Saturday, January 7, 2012

#7 ~ The Blue Lotus

The Paradise

The Blue Lotus officially opened it’s doors on September 13th, 1957. On this day, Santos Jose Carlona and his wife, Regina Fae, tossed aside their worries and arms to embrace those they considered friends and foes – and let them into their home, plying them with the best they could offer in rums and local fare. From this the Lotus would become the staple of Cassava’s simple cuisine, giving way to many of those who came ashore to sample the islands fare and drinks.

As the years went by, the Lotus would gain notoriety on it’s own as the dwelling of those who rambled in the making of rebellion. They loitered in the corners of the bar, in the booths, behind the kitchen build. Talking with Papi, as Santos would become called (by his granddaughter Isa), along with his long-time friend Pao – they would rise up the ranks of the locals, yet keep the dogs at bay. Each time the Peacekeepers came to the door, sniffing to see what they would find, Papi would take the brunt, showing he would not throw his fellow Cassavian under foot.

Upon his passing, the Lotus would be handed to his daughter Paula, who – divorced from John Radcliff in the early 1980s, would continue the tradition that her father had done so well. Keeping the locals and tourists alike, happy with fare and spirits. Even during times of strife, when the island would seem to want to cave in on itself, and those that had fought to defend it’s freedom seem to have lost hope, the cantina’s doors remained opened, keeping a dim light burning – a glass filled to drink one’s sorrow.

Pao still remained with Paula during this time, never leaving her side. He was like a steady rock, keeping the cantina running while she raised and nurtured her daughter when Isa was at home. As the years went on and civil war loomed, everything seemed to start to fall apart. El Generale had seized control of the city-state in a military coup, running Bepe (Cassava’s President-cum-protectorate) out of the country. People were dying, disappearing – talks of rebellion began again through the walls of the cantina, this time louder – then to only…go silent.

Life seemed a bit dismal. But it continued. The Blue Lotus still kept it’s doors open. People walked into them and left through them. Paula and Pao saw to that each and everyday, even as her daughter Isa stayed in London, going to school, growing up – then working. It wasn’t until May of 2011 that Isa finally returned to Cassava, to the Lotus.

Paula Ora Carlona had passed away.

The Blue Lotus was officially Isabella Maria Radcliff’s. 


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