Sevilla 2008 Part XI-Writings

Click here for Photos & Writings

Sevilla 2008   Part XI

Our Flamenco Journey Continues

Friday July 18, 2008
    After tearing up the house looking for my ATT card for the iPhone I went to sleep. Today Lakshmi came over with my old phone, which she had borrowed. I had put my ATT card in that phone to guard it when I put my Movistar card in the iPhone. When she put her card in to use the phone, she put my card in her old phone and didn’t think about it or what it was. When she returned my phone to me she said, “What’s this?” I was so relieved. I put it into my iPhone and it finished loading everything back into it. This weekend I may try the unlocking program again. Maybe this time it will work.
    But at least right now I have a telephone again. The iPhone can still play the music and show me things on the calendar. I will just have to carry a telephone with it! I felt so lost without my phone and my phone numbers and the calendar where I have been putting my reminders and notes.
After Lakshmi left I took myself shopping, so I would be sure to get in on the July sales. They are big in Sevilla and they end on the 31st.
    I walked, in the mid-day heat, to Calle Sierpes, singing with Juan, thanks to my recorded classes. The real Juan is in Ronda with Miguel Funi. Juan and Lucy are going to spend two days there to relax.
    It was strange shopping alone. I really missed my outings with Cihtli. But I found some really nice things for not much money, such as several six-euro blouses and some nice light and cheap colorful skirts.
    I was exhausted by the time I came home but I did try my new clothes on for Freddie. Then I lay on the couch while Freddie tuned his guitar.
A little while later Paco came over to give Freddie another lesson and Pili and Soleá came just as the lesson was finishing. Then we went out for ice cream and fruit drinks and they ate pizza. This is when we really appreciate Freddie’s electric wheelchair. Paco just remembered that his forty-first birthday is tomorrow. Pili has to go to work in the morning tomorrow but we may all do something special later.
    On the way home we stopped in the Alameda to hear some talented kids sing as part of a government neighborhood cultural production. Paco and I danced to the recorded music they were singing to as we walked away. It was fun. The evening was still warm, but not sweltering. I like being in a short skirt, tee shirt and sandals at night.
    After this wonderful and leisurely visit we arrived back at the house to find that their car had been towed away. What a shock. Pili had parked in front of a garage and the owner must have come home and not been able to get in. Pili was devastated.  
    Paco telephoned and found out that it would cost 164 euros to get it out tonight and more to get it out later! Freddie and I decided to pay for three more classes in advance so they could get it out tonight. They had to go to Los Remedios, which is across the river, to get it out. And Pili has to get up early tomorrow. Hopefully the three of them found a taxi quickly. It is almost one in the morning now and it was after midnight when they left here!

Sunday July 20, 2008
    Paco called yesterday to invite us to eat some Merluza (hake) fish with them to celebrate his birthday. He is now forty-one. Pili picked us up and we spent the day and much of the night there, in Gelves (Hel-Vay) where they live. Paco has converted a little plot of land next to his house on the other side of the patio wall into a “secret” garden. We had heard him talk about this project in 2003. It has taken a long time to get the materials, but it is now coming together. Paco loves the country and gardening. While we were in his garden, we saw him run his hand along the new grass that has just started growing. This is his refuge and inspiration.
    Today has been a relaxing day. Freddie and I walked around looking for a restaurant to eat in. Freddie, without his cane, hardly leaned on me at all. We went down Calle Feria and then up to the other end of the Alameda and had coffee and juice up there. Then we walked back down to Calle Feria and ate a meal in a new restaurant we had wanted to try. It was good. Both our usual bars were closed today. Summer brings vacations for almost everyone.
Ryan and Melissa came in Friday night. They are coming to visit us in a little while. They are about ten or fifteen minutes from us, near San Lorenzo square and Bar Eslava.
    They will spend the Diego week in Morón. There are other “Morón” Americans who are coming in for this too. We plan to go on Monday and then again for Friday and Saturday. The big Morón festival, the Gazpacho, is on Saturday and goes all night. We have rented a hostel to sleep for those two days. Monday we will go with Jill in her car and return after it. I promised to keep Jill awake.
Tuesday morning Carl comes in. Yes, we’re gearing up for the mid-summer, especially now that I have done my July rebaja (sale) shopping.
    We had a wonderful visit with Ryan and Melissa this evening. Then they went back to the house they are staying in to cook a meal for their hosts. They are going to Morón tomorrow for the week.
At nine Paco came to give Freddie a lesson and Pili and Soleá came with him. We all watched Freddie’s lesson while I worked the video camera. Paco is such a gifted teacher.

