Lady of Spain, I Adore You

This afternoon, I met Lola and Albert for a drink at their favorite little bar near the Church of the Magdalena.  When I arrived (in my shorts, T-shirt, and sandals) at the usually quiet corner, I was surprised to find a throng of stylishly and elegantly dressed people (all seemingly in their 20s) crowding the tall outside tables.  It was a flamboyance of Spanish style.  They had obviously just come from a wedding.

Jerry and I have commented often on the elegantly dressed women in the city.  Just this morning while having breakfast downstairs at El Sanedrín, we noted couples strolling by on their way to weddings.  Most of the women wear incredible headpieces that I had been calling hats (the type of headpiece sported by so many of the women at the recent royal wedding in London).  We see them in specialty shop windows all over town.  I learned from Albert and Lola today that these playful headpieces are not called hats (sombreros), they are tocados.

I have wanted to snap a picture several times, but have not wanted to offend anyone.  Since, we were all now hanging out at the same bar, and since they all seemed so happy and relaxed, I decided to ask.  Albert commented to one of the well-dressed guys — someone he knows — and he got the attention of his friends.  In Spanish, I told the women that I had never seen such style as I now see among the women of Sevilla and I asked if they would mind if I took a picture.  Not only did not they not mind, they stepped into the plaza and positioned themselves so the sun would be over my shoulder, and they posed for me.  Later, another group posed for one of their friends.  I ran over with my camera and they didn’t hesitate.  Someone had just turned his car down the tiny street.  He came to a stop, blocking traffic, and pulled out his phone to snap a picture as well.  Everyone simply laughed and smiled for the camera.

I love the people of Sevilla!



REMEMBER MYRON FLOREN?  A TRIBUTE TO THE LADIES OF SPAIN.

Learning to Simply Live

It has been challenging for me to comprehend or even contemplate the fact that we now live in Sevilla.  This is not a vacation.  I do not need to “take in the sights” every day.  I can appreciate the sights, I can be surprised by new things, but I do not need to — nor should I — go on a sight-seeing tour every day of the week.  It’s OK to run errands, do laundry, read a book, and just hang around the house every so often.  This may be the toughest thing for me to learn to do.

THE MOON OVER THE CATHEDRAL LAST NIGHT.  SIMPLY LIVING.

TALKING THE TALK
This morning, I met Lola for breakfast and we spoke Spanish.  That is the new Thursday morning ritual.  We have English Conversation Tuesday and Spanish Conversation Thursday.  We are having a ball learning about each other, our cultures, our families, and our languages.  Albert was there today as well and, as always, he adds wonderful energy, insights, and humor.  He was there for his morning coffee when I arrived Tuesday, but quickly departed so Lola would not feel uncomfortable about using English.

But it’s different on Thursday.  Everyone is welcome as long as they stick to Spanish.  Margarita happened by and joined us for a cup of coffee.  She began to speak English with me, but was quickly informed of the rules.  No English on Thursday (well, we cheat here and there).  Our plan (mine and Lola’s) is to spend an hour together, but we have had such a good time this week that the hour stretches into more.  Tuesday, we spent two hours.  Today, three.

We have already begun to teach each other common idioms as well as silly
and inappropriate expressions in our native languages.  These are, of
course, very important.


A LITTLE DITTY I SHARED WITH LOLA AND MARGARITA TODAY 

WHAT’S JERRY GOT COOKIN’?

We (Jerry) couldn’t get our oven to work (Jerry has been cooking on the range top only).  We both scanned the instruction manual, which is in Spanish, and were convinced the oven needed repair.  However, today while I was off enjoying Spanish Conversation Thursday, Jerry read and translated the entire instruction manual.  On page 62, he discovered that the timer needs to be set for the heat to go on.  Now, how does even someone who reads and understands Spanish know that tidbit without getting to page 62 of the instruction manual? And how many people read entire instruction manuals?

Anyway, we (Jerry) now know how to turn on the oven.  That knowledge really wouldn’t serve much purpose in my cooking-incompetent hands. But I can’t wait to taste what Jerry produces.

Sugar Substitute

METICULOUS CRAFSTMANSHIP IN BOTH TOWERS.
BUT THE ONE ON THE RIGHT IS PARTICULARLY SWEET.

When Jorunn was visiting late last week, we crammed a lot of sight-seeing into two afternoons.  Jerry and I had first toured the Cathedral and the Giralda (bell tower) on a cold January day.  Jorunn and I did the same on a hot September afternoon.  This time as we climbed, there were beautiful breezes blowing through the tower that made it very pleasant. The icy breezes that blew through the tower in January caused Jerry and me to rush right back down without taking in the spectactular views.

