Í used to get irritated at people who'd call where we live Paradise. It didn't seem like many of the everyday lives could seem paradaisical, if that's a word. Few people in our colonia appeared rich, maybe, when we first arrived more than nine years ago, none were. The poorer houses had walls of wooden slats the weather could stretch its fingers through to chill the inhabitants. A lot of floors were earthen even in the concrete houses in which most people live. People are careful with using electricity keeping it to a minimum. For light, most use a single bulb hanging from the ceiling. Our house is concrete, but the rooms are airy and the glass doors which stretch across the long south wall look out past our garden to the cascada and Acamalín, the small volcanic mountain straight ahead of us, and on explosions of bambu and huge trees growing up through the blankets of coffee and banana plants. We have a pale tile floor and creamy walls and ceiling lamps which hold not just one bare bulb, but five in candle-like fixtures. I used to think to call this place paradise meant you didn't understand that it wasn't that for a lot of people here. Now I think for me not to acknowledge how rich our lives are here is worse than calling it paradise.
In case you didn't know it, we have five dogs and two cats. They have slowed down our wandering away from home quite a bit. The two biggest dogs, a red-haired golden retriever and a heavy-set (!) Afghan mix don't like each other and have gotten in a couple of very scary fights. So we try our best to keep them separated. We took them on the same walk for almost a year, never letting them off their leashes the way we did the smaller dogs, and we only took walks near our house because lugging them on leashes wasn't so much fun. We not only limited our horizons, we expanded our waistlines. Significantly. So about a month ago we decided to just take one of the grandotes at a time and have more fun. If you don't think dogs can look at you with great, guilt-inducing sadness, come visit our dogs when we tell them it isn't their turn for a walk and see for yourselves.
Anyway, we drove three of the dogs a little less than a mile from our house to a walk along a river, now full of spring rain. (We drove because the road down to where we start is too trafficky for dog safety, even when they are on leashes). Below is a smattering of pictures I took as we wandered. You can click on them to make them larger. I think typepad has mucked around with its picture tools so I can't figure out how to insert text to explain them. If you are one of my facebook friends or one of Jaime Ricardo's, you should go to one of our timeline pages to see Jim's fotos of the walk we took on July 4. They are really outstanding.