Monday July 21, 2008
    I slept ten hours last night and I am still tired. It was all I could do to go food shopping today. I’m going to take a nap because we go to Morón with Jill tonight. It should be fun.
    Juan stopped by for a tapa with us at Bar Algabeño. He is not going to Morón until Friday, when he performs there. But many Americans, most of whom have spent time in Morón, are converging on this small town this week. Juan says, “but there is nothing there now”. But there are memories of a golden age in Flamenco, when Diego was “king”. It will be interesting to see.
The people who live here don’t seem to be very excited about it.

Wednesday July 23, 2008
    I am behind in my writing again. We had a great time in Morón and with Jill. Freddie and I took a taxi to a bar and met Jill (as arranged) on her way out of town. Shortly after we had pulled onto the freeway, Jill noticed that her car was overheating and the red light was on. Immediately she pulled off the freeway and she found a gas station in this industrial section of the outskirts of Sevilla.
    The knowledgeable gas station attendant helped us. After waiting for the engine to cool down he brought water in a pail. It only took a little water to fill the radiator, which seemed strange. He checked the oil, which was fine. We filled a water bottle and were on our way when the engine temperature had gone down a little.     No sooner had we pulled onto the freeway than the car began to overheat again and the red light came on again. We pulled into another gas station but there was no attendant “mechanic”.  We left the engine running and added some more water. The convenience store inside the gas station did not sell radiator stop-leak fluid. We thought we might be stuck and have to miss the show.
    But Freddie, who has been improving in all manners, took over. He had Jill restart the engine again. Suddenly the water spouted in a big fountain from the radiator and then the car seemed to run more smoothly. We added more water and then Freddie directed us to a water hose nearby. We now were able to fill the radiator to its capacity. Freddie found another plastic water bottle by the side of the parking lot and we filled that and the ones we already had.  Meanwhile, the temperature went down to normal and we decided to drive further.
    We figured that something had gotten stuck in the radiator and blew out when Freddie had Jill turn the engine back on. We turned off the air conditioning, again Freddie’s suggestion, and the car made it easily to Morón without any more overheating.  We still arrived in time to park fairly close and to get good seats.
Because Jill lived in Morón for many years and was also married to Pedro Bacan, people there know her and consider her family. She introduced us to La Chica, Diego’s niece and also to Juan’s sisters.
    Agustin Rio’s three grown children (near bottom of page) were there visiting family. They live in the United States (California). Their American mother, Tottin, had just left for California.
I had met the girls before, Teresa and Victoria. Jose, their brother was there with them. I had attended his Baptism in Santa Cruz in the seventies but had not met him as an adult. Their father, Agustin, is a Gypsy from Morón who moved to the United States in the seventies. He and Freddie became very good friends and played guitar together all over California. I met Agustin through Freddie about that time, when Agustin could not speak any English.
    Freddie was around when the children were born and in their childhood. There were all thrilled to see Tío Freddie in Morón.
    It is interesting that Agustin’s son, a musician, does not speak Spanish. But he was still able to communicate very well with his relatives. Both the daughters are fluent in Spanish. We have posted a lot of wonderful photos of them on our website.
    We also saw Ryan and Melissa there. They were spending the entire week in Morón. Ryan takes guitar classes with Paco del Gastor, Juan’s brother who lives in Morón.
The show was wonderful. We saw Fabi and Javi whom we hadn’t seen since California. Fabi (Fabiola Herrera) sang in the show . She was wonderful and looked stunning in her flowing turquoise dress. Javi did palmas.
    We also saw Moi de Morón (Son del a Frontera). As usually he sang beautifully. Antonio Moya played. We saw Diego de la Chico dance and sing. He too was wonderful..
    Pablo was there with David Serva. Pablo is visiting David and Clara and Nandi in Jerez and had just arrived from Berkeley. He will come up to Sevilla later. The Photos
    Of course we arrived home very late and got to bed by four-thirty AM.
We were still asleep the next morning when Carl arrived. Juan and Lucy had driven to the airport to pick him up, a welcome surprise for Carl.
    Juan made lunch and we all ate here. His cooking is always delicious. Angel had stayed to meet Carl and he helped cook and of course ate with us. We ate upstairs at Angel’s house because his table is bigger than ours.
    That night Freddie drove his wheelchair and Juan, Lucy, Carl, Freddie and I went to eat at the Plaza San Lorenzo, near the Alameda. Lakshmi had joined us earlier but instead of eating with us, she continued, riding her bike, on to Triana to participate in the Vela. SEE PHOTOS .
We ended up not going to Triana. Lakshmi had called to tell us that it was very crowded and might be difficult for Freddie in his chair and that the art was not that good.
After eating, we took a nighttime walk to Calle Sierpes, the Cathedral, and to a little of Barrio Santa     Cruz and back. It was fun. SEE PHOTOS .
Wednesday we had another wonderful lunch at Juan Lucy’s. What a treat.
Freddie and I had wanted to go to Morón again on Wednesday night, but Jill had decided not to go and Juan and Lucy and Carl weren’t going either. So we decided not to look for another ride. We missed Mari Peña, her brother and Antonio Moya (her husband).
    Since we weren’t going to Morón, Freddie and I decided to go back to el centro (downtown Sevilla) and do some shopping. He wanted to buy a hat and had seen one in a window the night before. We had also decided to look for a replacement manton.
    In California we had a beautiful antique silk manton (Spanish shawl) that my Grandmother had bought in Spain many years ago. This manton had hung from the ceiling above our bed for years.     The person we had hired to do the deep cleaning in our home while we were gone had taken it down. It had been filled with dust. Not knowing anything about the care of antique mantones, she had put it in cold water to hand wash it. Immediately it had disintegrated. You are never supposed to put old mantones in water. They can only be dry-cleaned. When I told the people working in the manton stores here about it, they were aghast that it had been put into water. It is well known here that water will destroy an old manton.
    After hearing that our manton could not be saved, Freddie and I finally came out of our denial and decided to look for the replacement here.
    Freddie riding in his chair, we went shopping. We looked at many mantones and took photos of some of them. A few tourist stores wouldn’t let us take photos so we scrapped their stores. We went to the hat store Freddie had seen on Calle Sierpes. He had bought a hat there once in 1999.
    Then we walked to Plaza Alfalfa and checked the hat store near there that Juan had recommended. We like the first store best so we went there but they didn’t have his size in stock. They said they would have it by eleven the next day. They were very nice.
    We looked at some mantones on Calle Sierpes and Calle Tetuan. We were not ready to buy until we had seen more. But we got tired and hungry and went home. Enough for one day.
Carl’s good and longtime friend Chris is coming tomorrow. Chris is a Flamenco guitar student of Juan and David’s and he is also a high echelon eye doctor, a neuro-ophthalmologist, from New York. Angel will leave for Granada on Friday so he can meet Chris before he goes. Angel is going blind from his diabetes and Carl thinks that Chris might have some ideas to help Angel. Chris will stay here, upstairs, for a week and will leave one day after Carl leaves.

