Monday, August 22, 2005

Vacation update 3 Frida Kahlo

Today, the Vol-in-law says, was not an unadulterated success. First off it's raining and has been all day. Sometimes it slacks off to a drizzle but it hasn't ever quit.

So today it was indoor stuff art museum followed by swimming (almost always an indoor activity here). The Tate Modern has a special exhibit of Frida Kahlo's work. I love it, but the ViL is not a big fan. I can't say I got any great new insights but her pictures are compelling and they make me want to dig out my paints and create. The gallery captions emphasised the political symbology of her works something I hadn't much noticed before (she and her painter husband Diego Rivera were communists and Frida even had an affair with Leon Trotsky before he met his sticky end) but I often felt that the captions over emphasised the political and sought for it where it may not have been. Kahlo's art is generally too self obsessed to focus much on politics. But one thing her work does do is capture the exuberance and magic realism of Mexico.

Post museum we walked nearly two miles in the rain uphill one way to find that the showers had flooded and there was no access to the pool. To compensate for no swimming we decided to go to the fancy French food hall to get some cake. I thought I'd get some lettuce too but didn't see any on the produce table. I asked for some but the French help just stared at me. Lettuce I said. Lettuce.

"I can't understand you," she said. I couldn't think of any other way to say lettuce to make it any clearer. I couldn't think of a way to mime lettuce though I was moving my hands in a vaguely upsweeping leafy way. I couldn't remember the French word for lettuce (is it le lettuce said with a French accent?) "Salad" I finally said.

"No, we don't have any lettuce" she said.

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