28 May 2010

Casa Kimberly Update

I need to set the record straight; Elizabeth Taylor’s house in Puerto Vallarta is no longer available for viewing. In fact it is no longer really there. Casa Kimberly, as her house is/was called, is in the midst of being turned into three condominiums.
I did the treacherous, 100-step walk up the side of the hill to get a peek of her house last November. People had told me it was now a bed and breakfast and that you could have a cup of coffee in the restaurant. What I found was a gutted out building.

I thought it might be done by now and maybe was a new B&B. No and no. It appears that all that will be left of Liz and Dick’s home will be the stories that surround the neighborhood, told by the decreasing number of locals who remember them. And even though her memory is fading as the years go by, I seem to constantly run into little reminders of the impact she had on the city.

There is the plaster statue of Elizabeth and Richard and an iguana at the entrance to a restaurant that sits just down the hill from their house, and right on the Rio Cuale.

And then there is the mystery that surrounds a place I found the other day.

It was in the late afternoon, while walking down a small side street that I noticed an entryway with a worn, tattered mat on which was written Sala Elizabeth Taylor. I stopped, looked up at the building and tried to figure out what it was. A tea house? A theater? I looked to the left and saw an ancient looking ticket window that was open. Inside sat a tired looking woman.

I asked here what exactly Sala Elizabeth Taylor was. “Cine”, she answered. I stepped back and looked for whatever it was that I had missed indicating that this was a movie theater. I glanced up at the signboard next to the ticket window, still confused. “Cine”? I asked her. She then said something about adult films and I looked more closely at the showings for today. I got it. Whatever Sala Elizabeth Taylor was in a past life I’ll never know. Circa 2010, it is a porn movie house.