Tiles and turds / Baldosa y boñiga

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

I HAD MY THIRD POKE Tuesday at 12:45, at a caseta at the fairgrounds. About half the fairgrounds is lined with casetas, which are little party/meeting houses (huts, cottages) (click here). During our many fairs, they’re filled with music and dancing. It was a bit of a mob outside the caseta, with no staffer managing the process. Thanks to the many Spaniards in line, control was maintained. People voluntarily asked others’ appointment times and kept prioritizing the line before and after themselves. Otherwise, it would have been complete chaos. The Englishman behind me lied by 10 minutes so he could enter before others with earlier appointments. Oh, well. Once inside, the staff were efficient — and didn’t give a flying fig about appointment times.

The workers have been back this week in the apartment next door (click here). No poking (as far as I know), but still an awful lot of pounding. So far, all I’ve seen is grout on my bathroom floor. I’m not confident, however, someone won’t come through the wall again.

Remember those elegant new boardwalk tiles on the beach (click here)? Well, they’re now installing them in our neighborhood. It’s a very nice look. As part of the project, they’ve removed all the showers. I wonder if they’ll be replaced with brand new ones or if the old ones will be returned newly refreshed.

San Geraldo and I went Wednesday afternoon to pay María Jesús and the belén a visit. I brought her a beautiful, colorful, tall orchid with dozens of buds. It turns out she loves flowers and was very grateful for and surprised by the gift. She showed us her garden before she reopened the belén for us. We were the only ones there this time. She was surprised her dog didn’t even bark while we waited for her to come downstairs. (We met Tuesday.) And once she let us in, he simply came over wagging his tail. She said he clearly already considers me a friend. I was honored. She and I talked most of the time and I learned so much.

She’s 82 years old and has been working on her belén since she was 8! Her father always teased her about her obsession. She packs everything away in January every year and then starts rebuilding it all in June. So, the layout is never the same. She also adds elements every year, but doesn’t change it once it’s reassembled. She says she often wakes up during the night with an idea. Figures have been purchased around Spain over the years. She makes many things by hand, including collecting wildflowers and other plant matter for the details. Incredibly, she does it all herself, except for the electrical work, which her grandson does for her. Oh, she told me my Spanish was exceptional. I thanked her and told her, “Sometimes.” I have admittedly (and proudly) come a long way in these 10-1/2 years.


TENÍA MI TERCER CODAZO EL martes a las 12:45, en una caseta en el recinto ferial. Aproximadamente la mitad del recinto ferial está lleno de casetas, que son pequeñas casas de reunión / fiesta (cabañas, cabañas) (haz clic aquí). Durante nuestras muchas ferias, están llenas de música y baile. Era un poco una turba fuera de la caseta, sin ningún miembro del personal manejando el proceso. Gracias a los numerosos españoles en fila, se mantuvo el control. Las personas preguntaron voluntariamente los horarios de las citas de los demás y siguieron priorizando la línea antes y después de ellos mismos. De lo contrario, habría sido un completo caos. El inglés detrás de mí mintió por 10 minutos para poder entrar antes que otros con citas anteriores. Oh bien. Una vez dentro, el personal fue eficiente y no les importó un comino los horarios de las citas.

Los trabajadores han vuelto esta semana al piso de al lado (haz clic aquí). Sin pinchazos (que yo sepa), pero aún así hay muchos golpes. Hasta ahora, todo lo que he visto es lechada en el piso de mi baño. Sin embargo, no estoy seguro de que alguien no vuelva a atravesar la pared.

¿Recuerdas esos elegantes nuevos azulejos del malecón en la playa (haz clic aquí)? Ahora los están instalando en nuestro vecindario. Tiene un aspecto muy bonito. Como parte del proyecto, quitaron todas las duchas. Me pregunto si serán reemplazados por otros nuevos o si los antiguos se devolverán renovados.

San Geraldo y yo fuimos el miércoles a visitar a María Jesús y al belén. Le traje una orquídea alta, hermosa y colorida con docenas de capullos. Resulta que le encantan las flores y estaba muy agradecida y sorprendida por el regalo. Nos mostró su jardín antes de volver a abrirnos el belén. Éramos los únicos allí esta vez. Le sorprendió que su perro ni siquiera ladrara mientras esperábamos a que bajara las escaleras. (Nos conocimos el martes). Y una vez que ella nos dejó entrar, él simplemente se acercó moviendo la cola. Ella dijo que claramente él ya me considera un amigo. Me sentí honrado. Ella y yo hablamos la mayor parte del tiempo y aprendí mucho.

¡Tiene 82 años y ha estado trabajando en su belén desde que tenía 8! Su padre siempre se burlaba de ella por su obsesión. Ella empaca todo en enero de cada año y luego comienza a reconstruirlo todo en junio. Entonces, el diseño nunca es el mismo. También agrega elementos todos los años, pero no los cambia una vez que se vuelve a ensamblar. Dice que a menudo se despierta durante la noche con una idea. Las figuras se han comprado en toda España a lo largo de los años. Hace muchas cosas a mano, incluida la recolección de flores silvestres y otras materias vegetales para los detalles. Increíblemente, lo hace todo ella misma, excepto el trabajo eléctrico, que su nieto hace por ella. Oh, ella me dijo que mi español era excepcional. Le agradecí y le dije: “A veces”. Es cierto que he avanzado mucho (y con orgullo) en estos 10 años y medio.

• So much going on behind the scenes.
• Tantas cosas sucediendo detrás de escena.
• A better photo of the traditional caganer (the pooper).
• Otra foto del caganer tradicional.
• I hadn’t noticed the caganer (pooper) beside the outhouse. I guess he couldn’t wait.
• No me había fijado en el caganer al lado de la letrina. Supongo que no podía esperar.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

34 thoughts on “Tiles and turds / Baldosa y boñiga”

    1. mcpersonalspace54:
      I don’t if I’d describe my Spanish as really, really… but I do OK. I wish it could be so much better, but it does continually improve. Writing my blog in Spanish is a tremendous help.

