Here we are, our first chunk of free time since we closed on the property, and we don’t fly south. We drive north. If I had known in the summer that I would have closed on a property shortly before New Year’s, our plans would have been very different this weekend.
So here we are at an inn on Cape Cod, waiting to celebrate New Year’s, and marking Paul’s birthday. It’s drizzly and cold outside, but we brought our books on haciendas and casas to stimulate our imaginations. Sitting by the fireplace, we need to think through our plans for Casa Nana.
As I’m poring though these very professional and beautiful photos, it strikes me that they’re of limited use.
“Your looks are laughable, unphotographable,” goes the old song lyric, but when I say Mérida’s grand-scale homes in the Centro can’t be photographed, I mean it as a compliment.
My last trip down, I visited the home of a favorite blogger whose renovation tales I had been following closely. I saw (studied, really) every photo taken before, during and after her fantastic Henry Ponce project. I saw it as a good way to train my eyes to look at a “ruin” and see its potential. But when I arrived and saw the rooms in person, I just couldn’t connect them to the photos. The sala de estar was much bigger than I had imagined, and had a peaceful vibe that never came across on Flickr. The intricate interplay of indoor and outdoor spaces, and some rooms that were a little of both, were just amazing to see in person. I’ve tried to take photos and videos of Centro houses myself, and the lens is always overwhelmed by the scale of the rooms. My viewfinder can only take in a small piece of these rooms. With my Flip camera, I desperately pan left, right, up and down trying to capture what I’m seeing. It’s hopeless.
And that feeling you get when you step away from a sweaty, bustling street, and those huge, thick wooden doors close behind you. That immediate feeling of being shielded from light, dust, noise, heat. That feeling can’t be replicated on YouTube.
To use a fashion term, there’s a storyline to be told here, and it’s a tough job. Real estate agents and architects, or shelter magazines like Ambientes, all have an uphill challenge to summon their inner poet or hidden artist to evoke the real power and charm of Mérida’s centro.