Monthly Archives: May 2012

Day 257

What a mess today has been.

I don’t really have time or focus for complete sentences right now, so Imma just spit it..

I’m drinking coffee again late at night,…but I don’t see any dancing in the near future. I see…lots of packing,..and more packing. I don’t even want to go to bed tonight. I want to just get this suitcase thing over and then take a long walk…I’d even go all the way to the beach.

I never once went swimming. Isn’t that a bit crazy?

I got really angry tonight.

But steaming angry.

The landlady stopped on over to my house and we got into a ‘verbal disagreement’ of sorts. It might have gotten worse, but she’s got the ‘old woman’ thing going for her…I can’t really get too hostile with a 70 year old. Shame.

Pretty sure I’m not getting my deposit back,…and I’m pretty sure that pisses me off, as well as changes my financial plans.

Ugh…I don’t even want to write about it or I’m going to get worked up all over again, but I will just say that we have a written contract with everything laid out in plain Spanish, and she’s making last minute changes…like “oh yeah well you know its your responsibility to pay for the cleaning lady that will have to come, your not capable of cleaning up to my standard…and it will probably be like 5 or 6 hours and she charges up to 15 Euros an hour…so I’m just taking it out of your deposit.”

Ok. WTF.

And if she’s keeping my deposit,..and I’ll be shelling out almost $100 US dollars for a cleaning lady (not to mention the other misc. things that suddenly came up that aren’t in the contract)…than screw it, I’m not cleaning anything. Nothing. Not saying I’m going to make messes just to make them…but I’ll let that person earn their money.

Another thing, she told me that I got off easy not paying the water bill for 8 months, and now its time to  pitch in…when its been negotiated already that I DON’T PAY FOR WATER. Only electricity…she’s like yeah you think those things are free in life?

I think that contracts are contracts and lonely old penny pinchers can just disappear.

Ok. Actually my thoughts are a bit more graphically worded… I’m feeling a bit more than gee darn I’m upset. But I said I wasn’t going to write about this stuff…

I’m such a guzzler. Of liquids. Of drinks I mean. I mean I drank my coffee really fast is what I’m saying.

I write as if the backspace didn’t exist sometimes. Like my screen is a person and what I say I can’t take back. I should really get going…I have a whole 12 hours to burn before I need to go to work.

Maybe I’ll come back later and take another break. Listen to some Spotify.  Or maybe none of that will happen and I’ll fall asleep drooling on myself from fatigue somewhere in between the 5-6 a.m. Maybe I’m procrastinating.

No,..take that back. I most definitely am.

Ok…let’s just get this over with…besides I have a busy day tomorrow full of more goodbyes to deal with…

257 days already. man.

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Day 256

I should have stopped at one.

This is worse than a drunk text. This is a drunk blog.

So here I am in an emotional state of panic….walking around the streets of Torrox…this pueblo I want to get out of so bad almost in tears thinking about all the people I won’t ever see again.

I just got chicken at the meatshop. The girl there always knows I want chicken breast. Everytime. I was short .12 she let me slide. That sort of stuff is irreplaceable!!

I passed the gotta be 90 year old woman who used to make passes at my ex with her seductive toothless smile. She was sitting outside, I said hello…we made some chit chat. She tells me, when I was your age I used to go to the fields and pick avocados, and harvest the olive trees…now all I do is sit. I asked her if she was bored,…she said all the time.

The people here are real. I respect that. I like hearing how it is,…even if its about me!

The secretary at school told me my face looked fat a couple a weeks ago. Nobody would tell me that in Wisconsin. Thing is….I took some notice, and guess what, my face is getting fat! I’m getting fat,…and I respect her for telling me so. I’ve gone back to my “evening rumba routines”. So I’m working on it…

Miguel came over to my house tonight. First time. He finished the radio and I offered him some wine. He’s always been real. I’m going to miss him a lot. I never understood why him, or the rest of the people cared so much for this place…

and it took 8 months to find out why.

The apartment is a disaster. I was cleaning and took a 40 min break to take self portraits. Either I’m extremely vain, creative or lazy….one or the other.

