Friday, September 19, 2014

You'll Never Know If You Don't Know Now

Today would be my sister Dale's 63rd birthday. It's hard for me to imagine Dale at 63; she died before even reaching 30. So, she has now gone from being my big sister — 2 years and 9 months my senior — to being more than 30 years my junior.

San Geraldo and I had planned to go into Málaga this morning to take care of some business. I really didn't care what I did as long as I did something. But before we headed downstairs for coffee, San Geraldo suggested that we instead go to Bioparc Fuengirola, our local zoo. A much better way to spend a few hours and a nice way to remember Dale, who loved animals.

(Click any image to get the big picture.)


SIBLINGS AT BIOPARC FUENGIROLA.
AND MORE SIBLINGS.

I'm pretty sure that when she was three years old, Dale said she wanted a pony for Christmas. (Although, my parents celebrated Chanukah and not Christmas; and we lived in a 2nd-floor walk-up apartment.)

DALE TOLD ME THE LITTLE ROUND THINGS
ALL OVER THE GROUND WERE BLUEBERRIES.  I BELIEVED HER.

During her first year of marriage, and living in South Yorkshire, England, with her husband, Dale was outside the house one evening and saw her first-ever slug (those things that are basically snails without shells). When her husband went to kill it, she yelled, "Don't! It's cute!"

1966: LOOKING AT HOUSES IN NEW HAMPSHIRE...
WITH A COUNTRY CLUB... AND HORSES!
(HAVING MOVED 2 YEARS EARLIER, THE DOWAGER DUCHESS SAID "NO.")

In 1962, we drove to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania for vacation. There was a fly in the car when we left Long Island. Dale named him Seymour and wouldn't let anyone swat him. He didn't leave us until we reached Pennsylvania.

Six years later, we drove down to Southern Florida (same 1960 Rambler station wagon with no air-conditioning). There was a fly in the car when we left Brooklyn. Dale shrieked, "Seymour!"

STILL IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: DALE SETTLED FOR A PICTURE WITH A PEACOCK.

Dale died five months before I met the incomparable San Geraldo. She would have loved him. I hope she finally got her pony.

SIBLINGS, 1956.


She'll never know just how much I miss her...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Every Honey Bee Fills With Jealousy

I'm in love. Well, I've been in love with San Geraldo for 33+ years, but I've found someone new. Her name is Martina... and she's 2-1/2 years old. Obviously, she's not replacing San Geraldo (no one could ever take his place), but she is simply irresistible.


Martina is our friend Jessica's little (obviously) sister. Jessica brought her by and we met for the first time. I had bought her a set of books (for ages 2 and up) so she can enjoy learning her colors (and words) in Spanish and English. The books were a huge hit.

HUGGING BIG SISTER'S LEG.

We tried to get the very talkative Martina to say my name, but Mitchell is not an easy one for toddlers, even English-speaking toddlers. (My friends' daughter called me "Ditch" for months. She eventually started to get the idea that the consonant "M" was pronounced by pressing the lips together. Unfortunately, it took her a while to not start off with a "B." So, it went downhill from "Ditch.")

Whenever Jessica would ask Martina in Spanish what my name was or who gave her the books, she would respond, "ése"  ("that," as in "that one").


I finally told Jessica that we should give Martina something to call me that's easier and more recognizable to her young Spanish ears.


I said, "She can call me Miguel," (which would be the Spanish translation of my name).

So, Jessica turned to Martina and told her my name was Miguel and then asked her to say it.

Martina responded, "Miguel." But she quickly commented, "Él no se llama Miguel. ¡Él se llama Michi!" ("His name isn't Miguel. His name is Michi.")


"MICHI!"

Oh, I almost forgot to mention: I told Martina that her hair was very beautiful. She agreed. Then she looked into my eyes and said very gravely in Spanish, "You don't have hair." When I responded, equally gravely, "No, I don't." She told me it was OK because, "... you have hair on your face."

