9. Sevilla – May 26 - June 4, 2010

9. Sevilla – May 26 - June 4, 2010

May 26, 2010
In Angelita’s dance class today, I was tired and fuzzy and kept forgetting part of the choreography that I knew. Towards the end of class there was one new step that Angelita was repeating and adding some stylistic things to. For some reason, I felt relaxed and doing the things she suggested and playing with the step felt easy. Angelita was thrilled and shook my hand, which was a big complement. She is very supportive.

Earlier in the class she had talked about a slower step for me again, because of my age. The funny thing was that there are other steps she does that I do have difficulty doing, but not the one she was talking about. And the difficult steps are getting much easier. 

I guess I am still confused about what I “should” be able to physically do, because I don’t feel or act “old”. But as I have said before, a thirty or forty years’ age gap does make an enormous difference in the state of the human body. However we are all dripping sweat during and after the class. It is like a sauna. I am sure that that much exercise and sweating is probably very healthy. It is certainly fun and very Flamenco.

After class Lakshmi, Stephanie, Natalia and I stopped off for a drink. Lakshmi had a soft drink and Stephanie and Natalia both drank Tinto de Veranos, a very popular summer drink here made out of red wine and soda with lemon. I had my water with me but I tasted Stephanie’s drink. Then all three women urged me to have one, so I relented and Stephanie bought me one. I hardly ever drink now because I get sleepy instead of tipsy. I was also a little worried about how it would affect me in my dance class with Lakshmi, which we would have as soon as we were done with our drinks. But Lakshmi urged me to try the Tinto de Verano and everything went well later in class. 

Both Natalia and Stephanie have private classes scheduled with Lakshmi tomorrow and Lakshmi wanted to show Natalia where her house was. So we all walked there. Then Stephanie continued on to our house and Natalia went on to another class she is taking. She will be leaving this weekend to meet her mother in Madrid. Her mother is from Madrid and they will be seeing relatives. After spending time with her mother, Natalia will return to India for a month, where she had traveled before coming to Turkey and then to Spain. We are all so glad that we have met her and I know that we will miss her. 

Lakshmi came over to eat lunch with us after we finished our private class. I read her part of my newest Sevilla update, which I was still editing. I had talked a lot about her in it. Stephanie and Freddie were listening to it too.

I felt relaxed because I had no other classes planned today. I was looking forward to taking a shower and a nap after lunch. 

Lakshmi still had to take some paperwork to her lawyer before going to work at the Tablao. Tonight she has to be there at six instead of six-thirty. So she left and I continued to read more of the update to Stephanie and Freddie. 

I was just reading “Ring, ring-ring! has become Juan’s ring”, when we heard that very ring. Juan del Gastor was at the door. No more than five minutes after Juan arrived (or less) there was another ring. This time it was Carlos Heredia. 

Carlos was worried about us because I hadn’t answered his phone calls yesterday or today. He had called at all hours, as he had said, but I happened to be in a class every time that he had called. I knew that he was calling to find out when his next class with Freddie would be, and Freddie hadn’t made his decision yet. I was waiting for Freddie to give me a day and a time to tell to Carlos before I called him back. Carlos told me that I should call him back even if I didn’t know, so that Carlos wouldn’t worry about us. 

Juan and Carlos, who are normally in very different social circles, started to talk about construction work they are both involved in. I was exhausted so I excused myself to take a siesta. (I postponed the shower idea, as my sweat from the dance classes had already dried). My eyes were blurry and I needed to lie down. Later I noticed that Freddie was beside me and I could still here Juan and Carlos talking in the living room. 

Freddie had gotten bored and had just left. At some point Juan and Carlos realized that Freddie had just gone to bed! Juan left. Carlos asked Stephanie when Freddie wanted his next class. Stephanie asked Freddie and then it was settled for tomorrow and Carlos left. 

Later this evening Chris came over. He and Freddie went out to Bar Hercules and I joined them a little later, when I returned from Flamenco y Mas, where I am still trying to get more Flamenco shoes. At least I now know what I want even though I am still not sure of the brand.
Chris and Freddie had called to me when they saw me across the street, but I had my earphones on listening to cante (Flamenco singing), and I didn’t hear them. As I was at the front door I saw Chris coming down the street. He told me where they were and that I hadn’t heard them call me. I love the small town neighborhood here. 