Atleast I’m writing this. If I wasn’t distracted I’d surely be in tears by now.

I’ll have to leave and give the keys back, Thursday is going to come to soon.

So now I’m sitting on the miserable library steps…thinking how I will miss their stench and hardness…Maybe I’ll sober up and come back to write a proper post. Or maybe I’ll go finish the Bailey’s at home.

Its really all up in the air.

Visita de Paul- Torrox Pueblo

Paul came for a visit yesterday! He came and cooked up some of the party leftovers for me, and we walked around and played with his students of the Torrox bilingual Spanish-German school. He’s leaving Spain on Wednesday…but its not goodbye just yet! Luckily for me he lives in Mainz near Frankfurt where I’ll be flying into this Saturday to spend a 23 hour layover,…I can get to his house straight from the airport.

P.S. Look at the purple trees!!! I can’t get enough of them! So beautiful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiesta de despedida – depa de Paul

Pictures from Paul’s goodbye party this past Friday.

Day 254

I’m getting ready to leave this place. Its been a swell 8 months it really has,…but I’m this close to being in Central America. I just hope being in this village won’t make me too socially awkward once I’m released into captivity once again. Yet then again….I may have a long ways to go.

Note to self…take it easy with the coffee…especially in Costa Rica. I hear its amazing.

This video is basically how I spent my last Saturday night in Torrox. Running around going crazy in the streets at 3am.

The old man who invited me the coffee was sweet. He’s talked to me before, and has always offered to buy me things…this time I accepted. I figured,…well I got nothing going on, I could use a boost while I research hostels, and bus schedules etc…

Yeah…and I went to bed 4.5 hours later at 4:30 am.

 

Other London pictures before I forget.

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Day 251

With Occupy still going strong and the American and international communities alike focusing on their economies, and big spending and financial crisis’s I wanted to shine light on 4 banks that have really gone above and beyond the actions of their peers. While other banks are charging ridiculous high interest rates, kicking people out of there homes, dealing in shady practices…AMAZINGLY  I have discovered these 4 banks that actually seek to help, not weaken their communities!!!

Bank 1: The Can Bank

Bank 2: The Plastic Bank

Bank 3: The Bottle Bank

Bank 4: Clothing and Shoe Bank

The other banks outta talk to these guys.

Day 250

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The eggplant slowly charring in the pan on the stove top is filling my kitchen with a smokey smell. Its getting late, but my inner time clock is off and all I know is that I’m tired, but more hungry, so I’m trying carefully to follow the steps of cooking the eggplant like Amin showed me. I have a whole jar of Tahini I bought in Portugal that has been patiently waiting for this moment, for when I finally learned the secrets of making my own baba ganoush. I’m choosing to believe the lie that this recipe was passed down to him from his Lebanese side by his grandmother,…a woman who in my imagination has a tiny frame and thick snowy hair tied back by a headscarf.

While I wait for this eggplant to burn its skin I reflect on the past week that seem to disappear as fast as it came.

The week was flexible, but thats sort of the Couch Surfer / backpacker / adventurero mind set. Amin stayed at my apartment entertaining himself during the day while I was at work and in the evenings we exhausted all the obvious sources of amusement that Torrox offers always adding our own twist though of course….and typically a liter or two of beer. We conversed and laughed and got caught up on the past 8 months, went hiking in the mountains, checked out the tapas, walked around town and took pictures, went to the beach, hung out nabbing internet on the steps outside of the library, people watched, and movie watched to mention a few of the things.

Wow. Holy garlic in my mouth. Eggplant turned out pretty near perfectly as I was instructed but I used less of it as before…and more garlic. Thats just really bad math. And I’ll brush my teeth three times tonight and still reek of it I bet. Oh well, the MacBook that sleeps next to me will just have to put up with it.