Thursday July 24, 2008
    Thursday morning Freddie woke me relatively early to go shopping. He was ready to get to Calle Sierpes in time to get his hat!
    In record time we dressed and left the house and went straight downtown. We arrived at the hat shop and were told that the hat would arrive about half an hour later (but maybe in Spanish time!).
    So we continued to shop. We continued on looking at mantones and then went to visit the store where Lucy works, helping her friend Jane. We bought some beautiful prints there and I bought a small manton next door in the shop I used to go to in 2003. The old man who owns it was on vacation but his son was there. His son remembered me and pulled out our old card. I gave him the updated color version.
    Then we hurried back to get Freddie’s hat before the afternoon closing time. We made it and Freddie’s hat is beautiful.
    We then went to Algabeño to eat. I was supposed to have a class with Juan and I couldn’t reach him to tell him I would be late. Luckily we ran into him as we headed to Algabeño. I rescheduled my class to later that day. We had a wonderful class. Freddie played some guitar in it.
    After our naps, Lakshmi came by with her best friend Crystal, who is visiting from Hawaii. Juan and Lucy were already here. Lakshmi and Crystal then continued on to the Vela festival in Triana. Juan, Lucy, Carl, Chris and Freddie and I went to eat ice cream at the Alameda .
    Friday we will go to Morón for two days. We have decided to go earlier by bus with Carl and Chris instead of waiting for Jill later on in the evening. Also, we are not sure that Freddie’s wheelchair will fit in Jill’s car, and Lucy said that it is very important that we bring the wheelchair. Of course we have to bring the non-electric chair. It folds up and is portable. The electric chair weighs a ton and is not designed to be portable.

