Saturday, June 28, 2008

June 25 - To Madrid

Wednesday the 25th of June:
I took a bus back to Madrid, to tio Salvador's place, dropped off my rucksack and put on clothes I had not see in a while, then took the metro to cousin Bego's house and got keys for tio's house so I could get back in when I would get back late at night. Then to Inga's hotel. We hugged and laughed about how we were in Spain together!! Far from little ole Tallahassee!! I met her g/f Marta.
They were settled in by now, dressed and ready to go to Cafe las Chinitas. I had made reservations for there a couple of weeks ago and we got a pretty good table close to the stage. This is my third time I have traveled to Spain and attended this establishment. It has a very good, long-standing reputation as one of the best places to see a tablao, a Flamenco show. Dinner was fabulous and then the show.
The singers straining their voices, the musicians hugging their guitars and the dancers.... ahhh the dancers mesmerizing us with their moves, so powerful, sensuous, fun. Inga was wide-eyed and smiling all the time. I took pictures and kept looking over at the 2 girls to see how they were enjoying it. They sure did. We stayed for the second show.
I took a taxi back and when I got to tio's house the keys Begoña had given me were the wrong ones and he could not hear me calling from the ringer downstairs, so I called my cousin and took a taxi to her house to get the keys she had for the apartment. Taxied back to his house. It´s 3 to 4am, mind you. Went straight to bed for we had some traveling to do tomorrow.
Thursday the 26th of June:
My suitcase packed and out the door to their hotel by bus. We had breakfast at their hotel and off we went to Cordoba. It was such a fun ride, and that Marta is not a good driver, all over the damn road, geeeze... but we stopped by the roadside when Inga spotted a town on top of a hill and she wanted to photograph it. It was perched way up there and for us to get a good shot we left Marta in the car and walked down the road to a better spot for pictures. Took several and then I saw some ostriches. They were behind a fence so I went up to them to take a better look and take a couple of pics. One was standing and watching us, the other one was sitting nearby. Their faces are comically beautiful, how can I say that? So I put the camera up to the fence and suddenly he or she flung that long-ass neck with that little head on top and got me!! Grabbed my pinky and at the same time pushed the camera out of my hands. I pulled quickly and got my pinky out and caught the camera up in the air. I was yelling at it, "you fucker, you stupid-ass ostrich, what the hell's the matter with you!!!" and Inga could not contain her laughter. Later in the car, still laughing she said how she was such a bad friend for laughing and not making sure I was ok. I could not stop laughing either, said I was alright, but my camera lens had a dent in it!! Damn!! Had to be there.
We got to Cordoba. Now, this is a whirlwind tour for sure, this trying to get a little bit of Spain shown to Inga by Marta. I am just along for the ride. We walked to a restaurant and it was blazing hot today!! We had a series of tapas that were outstanding! Then went over to the Mezquita which means mosque in Spanish. It started out as a church a century and a half ago and when the Moors came they redesigned the interior and turned it into a mosque. Then during the reconquest the church got it back, but left the Muslim architecture and now houses chapels within it, but with the Arab influence. It is so amazing. The artistry of centuries past are still preserved and I am in awe. I touch walls, columns, close my eyes and feel the energy of centuries of life within these walls. It is quite the sight.
Zipped through it, got back to our car and headed south again. We went to the town of Chipiona, a place that Marta knew. Inga had wanted to see the southern coast of Spain and Marta chose this place which was elegant and fun. Ran to the beach for we wanted to see a sunset over the ocean. Damn, the sun had just gone past the horizon, but those colors were still there for us. Aaaah!!
We walked around and found an outdoor cafe to eat dinner at. The amound of food ordered was huge!! Lots of seafood, oh yeah!! Now to sleep.
Friday, 27th of June:
Well, why the hell not!! Let's go to Morocco!! We went to Tarifa and jumped onto a ferry to Tangiers. We were leaving Spain and you could see both the Spanish coast and Morocco's on opposite sides of the boat. I mentioned to Inga, "Inga, we're going to Africa!!" and she looked at me with wondering eyes, "Africa? Oh my god, I had no idea!!" Ahh someone flunked geography. We got there and were swamped by "tour guides". Marta made a deal with one and he took us all over the place. Went to a mosque and it was prayer time. The men were going into it through very ornate doors at the front of the mosque and the women were at the back going through a very common door. Hmmm, yeah, some differences are obvious. We got a quick look at the palace and was told to make a quick photo and not get caught doing it. Hmmm, yeah.
He took us to some cliffs overlooking the old town and that was amazing. You could see the ocean way below and the roofs of the homes as well. And these cliffs had holes cut out where the Phoenicians would lay their dead.
We walked the Medina and that was quite crazy, a maze of "streets" maybe 3 to 8 feet wide that just went around and around, with open doorways and people standing around, or selling their wares. Some of the doors were so beautiful. We were shown a window where the body of a dead person was laying on a stone and covered with an ornate cloth. Went to eat to a place where we ordered local food and when we had terrible service and glass in my soup, Marta called the shots and said "No way, we are staying there" and left. The owner was cool about it. We ended up eating in a hole in the wall, everyday food (fish and chips type of food)and we were a bit disappointed with that experience. He took us to a rug store where he obviously gets a kick-back and the presentation was getting long and none of us were buying anything anyway. Then to some small shops where we got swarmed by sellers with all kinds of things hanging from their arms and hands. It was very tough to say no, and I did buy a few things, but it felt really rushed and frantic. Not a good experience overall, especially in such a short time, but hey, the fun side? We were in fuckin' Africa!! Inga, we are in Africa together!!! I took a picture of my foot on African soil. Errr, cement.
Took the ferry back and we ended up eating in a wonderful restaurant, very posh. Hippies were selling their handmade items which were very cute and we bought some. We finally found a pension after driving all over the place looking for a place to sleep. We found one at 1:30am. UGH
Saturday, 28th of June:
We were up by 4am and drove back to Madrid. It was difficult long ride for we were all tired and had to make sure Marta would not fall asleep at the wheel. I remember Inga and I in a gas station bathroom, and I said, "Inga, we're shitting in Spain together!!" We were a bit tired for real, hahahaha. W
We got to the airport, said our goodbyes and I headed back to tio's house. I slept a little, showered and went to the hospital to see my cousin Cristina who had her twins yesterday. All is well, and they are adorable. I helped her with breastfeeding... imagine a c-sec and twins. But of course we know there is an answer to every complication. I went to the room next door when I could hear that baby crying for so long, unconsolable!! As a midwife, I cannot stand that, a baby crying out for help. I excused myself and offered to help. I sat the woman down and put the baby to her breast and the baby took it immediately. She had been told the baby had already eaten and that was not the problem....grrrr. We talked for a while and she understood the feed on demand idea and hopefully all is well. I just could not help it. Cristina's husband, Marcos and I headed to a bar and ate so many mariscos, shellfish. It was soo good, but so expensive.
Then home (to tio Salvador's) to the puter and repacked. Time to head back.
This is the second time I had to leave the Via and it is not feeling good. Breaking it up like this affects that rhythm I had evolved and also I would have to meet all new people again.

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