As all the obvious excitement of Torrox was winding down our focus turned to Malaga. I figured I could show him the castle, and the market, and the art museum. But the whole plan to go to Malaga changed within the hour of the needing to get on the last bus to take us there. We went with option B which found us in a rental car parking lot, with a set of Smart Car keys in Amin’s hand and a few pieces of luggage strategically placed in the tiny almost nonexistent trunk/backseat. There was no map only a destination.

Sevilla.

And to Sevilla we went and arrived in a few hours time. This was last Friday. We parked the car downtown, he grabbed his Cannon and I my Nikon and off we went to stretch our legs and capture the first images of our arrival.

We were there for one night, we went out for a walk that night, both of us were tired but still we left the hotel after 1:00am filling up some water bottles with this horrible cheap wine I bought at Aldi’s. We drank it and wandered around, eventually finding a sign for no entry by vehicles that read ” excepto culos oficiales”  which means except for official asses, it was missing the part of the word that differentiates between vehicles and assholes. We definitely spent more time then necessary at the sign trying to take pictures of our asses in front of it.

By the following afternoon we had seen many of the main highlights, so we were up for the seeing the medieval fair that was going on. We found out about it from a poster that had been trampled upon and laid in the dirty street lifeless until we picked it up.  It was pretty cool, had some of the staples of a good medieval fair….delicious foods, stalls selling creative things, exotic birds, miniature ponies, grown adults in costumes, and cheap sangria.

Time spent at that fair was like taking baby steps,..or training wheels for what we were going to confront in Cordoba.

The 2nd grade teacher at school told me there was going to be a fair in Cordoba that weekend, and was worth checking out, so I passed the info on to Amin, and we both decided to give it a go and away we went. We came across a small city that was packed and buzzing with people and energy. The ‘fair’ would actually be better described as an explosion of lights, music, crowds, rides, fried foods, and booze. The fair was huge and separated from the city center but its energy overflowed and filled the streets everywhere…including almost all of the parking spaces and available rooms to stay in that night.

We didn’t really concern ourselves with ‘the minor details’ until in was absolutely necessary. We snatched a parking spot as soon as we got into town, and wandered through the center first taking pictures and getting a feel for the place. That took us to early evening, and then the sun had started to set without us having a plan as to what we were going to do, or where we were going to stay we tried to tackle that.

After a crazy string of events, thanks to Amin we were able to

1. Find a room in the packed,…but packed, stuffed and overflowing converted crazy party Cordoba.

2. At a reasonable discounted price not far from the fair.

3. Successfully find and relocate our Smart Car to an amazing location only about 2 blocks away from where we were staying.

4. Experience….but I mean experience, as in this was not just any fair, but an experience the fair of Cordoba….which included being lost in crowds of young drunk Spaniards just a chillin and a drinkin out in the open on the streets leading up to the fair, and once inside it was tent after tent each one filled with different styles of music, and food and drinks. Our amazing inner radars lead us to the Mexican tent!! I couldn’t even believe a Mexican tent could exist, but it did and was amazing.

Maybe all the amazing of the evening is biased due to my living in a pueblo where the most exciting thing is the little plaza fountain that sometimes lights up and shoots little streams of water. But I doubt thats the case. I think we stumbled across some magical fair land, and thats how its will stay forever in my memory.

We stayed out late that night…right along with the little Spanish children. This country seriously has no time restrictions to a good fiesta. Perhaps it was a good thing though, because if we had gotten more than 3 hours of sleep we might have been upset when we woke up, left the hotel and came to find that we had parked in a private lot which now at 9:30am on a Sunday morning was locked with no signs of opening anytime soon.

–A quick note, Sundays are dead in Spain. Almost nothing is open apart from restaurants. So it would have been appropriate to have totally freaked out—

But we did some detective work and found it was a restaurant/ hotel that owed the lot, and we spoke to a cleaning lady who told us to come back at 12pm. We were 3 hours away from Malaga, and the car had to be dropped off at 12pm that day. Well…ok there was that,…but that also meant we could go back and sleep for 3 more hours, and that was the more important aspect in the whole dilemma.