ON OUR WAY UP.  THE GUADALQUIVIR RIVER IN THE DISTANCE ON THE RIGHT.
THE NIÑA, THE PINTA, AND THE SANTA MARIA SET SAIL FROM THIS RIVER.

It was especially fun to see the Giralda from street level this time. Wednesday afternoon, when Jorunn and I were out walking in the neighborhood near the apartment, we passed the pastry and ice cream shop “La Campana.”  In the window was an intricately reproduced Giralda (about 5 feet/152 cm tall) that appeared to be carved out of marble. I thought, what an odd thing to have in the window of a pastry shop.  On closer inspection, we saw the little sign that said the La Campana Giralda was made completely out of sugar.  So, now I think I like it better than the original.

FROM THE TOP.  THE BULL RING CAN BE SEEN AT CENTER.

Circus of the Sun

Jerry took us out Sunday for a night on the … tent.  Cirque du Soleil is in town and Jerry suggested, spur of the moment, that we get tickets and head over.  The show is “Corteo,” one we haven’t seen — and we’ve seen most, from all but one of the shows in Las Vegas to many of the road/tent shows. 

BOUNCING BEDS.  MY FAVORITE ACT.  UNRESTRAINED JOY.

We had spotted the tent on one of our rides back from IKEA, so we knew that although it was across the river, it was walkable (perhaps 2 km).  However, given that it was still hovering around 31C (88F) when we headed out, we decided to take a cab and then stroll back in the cool after the show. 

A TRAPEZE ACT WITH NO TRAPEZE.  JUST ARMS.  PHENOMENAL.

The tent was set up on an undeveloped parcel of land.  I didn’t know
what the neighborhood was called.  And, once we got in the cab, I
realized I also didn’t know how to say tent.  Also, the word for circus —
circo — had slipped my mind.  But we had another great cab
driver.  He had no idea what Cirque du Soleil was.  When he asked if I
meant “Circo del Sol,”  I said without thinking “no.”  That had to be
something else.  After all, we never translated it to Circus of the Sun
when we lived in the United States.  Fortunately, Jerry and I knew
exactly where it was, so simply directed the driver.  We (the driver and
I) had a great conversation.  I’m amazed at how much more I can
understand now, seemingly by osmosis.  Once we neared the tent, we
straightened out the confusion. I explained that we don’t translate the
name into English and that I didn’t know the word for “the house that
the circus is in” (that’s what I said in Spanish).  I now do, thanks to
the driver.  In this case, the word for tent is “carpa.”

AFTER THE SHOW.  LOOKING BACK AT THE CARPAS.

We figured Cirque du Soleil would be a great show to see. 
Our language skills would not be put to the test.  The only talking they ever do in their non-Vegas shows is some random word here and there.  Most
of what you hear is nonsense language. Even the songs are written in no known language. But, just to keep us on our
toes, this show had narration.  Of course in Spanish.  There was an actual story
we were supposed to follow.  “A clown pictures his own funeral taking
place in a carnival atmosphere, watched over by angels.” I managed to
keep up with most of it and would pass info along to Jerry — unsolicited
— as I thought necessary. But it wasn’t necessary for the enjoyment of
the acts.  There were several inside jokes written just for the
Sevillano audience.  I did catch a joke about the two football teams.  At one point, one of the clowns made an absolutely hilarious
comment that had the entire audience roaring with laughter.  I have no clue what he said…

CROSSING THE RIVER ON THE WALK HOME.
BRIDGE IN BACKGROUND IS THE ONE WE CROSSED IN JULY AFTER THE TRIANA FAIR.

Eating Healthy

Jerry stirred up another gourmet success from the pages of “The New Spanish Table.”  Tonight it was Garbanzos Salteados Con Gambas (Chickpea and Shrimp Saute).  Fresh shrimp that he meticulously peeled and cleaned.  Before the shells and other stuff were discarded, they were used to make the stock.  It didn’t look like much food when all was said and done, but it was very filling and ended up being more than enough.  It was also exceptionally delicious.  And we were pleased to note that it was extremely healthy and high in protein.

GARBANZOS SALTEADOS CON GAMBAS

So, after our satisfyingly delicious and healthy dinner we went for a walk in the slowly cooling night air.  When we reached La Alameda de Hercules, we stopped at our favorite spot for a couple of cups of chocolate fondant ice cream (which contains protein, riboflavin, calcium, and other essential vitamins and minerals).

A NOT-SO-STONY STONY VISAGE ON THE CATHEDRAL.
I THINK SHE MIGHT HAVE JUST HAD SOME CHOCOLATE FONDANT ICE CREAM.