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Out of this World
Las Pozas is in the state of San Luis Potosí, 340 miles south of Brownsville. Constructed mostly in the sixties and seventies by the floridly eccentric English millionaire Edward James, it might be called a wilderness sculpture garden. All told, it comprises some eighty semitropical acres on the side of a mountain dotted with nine spring-fed pools -- pozas -- that flow into a small river. Thirty-six significant structures are concentrated on a dozen of those acres. Since 1987 the property has been owned by a 36-year-old Mexican lawyer, cattleman, and coffee grower named Plutarco "Kaco" Gastelum, who keeps it open to the public. He doesn't do this for the money, because the place has never made a profit, but for something that's more complicated and definitely closer to love. After all, Las Pozas' creator -- crazy, endearing, exasperating Edward James -- was for nearly four decades the benefactor and de facto godfather of Gastelum's family. "He was an incredible person," said Kaco, sitting beside one of the interconnected pozas while local youngsters splashed and dived. "My father was his manager, and although he and my mother complained all the time about how aggravating Uncle Edward was, to me and my three sisters, he was our magical uncle, our private Santa." Kaco's father, Plutarco Senior, was James's alter ego and, indeed, the person who helped translate the Englishman's moonstruck dreams into reality. And though James has now been dead for fourteen years, those who knew him strive daily to keep his spirit alive amid the shifting shadows and the clouds of mist that rise above Las Pozas.
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