5/14/01 A Spaniard in the Works

Hi everyone!

I am in Grenada Spain at the moment, pushing photos up at 30k per sec, so I only have a few minutes, but here are the most recent highlights.

The best moments of the past few days:

I meet a cool, introspective Californian kid, Andy, in Toledo and we did a day in Toledo and then move to Madrid together. Neither of us intended to spend any time in Madrid, but another one of those sneaky, frustrating European holidays snuck in there and filled all the trains. Andy had met a few people when he was in Mardid a few days previous, so a Spaniard, Paul, meets us at the station.

The holidays filled all the hotels as well, and Paul insists that we spend the night in his house. He is excited to have us over. He is ready to burst. He is 29, looks like some kind of caricature, speaks Spanish and fluent French. Andy speaks English and is nearing fluency in Spanish, and I am fluent in English and am pretty good at botching French. And somehow, we were able to communicate. So Paul takes us to his flat. The reason he was so excited to have us over? He got an illegal satellite dish the previous day. So we sit down and he bounces around and gets his remotes together... and turns on Spanish porn. I nearly fell out of the couch laughing at his enthusiasm to share American porn dubbed with Spanish 'oh's with us.

Yesterday was great. It was my second of 2 days in Sevilla. The place was teeming with tourists and Andy was frustrated to not be having an authentic Spanish experience. We split for a while so I could arrange my next train. As I am walking the town, I hear a can being kicked around and find the 2 absolute cutest little Spanish kids playing soccer with it. I take a few photos of them and just sit and watch. More kids come out. They are all dressed up. One gets stuck straddling a fence and before helping him down, I had a hearty snicker and got a good photo. So I then show the kids that they can see the photos after I take them. And that did it. Within a moment, all the kids that were in the neighboring bar come running to take photos and make faces.

And Andy stumbled into the scene and I gave him his authentic Spanish experience:

The kids invited us into a ball game where the reward is the ability to his the loser on the head each round. Jack would hate this game. After 3 times being hit on the head, they all chant something in Spanish and line up facing the wall, flailing arms and the sucker has to run down the line getting pummeled by all the others. Boys and girls took part in this, and there were some real strong fists flying, but never any tears or sore losers.

I ended up spending the vast majority of the day playing with these kids, showing them photos from home, showing them where I am going, etc. I guess the reason they were all dressed up was it was someoneīs Communion that day. My best approximation is that it is the Catholic equivalent of a Bar Mitzvah. It was arranged to coincide with the holiday this weekend which included little processions, music and drink. So I saw very few sights in Sevilla, but I saw the sights that no one else gets to see.

The occasioanl tourists were photographing the ball game scene as they trudged by, looking for the big cathedral. I wonder if they knew I too was a tourist?

So I am here until tomorrow at midnight when I will ride the trains with beds back to Madrid. No, they are not sleeper trains. Well, maybe the train sleeps, but it doesnīt feel like it when you are wide awake, being tossed around a coffin smelling like feet all night.
From Madrid I will either go to Lisbon Portugal or back to France.

Thatīs all for now.