Saturday, January 23, 2016

Running Into The Sun

HOMAGE TO JOSE, "EL CARRERISTA."
(WHICH IS I THINK A MADE-UP WORD FOR A RACER.)
For as long as we've lived in Fuengirola (nearly 3 years) rarely has a day gone by without my running into a colorful local character.

His name is Jose Millan and I see him all over town selling a special kind of lottery ticket (cupón) called La ONCE (literally The Eleven, but an acronym for Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles — National Organization for the Blind). La ONCE is sold at official kiosks or by people on the street, like Jose.

Jose is quite the character, chatting away with anyone and everyone. He has his morning coffee at La Esquinita where he holds court and usually sings some bit of traditional Andalusian music. Until Friday morning, I knew nothing about him — except that he was loud, friendly, and an institution. Then, while Jessica and I were practicing her English and my Spanish at Meson Salvador, Jose passed through selling "La ONCE" and I decided to buy one. And that turned into a 10-minute conversation.

Next to the Roman columns on the paseo near our apartment (excavated from the nearby Roman ruins — click here), is a bronze bust on a marble pedestal. I had never really examined it closely. Jessi mentioned to me that Jose is "famous." She had to translate much of what he was saying since his toothless, rapidly spoken, local dialect was difficult for me to keep up with.

It started when he told me, pointing toward the Paseo, "There's a statue of me there." His fame comes from the fact that he was an avid runner long before running was trendy on the Costa del Sol. He started running more than 50 years ago, when it was a very rare thing to see around here and I've been told he would be seen running through town all the time — carrying a Spanish flag.

THE COLUMNS WITH JOSE'S STATUE AT RIGHT (SUMMER 2013).

Jose was born in Marbella, but has lived in Fuengirola for decades. Among his careers: He's been a fisherman, a farmer, a bricklayer, and a waiter. He's now 82 years old. He was still running when we moved here three years ago.

Although I haven't seen him running lately, he almost never stops moving.


A musical morning with Jose Millan Jiménez. (This is how he rests.)



18 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Michael:
      And to think it took me nearly three years to learn it.

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  2. Jose seems like a likable local character. Imagine the stories he has to tell.

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    1. Jim:
      It would be interesting to ask him questions. But he rambles in dialect without teeth. He continued to talk even when I was asking Jessica to translate for me. Not easy to keep up with.

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  3. Thanks for this bit of local history.

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  4. We could all use a little Jose in our lives, or be the Jose in other's lives.

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    1. Bob:
      He's quite the character. Before knowing who he was, I would regularly run into him in shops around town. He makes his presence known by starting conversations with staff (he knows everyone) and he doesn't take any notice of what or whom he's interrupting.

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  5. He's been running for 50 years... and no one knows where the hell he is now.

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    1. Walt the Fourth:
      He's not like Ellen Degeneres's grandmother. Jose always makes his presence known.

      Delete
  6. What an honor to have a monument dedicated to you while you're still alive! Seems most statues are in remembrance of those who've passed on. The photos didn't come through but I could just picture him resting right beside his bust.... you'd be seeing double!

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    1. Sharon:
      That's exactly what Jose said when he told me there was a statue of him. "Usually people have to wait until they're dead!"

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  7. He's a character and an inspiration. Never a dull moment in your world, Mitchell, and I appreciate your sharing the fun with us.

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    Replies
    1. Robyn:
      Oh, plenty of dull moments. I just try really hard to not share those!

      Delete

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