12. Sevilla & the Beach – July 1-13, 2010

12. Sevilla & the Beach – July 1-13, 2010

July 1, 2010
Back at the beach
It is hot. The levante winds from the African desert have been here, mildly. While the winds are not whipping the sand up, as they easily can, the weather has been scorching hot, even here at the beach.
Josh, Regina y Antonia
Antonia, Freddie, Regina, Josh, Rafa
Antonia, Freddie, Marianna, Josh, Rafa
Yesterday, Freddie and I didn’t even get to the actual beach until after six-thirty in the evening, when we joined Josh, Regina, Regina’s mother Antonia, and Regina’s thirteen-year old son, Rafa.

But the sea is almost smooth; the tiny waves that do roll and break have little force. The water felt prickly with the cold contrast to the day. Freddie was able to float on his back and swim a few strokes on his stomach. After the beach we all visited the clubhouse. 
Gila giving Freddie a reflexology treatment.
Marianna y Freddie when the weather was still cold.

Hector’s clubhouse is such a great meeting and hanging out place. It is always mellow and friendly and it has a magical quality. Magical things happen at this Club Social (private social club), as if in a dream. I haven’t yet written enough about the two powerful women who run it, Mar and Aspi.
Maria Mar wears her long brownish hair in many small braids, usually capped with a bandana.
Mar & Aspi

Two silver jewels adorn her right eyebrow, pierced onto either side of the outer end of the eyebrow.
Her busy hands wear silver bracelets and rings.

Always on her feet are black, very high-heeled espadrilles, Spanish shoes made out of canvas and what feels like cork. They often tie up with little ribbons, like hers do. On her legs Mar usually wears knee-length tights and over that she wears her long blouses. (Appropriate modifications happen in the heat of the summer, of course.) Her blue eyes, looking out through her square-shaped face, are kind. Mar has a lot of energy and a wonderful way of making you feel comfortable and cared for.
Mar y Hector discussing business.
Mar y Marianna

Last night Freddie and I came up late and happened to catch a slide show of Mar’s photographs that they were watching on a computer. The many beautiful photos were artfully composed and they captured the mood of this space and place perfectly. Mar is very gifted with her photography. Aspi has taken some of the photos too, so I guess they are both gifted photographers.
Mar y Marianna.
I wore my heels for Mar, who always wears hers.
My high heel

Mar, like her business partner and good friend Aspi, is also a wonderful cook. Both Mar and Aspi make gazpacho without bread so that I can drink it. The gazpacho is refreshing and invigorating and I love it. I appreciate both Mar and Aspi’s caring and their attention to detail as well as their loving smiles and giving and fun personalities.
Raquel y Aspi

Aspi also makes a carne con tomate (meat cooked in tomato sauce) that is delicious and has only ingredients I can eat in it. Aspi has upper-back length brown hair and animated brown eyes. She usually dresses in her bathing suit with a light shirt thrown over that.
Aspi, like Mar, is also energetic and warm.They both work long hours doing everything, from cleaning up to washing dishes to cooking and serving and selling the ten-euro Lazotea cards that you then get stamped when you order something.
Mar y Aspi

Of course I cook at home too. Today I bought mussels at the fish store; they were €3.60 euros for a kilo. That is cheaper than Sevilla, where I found them for €5.50 euros per kilo. I did the grocery shopping before noon today. 

Earlier this morning Freddie and I walked up to the other meat store that Jose had told us about last night. He claimed it was better than the one near the market that we have been using. So Freddie and I walked there today. It was farther than we had thought, but Freddie did well. I bought some chicken and some beef and some semi-curado Spanish cheese there, but we haven’t tried them yet. To me this meat store didn’t look any better than the other carniceria next to the small and only supermarket in Palmar. The other markets are small convenience stores set up for the beach tourists. 

Afterwards, I came home to put the meat and cheese away and Freddie continued on towards the Kotadalu, where he wanted to eat breakfast. He would order for me and then I would meet him there.

