Bizarre bazaar / Bazar extraño

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

WHEN WE ARRIVED IN SEVILLA in 2011, we were fortunate to have met an American couple who had just taken a one-year break there after falling in love with the city. They sometimes had a peculiar perspective but they gave us some good recommendations and introduced us to a local who became a really good friend and an exceptional resource.

In one of our first conversations with the Americans, although I don’t remember what we were in the market for, we were told, “Oh, just go to the Chinese for that.”

‘The what?!?’ we responded in shock.

It was explained to us that the discount stores were “all owned by ‘Chinese’ and so everyone just calls them ‘El Chino’.” It seemed offensive to us, so we avoided the term. Ironically, there was one of those shops right on our plaza with the official name (on the signage): “El Chino.”

Our friend Kathleen appropriately calls them bazars, which is what they are (bazar in contemporary Spanish means variety store).

To add to the confusion, that same American acquaintance in Sevilla told me about a “great Chinese” across from the former train station. She said it was owned by an Indian family. I asked facetiously, “Why don’t you call it ‘The Indian,’ then?” She didn’t get it and responded, “No, it’s a Chinese.” Bizarre!

I think I’ll stick with ‘bazar’. The first photo is from Google maps of the bazar that was called El Chino on our plaza in Sevilla. The rest are examples from my walks around Fuengirola.


CUANDO LLEGAMOS A SEVILLA EN en 2011, tuvimos la suerte de haber conocido a una pareja estadounidense que acababa de tomarse un descanso de un año allí después de enamorarse de la ciudad. A veces tenían una perspectiva peculiar, pero nos dieron algunas buenas recomendaciones y nos presentaron a un local que se convirtió en un muy buen amigo y un recurso excepcional.

Sin embargo, en una de nuestras primeras conversaciones con los estadounidenses, aunque no recuerdo para qué estábamos en el mercado, nos dijeron: “Oh, ve a los chinos para eso”.

“¿¡¿Que qué?!?”, respondimos en estado de shock.

Se nos explicó que las tiendas de descuento eran “todas propiedad de chinos, por lo que todo el mundo las llama ‘El Chino’”. Nos pareció ofensivo, así que evitamos el término. Irónicamente, había una de esas tiendas justo en nuestra plaza con el nombre oficial (en la señalización): “El Chino”.

Nuestra amiga Kathleen los llama apropiadamente bazares, que es lo que son.

Para aumentar la confusión, ese mismo conocido estadounidense en Sevilla me habló de un “gran chino” frente a la antigua estación de tren. Dijo que era propiedad de una familia india. Le pregunté en broma: “¿Por qué no lo llamas ‘El indio’, entonces?” Ella no lo entendió y respondió: “No, es un chino”. ¡Extraño!

Creo que me quedaré con “bazar”; la gente tendrá que ponerse al día. La primera foto es de los mapas de Google del bazar que se llamaba El Chino en nuestra plaza de Sevilla. El resto son ejemplos de mis paseos por Fuengirola.

En inglés, bazaar significa bazar. Bizarre signífica extraño. Bazaar y bizarre se pronuncian de la misma manera.

On our plaza in Sevilla. I don’t know if they’re still in business, but when we lived there it was called “El Chino.”
En nuestra plaza de Sevilla. No sé si todavía están en el negocio, pero cuando vivíamos allí se llamaba “El Chino”.
“Julia” was so successful, they expanded to the other side of the building entrance. They only opened one side this summer (and need to replace their sign).
“Julia” tuvo tanto éxito que se expandieron al otro lado de la entrada del edificio. Solo abrieron un lado este verano (y necesitan reemplazar su letrero).

Snoring Logs / Roncando Troncos

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

It’s no wonder San Geraldo gets confused when he speaks Spanish, I’m still trying to teach him English.

San Geraldo woke up from a siesta. Moose loves to join him. He told me, “Musy [that’s Moose’s official name] is still snoring logs.”

“Sawing logs,” I corrected.

“What?” he asked.

“Sawing logs, not snoring logs,” I said, thinking he would realize his error.

“Why sawing?” he asked, as if it were the most ridiculous phrase.

I mimed cutting a log with a saw and making the noise that goes with it.

“Oh, it makes the same sound!”

It’s not the first time I’ve corrected him, but it is the first time I’ve explained it.

No es de extrañar que San Geraldo se confunda cuando habla español, todavía estoy tratando de enseñarle inglés.

San Geraldo despertarse de una siesta. Alce le encanta unirse a él. Me dijo: “Musy [ese es el nombre oficial de Moose] todavía está aserrando troncos”. (Nota: La expresión en inglés es “aserrando troncos”, que significa roncando (porque suena como el ruido que se hace al aserrar troncos.)

“Serrando troncos”, corregí.

“¿Qué?” preguntó.

“Serrando troncos, no roncando troncos”, dije, pensando que se daría cuenta de su error. [Nota: En inglés serrar es “to saw” y “roncar” es “to snore.” Suenan similar.]

“¿Por qué serrando?” preguntó, como si fuera la frase más ridícula.

Imité cortar un tronco con una sierra y hacer el ruido que la acompaña.

