly the day when the people had the possibility of attending. Consider the importance of this situation. Almost overnight, this tiny little town became an important regional gathering point.

It was quite difficult to obtain a permit to open a market in those days and it was obviously coveted by the merchants, but also, the feudal lords could ask for higher rents and the Church would have its faithful attend the religious ceremonies and leave plentiful alms for the monks to collect. In a nutshell, it meant a great opportunity for a town to obtain this so sought-after permit.

La vitrina Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
La showcase
Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

“The consequences were felt almost immediately. The town grew and spread very quickly, becoming renowned as well. Now, together with this, five hundred years later, our greatest poet, playwright and writer, was born, lived, and died there. There, my dear, is where my grandfather relocated to, establishing himself as an antiquarian, precisely in his inherited property. And at the same time, in that charming town, located in the heart of the English countryside, my love and fervent passion for the treasured antiques of this world was born.”

Fachadas Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Facades
Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

 

 

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New horizons

Chapter 3… The Chinandegan magpies


The beaches at Poneloya and Las Peñitas Leon, Nicaragua
The beaches at Poneloya and Las Peñitas
Leon, Nicaragua

My grandfather’s name was Jairo Alonso Díaz Alvarez García y Hernández, or at least, that is how it was officially registered in his birth certificate. He never introduced himself as such. To those who knew him personally, he was called Jairito or simply Jairo.

Grandfather was born in Chinandega City (1941), northwestern Nicaragua, near the border to Honduras. With his characteristic sense of humor (at times a bit dark and dry), he used to say that at the time he was born, only the churches were still standing, in that one-horse, two-bit, bicycle town. He was surely talking about the devastation, brought about by the artillery bombs that destroyed most of its colonial district, sadly including its graceful old houses and its elegant mansions. This happened thirteen years before he was born. Once more, the constant encounters between Conservatives and the Liberals (or in his words: another spot on the leopard’s skin). On that particular occasion, the bombs fell as part of General Sandino’s campaign to run the American forces, mainly the US Marines, off Nicaraguan territory… one more time…

 


Versión en español            In the land of volcanoes’ Chapters           Purchase the book

A change of address

All’s well that ends well

William Shakespeare


Cisnes en el río Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Swans upon a river
Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

“Now, having reached this point, you could politely mention that this particular story, about how a ball game was born…, has nothing to do with how I became an antiquarian. And in fact, you would certainly be justified to do so. I will simply say that is has nothing to do, at all, but that I found it an interesting tale to brighten the moment, and it does explain how I came to live in the countryside, right in the middle of the island.”

Having said that, Sir John began to laugh, in a most contagious way. Almost immediately, Alicia, also, began to happily share his good mood and join in the laughter. Recovering himself and after having refilled the delicate porcelain cups with fresh tea, he continued:

Las antiguedades literarias Stratford-upon-Avon
Literary antiques
Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

“You see, the thing is that when I was yet to turn thirteen, my grandfather inherited this magnificent property, quite close to where we were living at the time. Shortly after, we moved to this other lovely town in the same region where the property was located. Now, this town was well known; because, William Shakespeare, our most prestigious poet, playwright, and writer was born there. He once mentioned that hell was totally empty, perhaps you have heard this before?” he inquired mischievously.

El estudio stratford-upon-Avon, UK
The studio
stratford-upon-Avon, UK

Alicia, surprised by his question, answered that she ignored it, though her curiosity was plainly displayed in her voice.

“Of course, my dear lady, for he pointed out that, in fact, all the devils were to be found right here, comfortably settled in among ourselves…!”

After which, they both began to laugh in chorus…

La librería Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
The Bookshop
Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

 

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A town, a game and a history

How many times, without even thinking, much less dreaming about it, we manage to create an idea or an action that remains behind for others to enjoy…


Streets downtown
Downtown streets
Rugby, Warwickshire, UK

“In reality, Rugby, as a town in itself, it is well known, only to its own residents and perhaps the neighbouring communities. I very much doubt that you have ever heard it mentioned before and more so, back in Bogota. Nonetheless, this charming small town has a relevant fact, in its recent history.”

