11. Sevilla & the beach – June 21-28, 2010 Summer Solstice

11. Sevilla & the beach – June 21-28, 2010 Summer Solstice

June 21, 2010, Monday
Again, so much has happened. Last Friday night I took the train to Jerez and met Freddie, Stephanie and Javi there. After tapas, we went to a benefit for a new women’s Peña, Peña Alegría Flamenca. Chiqui de Jerez, Stephanie’s singing teacher, had invited Stephanie, and us through Stephanie. Chiqui is recovering from her moto accident. One of her legs is still very swollen and she has a hard time seeing out of one eye. Stephanie says that Chiqui is healing amazingly quickly.
Chiqui y Stephanie

We didn’t know exactly what to expect. We parked fairly far away but Freddie walked well all the way there. He certainly is improving and his new strength surprises me. 

Finally, after walking down a maze of narrow Jerez streets we entered a building and emerged into a large space with a stage and lots of chairs. I later found out that it was an outdoor movie theater. The only tourists or foreigners that I saw were some Japanese men with wonderful cameras. 

Freddie and I found a stone bench on the side, up in front to sit on. The show was incredible, the best I have seen all year. As the night wore on, Freddie and I grabbed some front row seats. Chiqui was next to us, playing with her seven-month old niece. Her twin sisters were in back of her. Chiqui was dancing the baby to the music. The baby moved her hands to the music and Chiqui moved her feet. How could the baby not grow up knowing Flamenco?
Chiqui and Niece
Chiqui y Sobrina

Then Chiqui showed us a video on her mobile phone of a year-and-a-half year old girl dancing Bulerías. It was amazing. Later that night that same little girl, now three, danced on the stage and did beautifully. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it.
Chiqui and Niece
Chiqui y Sobrina

Some of the other performers included Dolores Agujetas,
Dolores Agujetas
Antonio Agujetas,
Dolores Agujetas y Moraito
Moraito de Jerez, some wonderful singers whose names I don’t know,
and an excellent dancer named Gema, who danced a beautiful Alegrías. The last singer before the Fin de Fiesta was and older man named Paco.
Singer with Moraito
And he was incredible. 

We finally arrived back at the beach around four in the morning! Of course we slept late the next day. It was cold but Freddie and I went to the beach for a while and lay in the sand. We walked in the water, but I didn’t want to go all the way in because the temperature outside was cold and there was a cold wind. How unusual for late June. 

Freddie has been spending a lot of time here helping Hector remodel his porch area. They are enjoying each other’s company. Freddie is also enjoying being able to work and be useful! He walks and talks better every day. Freddie once said they are like father and son, but Hector says that they are more like brothers. They both have that strong charisma and heart energy. And they both love people. 
Freddie and Hector

Later that evening Hector gave me a wonderful massage. Sunday, just before I left, he said that he would give Freddie one that night after they finished painting the porch. 

Hector found me a new ride back to Sevilla. My planned rides had left Palmar early because of the cold weather. Pretty soon the bus should be running again. The ride that Hector found me turned out to be with Virginia, one of the sisters who owns Flamenco y Mas, my favorite flamenco store. Oh the world is small.

Last week, in Sevilla, I was busy. Angel took me to his bank and I opened a new bank account. The woman who helped us was very nice and personable. She gave me her card. This new bank will be cheaper than Cajasol, our old bank. They also won’t make those crazy requests for a stamped, sealed documentation of being a non-resident!

Next I went to Cajasol to close my account. Of course I couldn’t because they needed Freddie’s signature too. So I took out some money and got instructions for Freddie to go to a Cajasol in Conil, a bigger pueblo near Palmar that has banks and ATMs, to sign something saying he wants to close the account. 

I also decided to change cell phone companies and found a phone modem, which I bought for Freddie. We are switching to Yoigo, a much cheaper cell phone company that still has good coverage. Movistar used to be the best one in 1999, but now that technology has developed here, it is only the most expensive. Coverage is now about equal with many of the companies. My new sim card will fit into my iphone, which is unlocked. Freddie will need this new phone when he switches over. It takes a week because we are switching over our numbers too. So our contact information will stay the same. I went to a local store on calle Feria and the women there were very friendly and helpful.

I am waiting for my new bank debit card to come before I completely close the Cajasol account, which I have had since 1999. The new card should arrive tomorrow. My new red Flamenco shoes should also arrive tomorrow. I will probably close the old bank account on Wednesday, if everything goes smoothly. 

