Sevilla

March 23, 2011

Sevilla started off with a six hour overnight bus ride.   Two women in front of us, yapping and enjoying each other’s company, as is their right, as is their right.  But dag: hay que dormir, chicas.

We arrived to Sevilla’s bus station. Bus stations all over the world are melting pots of unusual.   There was a woman, maybe sixty-five, and a man, maybe thirty, who looked to be romantically involved.  They were whispering into each other’s ears and doing an odd mutual neck caress.  You can’t hate: the heart always has its reasons.

Then there was this guy who was wearing a four piece suit, but with sweatpants.   He was a trendsetter, a smoker, maybe fifty-two, also owner of earth’s most violent cough.  Tough dude: the cough would kill any weaker man instantly and the sweatpants you have to repect when accompanied by a four-piece.  Sweater vest, tie, Brooks Brothers jacket, smooth blue button-down, cuff links, and sweatpants from Russell Sporting goods.

He was friends with another guy who would just yell.  Not curses, not prayers, just loud and primal noise from the gut.

We left the station thinking our trip was already good enough.  But Sevilla surpassed all expectation.  It was infused with the splendor of good temperature and striking architecture.

One night we walked through a couple plazas that had hordes of people drinking sangria.  Am impromptu party outside, but the best kind of party: when you only know only one person and you can enjoy the feel of the crowd without interacting with it.  B and I toasted our good fortune, and I began coughing and screaming as a testament to my old friends.

Recommendation: go there.  It’s a tourist spot but don’t hate: you’re a tourist too.  Financially, it’s easy to do cheap.   Just get gritty and take the bus.   Don’t stay in a pricey hotel but do stay in the center. Lots of good restaurants and a giant Starbucks where you can hide and sleep if you didn’t on the overnight bus ride.

My highest recommendation outside of the bus station is Plaza de Espana: it’s half-park, half-castle.  It reminded me of that scene in Aladdin when the Genie advised our hero to ‘beeee yourself’ when they were on top of Jasmine’s castle.

 

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Madrid Cave Bar

February 11, 2011

Not to front but it’s getting warmer out here.  Most days are turning jacket-free.  And it’s funny because a couple of months ago B said ‘get a jacket boy.’  I said ‘true it’s cold,’ and then bought one.  But now it’s like man maybe I should’ve just waited. Winter’s only two months here.

Taking the wait-and-see approach with a pair of shoes that have a few holes in them.  Sure it’s unprofessional when students can see your toes.  But I wear black socks to camouflage.  It’s fun and it’s like you’re in on a shoe secret.  ‘Shoe Secret,’ the movie, starring Eric Scott Geraghty.  Plus you’re saving that forty euro and then subsequently wasting it on coffee and tortilla.  It’s a win-lose-lose-lose situation.

Tonight we walked to a cave bar with our friends Ron and Hagrid.

It was hidden to make foreigners feel good about finding it.  You walk through a room of mirrors, down the steps, and to this place filled with young people drinking sangria.

There’s also a guy playing piano, passionately.

We had fun man.  There were quotes written on the wall in French and in Spanish.  One of them was ‘La felicidad está en la ignorancia de la verdad,’ kind of like ignorance is bliss.

Got me thinking.  Sometimes following the Celts is easier than following Mubarak developments in Egypt (congrats through Egyptians!).  Need to step up my citizenry.  But then you look at all the information and all the books and it’s overwhelming.  So you go back to espn.com or sewing or ‘The Fugitive’ clips on youtube.

Need to learn though.  Need to inform myself.  I once met Spike Lee at a book signing and he wrote, ‘Educate your mind.’

Money

August 16, 2010

We’ll have to be more frugal and economical in Spain.  I used to think I was a minimalist.  Pretty much a Buddhist at heart, no attachment to any material possession.  Then B pointed out how many books we had that we don’t need (90), and I realized how many t-shirts I’ve bought to avoid doing laundry (over two dozen).  In other words, ample opportunity for further simplification.

Toughest Goodbye

The simple life will be necessary out there.  We’ll have to make some adjustments. Teaching for the last five years has led to a modest but steady income.  No kids? Check. No car? Check.  It’s been the good life. $60 nights at the movies.  Two tickets, one cinnamon pretzel, Reese’s Pieces, Junior Mints, one nacho order, and two Icee Drinks.  And then maybe out to eat after that.

And then there’s coffee and tea.  Starbucks was a trip because I’m one of these punks who doesn’t say ‘venti’ or ‘tall.’  It’s always just, ‘Yeah, a medium coffee please, black, and a chocolate strawberry vivanno.’    Refusing to give into their corporate culture as the barista swipes my card for $7.84.

Speaking of baristas: please go easier on me in the future. Please let me be anonymous.  Don’t say ‘See you tomorrow’ and patronize my addiction.  Don’t memorize my order.  Act surprised to see me and be humored by my rakish charm.  Think to yourself, wow, he doesn’t even care if I put 2% or skim milk in his latte.  This boy is hard.

In Spain we’ll have to change.  We’ll drink a ton of coffee still, but maybe make our own.  Less snacks at el cine.  More long walks and home-cooked meals instead of restaurants.  Nights at the discoteca instead of joining a gym.  Grooving all night long, drinking water and pretending it’s vodka.

Because the goal is to travel- to travel a lot- and to do that, we need more coin.  We want to get out there and see it.  This isn’t a journey of self discovery where we Eat Pray Love and find  inner middle-class happiness.   This is about starting (and then running away from) a couple street brawls on the streets of Poland or Italy.  Taking a long run on the Irish countryside.  Spending a couple hours in Paris without overdrafting our checking accounts.  Going to Prague so my dad will be satisfied per his ‘You MUST go to Prague’ recommendations.  Going to Lisbon to…I don’t know what goes on in Lisbon.

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