Posted by: Cat of Sunshine and Siestas | March 7, 2009

Azahar

As expected, I returned from bitterly cold Siberia to a week of rain in Spain. This year has been unusually wet, as my banker always reminds me when I take my check in at the beginning of each month. That´s always followed with, “At least it´s not cold like Chicago!”

But yesterday we had sunshine. The warm, golden kind that appears and send everyone out looking for it in the streets. After making lunch for me and the Keeks, I hopped on a bike towards Puerta del Osario and my friend Soledad´s house. I got to wear my new fake ray bans that Felisabel called “veranal” – summery, and passed people driving with the windows down and the music up. At one stoplight, one of the Africans who sells packets of tissue was grooving as he tried to unload them. I ran into my dear friend Lindsay with her parents, as running into unexpected friends is one of the things I love most about living in a city this size.

Soledad used to live in my neighborhood, so we saw one another a lot more back then. Her new apartment is gorgeous – the perfect size with a lot of character and broken things. She´s got two roommates – one makes jewelry and the other is a musician – who are just like Soledad, artsy and connected. She took me to a bar in Plaza de la Encarnación called Los Alcazares. It was merienda time, so families had gathered for a coffee and a donut or waffle. The sunlight streamed through the windows on the old advertisements for sherry wine and flamenco dresses, the art deco ones that I love so much. We sat and watched the people strem in and out, and everytime the door opened, we were blinded by the sun even though we sat with facing the bar with no windows above it.

Sole went home and I walked around her neighborhood, admiring the names of the streets like Saffron and Lost Boy. I love Triana madly, but I need to live in this neighborhood with artsy people on a street called Ave Maria. It was now about 7:30 pm and I had to watch where I was going because all of the old ladies in Seville were out for their paseo, an age-old tradition where people get dressed up and walk around practiced all over Spain. I thought about my first paseo in Valladolid with my señora when she told me that flip flops were not suitable unless I was at the beach (I refuse to wear flip flops unless I´m at the beach or walking inside my own house now). Kids botteloned in the plazas tucked off the main streets and the chesnut vendor outside of Zara in La Campana had been replaced by a manifestaton for a missing teenager.

Springtime gets me excited for short sleeves and having drinks outside on the river and going to the beach, but also for Feria. A week where I wear a flamenco dress and drink sherry and dance Sevillanas. I stopped into a few stores to get some color inspiration for my complementos, or accessories. Women pile fake flowers and decorated combs into their hair, put on a shawl over their flamenco dress and slick back their hair. I watched the mother and aunt of a small girl with blond curls reject red fake flower after red fake flower until they found one the size of the little girls head. She pulled on the small plastic braclets and said, “La gitana!” I chickened out, unable to decide whether I should have lime green or turqoise and decided to enlist the help of my friend Susana.

Later that night, we had dinner at Las Golondrinas, a bar where we nearly always end up after beers at La Grande and before a copa at Java. We did the usual – beers around the table and punta-pinchi-chipi-champi: some part of the pig salted and eaten with bread, a pork kebab, small calamaris and mushroom heads sauteed and served with a mint sauce. My creep-o landlord walked by, amazed that I didn´t always wear pajamas and have my hair up, and commented on that very fact (he comes at like 9am on Fridays, what does he expect?) We stood outside on a perfect night and drank beers. The things I love about this place are so simple.

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