      1. mcpersonalspace54:
        I do OK until I have to discuss something technical or scientific (or above a certain education level). Then my limited vocabulary gets me, which then stresses me. Not sick-making stress, just enough to make me forget even what I know. But it’s getting better all the time. Our first year here, I was close to an anxiety attack whenever I had to do business — banking, utilities, etc. And I froze when I had to talk on the phone. Now I can have an entire conversation and even stand up for myself when dealing with problems. Happy New Year to you guys. As you know, I’m wishing you a much better year filled with love and happiness.

      2. I am sure the technical stuff is overwhelming. When I was in France for a month years ago, one of the things I dreaded the most was talking on the phone.

      3. mcpersonalspace54:
        In Sevilla, our dearest friend (who spoke no English) called me from the street to ask me a quick question (she managed the restaurant below). I was lost. I had to go downstairs to talk to her. Now, we chat whenever we want. No problem.

  1. What are those tiles made from? Do they rot? Our HOA has a wet field – looking for something that would give some access to it and make it usable for something.

  2. Her work and fortitude are simply incredible……a life long endeavour.
    Now those boardwalk tiles totally intrigue me. I am wondering how they would hold up with frost and a Canadian winter.

    1. Jim:
      74 years of love and devotion. The pavers are some type of concrete. So, yes, I wonder, too, how they’d hold up in a Canadian winter.

  3. I like the look of those new tiles!
    Coming up on 3/4s of a century for María Jesús’ belén! Seems like she has devoted a large part of her life to creating it. And you could spend untold hours exploring it.
    Glad you got that booster. Possibly the first of many, just like the annual flu shot. Perhaps all this intense vaccine research and development will lead to better vaccines for all kinds of disease including malaria, leprosy, common colds, etc. That would be a tiny silver lining to this shit storm that is covid.

    1. Wilma:
      I, too, like the look of the new pavers. They replace the wood pallets the City has always used. So relieved to have had my booster. SO, tired of this pandemic. But I least I’ve survived long enough to be tired of it.

  4. LOL — thanks for the better photo of the outhouse, not to mention the second pooper! It’s amazing that she begins building it again in June. I’d be tempted to just live with it all year, but I guess she likes changing it around.

    1. Steve:
      When I asked María Jesús if she just leaves it up all year, she said, “Oh, no, everything has to be cleaned, and dusted — and touched up and repaired.” Much easier to do when it’s dissambled. She also replaces a lot of the dried plants.

  5. Happy New Year! Glad to hear you are boosted. It sounds like the Spanish are better than the Italians at order and lines. The poopers, at times we really are just aged 12 year olds.

    1. David:
      The first time we went to the Foreigners Office in Sevilla to file our residency paperwork, we arrived before the office opened to find about 2 dozen people already there. Milling about. No order. Clearly no line even begun. The mess stressed us out even more. When the doors opened, everyone self-sorted. It was amazing. And, oh yeah, so much better than anything I ever saw in Italy… a country I love but “order and process” were never words I’d use.

  6. While the beach tiles are attractive, it seems like they might be a lot of trouble with high tides/seas/winds.

    Glad you are boosted. Can only imagine that scenario in US…pushing, shoving, etc…well, except for the fact that only 30-35% of the US population have gotten the booster (and too many not even the first two jabs) and its available everywhere. 🙁

    Happy you and María Jesús have become friendly. She’s a gem.

    1. Mary:
      The concrete beach pavers require a machine to lift and place them. So, wind won’t move them. But, as you can see from my previous post, the surf tosses them like dominoes. Fortunately the beach in our neighborhood is expansive, so it would be rare for the surf to reach that far. Other stretches of town however have much less beach, and i imagine that will continue to be a problem. Still, the old wooden boardwalks that have been used get washed out to sea. As of mid-December, some parts of Spain were at an 86 percent vaccination rate. Here in Andalusia, we had reached around 82 percent. Spain as a whole was also around 82 percent. I think those numbers have gone up significantly in the last two weeks.

  7. Unless those tiles are anchored to bedrock or a solid underground foundation, they’re gonna be flung around like Lego bricks in a major wind storm or storm surge — yikes!

    Glad you got your booster shot — now you can sit back and enjoy New Year’s Eve with SG, Moose & Dudo. Hope you’ve got plenty of grapes to eat when the clock strikes midnight!

    1. Tundra Bunny:
      The concrete pavers should survive the wind just fine, but on any stretch of beach where high surf can reach, they’ll be tossed. Still better though than the wood sections normally used. They end up in the street or out at sea and washed up somewhere else. So far, the concrete pavers have only been lifted and move a few feet.

  8. I’m grateful to be boosted–glad you are, too. That belén is stunning. I hope she’ll build it for years to come, then pass it on to someone who will love it as much as she does!

    Happy New Year, Mitch. Wishing and hoping for great days ahead!

    1. Michelle D:
      So relieved to be boosted. I spoke to Chuck Tuesday. When I told him, he said he had been boosted, too. I excitedly said, “When?” thinking we got boosted on the same day. His response? “Don’t worry about it!” Gotta love him.

  9. I am wondering about putting the tiles on Sand… If the waves don’t get them the thieves will.
    Happy Happy New Year ! Hope for better days.

    1. Parsnip:
      The thieves would need a heavy duty forklift, so not much chance of them being stolen.

    1. Urspo:
      The tradition is thought to have begun in the late 17th century in Catalonia (Barcelona area). There are a number of theories on the meaning/reason and its appropriateness. It appears in other countries, as well.

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