Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Caseta and a Couple of Cool Cats

THE COOL (AND CUDDLY) CATS
It's been a busy 24 hours. I partied with my wonderful friends Albert and Lola until the wee hours (for me) of the morning. I finally left them at 2:00 a.m. for my half-hour walk home. I was in bed by 3, asleep by 4, and up at 8:30 to get ready for our "inspection." Someone from the cat rescue shelter was scheduled to come by to check us out. It's been as rigorous as adopting a child. They now know more about us than even I normally care to share. But we were pleasantly surprised when they brought along the two cats we're planning to adopt. Although the two cats were pretty much overwhelmed by this major adventure (they're nearly a year old and have only ever known the street and the shelter), it was love at first sight. We have been approved. They all went back to the shelter and Jerry and I immediately went out and bought everything the two newest members of our family will need to move in. The only hold-up now is the fact that this week is Feria, which includes official holidays for many people. Once the veterinarian does the final check-up and paperwork (they're in perfect health, are neutered, have had all their shots, and they're already micro-chipped), these two brothers will be ours. We are elated.

THIS YEAR'S PORTADA (MAIN GATE).
THE CASETA
I had a beautiful half-hour walk to the Feria last night, arriving around 9:45. The city around us is relatively quiet this week. We see women dressed in traditional Flamenco everywhere, but they are all on their way to or from the fair. Just about everyone is in Los Remedios, the neighborhood that is home to the immense fairgrounds. The closer I got the more dense were the crowds and the more electric the atmosphere.

OUTSIDE THE CASETA AT 11:00 P.M.

The portada (the front entrance to the fair) is a 50-meter-high, brilliantly lit arch that has a different theme every year. This year's portada design is based on the facade of the Church of El Salvador. The fairgrounds are covered with albero, which is yellow sand typical of Southern Spain (and also used in the bull rings and parks). Its color is the symbol of Sevilla. The golden glow is charming but the dust gets into everything and it turns to mud when it rains. Fortunately, it hasn't rained yet this week but my freshly polished black shoes are covered with a layer of gold dust.

THE FRONT ROOM OF THE CASETA, OPEN TO THE OUTSIDE.

IN THE FRONT ROOM, SITTING OUT ONE DANCE.

The caseta that Albert and Lola always join is extremely popular, ornately decorated, and has the best musicians performing day and night. I think six different musical groups rotate through this particular caseta every day. It was hot and mobbed when I arrived. Albert and Lola were standing right near the entrance to the front room to take in the fresh air and escape the extremely hot and crowded main room. After about an hour we headed inside. The room has narrow benches along its length. There's a small band platform and at the very back is the bar. I never got as far as the bar. I was waited on all night either by an actual waiter (these guys maneuvered through the crowd with trays of food and drinks as if they were magicians) or by Albert and Lola. There are white paper lanterns overhead, called farolillo. They decorate the entire fair and are sometimes also in red or green.


SEVILLANA STYLE.

A CONTEMPORARY TWIST.

I was very surprised when I arrived to find Lola wearing an elegant little cocktail dress as opposed to a traditional flamenco dress. She said it's always so hot, dusty, and crowded that she prefers to dress more simply for Feria. I asked her if she had more than one flamenco dress at home and she said, "Yes... Twenty." She said for the annual pilgrimage to Rocio (coming up in May), she changes her outfit three times a day.

INCREDIBLE PERFORMERS. THEY PUT THEIR HEARTS INTO THEIR MUSIC.

THE MAN AT CENTER, I WAS TOLD, IS A VERY FAMOUS SPANISH FLAMENCO DANCER.
(I DON'T KNOW HIS NAME.)

What an amazing night. I am so grateful to Albert for inviting me. He and Lola have each made me feel at home here in Sevilla. As always, I'm grateful for these very gracious, generous, and fun friends. Albert scolds me every time I say "thank you." He says it's not necessary because that's what friends do. He reads my blog religiously (and I'm grateful to him for that, as well). So, I'm going to thank him and Lola here ... and he can't stop me!

