Sevilla 2008 Part III-Writings

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Sevilla 2008   Part III

Our Flamenco Journey Continues

Wednesday May 14, 2008
     I am still sick. We did very little today except rest, until the printer arrived. Less than 24 hours after I had ordered it from the internet, it is here. It prints quickly, with clean and clear type. It is small. Freddie and I set it up together, guessing at the directions, which were neither in Spanish nor English! Its only drawback is that it does not hold much blank paper at one time, but I can live with that. It is odd, but nice to have a printer in Spain.
I also worked on our website today and sent out Part II of the Sevilla updates. Then I posted the newest part up on the website.
    I don’t think I’ll have this much time once I am better and start dancing and taking classes.
    We did see Cihtli today. She texted me that she would be at Bar Hercules between dance practices and I met her there for coffee, only I drank orange juice instead because I wanted to go home and sleep. The sun came out for a while and we sat outside. Then Freddie appeared. He had been sleeping on the very comfortable living room couch when I left the house so I didn’t wake him. But he had known that I would be meeting Cihtli later. He came without his cane!
    Next we all went over to the studio that Cihtli rents across the street from Bar Hercules and a block from our house. It is small and smells like sweat. The egg cartons pasted to the outer walls, windows and door insulate the sound from the neighbors. It is a nice studio. We watched Cihtli practice until I got too tired and needed to go home and rest. It was fun, but my energy is still very low. I haven’t been sick in so long. I still can’t believe it got me. Freddie is better.

Thursday May 15, 2008
    Still sick but feeling a little better.  I guess my immune was down more than I realized. Freddie and I went to the Jueves today, (“Wuay vayce” the Thursday Flea Market). Every Thursday part of Calle Feria closes down to cars and fills with people selling and looking at and buying things. We were warned, by several people that the Jueves boasts of excellent and practiced thieves. Our landlord Angel had a bicycle stolen there three times, once from right next to him! The waiters at El Algabeño warned us too. So we were careful.
    We ran into Juan there. He was coming to Dias, the cheap grocery store on the corner farther up Calle Feria, where I had just stocked up on toilet paper. Juan was about to put more money in Lucy’s cell phone. You can do that here at the grocery store as well as at tobacco shops. Everybody seems to either run out of saldo (money in the cell phone) or batteries. Without saldo you can still receive calls, just not make them.
Juan had to go back home to teach a class. He told us that this Friday’s Flamenco show with him and Miguel Funi had been postponed because it is supposed to rain again on Friday. Then he left. Freddie and I continued browsing, our faded red shopping cart trailing behind us through the crowded bumpy cobblestone street.
    Since we’ve returned home today, I’ve been playing on the computer instead of sleeping. I finally uploaded an old music cut recorded just before Freddie’s stroke, of Freddie playing guitar with Angelita Agujetas singing in our studio. It is now on “myspace”. I should probably put it on our website too.
    We both spent the rest of this afternoon at home resting and being sick (although getting better). My voice still sounds hoarse and husky. But I managed to make us some vegetable soup with some delicious organic vegetable bullion I had just bought. As we were beginning to eat it, Cristina came over to visit. We ate soup, olives, bread and rice cakes and enjoyed ourselves.
    After a while we kept hearing booming sounds that we decided weren’t thunder or guns but may be fireworks. Then the church bells started to ring and ring and the loud booms became more frequent. When Cristina was ready to go, Freddie and I both decided to accompany her outside to see what was going on. As we opened the door two men with broad rimmed hats, tight striped pants and canes passed by. Then I guessed that maybe people were returning from Rocio, but Cristina thought that wouldn’t be until Sunday.
    We turned the corner and saw that the church doors were open and the inside lit up. And there in front of us was the “Virgin” in her ornate gold carriage. This stature of the Virgin was on her way home to the Macarena. We live in the Macarena but there is another church in this neighborhood where she lives. The same procession we stumbled upon the other day, when we took the photos, was returning at 10:30 or 11 at night. The street was filled with people in their Rocio costumes, women with baby strollers, children of all ages. The oxen pulling the carts looked tired. The brightly dressed people looked a little more tired too. This time everyone had canes but of course they walked as if they didn’t need them. The parade slowly passed by, at about the pace that Freddie walks. The lights went out in the church and the doors were closed. Cristina decided to follow the procession on her way to her house. Freddie and I watched for a while and then ambled home. Freddie hadn’t taken his cane and I hadn’t taken the camera.

    I miss, a little, that we didn’t dress up for Rocio this year or celebrate like we did in 1999. And yet, I’m glad we did it once, when we had more energy and were more “into it”. My neck is still stiff and I want my voice to be normal again.
    Earlier today I recorded my hoarse voice on the phone answering machine. Angel told me I could erase all his old messages, as he never uses it. So I did. We share the phone, but our message is now on the answering machine.

