Monday, September 28, 2015

A Change Would Do You Good

I'm beginning to appreciate the daring fabric combinations some people wear. Admittedly, some mixes still hurt my eyes (and my sensibilities). Yet others are not only daring but show a great sense of design and flair (in my opinion). I myself have become more adventurous in my pattern choices — although not yet in public. Unless, that is, I get hit by the proverbial bus.

(Click any image for a big, bold statement.)

FARMERS MARKET, OCEAN PARKWAY, BROOKLYN.
GRANDFATHER AND GRANDSON, NEPTUNE AVENUE, BROOKLYN.
SHOPPING IN BRIGHTON BEACH AND
WALKING ON THE BOARDWALK.
BACK HOME IN FUENGIROLA.
IN BROOKLYN: MY UNDERWEAR AND FLANNEL LOUNGERS
SET AGAINST THE BED SHEET.
IN SPAIN: MY T-SHIRT AND UNDERWEAR...


Would a change do me good?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Whatever Happened To Class?

Málaga's main train station (Estación de Málaga Maria Zambrano; click to learn about her) is a great place to spend some time. It's the main train station in the center of the city used for travel all over Spain and to other points in Europe, as well as a stop for the commuter trains. There are gourmet kiosks and specialty shops in the main area, plus a very nice shopping mall that includes a great choice of restaurants and cafés.

This time around, on our way to Sevilla, we noticed a new olive market. Fresh olives of every shape and size. Unfortunately, my photo wasn't pleasantly timed. The salesperson was on her mobile phone as she worked. A woman walked over and said in Spanish, "I want a taste," as she reached over the glass, dipped her fingers in one of the tubs and scooped out an olive. She licked her fingers and walked away leaving me, the salesperson, and the woman on a nearby bench in stunned silence.

I didn't buy any olives.

(Click the images for a closer look at what I witnessed.)

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO PLEASE MAY I?
IBERIAN HAM. I DIDN'T SEE ANYONE HELP THEMSELVES TO A SLICE
— OR AN ENTIRE HAM.
IF THE FINGER FOOD HAS TURNED YOU OFF,
YOU COULD ALWAYS BUY AN IBERIAN HAM PILLOW. CLASSY, HUH?


Ain't there no decency left?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

He's A Very Nice Prince

OUR KEY TO THE PALACE.
We had some bank business to resolve, so were back in Sevilla Tuesday through Thursday. San Geraldo (my prince) decided we deserved the royal treatment, so he booked us a room at a recently opened hotel in a former private palace. Wednesday night, we dined at a brand new restaurant in another former palace.

The hotel (Ateneo) is in our old neighbourhood and just opened in December.

The restaurant, La Quinta, is owned and run by our friends Gonzalo, Elena, and Albert and sits around the corner from their other restaurant (now four years old), Catalina Casa de Comidas (click here for an earlier blog post about Catalina).

Catalina was my favourite restaurant when we lived in Sevilla. Now, they're both my favourite. If you're ever in Sevilla, I encourage you to check out La Quinta (and Catalina Casa de Comidas). Beautiful places, comfortable and welcoming, exceptional and unusual food, and surprisingly affordable.

(Click any image to make it grander.)

THE 'STOOP' OF THE PALACE.
HOTEL BRUNCH, WHICH INCLUDED SPANISH SHERRIES,
CHAMPAGNE, AND TO-ORDER DISHES.
THE CENTRAL COURTYARD. (THIS AND THE NEXT PHOTO ARE FROM THE WEB.)
OUR ROOM. FINALLY, A BED WIDE ENOUGH FOR THE TWO OF US.
(THEY'VE ADDED A LOT OF ANCIENT ARTWORK TO THE WALLS.)
LA QUINTA, OUR DINNER PALACE.
ONE OF LA QUINTA'S MANY DINING ROOMS.
THE STEPS OF OUR PALACE AS WE HEADED UP TO BED.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Gefilte Jellyfish

COURTESY OF NATIONAL
GEOGRAPHIC (REALLY!)
It looks like "summer season" has come to an end in Fuengirola. The flags (banderas) are no longer flying along the beach to announce safe surf (green flag), risky (yellow), or dangerous (red).

