Saturday, August 4, 2007


"Remember that imagination is the faculty of the soul and that when it suggests new pathways to us we are being invited to explore the territory of the soul in ways that certainly change and re-enchant us." - Caitlin Matthews

PUERTO RICO (OLD SAN JUAN) - This is one of the places my husband and I dreamed of seeing someday. It's unbelievable we finally reached this dream destination. This"new pathways" which opened to us is worth exploring. In the process, it certainly changed and re- enchanted our imaginations and souls. This island is just 100 miles long and 30 miles wide. Puerto Rico is an island bursting with variety. It has mountains to climb, rain forests to hike, a cosmopolitan metropolis for dining, fine museums, quaint villages, colorful architecture that begs to take pictures.

U.S. TERRITORY Before it became a U.S. territory in 1898, this small island spent 400 years as a Spanish possession. Today's vibrant Puerto Rican society is an exuberant blend of native Indian, Spanish and African culture, with a generous helping of modern Americana. Puerto Rico is always lively and never, ever-boring. Rapid-fire Spanish is the dominant language among the 3.8 million inhabitants, but English is widely spoken and friendliness is the order of the day.

PAUL KLEE He ranks among the greatest and most original masters of modern painting. Klee's thousands of paintings and drawings are masterpieces of fantasy, wit and invention. His paintings are filled with childlike symbols and writing that hint at a mysterious inner vision of the world and its inhabitants. He said, "One eye sees, the other feels." How about inviting an artist like Paul Klee to be our imaginary tour guide in Old San Juan? Why him? Paul is not an ordinary guide. Most tour guides talk non-stop. Paul is different - very imaginative and witty. He suggested that when you see the world, you have to use both eyes, one for seeing, the other for feeling. That's the way to to have a balance outlook. Now, let's see this old city through the perspective of a modern artist. I think it's interesting mixing the modern eye with old-fashioned feeling .
P......................PETTY, PANORAMIC, PRECIOUS
U......................UNIQUE, UNUSUAL
E......................EXCITING, ENIGMATIC
R......................RAVISHING, RESTFUL
T......................TERRIFIC, TASTEFUL
O......................OLDIES, OCEAN-FUL

