Adventure: Villa Escudero
Hoarding is only hoarding if you keep it all to yourself. At least, I think that’s how it works.
What I didn’t realize when I planned my visit is that Villa Escudero and its waterfall restaurant, performances, museum, and gardens… is a residence (well, it’s a “resort” now, but it was a residence).
The museum is a private collection of items sourced from around the world. “No Photos Please.” The sign seems a little out of place here, but now I see why it’s needed… some countries may want some of these things back. The military collections alone are astonishing — quite a few things I’ve never seen before, from the States, and there’s weaponry and armor from countries far and wide. Yes, I said armor. Uniforms are plentiful, but why stop there when you can bring back armor from a foreign land? (Keep in mind: this is a personal collection. They had to bring this stuff back with them. I’m not sure TSA would buy my story…) Artillery, ammo, swords, knives, diaries, bunks, toiletries, personal effects,… armor.
The same fascination and detail observed in the military section is mirrored in every.single.collection. Currency? Yep — the coin (and paper) collections from around the world are painstakingly complete. Pottery and stoneware? Of course! Some of these may not be legal to own, actually. Vintage clothing? Pick a continent! Stones and crystals? You’ll be introduced to some new ones. Statues and altars? From every corner of the… I mean… what statues and altars? ::ahem:: Artwork? …I think Hitler was hiding some of this… Taxidermy? You bet! Wait… what??
This would be a good time to pause and appreciate the constant low hum of the large fans keeping the air moving. That’s right. This joint isn’t climate controlled. And that’s a lot of dead animals. That I’m not allowed to take pictures of. (You’re welcome.) Most of them still have the majority of their… outer parts… intact, but the facial expressions get harder and harder to elegantly observe. The glassed-in taxidermy wall runs the entire length of this impressively large
storage unit private museum and I can’t stop staring at it. The birds are… molting. The snakes are… shedding… kinda. There are some really amazing specimens of boxy-wood-framed mammals, too. I’ve never seen a Puma with a bulldog’s stance before. These images are forever burned into my memory — and it’s killing me that I cannot share this fate with you. (Again, you’re welcome.)
Without even a glint of surprise, my next thought is, “I need a beer,” and boy am I in luck! “Sexy,” the handsome water buffalo that will be pulling my chariot over to the cultural arts pavilion (and beer stand), just arrived! Of note: the name’s “sexy,” not “speedy.” We lumber about at a comfortable mosey, allowing musicians to hop onto and off of the cart, singing songs and generally being awesome.
Now, there are cultural performances, and then there are 8-act shows with musicians and dancers representing multiple indigenous tribes of peoples.
We’re talking performers ranging in age from ~8 to ~50, costume changes, story-telling, acrobatics, dancing, coconut shells… (and here I thought Monty Python came up with that!) It’s everything I can do to remain seated. The stage direction is flawless, the dancing exuberant, the music inspiring, and zero indication that the heat is taking a toll on the performers. Well.Earned.Applause.
All of this and I’m still making my way over to the waterfall cafe.
I come from a place where, if you scale down a long hillside and step into rushing water, it’s probably going to be cold. Thank goodness that’s not where we are. Does this water cool you off? Absolutely. Is it a shock to your system? Not at all. It’s delightful. I now understand why you might put your kitchen and dining room right in the middle of it.
Concrete pillars — or stepping stones — are provided just in case you want to cross the stream without getting into the water… they are pristine from lack of use. The only thing more entertaining than watching the kids jump around in the water is watching the grandparents. These are the best giggles!
You could try to tell me that there’s a better place to sit and have a beer… but I’m not sure I’d believe you.
…and what is up with all these strange statues around the property…?