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A trip back through Taos art history: A tour of the home of Eanger Irving Couse

by John Lamkin

Calendar Image by E.I Couse from Santa Fe Railroad Exhibit photo © John Lamkin
Calendar Image by E.I Couse from Santa Fe Railroad Exhibit photo © John Lamkin

Touring the historic home and studio of E.I. Couse (plus the adjacent, Luna Chapel, J.H. Sharp’s studio)* and enjoying a delightful stroll through the vintage garden of Couse’s wife, Virginia Couse, is an excellent way to experience a bit of Taos, New Mexico’s art history.

Couse (1866-1936) was one of the founders of the Taos Society of Artists in 1915—and, perhaps, the most famous–and its first president.

Much of the Couse house, studio and gardens are left the way they were during the lives of E.I. and Virginia. The gardens are very lush and have an abundance of Virginia’s signature plant, Virginia creepers, climbing up the posts of the verandas. Couse’s studio still has the final painting he was working on displayed on a heavy wooden easel. The various rooms of the house are a history lesson in themselves with art, decoration and furniture of the time. Read more in the Examiner

Mexicanos, VIVA MEXICO!
Luxury Avenue Magazine Summer 2010

Read the digital version online – Go to pg 92-9

Luxury Avenue Magazine Spring-Summer 2009

Villas de Mexico – architectural rendering

Despite the shaky global economy, buyers are still
investing in property in Cancún and on the Riviera Maya.
John Lamkin visits some of the new developments taking
shape to find out why the region is now one of the best
places in the world for value in luxury real estate… (read the full story-pdf)

(or the digital magazine see pg. 98-100)


The Hippie Hat

Story and photos by John Lamkin

We were looking for sombreros–hats. Viewing the giant hat sculpture in the village plaza, there was no doubt we had arrived at the hat-making town of Becal, Campeche, Mexico.

We saw several tricycle rickshaws in the town center waiting for passengers. Judie, who has ridden camels in the Sahara, funeral boats in Mog Mog, said, “I want to ride one!” So she hired one of the taxistas to take her to the cave of the best hat maker and we followed in the car.

Hats have been made in Becal for generations in the humid environments of backyard limestone caves. The humidity keeps the fibers pliable for easier weaving. It is said that there are more than 2,600 of these caves in the area.

The women of the families weave hats in the caves, while the men gather the materials and sell the sombreros. They make everything from colorful, floppy beach hats to expensive fine “Panama” hats. Don’t mention “Panama” to them, however. “Panama” hats are not from Panama. Originally men building the Panama Canal bought hats from Ecuador and called them “Panama.” This is somewhat akin to buying a Christian Dior or Chanel chapeau in Chicago and calling it a “Chicago hat.” Read the full story.


Cuenca, Ecuador – The Next South American Real Estate Boomtown?

Story and photos by John Lamkin

Perfect spring-like weather year round, reasonable cost of living, great quality of life and a place where luxury real estate values are many—that pretty much describes Cuenca, Ecuador. And no mosquitoes!Situated in Ecuador’s southern Andes at an elevation of 8200 feet, Cuenca, Ecuador’s third largest city, is considered the country’s cultural heartland. In 1999 the city was as awarded the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site.Everywhere you look there are flowers, blooming trees, grass and rushing waters (four rivers flow through the city). The city is cleaner and safer than most large cities in developing countries and there are claims it has purer water than most U.S. and European cities. Read the full story
Luxury Oceanfront Living for Less: Cruising for condos in Cancun and the Riviera Maya 
By John Lamkin© John LamkinHalf a century ago, Cancun and the Riviera Maya, on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan peninsula, were only blank spaces on the map. Today it’s no undiscovered backwater, but the area still offers some of world’s best values in accessible luxury real estate.Read the full story

Investing in Tranquility: Paradise found in Bacalar

Story and photos by John Lamkin

Few outside of Mexico have heard of Lake Bacalar, even though it lies between the Riviera Maya below Cancun and the hot growth area of Ambergris Caye in Belize. It’s not hard to see the future potential though, as those who follow the government’s tourism development lead are usually in for a wild upward ride.

