Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Today I was talking with some returning guests who are here with us again for a couple of weeks. They were excited to be here and said, "No matter what the weather, I love it here...even when it rains!" Well it did indeed rain this afternoon and I took this photograph. I love the purples in the sky and the softeness of the clouds. We can be outside on the Lemontree terraces, nice and dry under the roof and watch the rain fall in the distance and then approach us as it moves across the ocean.
Then, almost as quickly as the rain comes, it is gone and it is sunny again! Ah, the changing weather of the Caribbean.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Last night we were having drinks with some friends when the topic turned to our adventures underwater... especially at Desecheo Island. I was reminded of this photograph I made at the Island. Usually we see underwater photographs made in wonderful color. This image was made when I was working a bit with BW underwater photography using a dark red/orange filter and no strobe light. I was leading a tour and this Hawksbill turtle came by to check us out. It swam with us for several minutes and as long as we kept our distance the turtle was quiet comfortable.
You never know what you will see out at the Island. Its a great destination for divers, of course and also for snorkelers. The water is so clear that even from the surface you can see everything on the bottom 40 feet more and less below. Taino Divers is the best ticket out to the island. Be sure to book early as they do sometimes fill up. Its a great day out and can be a wonderful, memorable part of a trip to Puerto Rico.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Yesterday I was out shooting with a friend, Harold (Hal) Howard at the Blue Boy Inn. We were looking to shoot flowers and the BlueBoy has a wonderful garden. The above picture was made by Hal and is a timely capture. The lizard is displaying his throat sac and a mighty one it is. Its all about love. When courting, if you are a male lizard, its all about the throat sac.
Sometimes new guests are initially a little alarmed to see these little fellows (small dinosaurs) walk up the wall on their terrace and hang there or scamper across the courtyard. Actually they are great hunters of bugs so we think of them as kind of good-deed-doers. Our cat, Irene, loves them as well as she enjoys chasing them.
If you are here for awhile, you will become used to seeing these fellows lazying about in the sun and become an expert on the different kinds with their various colors and sizes. Puerto Rico also has iguana lizards and we sometimes see them in the jungle areas and wandering along the side of the road.
Monday, April 20, 2009
I had nice treat when I went out this morning...the Ferry was coming into Mayaguez. Looking southeasterly, we can see the Port of Mayaguez from the Lemontree.
Ferries del Caribe offer ferries three times a week between Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. The journey takes about 12 hours. From Santo Domingo they leave Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 PM, and arrive in Mayagüez at 8 AM the following morning. From Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, they leave on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8 PM, and arrive in Santo Domingo at 8 AM the following morning. The ferries have a casino on board open during the whole trip.
At the Lemontree, we can see the Ferry coming in from the west. It seems to emerge up etherally out of the sea and then slowly navigates across the ocean towards Magaguez. As it comes closer and closer, it gets bigger and more distinct. I closely cropped the photograph so you could better see the Ferry. Tonight, we will see the Ferry leave Mayaguez for Santo Domingo. The ferry will be strung with ferry lights and if the atmospherics cooperate, we sometimes hear the party music as it passes us in the distance.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
This morning I went out, as usual, onto the terrace and just simply looked down onto the beach below. This is what I saw! Everyday when I come out here to the terrace and look down…I wonder how the ocean surf will present itself. Today I enjoyed watching the sand swirl around and move back and forth with the gentle waves. The sound of the waves had a very lulling effect and I felt my shoulder muscles relax as I just stood there looking down... and watching.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Bella reminded me that we recently hosted a 50th birthday celebration. The partner of the "birthday girl" had asked Bella if we could prepare the Banana suite... the one with the jacuzzi, especially for her partner. It was the dream of the couple to pass this milestone by the sea. We decorated the suite with balloons filled with helium, a sign, beach balls and a tropical red paper parrot. Marilyn, our assistant manager also is a baker and prepared a simple but very flavorful birthday cake... which is featured below.
A recent article in a Washington DC paper suggests that couples are cutting expenses for weddings. You can read it here.
No doubt guests are cost conscious but it does not mean that you can't have an intimate and wonderful, memorable, affordable celebration by the sea. It takes some planning. If you have such an interest the Lemontree is an outstanding value and venue.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Rincon, Puerto Rico is a great destination for people who have something to celebrate. It might be a wedding, a commitment ceremony, a birthday or anniversary or just a celebration of life itself. We have hosted at the Lemontree intimate, affordable and memorable celebrations of all kinds. As it turned out this past Sunday though we were called upon to provide the wedding photography for a larger function at the Rincon Beach Resort. The resort is a short walk down the beach from us and many of the wedding party chose to stay at the Lemontree. The photograph above is from the wedding. She was a beautiful bride and he, being from Scotland, wore his kilt. The beachfront was the perfect setting for a new beginning for them.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
A couple of days ago it was like a lake on our stretch of shore. The water was clear and the sky a wonderful Caribbean blue. A friend of ours came by the day before and asked if it would be a good day to go out to Desecheo. Of course... it was a day for anything by the water. If you chose to do the scenic drive through the mountains on such a day... you were missing the point. By the water, in the water... looking at the water.