It eventually worked itself out in the end. We had to wait a bit in the street…and it started to rain…but with an i-phone on hand, some Jackson 5 turned up, and dancing in the street everything was ok. Even when we got back to Malaga like 3-4 hours late, the guy at the rental company who we had previously established to be a Mexican, was completely fine with it and told us not to worry about a thing. Buena honda.

The whole trip. Everything went so well and we both had so much fun, I’m really glad Amin could take a break from his European tour to spend some time in Andalucia with me, and it might be over till the next adventure, but at least I have photos, funny youtube links, inside jokes and a new eggplant recipe to remind me of a wonderful time.

Day 242

We stop and he says to me, ‘I see a green light down there.’

I doubt it.

How could a green light be floating in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea?

Its late at night, and we’ve been walking for hours at this point.

He’s got to be seeing things.

We make a few jokes laugh it off and continue, we have a long ways to go still.

Amin has come to Torrox to visit! He hear’s we have the best climate in Europe, so he’s made this place a pit stop on his 7 week tour through Europe. He’s from Montreal and is an example of the lasting friendships you can make while Couch Surfing, as I was surfing with his roommate (she is also a friend I still keep in touch with too!) last summer when I went to Canada in August.

Yesterday was his first day here, and I had heard at school that outside of Nerja there was going to be this big nighttime festival, so I suggested we go.

We missed the bus to the coast. Its 7pm Thats ok…we can walk.

2km

We missed the bus from the coast to Nerja. Thats ok…lets buy some nuts and chocolate…and carry a bottle of wine…we can walk to Nerja.

5km

Its 11pm when we get to the party in Nerja! The joke becomes that when I explained to him in Spanish this would be fun,…I made a mistake with my adjectives and I really meant to say long.

But 4 hours of walking didn’t bring our spirits down, we enjoyed some music danced some silly dance moves, drank some, talked some, ate some and had fun lots some.

I had to work this morning so we couldn’t stay out too late, besides we were both extremely tired and had to walk back to Torrox.

And we walked.

And walked some more.

And  kept on walking,…and at this point its somewhere around 2am and we are on a small gravel road off the highway, its almost pitch black as there was no moon in the sky and we were still far from town. The stars are out and the sound of the ocean at our side.

I think he noticed it first, but somehow we both stopped what we were doing and looked down from the cliffs at the waves below. When the waves crashed onto the beach there was a green glow that followed. There were other green glowing patches of water as well. He had seen green in the water!

We were tired, delirious, and had been drinking a few….but we were both sure of what we were seeing. We ran down the steps to the beach to take a closer look.

That was our discovery of bioluminescent bacteria.

I’ve only ever seen in this once before on an island of Puerto Rico and thats how recognized this strange green glowing water. The green glow is from a bacteria that lives in the water and has bioluminescent properties, basically glowing when it touches something…like rocks on the shore.

The bacteria can attract predators like, zooplankton or fish and other creatures that can ingest it ( which can cause them to glow too!) but some of these predators can’t digest it,…so the bacteria passes through them and when it gets pooped out its received its nutrients needed to survive and can continue on living the good bacteria life.

How cool is that?

The science and design behind it is interesting, but the visual presentation is stunning. Its truly magical, as the waves glow as they travel down the shore, or as the rocks shimmer and dazzle as the water recedes back. We just stood in awe and wonder at what we had come across.

We walked along the beach, but the closer we got to Torrox the lights of the town faded the bioluminescence till it seemly disappeared all together.

12km (7.44mi) of walking. An 8 hour journey. 5 hours of sleep that night. Bioluminescent bacteria along the way. I say it was all worth it.

…I should add here that I’m a total nocturnal. Why have a day at the beach, when you could have a night at the beach? Especially if the water glows!! Plus…if the bacteria moves when it touches something, we should be able to cause the bioluminescence by our movements in the water. Plans are currently in formation to have a night time beach swim picnic with Tina : )

Day 240

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Spanish expresión:

Pasar la noche en blanco.

Means to go the night without sleeping, because your tossing and turning, or maybe have something on your mind….or because there is a huge festival in the street with music, art, theatre and…booze.

Ayer pasé la noche en blanco.