“¡Oh, hace el mismo ruido!”

No es la primera vez que lo corrijo, pero es la primera vez que lo explico.

Listen to the audio (full volume if you dare). It’s San Geraldo “snoring” logs.
Escucha el audio (volumen completo si te atreves). Es San Geraldo “roncando troncos.”

Another photo of Moose and Dudo. Dudo doesn’t snore. / Otra foto de Moose y Dudo. Dudo no ronca.

Golden Helmet Of Mambrino

Our part of Spain is not known for its Mexican food.

San Geraldo and I did, however, find an exceptional chain of (three) Mexican restaurants in Sevilla. Owned by a Mexican man who spent many years in Southern California, Iguanas Ranas serves the same food we remember from our years in California. (Click here to see what we experienced, the bad and the good, in Sevilla.)

We haven’t yet found that in Málaga. There’s a Mexican restaurant here in Fuengirola whose decor inside and out looks, if not authentic, at least stereotypical. So, we finally gave it a try for our friend Elena’s birthday. When we walked in the door, Elena and I both said, “They’re not putting one of those #@^*%^$ hats on my head!”

The restaurant is in an old (expanded) fisherman’s cottage and was surprisingly busy (it seemed so quiet outside). The food was decent although not exactly what we had hoped for. But it will definitely do. Good quality and low prices. The staff were warm, friendly, and noisy. The service was exceptional. One of the waiters insisted on doing what he considered, I think, a Mexican bandito yell. He would sneak up to a table and squeal like something out of a bad Hollywood Western. I didn’t like that, but I did like him. There was a ritual for every event in the restaurant.


Another waiter, one who didn’t scream, told us each time they did something that it was a tradition in Mexico. When they brought a box to the table and had us all hold hands before running an electrical current through us, he said that was a Mexican tradition also. I’m pretty sure he was making it all up. Note: We did that twice because San Geraldo didn’t feel it the first time!

Anyway, I lightened up. We even allowed them to put the sombreros on our heads. I didn’t once slug the screaming waiter (although I was tempted). We couldn’t help but have a great time.

After the electro shock therapy, I did wonder aloud what would happen if they had a customer with a Pacemaker.

The final “Mexican tradition” was when they served our complementary chupitos (after-dinner drinks). They placed a copper bowl on each of our heads, in turn, and tapped the shot glass against the metal while singing some little ditty or another. For bald men they would place a dish towel on top of the head first. Tynan didn’t know where that dish towel had been, so insisted on doing without.

As a result, I got tapped without protection, too.


And of course a Broadway tune came to mind… 

Lucky, Lucky Me?

I took a long walk on the beach Monday and, as I strolled, I thought I’d pick up perhaps four pieces of sea glass to add to my collection. I was thinking about the standard colours I always find: light green, dark green, brown, and clear (frosted). I haven’t come across another piece of yellow sea glass since I dropped one a few minutes after I discovered it (click here).

(Click any image. If you get as excited as I did, you just might [almost, nearly, but not quite] pee yourself.)

Everywhere I looked were beautiful translucent shells in a multitude of colours. These shells are always to be found here, but never have I seen them in this quantity and in such variety. I had already found my four pieces of glass and decided to start another collection.

After carefully pocketing my new treasures, I noticed one more bit of gold shining in the wet sand just beyond the shoreline. I bent down and discovered it was a piece of glass. Yellow glass! I placed it deep in my other pocket and it actually made it home with me. Simple pleasures are definitely the best.

How’d I get so lucky?

Spotted Dick In Spain

Our favourite English-style restaurant here in Fuengirola is, as you might already know, Sandpiper. Chef/Owner Jason recently added two new desserts. Jessica told me about them.

One of the new desserts is “Treacle Sponge,” a traditional British dessert of sponge cake drizzled with treacle (golden syrup) and often served with custard.

Jessica was very unhappy to learn that the other dessert was called “Spotted Dick.” I’ve heard of it before — the dessert, I mean. Well, come to think of it… Oh, never mind. Anyway, the dessert is commonly made with suet, flour and raisins, and served with custard.

Jessica (Spanish) was appalled and told Jason that, until the new menus were printed, she would write the desserts on a piece of paper. She was not going to say “Spotted Dick.”

A few days later, there was more to the story. Ana, Jessica’s mother and Jason’s life and business partner, was told about the new desserts.

“Spotted Dick,” she said.

No problem.

But then she tried “Treacle Sponge.”

With Ana’s Spanish accent, “Treacle Sponge” sounded like “Treacle Spunk.” And no matter how many times she tried, it always came out the same.

When Jason stopped laughing, he told her what “spunk” was. Jessica had already told her about “dick.” Ana said she would not be selling either until they were printed on the menu.

Friday night, I ordered Spotted Dick to share with San Geraldo.

When Jessica brought the dish to the table, San Geraldo asked (cluelessly), “Does the spotted dick have nuts?”

Jessica stood in stunned silence.

San Geraldo continued (still clueless), “Because I hate nuts.”

Jessica walked away before I could tell her that I usually eat San Geraldo’s nuts.

“Me mother says I must be quick to get me bit o’ spotted dick.”