Sevilla 2008 Part XIV-Writings

Sevilla 2008   Part XIV

Our Flamenco Journey Continues

Wednesday September 3, 2008
     Since we have been home from the beach, I have had a wonderful cante class with Juan, and Freddie had a great guitar class with Paco. I have started evening classes with Concha in the Plaza Pelicano, but unfortunately she is only teaching three evenings a week.
     September is the end of summer here and stores are reopening in Sevilla. We ate breakfast Monday and Tuesday at Bar Algabeño again and they welcomed us back. They said they felt refreshed and reenergized from their vacation. School starts soon and so does the Bienal.
     I picked up our Bienal tickets yesterday. I had ordered them before we left for Spain, on the Internet. It was easy. To get the actual tickets I had to go to the Lope de Vega Theater during specific hours and then insert the credit card that I bought them with into the machine and the machine printed out the tickets! The bus took forty-five minutes to get me there, because it went a roundabout way. I got to the taquilla (ticket office) at the last minute that they were open. When I left they locked the gate. Then I walked home and that also took me forty-five minutes. I like the exercise and I like to walk here. It was more interesting than the bus ride.
    Today I will try a new cante class. Our friend Rebeca says they are great and we will go together. Then tonight I have Concha’s class again.
     Lucy’s friend Carmen teaches Spanish and Lucy says that Carmen is a great teacher, so I might take some classes with her. Although, a man at the market on Monday said that he thought my accent was glamorous!

Thursday September 4, 2008
    Last night I had another class with Concha Vargas. A little while after I returned home Juan, Lucy and Pablo came over and we all went out to the Alameda for a drink. Pablo spent the night and left for Moron today.
     Freddie has been taking guitar classes from Paco almost every day and he is feeling good about his improvement.
     I took a cante class yesterday with Alicia Acuña, Rebeca’s cante teacher. We did a lot of breathing exercises for better breath control. Rebeca’s two cute little girls came too and sat quietly in the back of the room during class. Their school starts soon so they won’t be able to watch the classes then. Alicia’s classes are only twice a week.
     Today Paco took me on his motorcycle to a store that unlocks cell phones. I still want to unlock my iphone so I can use it again here. I wanted to walk but Paco thought it was too far. It was near Lakshmi’s house and I am used to walking. However, we went on Paco’s “moto”. I borrowed a bike helmet from Angel and Paco drove slowly. I was a little nervous, knowing that an accident at my age would probably break me. But it was actually fun, although slightly scary for me. 