El patio Ayacucho, Huamanga, Perú
The corner
Rugby,Warwickshire, UK

“A couple of decades ago, in that community’s school, this ball game was born. The game carries the town’s name. At the time, you see, football had become a popular sport among the schools in the country.”

Loa arcos Ayacucho, Huamanga, Perú
Country life
Rugby,Warwickshire, UK

“There, in Rugby’s school, an interesting variation happened. Instead of kicking the ball around, they simply decided to pick it up and run with it to the goal. Soon this practice extended throughout the country and even had an echo in Scotland. I know by references that in America, to be more precise in Uruguay… the game has won a wide acceptance and there are a few teams that play it. As far as I know, they are pretty good at it, as well.”

“And there you have it in a nutshell. A small town, nothing in particular to stand it out, yet in time, it might find it makes itself a nice little niche in our history books. Odd how things happen in the world. Sometimes we do these little things. Why? Because it felt right, an inspiration, for some odd reason you can think of. The fact is that without intentionally setting out to make a mark, we make it happen… and there you have it, the history of that charming little place where I grew up!”

Por la mañana Ayacucho, Huamanga, Perú
A morning stroll
Rugby, Warwickshire, UK

 

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Colours, ingredients and herbs

Chapter 2… The García girls’ wedding


The bicycle The Merced Church, Leon, Nicaragua
The bicycle
The Merced Church, Leon, Nicaragua

Fully replenished, they danced until dawn, receiving the brand new day in the best of moods. Enabling them to recover their strength, the waiters began to serve the scrumptious fresh red snappers, stuffed with fried shrimp and the typical Gallo pinto (the most Nicaraguan of all the plates presented thus far, a typical combination of white rice and red beans, found every day in any home, in the country or in the cities).

The tables were decorated with the guacamole and the different salsas which were served in assorted flavors and various colors. All of them were most definitely spicy hot, as prepared by Petra. She was a Mexican woman, who came from Oaxaca, Mexico and now, lived at Moyogalpa, on the Nicaraguan island of Ometepe in the south. With her five beautiful daughters, they handmade the fresh tortilla cakes from blue and yellow corn. Freshly done, while hot and still giving off the warm vapors, they were presented in small weaved baskets, made of reed and carefully wrapped in colorful cloths, so they would remain nice and warm. As it turns out, that night three of her daughters met their future husbands, while they were handing out the tortillas, strengthening the bonds between both countries.

 


Versión en español            In the land of volcanoes’ Chapters           Purchase the book

Country-side life on the Island

My life as a child was quite simple… it was in my later years that it became complicated


The bikes Coventry, UK
The bikes
Coventry, UK

“Anyhow, getting back to the matter of my childhood, as it happened, my father would be living, for an extended period, far away from home and relatively close to the shores of the Nile River, Consequently, it was conveniently decided that I should move in to live with my paternal grandparents. Back at home, I had been placed in charge of a governess. Though the arrangement did have its merits, it could never compare with growing up in a proper family atmosphere.”

At the river Stratford-upon-Avon
At the river
Stratford-upon-Avon

“Now, my grandparents lived in a small, picturesque town in the English countryside.” Pleasantly smiling, he continued with his story:

“Well, well… this town I’ve mentioned is called Rugby. It’s in a region, here in England, known as Warwickshire. It’s to be found approximately half way between London and Manchester, another of our principal cities.”

The country-side Warwickshire, UK
The country-side
Warwickshire, UK

“This rural city is in a quaint part of the Island and is sort of in the middle of it all. Life in these towns is very peaceful and easy-going. The locals all know each other well. Actually, life is good in those parts, a simple kind of lifestyle and unpretentious. In the summer days, the fields are beautiful to look upon, and they find themselves profusely decorated with flowers that stand out amongst the green grasses in the fields. What’s more, I dare say these places are homely and cozy, you know?”

Cinema Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK
Cinema
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK

 

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