Easter Island African Elephants / Isla de Pascua Elefantes Africanos

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

I’VE LATELY BEEN stewing about the fact that when we planned our move to Spain back in 2010, we talked about all the European travel we could easily do. It’s been nearly eight years and we’ve done very little. Two trips to the United States every year for the first six years, and now one a year to visit The Kid Brother, use up the travel budget very quickly. We used to complain about having to stay with the Dowager Duchess instead of being able to stay in the heart of the city. Now that the Dowager Duchess is gone and we do get to stay in the heart of the city, we have to pay New York City prices for a hotel. Even a crummy hotel in the Dowager Duchess’s old neighborhood costs a small fortune.

We have, however, not only been to New York but to other parts of the United States; we’ve been to London for a fun and frigid few days; to northern and southern Norway; and to many cities and white villages in Spain. I also realized that we could do a day trip every day of the year and still not experience all the wonder that’s right here. So, never mind. Today, I went for an 8-km (5-mile) walk along the coast. What I saw satisfied my wanderlust — for another day.

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ÚLTIMAMENTE, HE ESTADO pensando en el hecho de que cuando planeamos nuestro traslado a España en 2010, hablamos de todos los viajes europeos que podríamos hacer fácilmente. Han pasado casi ocho años y hemos hecho muy poco. Dos viajes a los Estados Unidos cada año durante los primeros seis años, y ahora uno por año para visitar El Hermanito, agotan el presupuesto de viaje muy rápidamente. Solíamos quejarnos de tener que quedarnos con La Duquesa Viuda en lugar de poder quedarnos en el corazón de la ciudad. Ahora que La Duquesa Viuda ya no está y podemos quedarnos en el corazón de la ciudad, tenemos que pagar los precios de la ciudad de Nueva York por un hotel. Incluso un hotel desagradable en el antiguo barrio de la duquesa viuda cuesta una pequeña fortuna.

Sin embargo, no solo hemos estado en Nueva York sino en otras partes de los Estados Unidos; hemos estado en Londres por unos días divertidos y fríos; al norte y sur de Noruega; y a muchas ciudades y pueblos blancos de España. También me di cuenta de que podíamos hacer un viaje de un día todos los días del año y aún no experimentar todas las maravillas que hay aquí. Así que no importa. Hoy, fui a dar un paseo de 8 km (5 millas) a lo largo de la costa. Lo que vi satisfizo mi pasión por los viajes — para otro día.

I don’t really know where this guy is from. He doesn’t look like anyone from Easter Island. But he greeted me halfway up the hill.
Realmente no sé de dónde es este hombre. No se parece a nadie de la Isla de Pascua. Pero me saludó a mitad de la colina
The African elephants are outside Holiday World Resort in Benalmádena.
Los elefantes africanos están fuera de Holiday World Resort en Benalmádena.

A Sky Full Of Stars

San Geraldo and I went to see the lights of Málaga Monday evening. Every year it’s something different and every year it’s, as the saying goes, “something else.” This year, it’s a star- (and moon-) filled sky.

After strolling the streets, we had dinner at our favourite place in Málaga (El Meson de Cervantes). You’ll hear and see all about that probably tomorrow.

It was all heavenly.

(Click the images and be transported.)

AVENIDA MARQUÉS DE LARIOS.

ENTERING PLAZA DE LA CONSTITUCIÓN.
CALLE GRANADA.
PLAZA CARBÓN.

Dedicated to my sky full of stars…

Confusing Camisetas

Camiseta is the Spanish word for T-shirt. Especially popular here are T-shirts displaying the names of American destinations, universities, and teams.

Most of the T-shirts are made in China. Printed in English. For a Spanish audience.

New York City — Manhattan, Brooklyn, [The] Bronx, and Staten Island are commonly featured. But rarely correctly. (The fifth borough, Queens, doesn’t get much play.) 

(Click the images. Some will get bigger. None will make more sense.)

WHOA. THIS MUST HAVE BEEN A REALLY TOUGH GANG…
THEY HAD THEIR OWN 100% COTTON, PRE-SHRUNK T-SHIRTS. (I WONDER WHAT THE CITY CREW DID.)

Just the other day I passed someone wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the name of that great American university, New York City State. Although I myself have never heard of it, I’m sure it must be huge. After all, someone made T-shirts.