I.......................INTERESTING, INVITING
O......................OPULENT, ORIGINAL
PRETTY Welcome to Old San Juan (Puerto Rico). Yes, Old San Juan is like a pretty elderly woman. Surely, it's the old lines, marks and antiquities that makes this city very pretty and interesting. NO kidding! In the same thought, I think an elderly woman can also be pretty and age gracefully without hiding her lines or wrinkles. Fort Morro never had a face lift after 400 years and remained pretty as it is. Feeling pretty has something to do with our attitude toward aging. It is no longer about how old you are. It's about how old you feel. In the art world, we use different lines-straight, diagonal or curve to create pretty paintings and designs. Paul as a contemporary artist never painted portrait. While the Renaissance artists painted detailed portraits. Paul often used lines to impart symbols and mystery in his modern paintings which are beautiful despite of mostly suggestive lines.
PANORAMIC This is the panoramic view of the ocean surrounding Fort Morro in Old San Juan. This pretty fort is built along the ocean. Good for romantic strolling, sunset-watching, relaxing or just feeling the balmy Caribbean breeze. See the different shades of blue from sky to sea - sapphire, indigo, turquoise, aqua, azure, etc. This blue palette are often used by many artists to make your world and mind calm and restful.
PRECIOUS This treasured and precious monument was a tribute to Christopher Columbus, who was the first explorer to sail through the more than 50 beautiful islands and cays in the Caribbean. Who created this sculpture? I have no idea, but he was as great as the image he sculpted.
ENIGMATIC Oh yes! Old San Juan is an enigmatic, living, and breathing city, filled with intriguing colorful shops, fine art galleries, charming hotels and restaurants. Its enigma magnetized us and many tourists plus cruisers flocking to this island. Many tourists appreciated the handcrafted works and paintings of local artists and were buying and collecting them. I look for something simple or complicated, that someone put a lot of thought into making. You'll also feel like you're back to the Old World (Europe) as you walked the narrow and rickety cobblestone streets. Think you're in Old Italy or Old Paris watching by - gone artists recreating their masterpieces.
EXCITING In this town , graceful and colorful colonial buildings are painted in bright pastels. The best way to get around the old city is on foot, since parking is very limited and expensive within the historic city. In touring this old city, we exercised not only our eyes and heart but our feet, as well. Be always curious and insightful. See beyond the box and feel like the Impressionists painters. Bright colors will make you feel good, as you see this old city glowing with radiance.
RAVISHING Seeing this ravishing ocean from Fort Morro will re-connect you to the past. This place is rich in history. While here, you'll imagine walking with senoritas and senoritos strolling through history. What a wonderful way to get acquainted with the Old City.
RESTFUL What a place to get away! I recommend leaving. As long as you are in your home, something will keep you busy. The laundry piles up, e-mail messages wait to be answered, the kitchen sink is full of dishes, the garden needs cutting, and the weeds thrive in the flowerbeds. The phone rings and even if you don't answer it, you fret about whether it is an emergency. To be fully inspired, you have to trade your home space for something extra-ordinary. A restful scene will make you feel less stress and more creative.
TASTEFUL To walk the ramparts of historic Fort Morro in the Old San Juan is a step back in history. In fact, you'll feel transported to the Caribbean of Spanish Colonial lore throughout the old city. You'll feel hungry too from non-stop walking. Your feet will ache and beg you to stop. What to do? Take time to eat refreshing and tasteful Caribbean cuisine at Cafe Amapola. The tapas are "simply deliciosioso." This Cafe is located between Fort Morro and Fort Cristobal, facing the charming Caribbean ocean.
TERRIFIC! What a terrific painting! This huge hibiscus flower will greet you happily upon entering the cafe. You know how it feels to walk into a welcoming restaurant. Something about the painting or decor makes you feel good and comfortable. Think happy complimentary color- red and green. Complimentary colors give lots of excitement. Just by looking at this pretty painting the bright colors will send your eyes dancing with the swaying palms and breezes. You don't have to splurge on a pricey Pina Colada. Save your $6.00 for nice, handcrafted jewelry made by local artists.
OLDIES BUT GOLDIES How does it feels to be strolling among the old ramparts of historic Fort Morro? It feels like strolling among old buccaneers and pirates of the Caribbean, I guess. But today, you can see and savor many golden historical memories. Some will give you the creeps.OLDIES BUT GOODIES Here, you can see canons, bastions, powder houses and most of all the wall that surrounds the city of Old San Juan. This system of defense is a reminder of Spain's power and significance of Puerto Rico, the guardian of and the front door to the wealth of the Caribbean, centuries ago.
OCEAN-FUL This inspirational ocean setting is soothing to the eyes. It is not over-rated that the Caribbean ocean is flowing with many different shades of blue - from light blue, medium blue to dark blue. It surely gives artists an ocean-ful palette of blue colors. So many choices for the artists. Blue is a calming color, and the Caribbean has all the blue colors you can imagine.
RICH This richly colored yellow El Convento Hotel is formerly an old monastery. It is converted into an old-fashioned hotel. Very interesting place to stroll with lovely garden, restaurants and art display. It will made you feel serene. The old monastic feel is still there.INTERESTING What an interesting architectural detail! This is not an old grave but an entrance to somewhere?. What a nice marbleized color combination - yellow ochre with black and gray! These natural colors are obtained through the passing of centuries. A natural process of aging.
INVITING Another interesting architectural detail. This handsome tower reconnects us to the Old Intramuros in Manila but this one is more massive and far more grander. The Spaniards fortified this fort to the "max" that no enemies were able to destroy it.
CHARMING Another charming view of the tower. This is the narrow passage leading to the look-out. WOW! You'll see a charming and calming blue ocean around. What do the Pyramids of Egypt and Manchu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas high in the Andes, have in common with the forts of Old San Juan? All are monuments whose splendor enriches each of us, and all are World Heritage Sites, whose exceptional universal cultural value has been recognized by the international community. This World Heritage Sites have been pledged by their nations to be preserved and protected, with the support of the entire nation, for future generations as the greatest treasures of humankind.
ORIGINAL This is the original site, where the famous Pina Colada was created by Don Ramon. Cheers to this beautiful, old city of San Juan!

TO SEE IS TO BELIEVE When you see something, you believe it right? Hopefully, as you see these photos you have a better perspective of Puerto Rico and that you believe how pretty it is. Let's start listening to Paul Klee. Let's see the world with one eye and feel with the other. What you see will only be meaningful if you have emotional attachment to it. If you see it without any feeling, it's nothing. Till our next tour.