Saturday May 17, 2008
    Freddie had an urge to go to La Alameda this morning. As we were walking, a young man ran up to us exclaiming “Hola” and hugged Freddie. It was Quintín, Concha Vargas’ older son, with short hair. He looked very different from the long-haired Quintín we’ve known for years! He was about to do a rock show at a benefit for poor people being held there at la Alameda de Hercules. You can listen to two short videos clips below and see the photos on our photo page.

Sunday May 18, 2008
    I am still sick but have been going out the last few days shopping with Cihtli, helping her with a project. Last night, we ate at a fantastic restaurant on Calle San Luis with Cihtli and Ethan. Afterwards, Ethan walked me home while Cihtli walked Freddie to their apartment to watch a movie. Ethan joined them after he left me. Apparently, although Sevilla is safer than many cities, it is getting worse so they encourage me not to walk alone after 11:30 or 12 at night. They all watched a DVD that Cihtli had rented and then put Freddie in a taxi and took him back home. I was asleep before Freddie arrived, because I wanted to rest up for Soleá’s communion which is today at 12:45 PM.
    We haven’t seen Pili or Paco most of the week because they have been preparing for this big event. Tomorrow they leave for Madrid and then fly to Paris on Tuesday. Paco has a job there and he is taking Pili and Soleá as a communion present for Soleá. They will go to Disney World in Paris.
    The communion fiesta was going take place in Concha’s studio but they decided that would be too much work because they would have to prepare food, bring it, and clean up, etc.. So the location was changed to Bar Sonanta. The Communion will take place at the beautiful old Santa Ana church in Triana. We are giving nine-year-old Soleá a Narnia book and another book about a princess to encourage her love of books. I just made her a card and printed it on our new printer.
    The weather is still chilly although it didn’t rain yesterday. They say it is supposed to rain today. I brought mainly clothes for the hot weather that is to come. Oh well.

    We just returned from Solea’s communion and the fiesta at Bar Sonanta. It was fun, but we are both still feeling sick. The weather held until we left. Then the rain came as we waited outside for a taxi. But the morning was sunny with some wind and clouds. Soleá looked beautiful in her white communion dress and tiny white flowers streaming down the back of her long black hair. Several other children were also participating in the communion. The church smelled of frankincense. Family and friends crowded together in the church in Triana. We had arrived after the service had started, but luckily we saw Andres, Pilar’s father, who helped us get close enough to see Soleá.
    After the communion everyone came outside to congratulate Soleá. Then Pilar’s brother and his wife drove us to Bar Sonanta for the Fiesta.
    Paco’s family, especially, is almost all Flamenco artists. Of course Paco’s parents, Pepa Vargas and Curro Fernández (Familia Fernández) were there. Pepa’s sisters, Concha Vargas and Esperanza were there with Concha’s daughter Carmen and son Curro. Paco’s sister Esperanza Fernández came with her two young boys. Carmen Ledesma, a close friend of the family, was there. We already knew a lot more of the guests, many of whom we had met at Concha’s house in 1999.
    At one point we were sitting outside and someone told Curro Vargas to get his guitar and so the singing, palmas and dancing started up. Curro Fernández (his uncle) is quite a partier and he initiated the music. He is almost always full of energy and ready to dance and sing, both of which he does very well.
    Paco walked by and decided that I should dance, so I had to, although I was feeling low energy. But it was fun. And I got the usual “Que arte”.
Later as I walked inside to try to say goodbye to Josefina, Pilar’s mother, she insisted that I dance and the women at the table started to do palmas and sing and so I had to dance again. “Que arte tiene” was the refrain. Then almost everyone at the table danced. Finally Josefina tried. At first she wobbled, as it is now hard for her to even walk with her swollen legs and feet, and she said “I can’t”. But I said, “Just a little bit” so she did and was glad. She used to love to dance. It was hard for us to leave, although Freddie and I were exhausted and needed to rest. I must be sick to not even feel like dancing!
    One sad thing I noticed was that the young people are not as eager to dance and party as the older ones. Neither Esperanza Fernández nor Carmen Vargas, both professional singers, wanted to dance or sing, although they did get pulled up to dance a little bit of tango. Curro Vargas is an exception, as he always seems ready to play guitar. Concha Vargas, Curro Fernández, Carmen Ledesma –all great artists– have no problem getting up and being inspired, no matter how much they perform. They generate energy and truly love Flamenco and want to express it. I wish more of the younger ones felt that way. Maybe they will grow into it.

end of part III

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