I felt like I had made some good changes. Now things are in my neighborhood. I have established business with friendly and helpful people. The woman at my new bank helped me to work the machine were you can make a cash deposit. I know that it helped to have Angel introduce me. Now she will always know me. I have accomplished a lot this week. It meant getting up early because banks here are only open in the morning!

Now I am trying to organize packing before I move to the beach next Tuesday. I am sad that I won’t have more dance classes with Angelita, but I think I will enjoy a vacation. At this point I don’t feel as overloaded as I have felt in previous years. As Freddie recovers, I too recover.

Thursday night I am going to see Manuela Carrasco, one of the best Flamenco dancers in Spain. She is dancing close to here, outside. The seating is open, but the show only costs ten euros. Manuela recently performed in San Francisco and I was sad to miss it. And I know that those tickets cost a lot more than ten euros! Now I haven’t missed anything! 

Life in Sevilla has been full. I continue my daily dance classes with Angelita, Lakshmi and my twice a week cante classes with Alicia.
Marianna with Angelita Vargas on the last day of my classes with her.
One afternoon Teresa came to visit me. I made lunch and later she took me out for tapas. We also had ice cream at the heladoria. She brought her cute little rescued dog Ninya. 

Stephanie comes up to Sevilla twice a week for Alicia’s classes, but Stephanie is leaving at the end of this week! It feels too early for her to leave but she has singing jobs already in the US. Of course we will miss her. 

Sevilla is still cool, even though today is officially summer. It is the summer solstice. At least it is not too hot! 

It is 11:30 and night and I have just finished dinner and washing my dishes. There has been loud music outside. It sounds like a party. I am about to go out to empty the recycling near Bar Hercules. I love the late-night life in Sevilla. It feels like seven or eight o’clock. The night feels warmer tonight.

I find it interesting that a lot of the non-flamenco music is American rock music. It just occurred to me that the music I hear may be coming from the Alameda, where they often have public concerts. 

I just returned from recycling plastic and paper. It took less than five minutes and it was nice to get outside for a minute.

The night is warmer than it has been, but not too hot. And the music is coming from a concert right in front of the church, just beyond Bar Hercules and next to the Mercado. There is a packed crowd of people standing there. More people wander back and forth from Bar Hercules, drinking beer, or they stop at the tiny store across the street on calle Peris Mencheta that sells pizza and beer. Andalucia is definitely a drinking culture, but you rarely see full-on drunks, although most people seem to drink constantly. –A beer here, a tinto de verano there, whisky, anise, honey-rum. The people seem happy tonight. 

June 22, 2010
Alicia rescheduled her cante class from today to Wednesday, so I had time to go to Flamenco y Mas to pick up my new red Flamenco shoes. 

June 25, 2010
Freddie and I are in the car riding back from Sevilla to el Palmar with a “new” Pili, a friend of Hector’s who frequently visits Palmar on the weekends. I got a ride back to Sevilla with her about two weeks ago. As usual, time is flying. 

Yesterday Freddie came up to Sevilla to attend Manuela Carrasco’s show with me. Manuela is one of the greatest of the puro Flamenco dancers in Spain. As I mentioned, Manuela recently performed in San Francisco, but we were here and felt sad about missing her. Then I read an email from the ticket services saying that we could buy tickets for her show at El Monestario in La Cartuja. And so we got to see her.

This is the fifth year that the government has sponsored Flamenco artists at this time of year in La Cartuja. Last year we saw Juan Del Gastor and Miguel Funi perform here. The venue is an outdoor courtyard with chairs and a stage. It only cost ten euros, which is a bargain. El Pele, a wonderful singer from Jerez, was on the program too. We went with Jill and Teresa and met Rina and Emilia there. They had to come late because of cante and dance classes. I am certainly not the only foreigner who madly takes Flamenco classes when in Sevilla. 

The show was good and the air stayed comfortably warm. The last few days in Sevilla have been hot but not stifling. Lakshmi came after work and caught the second half of the show. Afterward we were all hanging out. Pepe Torres and his wife Sarah were there. It is good to see them. 

We also saw Javier Heredia and Luis Peña. This is the first time we have seen Javier since we have been here. The last time we saw him was at our house when he toured recently with Cihtli and Ethan‘s Arte y Pureza show. We always have fun together. I love to play with him. 

