Forever Blowing Bubbles

Judyshannonstreetwhat (click here) had never been to Sevilla. So, San Geraldo and I wanted to make sure she saw at least a few of our favorite places during our brief visit. One of those is the Plaza de España. Click here for our “discovery” of the place four years ago.

The Plaza de España was built in 1928 as part of the Ibero-American Exposition World’s Fair of 1929, which opened, unfortunately, just in time for the Great Depression. (Click any photo for a great inflation.)

Since I’ve written about the plaza several times, I thought I’d give you some different views. Of course, our visit (or at least mine) had to begin with San Geraldo’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather King Ferdinand III (that’s 22-greats if you didn’t feel like counting).

SAN GERALDO’S 22-GREATS-GRANDFATHER, KING FERDINAND III.
(A SAINT, LIKE HIS GREATS-GRANDSON, BUT NOT UNTIL HE HAD BEEN DEAD 419 YEARS.)

Ring-necked parakeets are common in Southern Spain, but I’ve never had a good photo opportunity. They flit from one tree to another in a blur of noisy green. Then they hide out among the palm fronds. This time, a group of parakeets were very cooperative on our visit to the Plaza de España. they sat perfectly sun-lit on a nearby lamp post.

“TILES”
“SELF-PORTRAIT WITH TILES”

And, finally, the bubbles. I could have spent an entire day viewing the plaza — in every direction — through the bubbles, but we had a parade to catch (click here).

 

Pretty bubbles in the air…

Chocolate-Smothered Waffle: Better Going Down

San Geraldo and I went last night to Feria Málaga (Málaga Fair). Last year I enjoyed the daytime festivities in the center of the old city (click here to see last year’s blog post). This year, we decided to check out the nighttime festivities that take place outside the city center and just a bit closer to where we live.

Unlike the casetas at Feria Sevilla (click here to see those pictures), the casetas at Málaga are free and open to the public. We didn’t see the horses and carriages famous in Sevilla. And the traditional feria costumes, although in abundance, were less so than in Sevilla. But there was still plenty to see and experience and I found it less overwhelming than Sevilla’s fair. The fairgrounds are beautiful and sprawling and much more pleasant to explore. The lights were enchanting. The rides were fun to watch. Given how things progressed, it’s good I opted out of going on any.

As usual, click any image to see it big time.

The Lights

THE ENTRANCE.

The food all looked really delicious. I take that back. Some of the food looked really delicious. However, there were a number of “edibles” that looked radioactive. San Geraldo and I succumbed to enticing gofres (waffles) smothered in chocolate. It was so good going down. About a half hour later, however, the waffle and chocolate decided to repeat itself. And, let me just say, it wasn’t quite so delicious on the reflux. And there were no antacids in sight. But, I soldiered on. What’s a little heartburn?

At 11 p.m., we caught the next to last train for home. It was crowded with fair-goers, so we stood most of the way. I felt fine. But we sat for the last three stops and the waffle and chocolate decided to make another return visit (I probably shouldn’t have bent at the waist).

The Food

MINE. MINE. MINE. MINE. MINE.
IGNORANCE IS BLISS.

One stop before home, I stood up, looked at San Geraldo and said, “I feel sick.” (Apologies to my third-grade teacher; I know I’m supposed to say “ill,” not “sick.” But her name was Mrs. Doody, so…) 

But back to the train. The doors opened and I signaled to San Geraldo that when I said sick, I meant I-need-to-get-off-the-train sick. He jumped off behind me at a, thankfully, dark and empty station. I quickly headed to the railing and wretched into the bushes. Now, don’t get all squeamish on me (although I would in your shoes). Nothing serious happened. Just a case of powerful reflux. And then all was well.

Truthfully, I did it all just to get San Geraldo to take a walk with me. That station is about 1.5 km (1 mile) from home.

The People

FREEZE FRAME:  THEY ONLY MOVED TO SHAKE HANDS
WHEN THEY WERE GIVEN A TIP (WHICH WAS OFTEN).

AND SPEAKING OF DELICIOUS…
WITH HIS PLEASANT (AND PROUD) GRANDPARENTS.

Drawing on Memories

FEELING LOST AND LONELY IN AN ELEGANT APARTMENT.
SELF-PORTRAIT, AVENZA, CARRARA, ITALY, 1977.

I just pulled out an old sketchbook and discovered some drawings that brought back memories.  The memories that come back when I look at my old drawings are often more vivid than those that are awakened by looking at old photographs.  I think it’s the fact that I was completely engaged in the action at the time and spent more than a moment snapping a photo or awkwardly posing for posterity.

10 SEPT BECAME 11 SEPT 1980 WHILE I WAITED IN MY ’78 MAZDA GLC TO GIVE
A “FRIEND” A LIFT BACK TO BOSTON AFTER A BUSINESS RECEPTION IN CAMBRIDGE.
HIS NAME WAS STEVEN AND HE WAS MORE THAN AN HOUR LATE.