I grabbed the red shopping cart, which I had brought down on my last trip from Sevilla, and I quickly walked to the Kota, as the locals call it here. Freddie and I had coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice. I ate thin sliced Spanish jamon and a piece of Freddie’s tomato. Freddie ate fried eggs with Spanish bacon and toast. Then I took our red shopping cart up to the market and got vegetables, toilet paper, yogurt and more. After that I went to the fish market and found the mussels. A kilo will feed us both.

On the way home, I stopped at the Kota to tell Freddie that I had to get the mussels in the refrigerator very quickly. I had the key so I zoomed home. Freddie ambled in a short while later. His independence grows almost daily. 

The house we moved to yesterday has a kitchen divided from the living room by an oval arch, an open bar and an arched door-less doorway.
Looking in through the front door
Looking in through the front door
Right now we are sitting in the living room. The electric fan we hauled from Sevilla is keeping us cool. Freddie is practicing his guitar. He is seated at the table in a supportive wooden chair. 

I am at the other side of the table writing. By the wall with the window to the front, to my left, the brown leather couch has already filled with purses, hats, and Freddie’s guitar case. We have a small green yard with a wrought iron gate.
A giant tree shades both the yard and the house.
Our yard
Our porch

We have just decided that it is time for the beach, so we will check it out. I will continue to write sometime later. This is our first day in this new house. Yesterday was spent unpacking and semi organizing. Then we slept for over four hours in the heat of the day. Today the weather has cooled a little so now it is time for the beach.
Marianna ready for the beach again.
Freddie enjoying the beach

It got hot again. I got side tracked at Hector’s and Freddie went to the beach in the heat. When he got back to Hector’s, Hector made him take a cold shower in his outdoor shower on his porch. We didn’t want Freddie to get sunstroke. And he didn’t. 

Hector and I got into a discussion on how to cook mussels and he came over to our house, which is practically next door, and cooked fantastic mussels, with white wine, garlic, lemon, tomatoes, green Spanish long peppers, onions and salt. We ate the broth with mussel shells. Then Sabina, a young German blues/jazz singer, stopped by and helped us finish the broth. Sabina is also a schoolteacher in Germany, where she teaches Spanish and Political Science. 
We ate outside on the white plastic table that Hector had moved into the shade.
Freddie drinking coffee in our yard
The yard is pleasant and somewhat private. Its grass is soft and green. A clothesline hangs in one corner and the big tree offers shade. 

Just after we finished eating, Cihtli and Ethan stopped by with Ethan’s parents, Sally and Ken, on their way back from another Cadiz beach. We took them up to the Lazotea clubhouse to show them how nice this community is here.
Sally and Ken
Ethan and Freddie
They said that they just had enough time for a hug and kisses, but they did stay a little longer. As always, it was great to see them.

Tonight, after Cihtli and Ethan left, Freddie and I walked straight out our door, crossed the road, and continued down a small sand trail to the beach just before sunset, at 9:30 PM. We took a quick dip in the calm ocean and we watched the sun set. Then we went back to the house.
Lazotea sunset

I took the garbage out and got side tracked with Hector and Sabina, when I passed Hector’s porch on the way to the large green dumpster by the side of the road. Hector’s porch curtains were open and he and Sabina looked like a theater production.
Hector & Sabina
Sabina sang some jazzy blues and I danced. Hector had me get up on the wall and dance. Sabina, who looks much younger, will celebrate her thirty-third birthday on Monday and she has asked me to dance as a birthday present. She will sing. It is not Flamenco, but it is fun! I am honored.
We love this new house, with its wrought iron gate and shady, grassy yard. 

July 5, 2010
The levante winds have been here for more than their usual four days. The levante blows from Africa, bringing the desert heat and the African insects. When the wind is strong, it whips the sand on the beach and stirs the waves. The wind-swept sand smashes against us, sticking to our suntan lotioned bodies and eventual drives us from the beach. But when the wind is quieter, the sea is smooth and we spend hours at the beach and in the prickly clear water. 