Everyone was going to a bar to party after the show and they tried to convince me to go. But Freddie and I were both tired so we opted out. It was Rina’s birthday and she was also ready to party. As it was, Freddie and I still got to bed after four AM. Lakshmi didn’t get home until after six AM, but she is young and can handle it better than we can.

I got up early the next morning because I wanted to close out my old Cajasol bank account. I am totally set up with my new bank and I love it. There was only one person in line in front of me when I walked into Cajasol. The same teller waited on me as before. She had the paper that Freddie had signed in Conil saying he wanted to cancel the account. I had about twenty euros left in it. This part of this long procedure was fast and easy. I had time to go home and make myself breakfast before going to Angelita’s class at 12:30. 
Marianna with Angelita Vargas on the last day of my classes with her.

Lakshmi had postponed the first half hour of our private class that we normally do before Angelita’s class because she had gotten home so late. In my extra time I started organizing to go to Palmar. Fortunately I had enough time to call Hector and he told me that Pili planned to drive down today. Then I called her and we arranged to meet at her house between six and six-thirty. Here you often have to wait until the last minute to make arrangements. 

Then I hopped on Angel’s daughter beautiful bike, my long red flowered dance skirt flying, and rode to Angelita’s class.
Marianna with Angelita Vargas on the last day of my classes with her.
I have recently started to use Margarita’s bike because she hardly ever uses it. I think I look like a crazy old woman riding the bike with a pack on my back and my hair up in a bun for dancing. Freddie went back to sleep.

After my class with Lakshmi I had time to take a shower and make lunch. About that time our friend Juaquin Gallegos from New Mexico stopped by to say goodbye. We invited him to lunch. Then Freddie and I finished packing and walked to Calle Feria to catch a taxi to Los Remedos, where Pili lives. 

There is a train strike today, so the highway was jammed with cars. Now, as we have turned off the road to Cadiz, the traffic is not so bad as we had feared. It will get worse in July when the Sevillanos flee Sevilla in the summer. Actually this year the weather has been mild and I have not been too hot. But still I drip sweat in Angelita’s class and feel as if I have been in a sauna. Again, that feels great. 

Earlier this week I got up early again and checked with my new bank for the card that hadn’t showed up in the mail. They had it there at the bank so they just gave it to me. Then Gema showed me how to put cash in the bank using a machine called a Cajero that actually scans my bankbook (libreta) and prints the deposit on it. Next I went to the Mercado across the street and bought a few groceries for myself: eggplant, green onion, garlic, lettuce, mushrooms, piñon nuts at one stall, and thin sliced beef at another. I didn’t have time to wait in line at the chicken stall.

After that I went to Telcor to get the addresses from Freddie’s old phone transferred to his new phone. I am also buying a phone for our friend and dance student Nancy, who arrives Monday. The new phones won’t arrive until Monday afternoon, so I will take her to pick it up. The phone I bought for Freddie is tiny. It is also a modem for the internet. It is ingeniously made, and everything connects with the same USB cable. It records voice and plays music. I recorded some of El Pele with it!

We have changed from Movistar to Yoigo for our mobile phones. I am keeping up with the times. I have changed the phone company and the bank that we’ve had since 1999. And the changes are good.

June 28, 2010 Monday
Arrived back in Sevilla from the beach. Leave for extended stay at the beach tomorrow. Closed the old bank and arranged to transfer money from our new bank account to our landlord Angel’s account on the first for the last rent here. I like my new bank.

Nancy, our friend and dance student, arrived in Sevilla today and I helped her get set up in Lakshmi’s neighbor’s apartment. Stephanie just left to take the 1 AM bus to Madrid to catch her plane home. I have one more class with Angelita tomorrow and of course with Lakshmi too. Got Freddie’s new sim card for his old number, which is now on Yoigo instead of Movistar. 

Summer heat has hit. It was gorgeous in Palmar at 8:30 AM this morning when Pili (Palmar, friend of Hector’s) and I left the beach for Sevilla. Of course Sevilla is now hot. Run, run, run. I haven’t had much sleep. 

I’m trying to get the house packed up but it needs more time. I lost hours of time when Pili and I waited until this morning to drive back to Sevilla. Oh well. Soon I’ll be back at the beach and starting the end leg of this trip.


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