HANDSOME ALBERT HATES TO HAVE HIS PICTURE TAKEN.
THIS IS WHAT HE WOULD ALLOW. (CLASSY POCKET SQUARE.)

THAT'S ME (IN THE TIE) WITH LOLA, 1:45 A.M.

22 comments:

  1. Eres muy majo chaval

    saludos,
    raulito

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  2. Wow, you party animal! It sounds like you've been staying up til all hours. Now that you have a family, you'll have to settle down. So what will you name your two little ones?

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    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      We're considering two names but haven't decided yet. Right now, they're called Dudo and Mussy. They don't answer to the names and the volunteers from the shelter have no idea which is which, so we figure we can rename them. I'll let you know as soon as we lock in.

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  3. Mitch, gracias a ustedes nos han traído a esta feria por la noche. [translated from Dutch to Spanish by Google]

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    1. Ah, Peter, people from the Netherlands speak so many languages so beautifully!

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  4. Just love to look at all your photos

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    1. kisatrtle:
      And I love sharing them. Lots more to come. Thanks for sharing all these experiences with me!

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  5. What a fun time you had Mitch! It looked amazing....the colour, the people, the dresses, the bands and all the handsome men! Look at you! Lola looks incredible and so do you Albert!! lol And you walked home alone at that hour? Geez, I may sound like your mother or something!

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    1. Jim:
      I have never felt as safe as I do in this city. (I am definitely not a risk taker when it comes to personal safety.) I have some fun, short videos of the dancing and music, but have been unable to get them to load on blogspot. I may put them on youtube and give the link here.

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  6. 2:00am? I am impressed. Great pictures and you look fabulous as does the wonderful Ms. Lola.

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    1. Nubian:
      I was impressed, as well, although I have to admit I nearly fell asleep walking!

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  7. One last fling (I doubt it) before the kitties arrive! I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I'm looking forward to photos of the new additions! Congratulations!

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    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I hadn't flung in years; it turns out it's like riding a bicycle! I am so anxious to get the cats. Can't wait to share photos.

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  8. I scrolled down your blog in great excitement.....Oh well, have to wait just a little bit longer, I suppose. BUT I have now gone back and inspected the photos closely and they really are marvellous and atmospheric - especially the last one.

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    1. Raybeard:
      You will fall in love with the two little guys. Can't wait to share pictures. We may not have them until next week because of Feria!

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  9. Hello Mitch:
    Obviously, from all that you show here, wonderful fun. And we absolutely love your tie! Distinguished and distinctive - the American abroad.

    Oh, yes, 'adopting' a cat - worse than the procedures for children!!

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    1. J&L:
      I have a weakness for silk ties, but since I'm no longer working, I don't have the opportunity (or desire) to wear one very often. At one time, our combined tie collection was up to 146 (I know because we had two 72-tie racks and two "extra" ties). We reduced that by half when we bought the hotel, but I bought some more when I started working the real world again. I'm so proud I was able to get mine down to 44 before our move to Spain. I don't think Jerry intends to ever wear a tie again.

      It's good I've been the one "negotiating" the cat adoption. Jerry wouldn't have put up with it. We understand the need for careful consideration, but I was even asked what would happen to the cats if we should divorce...

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  10. Well, since I don't know your friends Albert and Lola, I want to thank them for their hospitality and generosity in including you in their festival. I also want to thank you for sharing the photos and narrative - love the way you have captured the spirit of it.

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  11. Will:
    Thank you for thanking them!

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  12. So glad you are approved to have the cats!! I can't wait for photos!!!!

    And it seems like a non-stop party over there!

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    1. Jenners:
      I wish we already had the cats. It looks like it won't be until Wednesday... and I hope no later than that. Apparently, tomorrow is Labor Day!

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