Friday May 28, 2010
Today was very good for me. It was a very good day. I danced and danced again. 
First I took Angelita’s class and next I followed up with a private class with Lakshmi. Chris played guitar for both classes. After that I walked home (five minutes). 

At home we were expecting Teresa and Natalia, who were walking over from Triana. When they arrived, we called Juan, who is Teresa’s second cousin and he came over to see her. 
More friends visited and played Flamenco guitar, and then most of us went to eat natural ice cream at our favorite heladoria –Stephanie, Chris, Lakshmi, Joaquin, Teresa, Natalia, (and Ninya, Teresa’s little rescued dog). This was a despedida (good bye) for Natalia, who was leaving Sevilla. She took the train to Madrid this evening to spend time with her mother and Spanish relatives before going back to India for a second visit. We will miss her. We just met her at Angelita’s dance class at the beginning of May, but we have spent time and had fun together. We all feel close. 
Eating Ice Cream - Freddie, Teresa and Natalia

Afterwards, I tried to take a nap and couldn’t sleep, so I had time to order some red Flamenco shoes before my cante class with Juan at 9:00 PM. I walked up to Flamenco y Mas and finally figured out which brand of shoe to buy. They will take three weeks to get here. 
I arrived home three minutes before Juan came for our cante class. I had an incredible Taranto cante class with him. Freddie was there, cheering me on. This lesson was good for my voice and good for my soul. I am really enjoying these classes with Juan. He will go to New York for two weeks in June to teach a Cursillo. We’ll miss him. 

After the class Freddie and I ate the delicious beans that Stephanie had cooked for the weekend. Stephanie left for Cadiz this evening to visit Chiqui, her singing teacher from Jerez, who is in the hospital. Chiqui had a severe moto (motorcycle) accident recently when she had a diabetic reaction while driving. She had not worn her helmet and she had almost died. Her tongue was sliced in half and one eye was out of the socket. (They repaired the tongue and put the eye back in). Her face had been smashed. Chiqui will be hospitalized for two weeks! I know that Stephanie is very concerned for her. 

And here I am writing. We missed a good singer at the nearby Flamenco bar last night. We’re old and needed some sleep. The young ones went: Lakshmi, Stephanie, Chris, Javi ….
About 4:30 AM a drunken woman started a fight with the bartender and someone sprayed pepper spray and the party broke up. I wish that I had had the energy to go. But Freddie and I were both tired so we stayed home and relaxed. 

May 31, 2010 Monday
Time is flying. Tomorrow is June already. My friend Rina arrived with her fifteen-year old daughter Akahna. Freddie and I had dinner with them tonight on the Alameda at Bar Borear. The food there is excellent. We’ll take Rina and Akahna to the ice cream place tomorrow, as it is closed on Mondays.

It is always fun to see them. Rina will start Angelita’s class tomorrow. Angelita has just started to teach Tango. I miss the Alegrías because I love it so much. But I love Angelita. 
Javi is leaving for the beach tomorrow because he has rented a small apartment there for a month, near where we rented last year. We plan to rent one too and Freddie will go there this month. Stephanie will take care of him most of the time when I am not there. The weather here is already too hot for Freddie. I still like it. And I love my dance classes.

Pilar (La Faraona, whom I have studied with several times) will not be teaching a Cursillo this year so I won’t have that conflict in June. Concha Vargas starts her Cursillo (workshop) tomorrow but it conflicts with some of my cante classes. I am almost done with Laura’s cante class. Stephanie has finished it already. She has also decided not to continue Angelita’s classes either because she wants to spend more time at the beach. She will come back only for Alicia Acuña’s cante classes, as she is her to study cante. Alicia’s classes are extremely helpful to both of us. Although I will take Alicia’s cante classes, I want to focus on Angelita’s dance classes this month. I am here for dance. 

I will spend July 1 to 10 at the beach with Freddie, assuming we can find a place to rent for that time. The apartment we are taking for June at the beach is only available until June 30. 
The bank story: In 1999 I opened a Spanish bank account near where I was then living (at la Carboneria). Last year when I arrived, they wouldn’t let me put more money in my account until I was “verified”. They needed our passports. At first they said that I would have to go to “my branch” to get it done, but then they relented and let me do it at the calle Feria branch close to home.

They said that I would have to do this now every year, because I was a non-resident. So I went this year, intent on putting a little more money in. I use the account to recharge the money on our prepaid cell phones (American credit cards don’t work) and to buy things here on the Internet. If I don’t recharge my phone numbers every three months, we will lose the numbers. So I do it from the US when I am there. I don’t have to ask anyone in Spain to do it for me because I have this Spanish Cajasol bank account.

