Sunday, January 31, 2016

I Hope You Dance

There will be no whining in this post. It's been a week of ups ... and downs. And there's really no telling what will make me feel "up" and what will make me feel "down." But, that's OK; there are ups. I took a 3-hour walk Saturday along the beach and paseo and then up to the castle to enjoy the view. As I passed the port, I came upon a group of locals singing and dancing. Because they felt like it.

(Click any image to get your fill.)

CASTILLO SOHAIL, FUENGIROLA. 

It was a heartwarming and heartbreaking walk. That's just the way my brain chemistry works right now. It will settle back down soon, I'm sure.

Still, I'm grateful. And my walk, and my ups and downs, and my gratitude despite it all, made me think of a particular friend I call "the tattooed lady," (although I don't think she really has many tattoos).  So this is dedicated to the tattooed lady and to all of you who sometimes fear those mountains in the distance.


A few videos today — two of the local joy and one from YouTube — so I'll shut up now.

video

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When you get the choice to sit it out or dance...

Friday, January 29, 2016

Shake It, Baby, Shake It

We had another earthquake (series) before 5:30 Monday morning (click here if you don't know about last week's quakes). One was magnitude 6.3 (or so) and really shook things up. However, it was at the same spot around 145 km/90 miles from here off the north coast of Africa and we didn't have any damage.

(Click the images to increase the magnitude.)

AFTER MONDAY MORNING'S QUAKE,
WE SAW THE RAINS DOWN IN AFRICA (AND THEN A BIT HERE).

This time, the cats did feel it and they did panic. They were under the bed for the next few hours and even took some coaxing to come out and get their morning food and treats. And when Moose doesn't whine for fresh food and water and Dudo doesn't demand his morning treat, we know something's wrong.

MELILLA, A SPANISH CITY ON THE NORTH COAST OF AFRICA
(SOUTHEAST OF THE QUAKE), SUFFERED A LOT OF LIGHT DAMAGE.
MY MONDAY AFTERNOON WALK ON THE BEACH UNDER A DRAMATIC SKY.
FISHING BOATS MOSTLY BACK IN PORT UNTIL SUNSET.

I called the Kid Brother Monday night. He was telling me about the mess the snow had made of the  New York City streets.

"The sidewalk is clean. The street is clean. But you can't get to the street from the sidewalk!" he groaned.

I made the mistake of asking a question too complex for him to process and I realized when I had almost finished the question, so just let it go.

"What would you rather have, Chuck, snow or earthquakes?"

"Sunshine!" he blurted.


Come on over, Chuck, whole lotta shakin' goin' on — and sunshine.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sunny Circus Stadium Sculptures

A bit more of our day in the Sunday circus sun from Tuesday's post.

Cirque du Soleil took place inside "El Palacio de Deportes [The Sports Palace] José María Martín Carpena" (just tell the taxi driver Palacio de Deportes Carpena or simply Carpena).

Directly opposite "Carpena" is Estadio Ciudad de Málaga (City of Málaga Stadium — where fútbol is played). Before the show (Varekai) started, San Geraldo sat in the sun on the steps of "Carpena" and I went across the road to take pictures of the fun "athletic" sculptures outside the stadium.

(Of course, if you click the images they get bigger.)

THE ALWAYS-CHIC (AND MOSTLY SHAMELESS) SAN GERALDO SITTING IN THE SUN.
WHEN SWEATSHIRT-CHIC PROVED TOO HOT,
IT WAS BACK TO THE CLASSIC STYLING OF THE IKEA DISH TOWEL.








ALEXANDAR AND PAULA NOT BEING ANTISOCIAL.
(SENDING PHOTOS TO THEIR FRIENDS.)
SEND IN THE CLOWNS. PRE-SHOW ENTERTAINMENT.
SAN GERALDO ASLEEP AFTER THE SHOW.
SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

It's A Circus (Circo, Cirque du Soleil)


San Geraldo and I love Cirque du Soleil. We've seen most of the traveling shows and every permanent show they produce in Las Vegas (except for "One," the Michael Jackson show).

When we were new to Spain, Cirque du Soleil came to Sevilla (however, there they only called it Circo del Sol). Click here for that story.

When San Geraldo saw that Cirque du Soleil was coming to Málaga and would only be here a few days, we talked to Tynan and Elena and we all agreed the six of us should go. We had a ball. Well, one of the performers had a bunch of balls — that he juggled. Then again, as my father would have said, they ALL had balls.

San Geraldo and I hadn't seen this particular show, "Varekai," which is a version of the Greek myth of Icarus who, due to his own arrogance, flew too close to the sun with his wings made of feathers and wax. The wings melted and plunged him into the sea. Varekai begins as Icarus falls but, instead of dying in the sea, he lands in a forest filled with exotic creatures.