This post is dedicated to Martina and other sweet things.

IN A BAKERY WINDOW OUTSIDE THE ZOO.
DESSERT AT MESON SALVADOR.

SWEET CREPES AT CAFE EL NOVENTA.
PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS GIVING JESSICA GIFTS, LIKE LARGE BOXES OF CHOCOLATES.
SHE COULDN'T EAT THEM ALL... SO SHE GAVE ME FOUR!
SAN GERALDO SAID IF I WAS HAVING CHOCOLATE, THEN SO WAS HE.
HE HAD JESSICA ADD A BIT OF ICE CREAM TO A BOWL OF SAUCE.
AND SPEAKING OF SAN GERALDO...

... He's confection. Goodness knows.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Touristmolinos

I haven't spent much time in Torremolinos, 18 kilometers away from us along the coast and almost to Málaga. It only takes 20 minutes on the local train. San Geraldo had an appointment Sunday evening, so I decided to take a ride with him and explore on my own a bit.

The word Torremolinos means "Tower of the Mills." The city was a mill town ruled by the Moors when the still-existing tower was built around 1300. (Click any image to enlarge.)

PIMENTAL TOWER BEHIND SOUVENIR SHOPS.
YOU CAN CLIMB THE TOWER FOR A MUCH-IMPROVED VIEW.

In the mid-20th century, Torremolinos became one of the first tourist centers on the Costa del Sol and that history, sadly, shows in the souvenir shops and ugly signage overwhelming some of the meandering and otherwise charming stepped streets that lead down to the beach.

When we drove to the beach to meet friends for dinner some months back, I saw a bit of the beauty of the city. On this visit, I saw a bit of the not-so-beautiful.

It's a mix of old and new, elegant and tacky. It also has the largest gay community in the area (I think the first gay bar on the Costa del Sol opened here in the early 1970s). We're treated wonderfully and respectfully in Fuengirola and, of course, there are other gay people around. But after living in places like Boston, San Diego, San Francisco and Palm Springs, with their vibrant gay communities, feeling a part of that again was very refreshing.

I was there at the wrong time of day for great photos, but you can still see some of what I saw — the beautiful and the kind-of-ugly. Now that I know how easy and convenient it is to get there, I plan to explore a lot more and share some of the best (and less of the worst) that the city has to offer.

ENTRANCE TO THE "BEACH WALK."
HEADING DOWN TOWARD THE BEACH.
A PEAK THROUGH THE TREES.
AND THE WALK CONTINUES.
YOU CAN TAKE AN ELEVATOR THE REST OF THE WAY DOWN
FROM THIS LARGE PLAZA (FOR 50 CENTIMOS).
I ENJOYED THE VIEW AND HEADED BACK UP
(AFTER HAVING A GREAT CONVERSATION WITH A YOUNG SPANISH COUPLE).
PLAZA SAN MIGUEL.
CHURCH OF SAN MIGUEL.
AN ALLEY NEAR THE TOWER AND BELOW PLAZA SAN MIGUEL.
STEPS AND SHOPS GOING DOWN...
MORE STEPS AND SHOPS GOING DOWN.
(SEA AT LEFT BEHIND THE ARCHES.)
AN AERIE?
AT THE TURNING OF THE TOURISTS...
AND STILL MORE STEPS AND TOURIST SHOPS.
BACK AT PLAZA SAN MIGUEL AS THE LIGHTS GO ON.
PLAZA DE LA NOGALERA.
BURGER KING IN BACKGROUND, (BUT MCDONALDS AND KFC ARE GONE.)
MORE OF THE PLAZA DE LA NOGALERA.
FILLED WITH RESTAURANTS AND PEOPLE.
WHILE I WAITED FOR SAN GERALDO.
A FOUNTAIN ON ONE OF THE MAIN AVENUES (AVE. PALMA DE MALLORCA).
ITS ALL WORTH ANOTHER LOOK.