When I went to do it this year I was told that I now need a non-resident stamped certificate to prove that I am a non-resident. They suggested getting it from the American consulate. I called the consulate last week and they assured me that this was a Spanish thing and that they had nothing to do with it. They suggested the foreigner’s police, but I could never reach them by phone, as their numbers were either out of existence, or they referred me to another number that didn’t answer. 

I went back to the bank this morning with some documents that I received when I entered the country as a visitor, but they said that I needed something with an official seal. They had already told me that my drivers’ license wouldn’t be good enough. But that does have a seal on it. I called the Consulate again, but they were closed for Memorial Day. They take both Spanish and American holidays.

I am going to see if they can stamp something that says I am a non-resident. Maybe I can convince them to accept my drivers’ license. Spanish bureaucracy is so weird. These types of things drive me crazy here. They just don’t make sense. I could see having to prove residency. But non-residents don’t have papers or official seals! 

June 1, 2010
Today in Angelita’s class there were only five of us. She is teaching Tangos. The class had been moved to 1:30 PM and the summer heat came with June. I sweated through my class with Lakshmi earlier and then again in the class with Angelita. We are lobbying for an earlier class, but for this week, Rina can’t come before 1:00 PM. After class I went with Rina and her daughter Akahna to get ice cream. She had read about our favorite ice cream place in my writings and she was not disappointed! Then she went on to a cante class and I went home. 

Chris, Lakshmi, Freddie and I ended up going out for lunch today. We celebrated Chris’ last day of work teaching English in a school here in Spain. He has now moved out of his apartment and is staying at Josh’s until his parents arrive in two weeks. His family has rented a house for their upcoming visit to Sevilla. Then Chris goes to Armenia with them and on to Hamburg, Germany. He will be there at least for the summer. If things work out with his girlfriend and he finds work, he will stay there. Meanwhile, his teaching job is still open for him to take next fall, if he should want it. 

June 4, 2010,
Time just keeps flying along. Freddie left for the beach last night with Javi and Stephanie, in Javi’s car. Stephanie will be helping Freddie while I am not there. I am on the bus today on the way to join them. Chris is with me. The summer bus schedule does not start until June 25, so the buses don’t always run. There is nothing to Conil (close to Palmar) from Sevilla on the weekends! There is only a Sunday bus back at 7:30 AM. From Conil we have to wait ½ an hour for a bus to Palmar, our destination. Things in Spain are not always easy.

The other day Angelita brought a skirt to class just to show me, one that she didn’t wear in class. She had bought it in Japan, and it reminded her of one that I had. Of course I admired her skirt. She told me that if I bought some material she would take me to her seamstress. Then she invited me to eat at her house with Lakshmi. She also invited a dancer from Israel who was in the dressing room at that time. 

Last Wednesday we talked to Angelita about having class on Thursday, even thought it was one of Spain’s many fiesta days (holiday) and she agreed. That would mean that she would skip class on Friday. Then she suggested to Lakshmi that she visit on Friday. After that she invited me too. I was going to go and then visit Palmar on the weekend. 

But Lakshmi said to me, if I were you, I would go to the beach Friday and have more days there. Sevilla was very hot that day! I thought about it and on Thursday I told Angelita that I would love to go another time because Freddie wanted me at the beach, which was true. It is a good thing that I did decide to go on Friday, given that now I know that there are no buses even going close to Palmar on the weekend! 

Another things that I forgot to mention, is that I did something very right in Angelita’s class last week and she shook my hand. That was a big complement. 
I love the Tangos that she has started to teach. Lakshmi thinks that maybe that will become “my dance”. It is much, much easier than the Alegrías or Bulerías that Angelita taught earlier. I am able to do it already putting in my personality. Lakshmi is teaching me some good techniques for memorizing dance choreography. I will definitely pass these tips on in my classes when I return. 
Marianna and Angelita Vargas afte class 6/15/10. Taken with my iphone

I cannot say enough good things about Angelita’s classes. She is such a joy to be near. At times when she dances in class, her long, thick black braid swings, and there is an expression of quiet joy on her brown face. Usually when she teaches she wears her hair up on her head, but sometimes she braids it. At other times her tied up hair comes undone and her loose hair falls past her thick waist. She is beautiful.


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