     Paco’s friends who owned the store were in Japan so the staff had to call them and told me to call back at six. When I did they told me that I have to wait until September 26, when they return. Then it will cost fifty euros. I think I’ll pass. Too bad. We will only have another month here by then.
     What I notice about being here for a long time is that now with two months to go, I feel like I have finally settled in. I am getting the shopping into a routine and cooking for two and three days at a time. I can’t shop on Mondays and Wednesdays because of the morning cante class and the evening dance classes, so I have to be sure to shop well on the other days. Sunday everything is closed. And the stores close every day during the siesta, between 1:30 or 2 PM. They re-open at 6:30 or 7 PM.
     I don’t have time to eat out on Monday and Wednesdays and I am tired of eating at restaurants. I am trying to control my fats and the amount of food I eat. We also save money. At least the dollar is going up a little.
     I made up another dish that Freddie loved. When he loves my cooking it inspires me to cook more. How domestic I have become. And we don’t even have an oven! At least he sweeps the floor.
     The first dish I invented was a takeoff on Spanish cooking. First I sauté chopped garlic and chopped long green frying peppers in lots of olive oil, although not as much as the Spanish use. When they are almost done, I add thin fillets of either good beef or chicken, which I sometimes cut into long strips before cooking.  I add a little salt and may add tomatoes, almonds or piñon nuts for variation.
     The next dish I invented was my version of a Moroccan chicken. I had the chicken legs chopped up by JuanMa, the chicken butcher at the market. I sautéed the chicken with a little curry powder, garlic, olive oil, of course, and a little vegetable broth and. I lightly salted it. Then I added figs, almonds, raisons, cut up dates, and artichoke hearts. I covered it and simmered it until it was done.
We ate it for two days and today there was just a little left, so I steamed a cauliflower with a little curry powder and two carrots and then added all that with water to the leftovers. It was good again!
     I also make green salads in addition to my easy fruit salads, which everybody loves.
     Who would have ever thought that I would rediscover my domestic side in Spain?
     After I got off Paco’s motorcycle today and we were walking the last two blocks to our house, I stubbed my big toe on the uneven sidewalk. It bled. I put Panaway (an essential oil blend by Young Living) on it, which is helping like it did when the wind slammed the hostel door at the beach into three fingers on my left hand. There was blood both times, but no swelling. I am lucky to have the oils. At least I don’t have dance class tonight, so my toe has time to heal before I put my dance shoes on again.
     I put Aroma Seize (an essential oil blend by Young Living) on Lucy’s back the other day where it was strained and the pain left and her back immediately felt much better. The oils are truly amazing and, of course, very useful.
     8:20 PM. I just went out and the weather has turned cool with a slight breeze. There is always more of a breeze in the Alameda where we are going tonight to watch and listen to Flamenco.
     Last night at Concha’s class I saw Gabriel Pies Plomo. He is a young singer who came to the US with Cihtli and Ethan and stayed at our house in California this last year. He was part of the show that Arte y Pureza produced.
     When I talked to Gabriel just after we had arrived in Spain, he told me that he had fallen in love, gotten married and moved to Madrid. Now he is temporarily back in Sevilla rehearsing for the Bienal. He will also be in tonight’s show. The dancer tonight is Oruco, the son of Polonio, whom we met in 2003 when we were taking classes with Torombo. Oruco now teaches classes at the same dance studio as Concha does, Torombo’s studio.
     Our apartment here feels darker than normal at this hour as well as cooler. I guess September really means fall.

Friday September 5, 2008
    I feel just half asleep today, but I could hardly sleep during my siesta. Now it’s time to go to Concha’s class. The weather is partly overcast and much cooler but more humid. I think it may be the weather that is affecting me.
     I just caught up on my writing about our two beach trips. We are getting into our busy time here, with the Bienal starting. The classes also have started up again.
     Last night Freddie and I strolled along the Alameda at ten at night to go to the show. We heard the sounds of Flamenco starting exactly at the scheduled time, ten PM. What a surprise. As we walked around the backdrop to the temporary stage they had erected in the Alameda, we saw that the seats were completely filled. The area was packed with people.
     Freddie and I walked along the front of the first row and stood at the side of it for most of the show.   At one point two young women were sitting on chairs in front of us. They turned to us and offered us their seats. They are Dutch but one of them is married to an American and lives in Southern California. We were moved by their compassion. And the show was excellent.
     We decided to get there at nine the next night (tonight) so we could get good seats. But tonight I was a little late coming home from Concha’s class, which ran over. Freddie was still having his guitar lesson with Juan. Lakshmi rode her bike over and we stayed in the other room while Freddie and Juan finished.
     By the time we were ready to go, it was almost ten and so Freddie decided to stay home. Freddie was afraid that we would have to stand again. We didn’t know who was in the group for tonight.
     Lakshmi and I went together and got separate seats in the fifth row, which was pretty far back. We had a lot of people’s big heads in front of us. At the same time, we looked at each other and decided that we had to get up and move.
     I went up to the first row but didn’t see Lakshmi. I watched from the side and saw other people I knew. Then someone in the front row center waved at me. It was one of the Dutch girls. She immediately gave me her seat. Her friend, Laura, whom I was sitting next to, asked me where my husband was. I told her that he stayed home because if was worried about a seat. (Lakshmi had suggested that he take his wheelchair so he could sit down, but he said he was done with that!).
     Again I was very touched by the compassion these women showed. Things like that make me feel good. I love to be aware that there are good people around.
     The show was good. Rocio, who was supposed to come to stay at our house and teach a workshop one year, was the female dancer. She didn’t make it to the US because her visa wasn’t correct and so they didn’t let her on the plane.
     There were two good male dancers who also performed. But the singing was the best. Moi de Morón (Son de la Frontera) was one of the singers and Jesus Flores was the other. They were excellent and the show was good. Free Flamenco outdoors. This is the best part of Spain!