Monday July 28, 2008
    We spent two delightful days in Morón . We arrived in the hot afternoon on Friday and walked to the Hostel. After a rest we met Ryan and Melissa and Steve Kahn and walked to Bar Miguelito to eat. Freddie took his chair but pushed it part of the way.
    Steve Kahn had lived in Morón in Diego’s time. So had Ian Banks who was there with his two daughters Cameron and Kendal. We also saw Bill Davidson and his wife Fran, Brook Zern and his wife Kristen, Paul Pablo Shalmy, David and Clara. These are all Americans who have a history with Morón. We also met a nice Argentinean man Juaquín and his lovely wife. They live in Florida and are good friends of Carl and Miguel Ochoa (see our 1999 writings).
    Friday night was the last night of the “Diego en el Recuerdo”, (the homage to the legendary guitarist Diego del Gastor) before the traditional Gazpacho celebration on Saturday.  
    Ryan, Melissa, Freddie and I got to the ticket office at the bullring early. These two last events are scheduled here, in the bullring they built in 2000. It is quite modern, but it still has the same yellow dirt that the Flamenco songs refer to.
    After we bought our tickets we waited in line. We were the second group. Then a man without legs arrived in an electrical wheelchair with his wife. I had immediate empathy with her. I know they are younger than we are. This man had a fabulous attitude. He sang Soleá and Siguiriya while we waited. He also sang some Bulería, but you could tell that his forte was cante hondo (serious, deep Flamenco song).  He was able to sing his pain and thus to transmute it, at least to some extent. He also enjoyed taunting and playing with the guard at the door. He would try to crash the door and get inside every time it opened. Ryan took one photo of the guard peeking out the door. They were great entertainment. SEE PHOTOS halfway down . When it was time to go in, the guard let him and Freddie go in first. The man with no legs sent Freddie first. I pushed the chair through the soft yellow dirt and the recording cables in our path. Both nights we got front row tables.
This all happened again on Saturday night too. What a nice man. You could see how much he loved Flamenco.
    Juan played guitar and so did David Serva and Paco de Amparo (Son de la Frontera). Paco del Gastor’s two teenaged grandsons, Paquito and Antonio, also played guitar beautifully. Yes, Flamenco is not dying! Pepe Torres danced incredibly with his own cuadro (group). His cuadro included Paco and Moi of Son de la Frontera and David “El Galli”, the young singer who is often a guest of Son. It was fabulous. Sarah, Pepe’s longtime girlfriend, video taped.
    David Serva’s daughter Rachel and her husband Philippe also videotaped the show. They are doing a documentary on David’s life.
    Lakshmi, Crystal and Miguel showed up. Of course Jill was there and Juan and Lucy.
That night Ryan and Melissa helped me push Freddie back to the Hostel. We were all tired and decided to go when the bullring closed. It turned out that we missed a great spontaneous fiesta, fueled by Juan, in the bar right outside the bullring. It went on until seven the next morning. Carl and Chris returned to Sevilla with Juan and Lucy that morning. They spent Saturday day sleeping in Sevilla. Photos of Friday .
    They all returned on Saturday night for the official Gazpacho, the festival that has happened every year for forty-two years. The show was good, but not as exciting as Friday night. Our favorite singer there was Cancanilla de Marbella. Freddie and I have heard him before and we always like him.
    Paco del Gastor played guitar and so did Antonio Moya.  Juana Amaya danced with her cuadro. She was excellent. Every photo of her is perfect. Every pose is faultless.   PHOTOS
    When I went to the bathroom there, I ran into a Japanese girl who looked familiar. We tentatively said hello and then left. I thought she looked like the woman I so admired in 2003 in Torombo’s class. I knew that she was only spending a year in Spain, so I assumed that it could not have been her. But later that night we both remembered that it was in Torombo’s class that we had met and it was her, Mariko. She is now living in Granada. We had felt a special connection in that class. Her dancing was very Spanish and beautiful, although her technique was not quite as awesome as some of the other Japanese dancers in the class. But her feeling was there and very Gypsy. She was my favorite dancer in the class. I used to tell her frequently how much I liked her dancing. It was very nice to see each other again.
    Taking the bus back from Morón, the Spanish countryside is brown with dried sunflowers, pink with oleanders, green with occasional crops and olive orchards. I think of the Spain of Franco and the many people killed in the civil war. I remember when the women dressed in the black of mourning and toilets were holes in the cement.
    –The choices one makes in youth. I chose the communal movement in America. How easily I could have chosen to travel to Andalucía when things were cheap and Flamenco flourished in Morón. How different my life might have been.
    But now in my sixties, my choices are history and I lived a good life. My mind wanders on the bus ride, as I think of the people I know who came to Morón in the sixties and early seventies. Arabic music is playing on the bus speakers and I remember the Moorish influence in Andalucía.
Today Morón seems quiet to me –a town filled with memories and bygone heroes.
    We pass palms and oleander and ugly buildings on the outside of small pueblos, white walls and ruined buildings. The heat of the mid day beats down as we speed along in the air-conditioned bus.
We came back from Morón in the afternoon on Sunday. We were doing very well and Freddie was pushing his wheelchair. Outside the bus station in Sevilla we were about to get into a taxi. Freddie’s wheelchair started to fall over the curb and in trying to catch it, Freddie fell with it and landed first on his hip and finally on his back, his new hat falling into the street near him.
    Nearby onlookers quickly picked him up and we got him and the chair into the taxi. When we arrived home I put oils on his hip. He refused ice. We went out to eat with Carl and Chris later that evening. I suggested that Freddie walk to loosen up any sore muscles resulting from his fall. He walked and his walking was straighter and he felt less pain than before.
    It seems as if the fall put him back into alignment! Ever since the fall he has been walking straighter and not always even taking his cane! His speed has picked up too. It even seems as if his speech and finger movements have improved as well. Maybe the fall jolted some of his brain synapses back into working order.