Read the full story


Cerocahui, Mexico: Tarahumara Indians, Jesuits and Wine
Story and photos by John Lamkin

Bumping along 45 minutes of dirt road from the train station, through the wooded landscape, the forest opens to reveal the alpine-like valley of Cerocahui (sero-kah-wee), a mile-high paradise. Below, I catch a glimpse of the hidden valley with its silver river winding through its vineyards and apple orchards — I could have been somewhere in Southern Europe, but I am actually near the edge of theBarrancas de Cobre (Copper Canyon), Mexico’s Grand Canyon. Little did I expect to find ancient vineyards here on top of the world. Read the full story
Cerocahui Valley


Taos Magazine    November/December 2009

view article pages 12


Rancho Encantado: Hidden gem of the Yucatán
by John Lamkin

Nestled on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, far from Cancún, travelers can find relaxation and adventure at Rancho Encantado where warm, healing waters lap at the shore in an ever-shifting array of iridescent blues and greens.

They call it, “The Lagoon of Seven Colors,” but I know there are more. From my hammock, I was tempted to open my eyes and drink in the light patterns playing on the water; but I resisted. The sun and soothing breeze made it difficult to expend too much effort. (Read the full article)


Juan Luis and family

Day Of The Dead With The Zapotec Indian Weavers Of Teotitlán: The 21St Century Meets Ancient Mesoamerica

Article and Photos by John Lamkin

Nearly 40 years ago, I bumped along the pot-holed highway south out of Oaxaca City, Mexico to get to the Zapotec Indian weaving village of Teotitlán del Valle, an enclave of dirt streets and meager houses–with earth floors, outdoor kitchens and outhouses. The only school had but three grades, and there was very little electricity.

Less than half a century later, Teotitlán del Valle is a modern, successful village that keeps its fascinating Zapotec heritage alive through its ancient traditions and celebrations. The art of weaving, for instance, has been practiced for centuries in Teotitlán del Valle, dating back to the pre-Hispanic era, a time in which the village paid tribute to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan through offerings of woven cotton products at the end of the XV century. (read full article)


The Lost Maya City

words + photos by John Lamkin

Narrow jungle road to Lost Maya City ©John Lamkin

Cora Amalia, the president of the municipality, affirmed the stories I’d heard for a while. There was a “lost” Maya city in the nearby jungle that rivals Tikal in Guatemala and has a pyramid larger than the one at Palenque in the state of Campeche.

“When can I go there?” I asked the government tourism officials. “Only when you get permission from INAH (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia),” was the answer, “And you can’t go now because the jungle roads are too muddy. You must wait for the dry season.”

Well, the dry season came. We applied for and got the INAH permit and set off on the adventure – seven of us in Luis’ Suburban.

Our crew consisted of Luis Tellez, professional guide and photographer and his wife Leti, myself and my significant other, Susy, two expats that lived locally and had done some research on the city, and don Millon a 90-year-old farmer who had worked in the area as a chiclero, one of the men that harvested the chicle for making chewing gum, and who had visited the ruins in his youth. Read more at Your Life is a Trip.


La Petite Crêpe, A Mexican Culinary Experience
Story and photos by John Lamkin

We were having a culinary adventure (and mis-adventure) coming up from the Belize border, heading toward Cancun. On the way down from Cancun we had a quest – find the Peninsula’s best flan. We did, at Rancho Encantado in Bacalar.

La Petite Crêpe Highway Roadside Stand

About half an hour north of Belize we saw it. The sign read “La Petite Crêpe, comida francés.” Comida francés — French food! Where were we? Surely not in Mexico, on the highway, approaching a roadside stand. Read the full story***

Skype Package “The whole world can talk for free”

High Tech Travel

by John Lamkin

Here are three easy-to-use “tech” items that will help you travel lighter–dump your laptop!

Wherever we go in the world we find Internet–cafes, hotels, kiosks, friend’s houses.

Here’s what you want to take care of all your needs on the road…. (Read the full article)



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