The Great State of Santacoda?

Last night, we had a tapas dinner in La Alameda neighborhood with our warm, charming, funny, and fascinating Sevillana friend, Margarita.  Margarita teaches English and Spanish, but our rapid-fire American English at times leaves her a bit confused.  In January, while trying to fill a lifetime of information into a few brief meetings, we told her about Jerry’s childhood in South Dakota.  As part of Margarita’s studies, she learned about all the states of the USA and all their capitals.  (She’s probably more informed than I am.)  But, because we were speaking so quickly, she didn’t clearly catch the words “South Dakota.”  So, she admitted last night, immediately after we left in February she began to do research on the place she thought Jerry was from.  She said she became more and more frustrated because she could find absolutely no reference to this placed called “Santacoda.”  After a couple of days, the light bulb went on, “Hmm,” she thought, “that sounds an awful lot like South Dakota.”
 

THE JUST-COMPLETED PLAZA DE ENCARNACION, HOME TO THE PUBLIC MARKET.

What a warm welcome we have felt in this exceptional city.  We are so glad to be back here and to have decided that this will be our home in Spain.  The counter-person at our favorite breakfast place, Nostalgia, (remember “dos especiales, por favor”?) recognized us and welcomed us back with a huge smile and warm greeting.  Thursday night, we had dinner at our favorite restaurant, San Marco, the place we visited every Sunday when we were here in January/February, and one of the servers remembered us and even offered to treat us to after-dinner drinks.

HISTORICAL PURISTS ARE NOT THRILLED WITH THE DESIGN. BUT I FIND IT UPLIFTING.

Our friend Alberto, who had been visiting family far from here for 12 days and only just returned for two days before heading off again, still managed to schedule an appointment for us with a rental agent he knows.  He met us for drinks before introducing us to the agent and he then raced off.  He is so kind.  The agent was great and showed us the one and only apartment she has available and, unbelievably, we fell in love with it.  So, we may even have a home!

CALLE CUNA; POSSIBLY OUR NEW STREET.

I had my own Margarita Moment (Santacoda) yesterday while talking with the agent as we were leaving the apartment, which is part of the top floor of a former private palace.  I told her in Spanish that we were very interested.  Well, I MEANT to tell her in Spanish that we were very interested.  What I in fact said was that we were very interestING.  I realized my mistake and started to laugh and then corrected myself (interasado, not interesante).  She laughed, too, but said she agreed, we WERE very interesting.

WE ASKED MARGARITA TO DO THE ORDERING.  EXCELLENT ENSALADILLA RUSA
AND, A FIRST FOR US, DELICIOUS SALMOREJO — ANDALUSIAN CREAMY, COLD SOUP.

Also, we told Margarita that Thursday evening when we walked by Rodilla, a very good chain cafe, the counter person remembered us and excitedly welcomed us home.  Margarita said, “Ah, Rodilla.  Si.”  Jerry thought she was correcting our pronunciation of the name, so he repeated, Arodilla.  I then had to explain… to him and to her.  This is certainly going to be entertaining!

REDUCED FROM €199 TO €169.  MORE THAN THE PRICE OF A COUPLE OF SAILORS.

ANOTHER MAGICAL MOMENT

On our way to La Alameda with Margarita last night, we passed an antique and collectibles store.  It was closed, but the lights were on and, from across the narrow street, I noticed what looked like the Parachute Jump sitting on a small table in the window.  I excitedly crossed the street to get a closer look.  Yes!  It was an actual working replica of the Parachute Jump from the 1939 New York World’s Fair.  The Parachute Jump visible from my mother’s apartment windows.  The Parachute Jump my mother got to ride with her friend Harriet in the mid-1940s by “picking up a couple of sailors.”  So, now I’m trying to keep myself from going back to the store to buy it.

If It’s Thursday, It Must Be Sevilla

We have made it to Sevilla.  Three jumbo suitcases, two carry-on bags, two computer bags — and all on wheels, thankfully.  I wish Jerry and I had wheels as well — and someone to push/drag us. 

FLAMENCO WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN MALAGA.
AT AN EXCEPTIONAL RESTAURANT (DESPITE BEING TOURISTY), VINO MIO.

We’ve been at our hotel about an hour.  It feels great to be back, even if it is 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). 

AN OLD OLIVE PROCESSOR ALONG THE WAY TO SEVILLA.

The hunt for a place to live begins tomorrow.  The naps begin NOW!