September 7, 2008
     Nina Menendez came to Sevilla the night before last. Lakshmi, who had found a room for Nina, wasn’t available to give her the key to where she will be staying so she spent the night with us, on our couch. It took her two hours to find a parking space and she arrived at our door at three AM.
The next morning Freddie and I went out to eat and Nina organized herself. It was drizzling outside and I had optimistically dressed for summer.
     Freddie had a class at one with Paco and then I had a class with Lakshmi at two-thirty. Lucy and Nina went out for coffee. After my class, Lakshmi met Nina at Juan and Lucy’s and took Nina to her new lodging. Then Nina returned her rental car.
     That night Freddie and I walked to the Alameda early only to find out that for the current Flamenco show a dancer would dance to a DJ with recorded music and there were no chairs to sit in. We left.
At home we watched some Flamenco on the television. Another thing we love about Spain is that there is often good Flamenco on TV.
     This morning Freddie, Angel and I went to see the apartments they are constructing at Evalina’s old house. I loved one but Freddie didn’t think it had enough light. Maybe I like the idea of buying a part of Evalina’s house. From there we went to Bar Norte on the Alameda where Lucy, Juan and Nina were having breakfast. I discovered that they serve espinacas there and that it is open on Sunday. I liked their espinacas better than Bar Alegria’s.

September 8, 2008
     I keep forgetting to mention the incredible alternative energy generation that is growing here. Solar hot water is becoming a standard in new buildings. In the south of Spain there are rows and rows of modern windmills and now they are starting to put solar panels in the fields by the side of the road. We saw this on our beach trips, near Vejer. The apartment that they are building at Evalina’s will have solar hot water. I love it. The United States is certainly falling behind. What a shame.
     Nina called today. She has moved to Miguel’s house because her room was in a student apartment and it didn’t work for her. Miguel has a beautiful apartment in Triana. I hadn’t realized that she knew him.
     Nina’s experience reminds me that we are now too mature to live like students! We feel young but we have a past filled with experiences, and we know what we like and what is available. That is a good part of aging!
     I am discouraged about my dancing today. I have been tired and it is another low day for me. My cante class was canceled for today, but the person who was supposed to call me didn’t call me, and I didn’t find out until I was eating breakfast, having gotten up early and prepared myself.
     Freddie and I actually enjoyed being up early, but Freddie came home and slept after breakfast until his one o’clock class with Paco. He keeps telling me how special Paco is. Freddie feels very encouraged by his work with Paco, and his guitar continues to improve.
     I did errands and had to buy ink for the printer and then had trouble getting the printer to print again. I ended up spending a lot of time on the phone with the local HP support, in Spanish. What a challenge. But I did get the printer working again.
     Then I printed up more of the flyers I had made for Concha’s classes in Torombo’s studio. I also went out and put a few up in our neighborhood. When I got to class this time, having had the flyer approved by Concha and the class on Friday, someone realized that I had put Tuesday on it (in Spanish, of course) instead of Wednesday. None of us had caught that glaring mistake on Friday, so I just wasted more paper and ink, which is very expensive here.
     When I came home from class, after washing my hair, taking a shower, hanging up wet clothes from the washing machine, putting more dirty clothes in it, and doing some hand laundry washing, I made a salad and we ate. Then I fixed the flyer and printed another copy.
     Meanwhile, I have been trying to burn a DVD of my class with Lakshmi, and I am about out of memory in the three 200 Gig hard drives I brought as well as in my computer. Both videos and music take up a lot of room, and I audiotape my cante classes. I am not sure how I am going to solve this problem. Maybe I’ll price external hard drives here. One more would be great.
     I haven’t been able to get a picture on the old television when I plug the camera directly into our new DVD recorder. Maybe that is because the recorder only records in PAL, although it plays NTSC. My camera records in NTSC and of course the tape I wanted to play was also in NTSC.
     Angel came over this morning and hung the mirror I had bought on Saturday at the Chinese store. It is not full length, but it is bigger than the one I had and wider than a full length mirror. He also replaced a high light bulb and a clock he had fixed. He has a tall ladder for these kinds of projects. The ceilings are very high here.

