5. Sevilla – April 21-23, 2010

5. Sevilla – April 21-23, 2010

April 21, 2010
It is raining again. We were going to go to Feria in the daytime today to see the horses, but the weather is not conducive to going out. In the interest of packing light, I did not bring rain clothes!
Sometimes I feel like I am not taking full advantage of being here, but then again, I honor my need for rest. Freddie and I have both been sleeping a lot. Hopefully our fatigue and then resulting sleep has been helping our bodies get over jetlag! But I did berate myself a little for not pushing myself to go to Feria today or tonight. Our friend Cristina even called and invited us to go with her and some friends to some specific casetas at Feria. This is a treat because you cannot enter the private casetas, which most of them are, without an invitation. Normally I would have been overjoyed. Tonight I said no. I just didn’t feel like going out.
I was depressed. I had taken a nap and then didn’t feel like going to a dance class when the alarm rang. It was raining hard. So I made myself something to eat. Freddie was still napping. He has had two two-hour guitar classes already. I had done nothing but sleep. I felt like I was wasting my time here! I want to believe that every day is right and valuable. The key for me to stay in that positive state of mind is to notice what is blocking it when I am not in it. I have to let myself feel that fully and deal with it, in order to get back to the positive state. 

When Freddie woke up, I worked on his aching left arm with oils and visualization. The right arm is bruised from the shoulder to the wrist now, but it doesn’t hurt. Carlos has been working on it (massage and intuition) for Freddie and maybe it was too much this time. Freddie’s left arm is the arm that hurts, but it isn’t showing any bruises.
When Freddie got up I started to dance Bulerías and Freddie played palmas. It was helpful and inspiring and fun. A little later Freddie switched to strums on his guitar. We practiced matching our rhythms, me wearing our last year’s thin, white, terrycloth hotel-slippers, dancing on the brick floor. We haven’t yet cleared the space to set up our practice stage. (We are still moving in.) Now Freddie is making coffee and we are going to play some mind games on the computer. 
Dancing made everything better. If Freddie plays guitar again I am going to write a best seller on his recovery. And of course it will then be our third chance to dance and play music together again. 
The first was when we met at Sweet’s Mill in the early 1970’s. The second was when Freddie came to stay with me on his way to Hawaii in 1997, the day after I moved into our Hidden Valley home in Soquel. I made practicing with him my priority, so thankful that I had another chance, vowing that I would honor it this time. We were “just friends” then. 
I have missed doing Flamenco with my Freddie and the thought of having that once more brings tears of joy, relief, sadness –of emotion to my eyes and being.

I did a Mitzvah this morning and I recognized it. A mitzvah is a good or worthy deed.
I did something good for four people today at one time. I answered an email from a female guitarist about whom to study with in Sevilla. She wanted Diego/Moron stuff and also to learn to accompany cante and baile (song and dance). She also wanted to know who made the guitar that José Gálvez played in Los Angeles recently. 
That guitar, which used to be Freddie’s, was made by Carlos Heredia. Freddy had just gifted it to José Gálvez when José visited and stayed at our home in Soquel a few weeks ago. José had fallen in love with that guitar and immediately began to play it in all his shows.
I recommended that this woman study with Carlos, Paco Fernández and Juan del Gastor and gave her all the reasons why she should study with all three of them. She had originally planned to study every day of her ten-day trip to Sevilla at the Tailleur Flamenco in Sevilla. But Lakshmi and Susana Elena had convinced her to choose her teachers instead of just “getting assigned’ to teachers. They had suggested that she email us and I am glad that she did.
I stressed that all three guitarists had important things to offer her and recommended that she actually try classes from all three. Everyone will benefit. I gave her their names, strengths, backgrounds, phone numbers and email when appropriate. It did take a little time to write it, but I enjoyed it.
I don’t usually acknowledge it when I do a good deed. Now it feels good to acknowledge it to myself. I guess that is the concept of a Mitzvah. 

After playing brain games on our computers, I ate and Freddie rested. I then joined him until our friend Chris arrived. Chris played guitar and we did palmas and Freddie sang some Flamenco guitar falsetas to him. We had a good time together. Chris is playing very well and we can see his growth this year. Chris will be moving to Germany in two months, for love. Olé. 
After Chris left, Freddie and I practiced a little more. Freddie did palmas while I practiced contras (counter rhythms), trying to use both my hands and my feet. Then Freddie would come up with rhythmical patterns and I would do them. Freddie also noticed a postural position that he was able to help me change which improved my palmas. He has such a good eye and of course, so much Flamenco and musical knowledge. 
Freddie played his 1968 recording of his Tarantos for Carlos today and Carlos was very impressed. It is beautiful, although we had to compress the recording too much when we were putting it on the website. 
I am having so much fun starting to do Flamenco with Freddie again. This is just a very beginning. May it bloom with the Spring.