Now it happens that we have as guests people who are in the hospitality industry come to stay with us on their day off. This was also such a day that we were able to welcome one of the El Convento family to our house and bit of seaside paradise. She brought with her both sisters and BF's. As you can see they mixed sun, sand and seaside very smoothly with family. El Convento is one of our favorite places to stay in Old San Juan and when we stay with El Convento it is like coming home. We were very pleased to reciprocate.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
I wanted to begin the second part of our description of the beginning of Holy Week in Old San Juan with a picture of police officers carrying the illuminated image of the Holy Mother. I am struck by how well faith is integrated into public life here in Puerto Rico... unlike its complete divorcement in the United States. Town plazas during Christmas season are decorated with religious images; religious holidays are publicly celebrated. My sense is that no one seems to find it offensive or a violation of their rights. If you are a non-believer or have a different faith then you simply go on with your ordinary business or pleasure for the day. The public expression of faith seems to be a unifying force here rather than a source of divisiveness. If Puerto Rico becomes a state in the Union, rather and leaves its current status as a Free, Associated State I wonder what will happen to this comfortable relationship.
I like the image above because it gives a good representation of the flavor of the event. The men on the left are carrying the litter with the Holy Mother, the Priest... one of many in religious habit is participating just as a marcher... not are an organizer, and the women are being carried along by the procession.
While there were obvious signs of devotion and passion (weeping)... most of the spirit was some excitement and perhaps happiness. I think that while the narrative of Christ's days in Jerusalem is filled with sadness... believers understand that on Easter Sunday Christ triumphs over death and in his suffering makes a sacrifice which allows all of humanity a way to eternal salvation. Indeed, a source of joy.
A note... these images and those of yesterday were made with the camera on board my Macintosh computer. I set the computer up on parked cars and just recorded what came in front of the small lens. I cleaned up the images but essentially this is what was recorded. I think they capture some of the energy of the event and if you click on them they become larger and easier to read.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday night found Bella and I in San Juan. What we stumbled on was something neither of us had participated in previously. This is Semana Santa, Holy Week, the week before Easter. This special week is celebrated here with powerful drama and passion. In Old San Juan and across the Isla, but especially in Old San Juan the pageantry is strong. Friday night saw a procession bearing an icon of the Holy Mother, dressed in black mourning cape. (If you click on the image above and make it bigger, you will be able to see the Icon on the left side of the photo.)
The procession began at La Forteleza, the Governor's Palace and wound its way though the medieval streets of Old San Juan. The procession was lead by musicians playing a sorrowful and slow dirge, followed by small children who rang hand bells. A contingent of the Knights of Columbus processed immediately in front of the icon of the Holy Mother. A group of Autunas who were dressed in medieval costumes, carried the Holy Mother on the litter. A solumn group of men bearing crosses was also present. The litter was alternately carried by the autunas, a contingent of police commanders and other individuals. A priest bearing an incense burner spread the scent of sage throughout the streets. Sisters and brothers from the Convent and Monastery were marchers as were others in religious habits. As the procession wound its way through the streets, small candles were distributed and illuminated.
Now usually one of us has a camera but this trip we were focused on our music and left the cameras at home. I had with me my computer and Bella reminded me that perhaps I could use the on board camera in the computer... which I did. The image above and the one below were made with the camera in the Macintosh. I set the computer up on the hood or roof of parked cars and at one time stepped into the street with the computer open and imaged the procession as it rounded a corner.
The procession stopped periodically... perhaps reflecting the stops of the Stations of the Cross. At balconies marked with torches, (the photo immediately above shows one of the balconies) the procession halted and the litter bearing the Holy Mother was lowered. At the stop, music was played on the balcony and a part of the story of Christ's Passion was read and was concluded with a Rosary. I was told that the houses at which the procession stopped had experienced the passing of a loved one in the previous year. Along the path of the procession, people lined the streets and walked along beside the procession with their candles. We also saw a number of women wearing black and a long black mourning veils.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Last evening we had several friends over from San Juan. This was their first trip to Rincon and so we took them out for a walk on the beach... as the sun was setting before heading out for dinner. Walking east from the Lemontree leads one to broader sand beaches but walking west leads one to a rocky beach which is occasionally impassable if the surf is up. Last night the water was calm and so we walked the rocky beach. Its remarkable how within the space of several hundred yards the beach changes so dramatically. In Puerto Rico all beaches are public and we limit ourselves unnecessarily to confine our explorations to what is immediately in front of us. Rincon is a town of beaches... and a few minutes and steps away is a new world.