Our close friends Paco Fernandez, his wife Pilar, and daughter Soleá have been visiting us here since Friday.
Pilar and Freddie at Sabina's birthday party.
Paco and Freddie do palmas and I dance. Sometimes Paco sings. The other night noise from the nearby bar was electrified and started to bother us. I found a thick board and put on my dance shoes and began to dance. It was fun. Then Freddie started to play the pennywhistle and I danced Tango and Bulerías to it. Freddie added a rattle to the music, putting its handle between his toes. Paco got the camera and had us do it again so he could video us. Unfortunately the video card in the camera was defective and the recording didn’t get saved. But the recording is still saved in our memories. 
Pilar y Paco at Sabina's birthday party.

Yesterday our friends Teresa (and her dog Ninya), Rina and her daughter Akhana drove down to visit us. Rina had decided that she wanted to see us one more time before they returned to Atlanta. We meet each summer in Sevilla and really enjoy each other’s company. We were so happy that they decided to make the trip down here.
They arrived later than intended, but we still had time to feed them and to take them to the beach. It was the first time that Ninya, the little dog, had seen the ocean. She was enchanted, but was nervous at first when Teresa was in the water.
Lazotea, playa el Palmar

Afterwards we all went to the Lazotea
Lazotea, playa el Palmar
and then went out to eat at “the Boat”. That is the el Cortijillo number two (really called La Vikinga), which is only separated from the “shack” el Cortijillo by Jose’s house. Jose, the owner, is also a friend (thanks to Hector). He came to our table and stayed and chatted for a while. Jose’s aunt is our landlady. 
Teresa, Rina and Akhana enjoyed meeting Paco and family (and visa versa) and everyone had fun. Akhana, who is fifteen, and Soleá who is eleven, got along wonderfully and were exchanging Spanish and English words. Akhana speaks some Spanish and Soleá is studying English in school and is crazy about American pop music. She likes to sing it in English as I have mentioned before. 

Later we all looked at a demo of Paco’s new Flamenco guitar instructional DVD. It will be coming out in October or November and will be accompanied by a book. It has English subtitles. He goes through guitar instruction in depth, on many levels, and he includes beginner through advanced. This DVD is something that I recommend to every Flamenco guitar student. It includes elements of posture, hand and back position, compás, etc. Paco has a great visual compás accent element to accompany his recorded compositions, which are all written in tablature as well. He has been working on it for a year. A company in Holland, la Sonanta, is producing it.
Paco Fernandez watching Teresa playing Freddie's guitar

Hector and one of his exquisitely beautiful daughters stopped by for a brief visit. Hector loves the Flamenco rhythms. He has been busy with family and summer friends and we have not seen him as much as usual. I still hope that Hector will get to hear Paco’s guitar. 
Teresa, Rina and Akhana left about one AM.
Freddie and Ninya (dog) sleeping
We were all having so much fun that we didn’t want them to leave. 

Paco and family plan to leave tomorrow.
Paco and his 11 year old daughter Soleá.
Paco y su hija de 11 años, Soleá.
Pilar Dominguez, Paco's wife.
Then Thursday Jill, Clara, Nandi and hopefully David too will come for two days. We haven’t seen David, Clara and Nandi yet this year. They live in Madrid and move to Jerez for the summer after Nandi’s school lets out. David and Freddie have been close friends since they were 17 years old.
Saturday Luis Peña and Javier Heredia plan to come. All our friends have to come here to see us now! Lakshmi is also planning a trip and Teresa may come again with her. 
It is fun to have our friends visit and it is then that we realize how we have also gained another community here at the beach as well. 

Today, while we were eating lunch at the el Cortijillo, Jose was saying that he thought that Freddie should stay here and continue to recuperate. He then told us that he had an older friend who was like a father to him. His friend helped him to build the Cortijillo (his restaurant). Then his friend had a stroke and Jose was the one who cared for him. Jose is very impressed with Freddie’s recovery.
Freddie & Jose
We would love to spend more time here and are starting to dream already about next year’s Spain trip. 