ACRE UPON ACRE OF SUNFLOWERS.
I THOUGHT OF ASKING THE ENGINEER TO STOP SO I COULD GET A CLEAR SHOT.

If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium… Um, Dublin… Um, Málaga

PLENTY OF TIME FOR A COMPLETE IRISH BREAKFAST AT DUBLIN AIRPORT.

With our recent and continuing wanderings: Irvine, Pierre, Sioux Falls, Minneapolis, Pierre, Sioux Falls, Los Angeles, Irvine, Los Angeles, New York, Dublin… I’m so confused that the only way I know we’re in Málaga is because yesterday was Tuesday and I know for certain that we were scheduled to arrive in Málaga Tuesday.  It feels like one of those really cheesy, hectic tours spoofed in the 1969 movie (“If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium”).  Well, maybe not cheesy.  But, at times, hectic.  I’ve got a mix of camera photos and iPhone photos to share some highlights of our trek from New York to Málaga.

VIEW DURING BREAKFAST AT THE BEAUTIFUL NEW TERMINAL 2 AT DUBLIN AIRPORT.

We arrived here in Málaga mid-day Tuesday, flying Aer Lingus via Dublin from New York.  The entire trip was uneventful (mostly) and surreal.  You probably all know by now that Spanish is my second language (DISTANT second language).  But I was so tired by the time we arrived in Málaga that English was beginning to sound like my THIRD language.  I could not successfully complete a sentence.  And conversation with Jerry — which as you also probably already know can be entertaining at the best of times — had begun to sound like an Abbott & Costello routine.

But, every so often, when the fog of jetlag lifted, we were both elated.  After making our way to our temporary apartment here in Málaga, we settled in and took brief naps.  We woke up feeling refreshed only to feel completely muddled a few minutes later.  

ON THE STREETS OF MALAGA TUESDAY NIGHT.
MARQUES DE LARIOS, THE MAIN PEDESTRIAN/SHOPPING THOROUGHFARE.

So we took a walk around town, picked up a cheap temporary mobile phone to use until we figure out what plan and contract is best for us, and we enjoyed some of the sights.  Málaga is mobbed with tourists.  Obviously, it’s quite different from the way it was when we were here in January.  Feria de Málaga, the annual summer fair, will be here mid-August, and that will really liven things up.

ENSALADILLA RUSA CAN BE GOOD!

We stumbled upon an obviously popular tapas bar, Azahar, just two streets away from our apartment.  Below the restaurant name, the sign read (in Spanish): “More than tapas.”  We figured it was going to be good, because it was only 8:30 p.m. (20:30), which is about two hours early for a stylish dinner, and it was filled with locals.  So, we sat and ordered and had an excellent dinner, including Azahar’s version of ensaladilla rusa.  Do you remember our ensaladilla rusa disaster in Sevilla? (If not, click this link.) This time we were smart enough to order a tapas portion.  And this version was delicious and filled with a variety of foods — tasting nothing like the mayo- and cheese-choked blunder we ordered in Sevilla.  We are learning!

A CLEVER WAY TO PAY FOR THE WEDDING.
THEY HUGGED AND CHANGED THE POSE WHEN MONEY WAS DROPPED IN THE BOX.

It’s now 2:20 p.m. (14:40) Wednesday.  We rolled out of bed at 11 and finally got to breakfast at 12:35, which meant there weren’t many places in the neighborhood to grab breakfast.  They had mostly closed for siesta at 12:30.  But we found one very good little cafe on a shady corner of a beautiful plaza and we had two “French breakfasts” — cafe con leche, croissants and jam, orange juice.  It wasn’t necessarily healthy and it wasn’t substantial, but it was good.

THE VIEW WHILE WE ENJOYED TODAY’S FRENCH BREAKFAST.

We then strolled around town for an hour or so, visiting El Corte Inglés to browse home furnishings and electronics (because we’ll need some things pretty soon) and to pick up some necessities.  In a few minutes we’ll head out for lunch and then naps before, we hope, dinner with an online friend who is recently here from Texas (and who just happens to have rented an apartment in the building right next to ours).  We plan to take the train to Sevilla Thursday, where we’ll settle into a hotel until we find a place to live!

WALKING BACK TO OUR APARTMENT TODAY AFTER SHOPPING.