Tuesday July 29, 2008
    Sunday night, when we were walking with Carl and Chris on the Alameda, a young man on a bike stopped to tell Freddie how happy he was to see Freddie walking. This is what I love about Spain. I guess we are recognized figures now in this neighborhood. People are so caring.
    Monday night I had a wonderful class with Juan here, working some more on finding the right tones and changing from minor to major and back. Then Chris had a lesson and after that Juan made dinner here and Lucy joined us. Lakshmi called and she and Crystal came over too. I ate so much. After that we had to take a walk for ice cream! Freddie did not take his cane.
    With ice cream in hand, we sat on small pillars that line the narrow road on the Alameda outside the store. Lucy said we all looked liked gnomes sitting there on our posts.
    Juan started doing palmas and I started dancing. Juan was teaching me different llamadas and I was improvising with them. Then Lakshmi danced for a while too. We took photos. It was such fun. This is another thing we love about Spain.
    Tuesday while I was shopping in the Mercado I went to buy some milk for Freddie. The man at milk store asked me how my husband was! We don’t shop there very much, so I was amazed that he knew us. I told him that Freddie was improving and he was glad.
    Juan told us that even in Morón people commented on Freddie. Toward the end of the Morón trip Freddie started to push his wheel chair more and more and was able to walk to the bathroom during the show. Juan’s family commented that they were happy to see Freddie walking! It’s great to have a whole country rooting for you!

Wednesday July 30, 2008
    Last night we went out for tapas on the Alameda as a goodbye for Carl. Juan, Lucy Chris, Ryan and Melissa came. Freddie walked without a cane. After tapas we walked to the closer ice cream store and “pigged out” on ice cream again. Maybe that is why we are still gaining weight.
    This morning Carl was supposed to leave here at eleven to catch the Ave to Madrid at eleven forty-five. At eleven fifteen he was nowhere to be found. Chris said Carl had left before nine and the bicycle was gone and his bags were still here. We called around to places where he might have been, but he was nowhere to be found. I speculated that he had changed his train tickets.
    And sure enough, just as we had left a note and were about to leave for breakfast, Carl called. He had finally figured out how to use the public phone. He had changed his reservation to later in the day because he had too many things he still wanted to do in Sevilla.
    Carl met us at Bar Algabeño and the four of us had breakfast. Carl had his train ticket in his pocket; the Renfre label (name of the train) was showing.     He and Chris left to go to the bank and then home and I stayed with Freddie while he finished his coffee.
    When I paid the bill, the tall brother who has befriended us gave me another small present, a fan with Cruzcampo (the name of a popular Spanish beer) written on it. Most Spaniards, especially women, use pretty hand fans to cool themselves in the summer. It was another useful and appropriate gift.
    As Freddie and I were walking home a few minutes later I noticed a Renfre envelope lying in the hot sun in the middle of the cobblestone street and I said, “I wonder if this is Carl’s ticket?” Well I picked it up and it was. Carl really didn’t want to go, but we returned the ticket to him so he had to go.
    He is on his way to France for a few days to visit his son and four grandchildren! Carl has decided that he has to return to Sevilla soon. He got hooked! We’ll miss him.
End of part XI

Like us on Facebook!

Buy this Flamenco Dance Basics - Refining & Polishing DVD now.


US or International


Special promotion: $120 for Flamenco Dance Basics Vol 1 and 2 + $10 shipping and handling
US or International

Buy this Flamenco Dance Basics Teaching DVD now.

US or International