And, because it's Cirque du Soleil, the creatures are all incredible acrobats and aerialists.

(Click any image to increase the excitement. All images complements of Cirque du Soleil.)

THE FOREST DENIZENS.

SAN GERALDO AND YOURS TRULY DOING OUR AERIAL ACT.
I  REALLY WANT THAT HAT
AMAZING,
"WE CAN DO THAT!"
AND AFTER WE DID THAT.

The Verekai Offical Trailer...

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.)


video

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

I Feel The Earth Move Under My Feet

We've been doing a "Mad Men" (the TV series) marathon in recent weeks. Before we left the United States in 2011, we were up-to-date with the series through Season 3. We finally have the entire series, all seven seasons available and, since so much time has passed, we started from the beginning. Today, we sat mid-Season 6 and enjoyed lunch ala San Geraldo. Suddenly, I felt the sofa shake. Then the entire room started to shake and the plants began to sway.

"Earthquake," we both said.

After our years in Southern California, the feeling was familiar. It was also mild enough to not cause us (well, me) much concern.

Besides, how bad could it be? The cats were still asleep. Dudo and Moose only showed up in the living room, when they heard the TV go off, thinking we were finished with lunch and it was their treat time.

We went out on the terrace and saw business as usual down below and on the beach.  No one outside seemed to have even noticed.

We checked the news for some details, I gave the cats their treats, San Geraldo took a pill, and we watched the rest of our show.

It turns out there was a series of about 7 earthquakes off the northern coast of Morocco (about 150km/93 miles) beginning at 2:47 p.m. our time and continuing for about an hour. The first was magnitude 5.1 followed within two seconds by two more of similar magnitude. Those are the three we felt.

WE'RE THE BLUE DOT AT FUENGIROLA.


Really, I just thought all the shaking was due to my close proximity to San Geraldo. (I've been feeling that for years.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Den Of Iniquity

When we arrived home from the gym Saturday evening, the sun was setting in the west (it does that here in Spain). San Geraldo looked out a hall window and asked, "Is that a fake statue on top of that building?"

I decided to be of little to no help.


"A fake statue?" I asked. "As opposed to a real statue?"

"Yes. Over there. Is that a fake statue?"

"Wow. I'm sorry. It's hard for me to tell from here if it's a fake one. Or a real one," I said.

"The one right below the antenna?" he continued. " Or, wait. Is it a dish?"


"Oh, yeah, it's a satellite dish," I replied. "As opposed to a fake statue."

I did realise that by fake statue he meant one of those plastic owls intended to scare pigeons away. (The Dowager Duchess had one on her balcony for a short time. She got rid of it after the pigeons covered it in poop.)

As we entered the apartment, I said, "You know, I'm not even sure if that was a real satellite dish or only a fake one."

"What?"

"You know, the dish you thought was a fake statue."

He noticed my smirk and finally caught on. "Oh. I guess it wouldn't be a fake statue, would it."

He then walked into his office/den. Musy followed.

As usual, San Geraldo's office was (and is) a mess. He apologized to Musy (who had to navigate through the clothes, shoes, books, and papers on the floor.

 "Musy," he said, "I'm sorry for this den of inequity."

"Iniquity," I muttered.

"What?"

"There's nothing inequitable about that mess."

And to think this is his first language.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Quite The Pair

We went out for coffee around 11 this morning. We walked through the neighbourhood and spent about an hour in the café. After coffee, we again walked through the neighbourhood stopping at the public market on our way home to get some fresh fruit and vegetables and share hugs with Ana Crespillo (click here if you haven't met). When we got home San Geraldo volunteered to take down the trash and recycling. He had to leave the building and cross the paseo to do so. When he came back upstairs, he told me to take a look at his feet.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?


He said when he put his shoes on this morning, he wondered why one felt different. I suppose I should go back to doing an inspection before he leaves the house. It's not like this is anything new (click here for the memories).

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ewer Peetsaroot

I've been told by Tynan that I put the letter "U" where it doesn't belong. He says that's what makes it obvious I'm originally from [the City of] New York.

Apparently, I don't say "your" or "tour," I say "yew-er" and "two-er."

Once hearing Tynan say it (and Elena confirm it), I realised they were right. I think it's a variation on what I grew up hearing and saying. "Your" would probably have sounded more like "yoo-ah." All I seem to have done over the years is add an "r" to the end of that.

TWISTED SPIRE IN TYNAN'S HOMETOWN.
(IT EXPLAINS A LOT.)
The only reason Tynan even brought it up, however, was because we were once again making fun of his Chesterfield, Derbyshire accent.