  

Random, Roaming, and a Bit of Beefcake

We have one more day here in New York.  Jerry and I are spending a couple of hours at Starbucks getting caught up again with the cyber world.  We then get to have lunch in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with an old friend we haven’t seen since we left Connecticut in 1993. We are really looking forward to that.  This evening will be spent having a buen viaje dinner with my mother.  Perhaps we (Jerry… he’s a saint) will do a load of laundry in the morning.  Another visit to Starbucks.  And we’ll then pack and head to the airport.  The reality has not set in.  I think we’ll both be overwhelmed with the excitement once we get on the plane tomorrow.

WAITING FOR THE NUMBER 7 IN THE HOT AND HUMID STATION.

We made a trip to Grand Central Station for lunch with two people very special to us. I had hoped to take a lot more pictures and do a lot more posting during our stay in New York.  There has been so much to shoot and share.  But, time did not allow it.  So, I’ll instead just share some random shots taken with my iPhone in recent days.  We spent a few minutes in Grand Central Market and walked away with a bag of chocolate-covered raisin clusters for Jerry and SUGAR-FREE (and still delicious) chocolate-covered cashews for me.  The chocolate Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building looked like fun.

AND TO THINK WE WALKED AWAY WITH ONLY A HALF POUND (.226 KG) OF CHOCOLATE.

We had dinner last night in Rego Park, Queens, with long-time friends who are so kind and always ready to brave NYC traffic just to get together with us.  They chose another amazing restaurant — London Lenny’s — which bills itself as the best seafood restaurant in Queens.  I wouldn’t argue (although it’s the ONLY seafood restaurant in Queens I’ve ever experienced). 

LONDON LENNY’S BROILED SCROD, SCALLOPS, SHRIMP, AND SOLE.  SUPERB.
(AND SO HEALTHY THAT I COULD ALLOW MYSELF A SLICE OF KEY LIME PIE.)

We returned home from London Lenny’s to discover that my mother’s co-op was experiencing a blackout.  We turned the corner to discover emergency vehicles, police cars, pedestrians, stores, and five high-rise buildings containing 2,500 apartments all in the dark.  The co-op runs on its own power plant, which at times can be a plus.  It was just about the only neighborhood lit up during the major blackouts in the Northeast.  Fortunately, we only had to wait 20 minutes until power was restored.  But, then came the ride to the top in the elevator with Jerry, who was convinced the power was going to fail again and get us stuck.  We made it!

IT WASN’T LONG BEFORE WE SAW THE LIGHT.

The other night, Jerry, my mother, and I were all too tired/lazy to head back out for dinner, so Jerry offered to just scramble up some eggs and make some toast.  Now, if I were the one offering to scramble eggs and make toast, you might be served — if all went well — scrambled eggs and toast.  Jerry, the master chef (and former caterer of Russian dinners), doesn’t know how to keep it that simple.  He scrounged my mother’s refrigerator and produced what my mother and I would both call a gourmet scramble — with a side of fried sweet potatoes, and a blueberry/strawberry garnish.  I think he’s a keeper.

JUST A LITTLE SOMETHING JERRY THREW TOGETHER.

Before leaving Irvine, Jerry and I shipped off all our old family 35mm slides to have them digitized.  The two disks arrived and we have been having a wonderful time tripping down Memory Lane.  I found an old “beefcake” shot of me poolside in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  I was 15 at the time.  It might be better described as “beefSTICK” since that was more my shape.

BEEFCAKE OR BEEFSTICK.  YOU DECIDE.

Mermaids Before Málaga

Just four more days and we’ll be on our way to JFK for our flight to Málaga!  In January, we obtained a lease for a place in Sevilla before deciding to relocate to Málaga.  As a result (and we thought this might be the case), our residency visas were issued for Sevilla and we are required to live there at least until our resident cards are issued (which could take several months).  Jerry and I fell in love with Sevilla, so it’s no great hardship to have another change in plans.  So, we have our vacation rental in Málaga for the remainder of July and will find a permanent place in Sevilla (which is only about an hour and a half away on the express train).  We thrive on change!

THE MERMAID (AND MERMAN?) ON THE STATION
AT THE CORNER OF OCEAN PARKWAY AND BRIGHTON BEACH AVENUE.

I hope to post at least a couple more times before we leave New York.  Maybe there will be Malaga Mermaids and Mermen to photograph next week.  Right now, we’re sitting in a Starbucks in Fresh Meadows, Queens, after visiting an old cemetery to do some research on dead relatives for Jerry’s genealogy website, connectedbloodlines.com.  This afternoon and evening will be spent visiting and being visited by living relatives.