Our friend and dance student, Nancy, wrote that Sevilla was 115 degrees the other day and that she was one of the few people who dared to venture outside. We are sure glad to be here at the beach. We remember how hot Sevilla can be. Here the warm wind is blowing the towels on the clothesline. The yellow walls that surround the garden shield us from the wind and the big tree shields us from the sun. I am sitting outside at the white plastic table writing. Freddie is sitting on his beach chair in the doorway. He just woke up from a siesta. Paco and family are back at the beach getting as much of it as possible. They leave tomorrow night. 

Tuesday July 6, 2010
Last night we celebrated Sabina’s thirty-third birthday at the Viva la Pepa bar.
Sabina's birthday party
Sabina, who is German, cooked wonderful German food and Hector made her a delicious cheesecake.
Hector presenting the incredible cheese cake he made for Sabina's birthday.
Hector and Sabina. Sabina serving Hector a piece of the cake he made.
Hector and Sabina.
I danced for her, but not enough. There were lots of friends and we met new people.
And that is where we finally got to meet Norbert.
Freddie and Norbert
Of course he is a friend of Hector’s and we have heard about him. Sometimes a little red helicopter/biplane flies low overhead and buzzes Hector’s house. That is Norbert. He almost lives in the air. 
Norbert says that he learned to fly from the birds. He flies because in the air he feels free. He swoops down almost touching the ocean, like the birds, and then lets the air currents bring him up again. He lives his dream, in a caravan (trailer) at the small airport in Medina, (another small town near here). He loves living at the airport. He takes people flying for a living and also teaches flying.
Of course Norbert invited us to go flying so I pinned him down to the next day. Paco was wild to fly and Freddie wanted to also. So this morning we all piled into Paco’s car and drove to a specific dirt road in a sunflower field where Norbert has prior permission to land. We heard the noise of the plane and there was Norbert.
Plane lands
Paco went first, Freddie second,
Norbert and Freddie
and I third.
I am back from flying with the birds.
There is only enough space for one passenger at a time in this open, antique-looking helicopter. The weather got progressively windier but the plane is made for all weather conditions.
Pilar and Soleá opted for the camera shoot, but did not actually fly.
We had a wonderful experience and took photos and videoed. Now we have another new and interesting friend.
Paco and family left that evening for Sevilla, happy and content and a little more suntanned in spite of the levante.

July 9, 2010 Friday
The levante finally ended yesterday. Wednesday we had rain and overcast and only walked on the beach in the morning. Yesterday was also somewhat overcast but the beach was great. The waves were mild and we spent a lot of time in the water. When I got cold, Freddie stayed in the ocean and I stood guard on the shore. He can now easily duck under waves and get up if knocked down. He floats on his back without effort and can move his arms and legs from there. He is so much more relaxed in the sea now than he was when we arrived here this year.

Monday we were eating tapas in the el Cortijillo bar next to our house with Paco, Pilar, and Soleá. A Romani accordion player passed through on his rounds and started to play his music. There are many Romani musicians who immigrate to Spain nowadays. They pass through all the tourist areas playing music and passing a hat. This man was good. His old accordion was worn and had a look of magic about it. His music made me dance. It was wonderful. My old belly dancing came out in my dancing.
Freddie y hombre Romani con su accordion.

Tuesday we were at the sister restaurant, (separated from el Cortijillo only by the owner’s little house) locally called the Boat, officially called La Vikinga. The Romani man came again and I started to dance.
Marianna y hombre Romani con su accordion, después de balando.
Paco ran back to the house and grabbed a camera and returned to video it! I will post it when I get to some good Internet. The modem I am using now is not strong enough! But at least we can usually get email.
Thursday Freddie and I went to the beach and stopped by the Boat for a drink on our way home. The Romani man happened by and Freddie videoed me again. Luckily I had my camera in my beach bag. I will post this one too, when I can.
The Romani man is missing two front teeth.
Freddie y hombre Romani con su accordion.
At first I thought he was an old man, but now that I have seen him more times I think he must be in his forties, not his sixties! His face is not that wrinkled.
Marianna y hombre Romani con su accordion después de bailar.

