S: Frankie & Annalee's Romantic Asian Escape
FC: Frankie & Annalee's Romantic Asian Escape
1: A collection of two star crossed Spanish lovers and their escapades through out 17th century Asia
2: Querida Lolita, July 1,1650 Mi amor. How I miss you in this strange land. The Safavid are a complex people and I must admit I am confused by their ways. There may be women here as beautiful as you, (though your beauty is difficult to compete with), but I would not know because they keep their women veiled. So do not worry. I am forever your Francisco. I have luckily fallen in with a rug-maker here. He is a member of a merchant’s guild, which are common and lives above his shop which is adjoined to the shops of his fellow merchants. His house has a rustic charm to it, made of dark wood. He is affluent enough and I am quite comfortable here. What a generous man. We get along quite well except for the first day when I accidentally entered the “forbidden area” of the house. Unbeknownst to me, this is where his wife stays during the day, secluded. But how was I supposed to know? Well, he has forgiven me so all is well.
3: I have learned a bit of this empire from talk at dinner already. They practice a religion called Shi’ism. And their political leader, the Shah, is supposed to be a temporary stand-in for their ultimate religious leader. It seems that this religion is close to our own Catholicism with one ultimate God but they are still blasphemous in that they do not recognizing Jesus. It seems that outside the cities most people do not recognize the Shah as their leader. They are loyal to nomadic chieftans instead. As of late, this has caused some political instability that worries my dear rug-making friend deeply. He is afraid for the lasting nature of this empire. I am afraid I will be leaving him soon and traveling on to the Mughal Empire. I don’t know who I’ll meet there but I await our reuniting in the coming weeks. Besos y Abrasos. Siempre tuyo, Francisco
4: July 3,1650 My dear Francisco, How my heart longs for you my love. Every day I spend in this foreign Asian country without you seems like an eternity. I can only dream of the day when we will once again be reunited. I am currently residing in Korea and plan on staying here for another week. Their culture is so different than ours I am having quite the trouble adjusting to all the changes. They follow a strange form of religion, one blasphemies in the sight of God. Though I do not fully understand their language, known here as Hangul, from what I understand they believe in a Confucius religion and it is taken very seriously. It was immensely hard to enter the country but I managed to slip passed the military. Their leader Yi Song Gye is set on keeping Korea as secluded as possible and keeping western influences away from the Korean culture. Yi Song Gye is a lone ruler, similar to the political system we have come to know, and he seems to be the head of the “Yi Dynasty”. Though I am unfamiliar to these ways he seems to have control over all aspects of life be it military, political or economical situations.
5: I would say the strangest thing about Korea is their social systems. There is almost no separation between the classes. Honey, you just wouldn’t believe how the upper class nobles associate with the peasants. It is just plain eerie. Though I must say for all the faults Korea has I just love the Architecture. It is like nothing I have ever seen before and is truly breath taking. It is so unique and intricate. I insist that we build a country home like this when we reunite and return to Spain. The Japanese seem to be quite the taboo topic here. I once mentioned to a merchant, a decent middle class man, that I would be travelling there next and he just about had a fit. There seems to have been a war between the two civilizations at a previous time and there is still bad blood. Most of the influences on art and literature, from what I can tell, are Chinese. There is a very strong connection between the Ming and Yi dynasties. Speaking of China I cannot wait to meet you there. Only a month before we are happily reunited my dear sweet. Remember that I am your Lolita forever and ever. Tu amor, Lolita
6: This is an example of the Hangul alphabet. I asked a kinder old man if he knew any Spanish and he was able to roughly translate it over for me!
7: I found this letter on the street and I couldn't resist sending it to you. It is just so foreign. I apologize but I have absolutely no idea what it says.