September 13, 2008
     Friday night Mica came into Sevilla from Berkeley (USA). Jill picked her up and we all met at a bar in Triana by the Santa Ana church: Mica, Jill, Bill Burgess (who is also visiting from the US), Juan, Lucy, Pablo, Lakshmi, and Freddie and I. Mica lived in Morón and Sevilla many years ago but hadn’t been back to Spain for a long time. Her father is buried here in Sevilla.
     Mica was surprised that we were all there waiting for her. She came to Triana straight from the airport! Mica and Jill had been roommates in Spain and they have remained close ever since.
We had a lot of fun and of course got home very late. See Photos. Go to Photo Gallery (on the left) Click on Spain 2008 Album & then on "Nina Arrives. Mica's visit". These photos should work on any browser!
     The Internet has been out since last night. Angel rearranged his TV and unplugged his system and when he plugged it in again it didn’t work. So I am now out of contact with my “other” world.
Last night we went to see Farruquito’s new show. We had tickets to la Macanita the same night, which we had bought long before the Farruquito show was announced.
     That evening I chatted with Luisito (Luis Peña) via the Internet and he strongly encouraged us to go see Farruquito, calling it a very important event, the first time Farruquito has danced in Sevilla in five years. It was also the first show Farruquito has done here without his family, the Farrucos. That was quite a departure from his norm.
     The show was held in a very large stadium and there were only the very good and expensive VIP tickets and the cheap far-away tickets left for sale. That was why we had decided earlier not to sell our Macanita tickets. The choice became for us, do we splurge and buy the VIP tickets or do we go instead to the show for which we already had tickets.
     We thought about it, agonized about it and talked with both Jill and Mica. At the last minute, we gave our Macanita tickets to Juan, who was visiting us right then.
     I tried to call the auditorium (which is what they call the stadium) ticket office but could not find a phone number after half an hour of searching. We could have bought and picked up tickets first at the Corte Ingles but we would have had to take a taxi there, wait for an unspecified time to actually buy them, and then take another taxi to the show. We didn’t want to risk being late. And they might not have had any left there anyway.
     So we dressed and found a taxi and went straight to the auditorium. Again, Freddie did not take his cane! We got seats in row ten, the last row of the VIP seating. It wasn’t great but it was much better than being way back in the stadium stands.
     Luckily, just before the show started we noticed that the front row was empty. Then we saw Lakshmi, who was sitting on the side in the comp section, start to head to the front row with other people. We jumped up and managed to get two front row almost center seats! The show was incredible.
     About four or five years ago, in the height of his dance career, Farruquito was driving and hit a pedestrian and didn’t stop. The man he hit died. Farruquito was put in jail for four or five years. Now he is out of jail and dancing again. And he is dancing with incredible feeling.
     We could see the pain and the joy in his dancing. His dancing has calmed and matured. Juan had said earlier that he didn’t think he could live if he had killed a person. What must it have been like for Farruquito in jail, with time to think about the fact that he had killed a man and that that man had had a family. That pain has certainly influenced his dance and most like his person too.
We also saw his brilliant joy as he danced. He just seemed so happy to be dancing again.
     Manuel Molina was in the show too, singing poetry to his guitar. He is always wonderful.
     At the end of the show everyone went barefoot. And Farruquito danced barefoot too. Then his little sister Alegría and little brother el Carpeta, both still little kids, danced. I had met them both in Pilar’s class last year. They are her niece and nephew.
     We certainly made the right decision. And it was worth every penny we spent on those expensive VIP tickets!
     Antonio Rey played guitar in the show. Freddie took lessons from him when Antonio was in Santa Cruz with Andres Marin a number of years ago, before Freddie’s stroke. It was nice to see him. We were taken back stage and got to say hello to the performers we knew.
     We also saw Gabriel Pies Plomo, the singer who came to our house in Santa Cruz with Cithli and Ethan (Arte y Pureza). We will see the show he is in with his father, Jose de la Tomasa, next week.