Today is overcast again but there is no wind. Wednesday, the day our gmail finally came back, we received an email from our friends Marcellus and Laura Barnes, whom we had planned to meet in Puerto Rico during our stopover on the way home. They said that they had changed their plans to coincide with ours, but the dates they sent will just miss our dates! They leave around noon on the 14th and we arrive at 7:00 PM that night! We are so sad.
We hadn’t tried to extend our stay here because we wanted to see them, and now it looks like we will miss them! 

July 9, 2010 Friday evening
We called Puerto Rico today and found out that Marcellus and Laura don’t leave until the 17th, (not the 14th as I had thought) so we do get to see them after all. We are happy again.
Freddie and I went to the beach in the early afternoon today and went swimming several times, but the water was rougher than it looked and Freddie’s balance wasn’t good today. So we didn’t stay in as long or swim as much. And it was still lovely.
We are planning to leave here on Sunday evening, but as yet we have not figured out how! The Internet is slow today but when it works our gmail works with it. But sometimes even the email moves like mud.
Our House

For a while now, I have wanted to write the story of when Hector and Stephanie met. Last year, Stephanie told me how she finally met Hector. She was in a little cove at the beach, quietly standing on a hidden rock in the water. Near her she saw a man and his three beautiful children. The boy asked his father about the girl in the water, noticing how tall she looked. They were speaking about Stephanie in English, assuming that no one could understand. Stephanie, with her brown skin and dark hair, looked exotically Spanish to them. 
Finally Stephanie turned to them and said, in English, “It is because I am standing on a rock,” They nearly fell over with surprise at hearing her speak English. 
This year Hector repeated the same story to me, saying that Stephanie looked like a mermaid there, standing tall in the water. He said that the experience was very magical for him. 
Hector invites magical experiences. He is one of the most positive and loving people I have met. (Freddie is another one, of course). I think Hector’s warm heart is what makes both men and women alike open their hearts to him. He has many friends. And I have seen him ready to drop anything to help a friend in need. Freddie and I are both very happy to know him. 
The community here is also warm and open. We just melted right in. It will be hard to leave this Sunday, and of course we are not at all packed up here or in Sevilla.

Our planned guests could not make it at the last minute, so we are enjoying some peace and quiet in these few days. We may have people coming tonight or tomorrow, though. I have already traded photos with my friends at the Lazotea. I am slowly preparing myself for our next adventures. 
Freddie and Marianna

July 10, 2010 Saturday
Our time here is almost done for the year. Last night Lakshmi, Jose and Nancy drove down from Sevilla and arrived about three AM. Earlier last night I danced to a quasi Flamenco group at the Boat and everyone love it. 
This morning Freddie and I got up early. We had been invited to Hector’s to eat oysters, but Hector was still asleep. He plans to continue painting Gila’s house today and he expected to leave for there about 10:30, but even the best-laid plans go awry.
Gila’s 83-year old husband Klaus had to go back to Germany to get medical care and is in the hospital there. I have mentioned that they are both writers. He insisted on finishing his manuscript before going to the hospital here in Spain. Although he had trouble breathing and walking, they told him that he had to wait for a month because no one got sick in the summer and they didn’t have the staff or beds. So Klaus went to Germany for “real” medical care.
Gila, with her gray-blond hair, is thin and energetic like a bird. Gila will celebrate her 70th birthday a few days after we leave. She says that her life is so full that she feels like she has lived many lives in this lifetime. Gila is also German and leads a Bohemian artist’s life style here in Palmar. She and Klaus have a beautiful home on the ocean here. 
Since Hector was still asleep this morning, Freddie and I walked on the beach and swam in the placid water. The weekend hoards of people were still asleep and the beach was barely populated.
Freddie after a morning swim
When we returned to the house Nancy was up and checking her email with our USB plug-in travel modem.
Nancy checking her email.
The three of us decided to go have breakfast at the Kotadalu, the only good breakfast place here. On the way over, we saw movement at Hector’s and stopped in. So we ended up eating the oysters and drinking Cava champagne with orange juice with Hector after all. 
To make this happen, I had to hop on Hector’s bike and ride to Gila’s to get the Cava, because both Hector and Lazotea were out. (Hector loves Cava, and he serves it regularly to his personal guests who visit his newly finished porch.)
Hector's porch