When I was 25, I landed a job in Medical Illustration at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York.  I drew kidneys and muscle tissue.  I traced cross-sections of cadavers that had been cast in polyurethane.  I created art and typography for slides that were used by the medical school.  It was fun work and was what began my career in publications and communications.  At the time, I never went anywhere without a sketch book.  I would sketch unselfconsciously, and had been doing so for years. I doodled my way around Italy in the ’70s and gave away almost all the sketches as “thank you” gifts for the hospitality I received there.  I wish I had had a scanner!

BANANAS, MAY 1980, TOP FLOOR, 15 CHARLES STREET, BOSTON.

SEDUCTIVE BANANAS.

While working at Downstate, I drove up to Boston, just 4-1/2 hours away for a weekend visit with an old college friend, Mary.  I fell in love with Boston and immediately decided I had to move there.  I left  Downstate four months later after only 1-1/2 years for a job as a typesetter and graphic artist in a small, quirky (aka, cripplingly dysfunctional) studio in Cambridge, ironically named “Together Graphics.” The job in Cambridge paid a lot better, but was not as interesting nor did it offer the same opportunities for professional development and personal growth as the job in Brooklyn.  But it did get me to Boston, which is where I met Jerry a little over a year later.

SNACKING AS I SKETCHED, ENABLING NEW POSES.

HOURS OF SKETCHING.  I CONSUMED MY RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE OF POTASSIUM.

For my first month in Boston, while I looked for my own place, I stayed in a basement apartment on Gray Street in the South End with Brian, a friend I met through Mary.  He was to become my best friend over the years and was my first good gay friend.  I was still living the life of a straight person, thinking I could ignore who I really was and wanted to be.  As a good friend (and someone with “gaydar”), Brian clearly knew the truth, but he never let on and he let me come to terms at my own pace. I spent a month on his couch and many afternoons hanging out at Mary’s apartment with my sketchbook, sketching the room, the house plants, and, as shown here, bananas that happened to be left on the coffee table. Jerry and I had already moved twice by the time Brian and Mary decided to move together to Maui.  I lost touch with Mary, who met someone in Maui, married, and was living in Missouri the last I heard.  After a few years, Brian (who was a serial monogamist) had also met someone.  They moved to San Diego and stayed together about a year.  Brian remained in San Diego.  So, I was elated when Jerry and I had the opportunity in late 1992 to move to San Diego, as well.  But, just before we left Connecticut for San Diego, Brian went back to his parents’ home in Massachusetts, where he died at the age of 37 of complications from AIDS.

DARTMOUTH “T” STATION, 1981.  BACK FROM ENGLAND TWO WEEKS AFTER MY SISTER DIED.
ON MY WAY TO A PARTY WITH STEVEN AFTER DISCOVERING MY CAR HAD BEEN STOLEN.

I think it’s time to start sketching again.  It’s very therapeutic and I like the depth of the memories.

Metropol Parasol and Finding Home

FROM THE MAIN PLAZA BEFORE TAKING THE ELEVATOR UP.

In a recent post, I shared a couple of photos of the new construction at the Plaza de la Encarnacion in the center of Sevilla.  The structure is called Metropol Parasol and it’s the largest wooden structure in the world. The views are amazing and down below are the Antiquarium (the brand new archaeological museum), a restaurant, and Sevilla’s farmers’ market.

LIKE BEING INSIDE A GIANT HONEYCOMB.

Last night before dinner, Jerry and I took the elevator to the top of the structure and strolled the walkways to admire the spectacular views contrasting old and new architecture.  Well, it would be more correct to say that Jerry and I both took the elevator up, but I alone strolled the walkways.

RUN!  A MILDLY PANICKING JERRY TELLING ME HE’S HEADING BACK DOWN.

A VIEW FROM THE BACK. NOTE THE WALKWAY SNAKING TO THE RIGHT.

UNDULATIONS.

A STUDY IN CONTRASTS.

Jerry went out onto the first walkway concerned about the heights only to become more concerned about the vibrations.  So, I continued on and he went back downstairs to check out the Antiquarium (built around the discoveries at the base of the Metropol Parasol).

LA GIRALDA (THE CATHEDRAL BELL TOWER) IN THE BACKGROUND.

The museum was closed (Sunday night at 9), but you can still see quite a bit through the glass and it was beautiful and fascinating. We’ll have to get back to really explore the ancient history (ruins going as far back as 1 A.D.).

LOOKING AT SEVILLA THROUGH A ROSE-COLORED PALACIO.

REALLY CLOSE TO HOME

We take possession August 1 of our apartment on Calle Cuna. We are elated.  The apartment shares the top floor of a three-story former private palace in the heart of old Sevilla.  Our “palacio” is on a pedestrianized street and is simply 10 apartments built in the shell of a former palace.  It’s only two bedrooms, but it’s grander (in style and quality) than we expected to find.  It’s light and airy, and quiet; with large windows opening onto a charming and large interior courtyard and other windows looking out back.  And the location is incredible.  For those of you who know the city, we are across the street from the Palace of Lebrija, a fully restored private palace that is now a private museum.  We are just a few minutes walk from Metropol Parasol, El Corte Inglés, and all the other shopping, dining, and people-watching you could possibly desire (and about 10-minutes away from that antique store that’s selling my Parachute Jump, which would look so great in our new apartment).