Tynan was telling us about fast-food restaurants arriving in his part of England in the 1970s. He mentioned McDonald's, of course. But then he mentioned an American chain we had never heard of.

"Along came Peetsaroot," he said.

"What?" we asked.

"You know, Peetsaroot," Tynan repeated.

"What?"

"Come on then, surely you know Peetsaroot!" he snorted.

San Geraldo and I looked at Elena and she, although from Bilbao and speaking English as her second language, carefully enunciated for us, "Pizza Hut."

Tynan was indignant. "Well, that's what I bloody said!"

No matter how many times we repeated it our way, he would say it his way and insist it was the same thing.

So that's when Tynan finally sniped, "By the way you make excessive use of the letter 'U'; I've always just been too polite to mention it!"

After that bitter revelation, I decided to work on improving my pronunciation. However, Tynan said I shouldn't. "Don't do that," he insisted. "I like it really. It makes you sound like a New York gangster. You know, like somebody from 'Goodfellas.' "


Fuhgeddaboudit!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Lesbian Seagull

It's been kind of a tiresome week, what with the stupid drug withdrawal and everything. But all is going as expected and getting better. I even went to the gym today. San Geraldo was my inspiration, which is extremely ironic since he once told me years ago mid-workout that if he died in six months he was going to be so angry with me for wasting his time at the gym. But, he's a changed man... kind of.

I did manage to go for a couple of walks this past week. You might remember the recent post with bird 'foot' prints (click here). Here are some more images mostly for the birds.

(Click to bigger the photos.)

CORMORANTS (CORMORANES) ON THE ROCKS...



HEADING INTO PORT (EL PUERTO).
LA GAVIOTA LESBIANA?


"I know I can be strong when you're with me" (well, you, and my lesbian seagulls).
In Spanish, Lesbian Seagull, would be Gaviota Lesbiana. Very lyrical.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What Big Eyes You Have

The construction guys have been back every day this week. Dudo and Moose have been adjusting in their own different ways. Moose often watches them work now and Dudo doesn't always run off in a panic.

This morning, Dudo lounged on the sofa while they worked on the floor below and even watched calmly as they passed by our terrace to another floor. But, he reached his point of no return when they climbed onto our terrace.

HE CAME AROUND BEHIND THE SOFA, GAVE ME THIS LOOK, AND THEN HEADED UNDER THE BED.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Do You Want Some Moor-ish?

My Mother The Dowager Duchess is on a first-name basis with all the famous chefs of the world.

The Frugal Gourmet (Jeff Snodsmith), she called Frugal — until the jerk was arrested for being a pedophile. Then she stopped calling him at all.

Graham Kerr, The Galloping Gourmet, was Galloping.

Julia Child was, of course, Julia.

Giada De Laurentis? Giada.

Emeril Lagasse? Emeril. (But then, everyone calls him Emeril.)

Oddly, Rachael Ray is Rachael Ray. And the host of "Yan Can Cook," Martin Yan, was always Yan-Can-Cook.

The Dowager Duchess does, however, remain on a first-name basis with the best chef of our own little world, San Geraldo. She calls him Jerry. I call him "the best thing that ever happened to me" and not just because he bakes Moorish Chicken and Nut Pie.

His recipe is from "The New Spanish Table" (click here if you actually read recipes).

FRESH OUT OF THE OVEN.
READY TO SERVE.
SUNDAY DINNER.
MONDAY LUNCH.

Although San Geraldo and I have always been on a first-name basis, he has a special fondness for endearments. I will only share one with you here. He often calls me "honey." When I wasn't feeling well and he was heading to the supermarket, I heard him call out, "Do you need any, honey?"

Any what, I wondered.

"Do I need any what?" I called back.

He laughed and said, "No. Do you need honey? For your tea."

I had over-punctuated.


Just so you know, the main lyrics of the below song are,
"Get my honey come back, sometimes."
So, this makes perfect sense.

Monday, January 11, 2016

How Delightfully Droll

Saturday afternoon, I took a walk in "the country." I usually plan my walks around town to stay as close to the beach for as long as I can, but I decided this time, to head away from the water, mostly north through the neighbourhood of Los Pacos. It's an easy 10-minute walk from home, but once you get past the center of Los Pacos — perhaps another 10 minutes — the look rapidly changes. I wondered at first when it was going to become more rural and then I heard a rooster crow. I turned another corner, the pavement ended, and the "country" appeared.

(Click any image for the big country.)

JUST BEFORE I HEARD THE COCK CROW.
(THAT'S MIJAS PUEBLO IN THE FOOTHILLS OF THE SIERRA DE MIJAS)



SORRY! I SPOOKED A FLOCK OF EGRETS IN A FIELD.



I didn't spend the weekend, but I did experience a couple of hours of "enchanting."