It was a long ride, because Hector’s rusted-on bicycle seat is way too high for me to sit on, so I was pedaling and standing the whole time. The cars were bringing the beach goers by then and the street was filled with people looking for parking. 
When I returned, Hector was still shucking the oysters, which he had ordered from a fisherman friend.
Hector shucking oysters
They had arrived Thursday night and he had generously served them to whoever was at Lazotea, but luckily he had held some back for himself. As he said, he didn’t feel like shucking the whole case at one time.
The oysters are shucked

After we finished the oysters Lakshmi joined us. She and Nancy will stay through tomorrow. I like showing them the wonderful community here in Palmar.
Marianna & Sabina
Jose & Marianna
Hector & Sabina at the Boat
Marianna & Hector at the Boat
Hector, Gila, Sabina, Pili at Sabina's birthday party.
Pili and Mercedes at Sabina's birthday party.
Mercedes y Sabina
Marisa y Freddie
Pili (Palmar) and Freddie at Sabina's birthday party.
Pili (Palmar) and Freddie at Sabina's birthday party.
Lazotea Community

We all went to the beach, of course, today and soaked in the hot sun. The waves started out smooth but later turned choppy. I was glad that Freddie and I had swum this morning when it was so calm and inviting. Of course we swam again and again even though the waves were much rougher.
Nancy & Freddie lunch on our last Palmar day.

Now I have eaten and showered and am thinking about a nap. I am also in the process of realizing that we leave here tomorrow. 
As I look around this house, thinking of how we will pack it up, I see the beautiful blue necklace that Susana gave me in Sevilla. She brought it to Angelita’s class on my second to last day. She said that it reminded her of my turquoise blue skirt and that I should wear that one the next day. I wore it, but Susana wasn’t in class. I still had the necklace on when I left for the beach in such a hurry in order to catch the ride with Marisa. 
I have been practicing Angelita’s Tango and some of her Bulería whenever I have a chance. I often use the mirror on Lazotea. 
The night before last I was up there, on the azotea, and I was a little bored so I started to practice Angelita’s Tango. I moved slowly, trying out different styles with the moves. The music was pop music, but it was in four-four rhythm so that is why I chose Tango. 
Later, when Hector had brought out the oysters, I was talking to some people who were lounging on one of the corner couches. They told me that they had watched me practicing and that they had loved it. One man told me to continue doing just what I do and to not change. He loved the feeling in my dancing. I loved hearing him tell me this, especially since I wasn’t paying attention to anyone else while I was dancing!
Hector carrying a stump he will use for his outdoor shower chair.

Tomorrow we will leave this beautiful and magical beach and the wonderful community here. A friend will take our suitcases to Sevilla when he leaves earlier. We plan to take the 9:25 PM bus, which arrives at Sevilla at midnight, if a ride doesn’t magically materialize. Time has gone so quickly. We don’t feel ready to leave, but we look forward to seeing friends in Puerto Rico on the way home. 

July 13, 2010
Sunday night Spain won the world cup for the first time, while we were still on the bus to Sevilla. The bus driver had the radio on, of course. When we arrived a few minutes later, the streets were filled with honking cars, people waving Spanish flags, and singing and dancing in the streets. We were in the right place at the right time to witness this emotional and incredible Spanish celebration of their first World Cup victory. 
Hector's Porch Construction. Hector and Freddie at work. 
Porch Construction
Working on Hector's porch
Freddie working on Hector's porch
Hector working on his porch


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