     We saw Luisito too. Miguel Angel did the lights. He is the friend who lives in Triana and visited us at the beach with Lakshmi the first time we went away. Nina is staying at his house while she is here. Miguel drove us home, which was nice.
     Yesterday I had another class with Lakshmi and today I had a dance class with Juan. We worked on footwork and had an inspired time. Concha has started to teach five days a week now, at five PM, so I am taking her class every day. I am also still taking singing with Alicia Acuña two days a week. She is helping my breath control. I have amped up for our last month and a half here. It seems like no time at all!
     Tonight we went to see a show called Mujeres (women). The dancers were Merche Esmeralda, Belen Maya and Rocio Molina. There was a lot of traffic and we arrived late and had to wait to enter the theater. Then we couldn’t get our front row seats that we had paid for because the stupid ushers took us to the wrong side of the theater and then said that our seats were too far for us to walk to. So they put us above the orchestra, in the patio section. Freddie got mad and said he was going down to find his real seat. I said I’d join him a little later.
     He got stopped by an usher on his way out and ended up not seeing the show at all. I didn’t know that he hadn’t escaped. At the next applause I got up and went out the door and back through the door to the orchestra. I stood in the shadows watching the show until the next applause. Then I walked across the theater in front of the front row, but it was so dark I couldn’t always tell if someone was in a seat and once ended up “molesting” someone when I thought the seat was empty.
     I sat down on the floor of the center isle when the dancing started again. At the next applause I continued across and found one empty seat. I couldn’t see the seat numbers. I sat in it and kept looking for Freddie, because I thought he had probably made it down there.
     At the end of the show I looked at my seat number and it was my seat. Someone else was sitting in Freddie’s seat. And when I found Freddie in the lobby, I found out that he was so angry that he couldn’t have his seat that he didn’t see the show at all because he refused to sit in another seat.
     The show was a mixture of Classical and Modern Flamenco. Even though Mujeres was directed by Mario Maya (whom I love) and it was produced beautifully, the show didn’t move me. (Belen Maya is his daughter). We missed seeing Belen Maya’s solo because she was the first dancer and we were kept outside the door then. And that was why we had bought the tickets in the first place. So Freddie didn’t miss that much. Farruquito’s show the night before had been so incredible that this showed paled in comparison.
     The Jerez fiesta of Bulerías happened tonight too. We have been to it twice before so it didn’t matter to us that we had already purchased tickets to tonight’s show when we found out about it.
     We bought all of our Bienal tickets before we came to Spain, when the dollar was still very low! (Now the dollar is rising again and things don’t seem quite as expensive as they did.) We might not have bought all of tickets we did, if we had waited, but in order to get good seats and to even get some of the tickets, we had to buy early.

Sunday September 14, 2008
     The Internet is back. Angel had to get his code and then re-enter it. It came back in time to send a birthday email to my brother-in-law, Ken.
     Friday Angel did more work in our shower. Last Tuesday we had to have the drain fixed and we couldn’t use the shower for two days. We used Angel’s shower upstairs instead. He offered to put us up in a hotel but we declined. A few days later there were some wonderful red and white carnations in our hall. I told Angel how beautiful they were and he said they were for us. I asked why and he said because we didn’t complain when the work was being done. We have a great landlord! Angel is such a nice person.
     I have another class with Lakshmi today and then Luisito is going to visit. He is finally back from Barcelona where he had been working since before we came to Spain.
A note on the photos: some people have been having trouble seeing the photos. Unfortunately, Apple made it difficult and I am using their iWeb to post the photos. So, now you must download Safari, which is free, and it will work; you will be able to see the photos!
     However, I am now putting the newer photos on the Photo Gallery on our website. Go to the Spain 2008 Album. You can access this with any browser. But I haven’t transferred all of them, so you will still need Safari to see the older photos.

End of part XIV

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