With July being unusually warm and muggy, jellyfish (medusas) were in abundance. So a flag was added to warn swimmers of the risk. I went for a long walk on the beach yesterday and found myself side-stepping jellyfish most of the way. Many beach-goers were collecting them and tossing them in the trash.

One woman was filling a plate with a half-dozen at a time. It reminded me of a plate of gefilte fish* — which, in my opinion, is not a good thing. (My grandmother used to make 'fresh' gefilte fish and put it in her own jars. It was beyond disgusting  — In my humble opinion.)

I jokingly asked the woman with the plate of jellyfish if she was planning to cook them. I was grateful when she laughed and said she really didn't think so. She then unceremoniously dumped them in the trash bin and went back to collect more.

Click the images for a closer look.

FROM OUR TERRACE: CAUTION FLAG AND JELLYFISH (MEDUSA) FLAG.
I MIRRORED THE IMAGE  — THE WIND WAS BLOWING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!
MY FIRST CLOSE ENCOUNTER ON SUNDAY. 
MANY BEACH-GOERS WERE COLLECTING (AND DISPOSING OF) THE THREAT.
A YOUNG FATHER WAS PICKING THEM UP SAFELY BY THEIR HEADS.
I STILL WOULDN'T RISK IT.
AN ODDLY SAFE BIT OF BEACH.
THE CURRENTS ARE FASCINATING.
THE FOAMY SURF, MID-AIR.

*Gefilte Fish: 
Fish fillets are ground with eggs, onion, bread or matzo crumbs, and spices to produce a paste or dough which is then boiled in fish stock. It is popularly (don't ask me why) served with a fish-broth jelly! To me, it would be like eating jellyfish... Except for the poison.

I found the gefilte fish photo at National Geographic (click here). The author of the article, Virginia Hughes, described gefilte fish as a "flaccid culinary specimen" that looks like "brown-gray gelatinous lumps." I think she was being kind.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dudo's Ha-Ha Moment

The American Wild West is a popular theme at fairs and kiddie parks in Southern Spain. There's currently a ride on a nearby plaza complete with horses circling Native American totem poles, cacti — And a camel.

For a time there were camels brought to the American West from Tunisia, Greece, Malta, Turkey, and Egypt — beginning in 1855 and lasting only into the 1860s.

That said, I don't think the designer of this particular ride was aiming for historical accuracy, especially considering the ride was called "Far West" instead of "Wild West." I'm not quite sure where in the world the Far West actually is.

When I got home from my walk I told Dudo what I saw. When I mentioned the name of the ride, he burst out laughing. (Click any image for a closer look.)

THE WILD WEST?
CACTI, PALM TREES, A TALKING TREE... AND A CAMEL.

DUDO, FASCINATED AS I EXPLAINED ABOUT THE CAMELS.
AND AFTER I TOLD HIM THE NAME OF THE RIDE.

If only Dudo could carry a tune...
Ruth Buzzi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl2TYCoMOQ8

Friday, September 18, 2015

Please Don't Talk To The Lifeguard

I'm fine. Still not brilliant. Still not completely awful.

Yada yada yada. That's all I'll say about my mood.

Oh, except one more thing...

Am I ever grateful to San Geraldo for being my lifeguard (socorrista, in Spanish).

Speaking of lifeguards, I find the cultural differences between those in New York and those here in Fuengirola to be fascinating.

So, here are some Brighton Beach/Coney Island lifeguards and Fuengirola socorristas... for totally academic cultural-anthropological comparison, of course.

(Click any image for the bigger picture.)

CONEY ISLAND. 
BIKINIS AND BODIES-BEAUTIFUL STILL CLUSTER.
CONEY ISLAND LIFEGUARD SWINGING HIS WHISTLE.
A FRIENDLY WAVE FROM A FUENGIROLA SOCORRISTA.
FUENGIROLA SOCORRISTA ON PATROL.

Guess I'll swim way out into the sea...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Everything's Gonna Be Fine, Fine, Fine

After 9 weeks of being busy and in control (and attempting to be upbeat) every day, I had assumed I would have a major emotional crash once I got home (that would be a good possibility even if I weren't always defending myself from my clinical depression). Happily, I have had no major crash.

(I'm knocking on wood right now and poo-pooing away the evil spirits.)