8: July 14, 1650 My sweet Francisco, The Japanese are simply frightening my love. I cannot wait to be rid of this place and finally meet you in China. Tokugawa is the current Shogunate and the military he has created a powerful and innovative. They seem to have combined many western ideas of weapons and armor with traditional Japanese technology. I am not very informed on the subject and I know you would be able to analyze the militia better but it is all quite frightening. They have weapons I have never seen or heard of before. They hate Christians in Japan and they have been persecuted here since 1614. I fear for my life and wish you were here to protect me. Just like Korea there are almost no Europeans here and I have never wished to be with you more. One thing I love about Japan is their porcelain. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and I insist we get a set for home once we return to Spain. The china is all white with delicate blue on it. We will be the envy of the town once we are able to purchase some.
9: I have never seen steel worked in such an advanced way as it is here. The Japanese use it in architecture and make beautiful art with it. You truly must see it to believe it. I have seen several Portuguese missionaries here but for some reason most of the people despise God. This is completely unacceptable but the government is so harsh I have a hard time judging these people. There is no room for religious truth and they seem almost obsessed with this Confucius system. Oh dear sweet love I must leave you now. I have included a picture of the pottery I desire and I hope you love it too. You are my world and I cannot bear to think we must spend 19 more days apart. See you in China where I can only hope you will return my heart to me. Tu Amor, Lolita
10: Some of the lovely porcelain. I just cannot get enough of it. The beauty almost makes this terrible place okay
11: Perhaps we could invest in something like this? Without the hideous "god" of course. The Japanese have such silly ideas on religion.
12: Mi Lolita Bonita, July 21, 1650 I am delighted to hear news of your well-being. I arrived in this empire through the port of Surat and it seems my luck has continued with me. I am staying with a Mansabdar – a military official who received land as a recompense from the government. Apparently this is how their hierarchy is established. This man was very proud of his high Mansab or rank. I met up with him at the port where he was selling a shipment of rice, which he grew on his land. The people here seem to adore their leader Akbar, who established a strong central government in this empire. It was his great grandfather Babur who founded the nation, but it became strong under his rule. The level of tolerance in this man is astounding. A follower of Islam, but a leader of a primarily Hindu country, he not only allowed the Hindu into the government but also married a Hindu woman.
13: He even combined all the religions of the nation – Islam, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Sikh and Christianity – into one coexisting religion called “Divine Faith.” Regardless, I am eager to be rid of this place as it means I’ll be meeting you in China. I await our reuniting with great anticipation. Until then, be well. Nuestro amor todo lo puede. Siempre tuyo, Francisco
14: My darling Francisco, August 3, 1650 I cannot seem to find you anywhere. I am writing this letter from the Confucius temple in the east part of Beijing. The house I am staying in is so cramped I had to escape just so I could get some time to breath. They have four generations living in that house alone! I couldn’t imagine living with my great grandparents like that and yet they seem to enjoy it. The art here is just as extraordinary as it was in Japan. Today I met a man who specialized in calligraphy and sculpting and I am in awe of his ability. I have never been more impressed with a persons’ skill. The city seems to be in political turmoil right now. From what I can tell six years ago the city was overthrown and the Ming dynasty was replaced with the Ch’ing dynasty. The government seems very functional though. There is a great divide in responsibilities, much unlike our government. There seems to be a high level of westernization and a great deal of trade with European countries. I had no idea how involved Spain is in China.
15: Well my love I really must run. It is so dark a can scarcely see the parchment anymore. I love you with all my heart and I will continue to search for you tomorrow. My soul longs for your company. Tu amor, Lolita
16: How would you like me to buy you a dress like this for our wedding? It would be just like the wedding of Akbar and his queen. Oh dear, i crack myself up We shall have a traditional Spanish wedding, no doubt.
17: Querida Lolita, August 6,1650 I have just arrived in Beijing. A messenger brought me your letter and I am sorry that you had to wait for me so long. I am staying with a very hospitable family, though as you said, it is rather cramped what with an entire family living together at once. When we are wed, I shall buy us a house just to ourselves and when our sons reach their teenage years, they will be off to work and wed on their own. I too am impressed with their advancements. But, I long for the comforts of Spain. I will see you in very short order since the messenger who brought your letter to me knows where you are. ¡No puedo esperar ningún momento más! Te amo mucho, Francisco