April 22, 2010
Yesterday seems so long ago. When we woke up the rain was pouring and we heard thunder. However, later on the weather cleared up and even became hot for a while. Freddie and I had decided that we wanted to go to Feria during the day and this was our last day in Sevilla during Feria. Lakshmi had mentioned that that is when people dress up and someone else had told us that daytime is when the horses are there. 
We were invited to Lakshmi’s for lunch. Then Lakshmi was going to go to the Feria with us. We had never been to Lakshmi’s new apartment, so she walked over to pick us up. Freddie was able to walk there fairly easily. Lakshmi has a small dance studio on the bottom floor, by the front door. There are two flights of stairs to walk up to her actual apartment, which is lovely. Stephanie arrived a little later. Then Chris joined us. Lakshmi’s neighbor, Basilio, a Bulgarian Flamenco dancer, was in and out of the apartment but didn’t want to eat. 
By the time we were finished eating, it was too late for Lakshmi to go with us because she had to get ready to work. She dances at Los Palacios almost every night of the week.
Stephanie had other things she wanted to do and Chris wanted to practice, so Freddie and I went by ourselves. 
All over Sevilla we saw people walking in their Feria costumes. As we neared the Feria it was as if we were transported into another age. The women and little girls wore beautiful long ruffled dresses with all colors and patterns. Many men wore the flat, wide rimmed Spanish hats. Families and couples rode down the streets in magnificent carriages, some pulled by two horses, others by four or eight or more. The horses’ manes and tails were decorated and everything was very elegant.
People also rode their horses, the women riding sidesaddle. All the horseback riders wore elegant costumes. The other group who flaunted their beautiful costumes were the young, teenaged girls. They giggled, flirted and danced Sevillanas. Great care had been taken with their outfits. They reminded me of a teenage prom, but Sevillana style. 
We wandered around the Feria taking photos until Freddie felt tired and needed to find a place to sit down and rest. But many of the casetas are private and won’t let uninvited guests enter. There are guards at the doors. After being told by one guard to go to the Red Cross station, we stumbled past the next private caseta and a man and woman sitting at a table nearest the street, seeing Freddie’s fatigue, beckoned us to come in. We were so grateful. Then they offered us two glasses of Fino, Spanish sherry, the main drink of the Feria. 
The man, who was my age, had helped to build the caseta. He said that they also drank a lot of Fino while they built it and that the younger people did more physical work than he did. It had taken a long time. He and his wife were there with their granddaughters. It was a Cultural Peña (club). He gave us his personal card and also an invitation card for two that we could use to get in again. We were moved by their generosity and hospitality.
Freddie saw a young Gypsy boy selling cañas (clackers made out of bamboo). Freddie used to make them too, so he went up and talked to the boy. The boy thought that Freddie was a Gypsy. It is interesting that so many people think Freddie is Gypsy, including many of the Gypsies themselves. A number of the people who talked to us at Feria asked if Freddie were Gypsy. Even at almost 71 years, Freddie still has a lot of style and charisma.
At dusk we decided to go because we still had to pack up the apartment in order to vacate it by noon the next day. The next renters would be there until May 1.
But we were starved and we ended up eating at a Feria-over-priced restaurant just outside the Feria. During Feria all prices go up, including taxis, many apartment and hotel rentals, and restaurants. We were lucky to get a table by the window and were able to look down on the Feria as we ate. 
This time, when we were finally ready to go, we easily found a taxi right away! And then we went home to pack. Freddie fell asleep and I packed and put the photos from both our cameras into both our computers. Then I charged up the camera batteries, as we were both now using our spares. 
We now have a plethora of beautiful 2010 Feria photos. Some of Freddie’s were blurry, but the shots of the faces he took were incredible and I am going to post them, blurry or not. Freddie did studies of people, mainly women in their beautiful costumes. He captured such personality and spirit. Looking at the photos, I realized that Freddie does portraits and I do scenes, –an interesting observation.
Somehow, Friday with Stephanie’s help, we were able to make it out of the apartment by noon. We stored two suitcases there next to Angel’s stairs, where our boxes of our Spanish household things have stayed all year.
We had thought about spending a night at Lakshmi’s and going to the Feria again, but decided to continue on with our plans to rest in the country. We have a lot of friends to visit and we want to finish resting. 
The Feria, although still fun and colorful, no longer has all the Flamenco that it used to. Many of our artist friends do not have work there this year. In 1980 it was much more Flamenco. Now “boom-boom” music seems to overshadow the Flamenco. Times change.

April 24, 2010 – the country

The sounds of flamenco cante and guitar wrapped me. The tears came when I thought of my dead mother, brought on by the cante, as I sat on a stool in the kitchen. I smile as the rhythm closed and then picked up. Flamenco has always moved my soul. 

Los sonidos del cante y la guitarra flamenco me abrazaron. Las lagrimas vinieran cuando pensé en mi ma’re muerta, llevaron por el cante, cuando estuve sentada encima de un banco en la cocina. Tenia yo una sonrisa cuando el ritmo cerró y después se hizo mas fuerte. Siempre ha movido mi alma Flamenco.
An elegant carriage ride.
Driving their horses.
La Feria de Sevilla
Peeking into a caseta.
People coming to Feria as we are leaving.
The nice woman who let us into their caseta with one of her granddaughters.
The nice man who let us into their caseta walking home with his wife.
Peeking into a caseta.


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