THERE’S AN ADDRESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS “1978 BROOKLYN” SHIRT,
I DON’T KNOW WHAT WAS AT 235 MYRTLE AVENUE IN 1978,
BUT IT’S NOT THERE NOW.

One morning, while Judyshannonstreetwhat (click here for that post) was still here, we were having coffee downstairs at Cafe El Noventa when a little boy walked by with his mother. As you may remember, Judy is from Seattle, Washington, and so, apparently, was the little boy’s T-shirt.

JUDY HAD NEVER HEARD OF A ROAD NAMED ROUTE 306,
I QUICKLY GOOGLED IT;  IT’S NOT A ROAD BUT A CITY TRANSIT BUS LINE.
AND IT DEFINITELY WON’T TAKE YOU TO LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA,
WHICH IS 1,828 KM (1,136 MILES) SOUTH.
A VISITOR FROM MOROCCO, WITH HIS PARENTS AND BROTHER.
THEY HAD NO IDEA WHAT “CONEY ISLA ND BEA CH” WAS.
(NOR HAVE I EVER SEEN PALM TREES AND AGAVES GROWING THERE.)

DAVID (Dah-VEED), AT CAFE EL NOVENTA,
WEARING ONE OF HIS FAVORITE OLD T-SHIRTS.
I ASKED DAVID WHAT “WATCHING UPPER” WAS (OTHER THAN AN “HONOUR”).
HIS RESPONSE: “NO TENGO IDEA.” (“I HAVE NO IDEA.”)  HE ASSUMED I WOULD KNOW.

I don’t get it…

Your Spanish Friend

A few weeks ago, I told you about my long weekend in Madrid staying with Guadalupe (click here for the last of several posts on that trip).

Guadalupe and a few of her friends can communicate fairly well in English. Other of her friends are fluent — and probably have a much better academic knowledge of English grammar than I do… than do I… than I… In addition, some are also fluent in French, German, and Italian. One friend is even fluent in Hebrew. All I could remember how to say in Hebrew was, “What’s this?,” “I go to Hebrew school,” and “Koopy is a good monkey.” Phonetically, that’s “Koopy cove tove,” if it ever comes up in conversation.

Putting Koopy aside… The core group of five professional women started a business together called “Your Spanish Friend.” They host people in their homes and offer a few days or more of immersion in Spanish conversation while sharing the city of Madrid from an insider’s view.

This all sounds like an advertisement and I don’t mean it to be that. I just thought I’d let you know about it in case you’re interested. Although Guadalupe and I had recently become friendly, we weren’t close friends and really didn’t know each other very well. I agreed to go up for a visit and was kind of nervous about staying in someone else’s home (not my favorite way to travel) and spending so much time in such close proximity to a fairly new acquaintance. I also love to travel independently, so didn’t know how I felt about being taken around Madrid by someone else.

The entire visit was a revelation. First, the homes are large and elegant. I had my own beautiful room and private bath. I know people with apartments smaller than that. So, staying in Guadalupe’s house was like staying in an elegant B&B — with the added benefit of feeling part of a family (and being able to eat whenever I wanted). We spent the entire weekend speaking only Spanish. At times, my Spanish was comical, but I can’t believe how much I improved, and how relaxed I was the entire time.

YOUR SPANISH FRIEND(s).

You may remember the photo I shared of Guadalupe and her friends. They are all gracious, fascinating, classy, relaxed, warm, kind, funny, knowledgable. I could go on an on. I fell in love. I told San Geraldo even he (yes, even he) would have had a great time.

This is not a shameless plug since it’s not about me. Check them out at www.YourSpanishFriend.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YourSpanishFriend. (You may recognize some of the photos. I sent all of mine to Guadalupe.)

AND JUST THINK, AFTER YOUR TIME IN MADRID,
YOU CAN VISIT THE COSTA DEL SOL AND WAKE UP TO THIS.
CLICK THE IMAGES TO FILL THE SCREEN WITH SUNRISE (AND FRIENDS).

Koopy
During your next trip to Spain I know you’ll be asked about Koopy the monkey (he comes up all the time, as you can imagine): When asked, all you need to say is:“Koopy es un buen mono,” because Koopy is a good monkey.

So, What… He’s Still A Rock Star

I saw the below statue as we quickly drove by a building near the Royal Palace in Madrid Saturday morning. At a glance, I thought he was holding a wireless microphone.

I REALLY LIKE HIS SOCKS.

I don’t know who he is but, like the song says (sort of), “So, what… [he’s] still a rock star.”