Friday will be two weeks since my return home. I still feel somewhat disconnected and under-motivated. But that's nothing compared to what I had expected to feel.

The photos today are, like me, scattered. (Click any image to enlarge.)

NORTHWEST OF MÁLAGA JUST BEFORE LANDING.
THE ALWAYS SERENE OLIVIA WELCOMED ME HOME.
A WEDDING IN OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD LAST WEEKEND.
(THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT BROOKLYN.)
COFFEE AT MESON SALVADOR. THE WAITER ANTONIO
GAVE SAN GERALDO THREE MINI-MUFFINS (WITH HIS SACCHARIN)!
ANTONIO DIDN'T GIVE ME ANY!
BUT SOMEONE IN THE KITCHEN HEARD ME WHINING.


So I've got one hand in my pocket and the other is
Holding FIVE chocolate chip mini-muffins!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Water Fountain

Here's a shot from August of a misguided Coney Island beach-goer attempting to fill a plastic cup with water. (Click the image to see by how far the water missed the cup.)

AT LEAST HE COOLED OFF; HE NEVER DID FILL THAT CUP.

"Gonna  get the water from your house, your house."

Monday, September 14, 2015

Munchkins, Chocolate Balls, and Whoopee

It might not be clear from the title, but this blog post is all about the snacking my cousin Evie and I did on the road back from the wedding we attended the weekend before I returned to Spain. Through the states of New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and finally New York, we stopped a few times — only at the finest establishments.

EVIE'S FAVORITE ON-THE-ROAD SNACK.
I USED TO CALL THEM DONUT HOLES.
DUNKIN DONUTS CALL THEM MUNCHKINS
I CAN THINK OF SOME OTHER NAMES FOR THE CHOCOLATE ONES.
A TRUCK STOP IN VERMONT.
THE SURPRISES THAT AWAITED AT THE TRUCK STOP.
A WALL OF TEMPTATIONS.
OVER-SIZED WHOOPIE PIES.
I HEADED OUT WITH AN OATMEAL/CHOCOLATE "BAR"
... BECAUSE OATMEAL IS HEALTHY.
EVIE HAD NEVER HAD A WHOOPIE PIE AND THOUGHT WE'D SPLIT ONE.
BUT THAT WAS WAY TOO MUCH WHOOPIE FOR ME.

Since I'm sure you can't live without some more information on the Whoopie Pie, I'll tell you that it's the State Treat of Maine (as opposed to the State Dessert, which is blueberry pie). Pennsylvania, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts all claim the Whoopie Pie as their own invention. The Whoopie Pie is really thought to have its origins in Amish and German culture and was most likely brought to Maine by Amish groups that migrated from Pennsylvania. Apparently, the expression "whoopie pie" is now also used to describe a variety of adult-rated activities. But you can look that up yourself in the Urban Dictionary.


That's what you get folks...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Fluent, Fluency, Affluent, Influenza?

My first month in New York, I practiced my Spanish daily with Duolingo. But times became too stressful to even do that. I managed to converse in Spanish at times with hospital staff, but that wasn't enough to improve my skills (although it did impress My Mother The Dowager Duchess).

But, I'm back in Spain and back to working on my Spanish proficiency. Interestingly, the break seems to have done me some good. I'm quickly back up to speed and I'm more readily absorbing new words and verb forms.

Speaking of proficiency, last night San Geraldo said something in English that wasn't quite correct. (A regular occurrence.)

He then said something in Spanish that wasn't quite correct. (Another regular occurrence.)

Then he said a Spanish word and asked if it was Spanish or Russian (his undergrad degree was in Russian Studies). In can sometimes confuse him. For example: In Spanish, "ya" is "already" and "yo" is "I"; in Russian, "ya" is "I." So, yeah... yah... yes, I understand the problem.

Anyway, I could answer for the Spanish, but I had no idea about the Russian.

DUDO DOESN'T UNDERSTAND EITHER.
AND MOOSE CAN'T BE BOTHERED.

San Geraldo commented that he obviously needs to work on his "fluenticity."

Yes, he does.

At least as soon as the word left his lips, he smiled and said, "Ooh, that's not a word, is it."

I smiled and responded, "Maybe in Russian?"


This song seemed appropriate.  Language, it's a virus...