Friday, October 8, 2010
"The wind is in from Africa...." hi, joni...
AND ................it's TGIF.
What could be better?
palm trees and rentabikes in the plaza nueva morning
these guys looked so real they scared me...
the dome of the cathedral, click for detail
What a lovely afternoon today. Perhaps the best moment of the stay here so far. (Something tells me I might find myself saying this more than once before I leave..)
It was that moment just before I went down the stairs to the metro. I was walking across the plaza, headed south. The wind was blowing, it swirled around my head.. like someone ruffling your hair affectionately. I stopped for a moment and thought... that wind is from the south, I can feel it blowing up across the Mediterranean all the way from Africa. And I realized how close all that was, that vast continent, to where I stood. I felt like I was at the center of the world for a moment, in just the right place. And it felt, as someone advised me to do some time ago, like I had fallen in love with the city, and I had let it fall in love with me.. ..This , a mon avis, is as good as life gets. (next to having babies , that is). You just feel a part of everything that is. And that is such a gift. It is for moments like this that I believe we are here. That it's that simple..
So, it was a good day. No one was mean to me at school. We did some interesting exercises and had some good laughs and even heard some good tunes at class (Rocky Raccoon and Every Breath You Take, part of an exercise -- the latter making me quite homesick suddenly for my kids). Then I spent some time with my tutor and a few helpers attempting to learn to put Power Point to use with lesson plans. Who'da thunk it would be so easy? I just never bothered before as I haven't taught in over five years. So today I feel a bit ahead rather than running on the hamster wheel for a change.
And I actually got home by 4:30, a first since the course started (8 or 9 p.m. more common), so had afternoon tea on the patio in the sun for a change. I mean, wow. Again, walking back from the metro, the breeze blowing in from the south up here on the hill. I'm thinking... again... coming across Africa, way up here, that warm caress swirling my hair and suddenly I don't feel old. I feel wonderful, ageless, free and so grateful that I actually went out to the patio, lifted my face to the sky and uttered gracias to whatever gods of fortune made this moment possible.
Maybe it was just having the time at last to wander some back alleys, to not take the usual efficient route up the Avenida to the metro, to get a little lost on side streets (see today's pics). That's when you really feel like you're in some radically other place, time, culture. To have to ask directions in Spanish and feel like I could finally do that competently, well.... adequately anyway. When i finally found my way back to the Avenida, where should I find myself but the corner near the cathedral where the Horno de San Buenaventura is located, that snazzy bistro I posted pics of earlier. I'd been promising myself a breakfast or lunch there for two weeks, and today felt most certainly like the right moment.
And so it was! I ended up sitting at the bar and in a lively, delightful tri-lingual (Spanish, French and English) conversation with Sylvie, from Montreal and Paco from Malaga. I heard her speaking to Paco, seated next to me at the bar, detected her Quebecois accent at once, having been there for a month this summer, and asked her if she was from Quebec. She was so excited someone here had been to Montreal, we chat in French at a speed I would never have imagined I could manage that well after so long away from it. What are you doing in Spain, where are you going next, etc. Paco is a tour guide, very handsome Hemingway-esque man about my age (maybe a little older?), complete with safari (or is it fishing?) vest. We three had a cervecita as I ordered my tapas lunch (very good -- arroz with shrimp and salad with chicken). It was the second fun conversation I've had in a tapas bar with complete strangers (the other being at the Blanca Paloma with the med student -- better arroz there by a mile). My day was totally MADE. After they left felt so at home I finished off with a nice cappuccino and a light as a feather pastry called... um.... palo de nata (roughly translated= cream log?). Basically choux pastry shaped like an eclair filled with chantilly cream, lightly glazed with something I couldn't identify. Then of course I had to pick up some desserts there for Isabel and Edo, something she had mentioned they do well at Horno, little nests of nuts and honey and an apple twist pastry... well. Sounds like breakfast to me. Next time I aim to try the gorgeous mocha tarta selva negra and the tarta queso (cheesecake).
And I CAN now eat anything I want because the wonderful dentisto, Raphael Fernandez (introduced himself as Raphael, not "DOCTOR SO AND SO") Rafa? again? Are they everywhere? well, that's just fine with me, never tiring of Nadal references myself), filled my tooth last night in twenty minutes for 50 euros, really nice office. I had done a little vocab research before I went, written it down in my little book I carry everywhere trying to anticipate what I might need to say in a given situation. It works wonders if you can just get your initial idea across. But I can guarantee you more Spaniards speak English then English speaking folks speak Spanish. And those cretins in the States who insist we not teach Spanish in the school are just contributing to the economic and cultural demise of the country and should all be sent to Bush's KKIP (Keep the Kretins In Prison) programs. I hear he's there now himself, at last.
'nuff a that....
Did I mention I'm thinking of moving here for a semester to teach? Well, wouldn't you? What's not to like? Once you learn some Spanish everyone is just so warm and kind.
I knew you'd want to know, so let me say that Sham- Wow appears to be very big in Europe...
As an aside, Hair Club for Men would go broke here. Spanish men have the most gorgeous heads of hair. And what's carrying those heads isn't too bad either, let me tellya. And they dress so snappy.. uh! Spanish women are.... well, we may as well not even try, girls. They're gorgeous too. Between the decolletage and the toe cleavage... A girl can dream. No, actually I felt beautiful today, even once when I passed a mirror. Even then. Like they say, beauty is something that comes from within. So just for today I felt beautiful. Maybe it was the eyeliner moment, a rarity, this morning... who knows? or that my hair (which has seemed like a rat's nest lately) is clean..
weekend! mercado! shoe shop! maybe a blouse?? skirt? dress? I bought some little Christmas presents today from street vendors -- various artists. I love giving money to street musicians and artists. They are so genuinely appreciative and happy.
These people really do work to LIVE.. rather than live to work. One thing's for sure, it's contagious.
Maybe it's these manzanilla olives i'm addicted to... hmmm... now where did i put those....?
ciao for now..