Sona called one day. “¿Sigues pintando?” (“Are you still painting?”) Her folks have a rental apartment in nearby Cáceres. I painted the place about a year ago. “Los últimos inquilinos han dejado el piso hecho una mierda y han desaparecido del mapa.” (“The last tenants wrecked the place and skipped town.”) “Qué guay.” (“Lovely.”) A … Continue reading El lagarto de Calzadilla
My parents are now both officially retired. They’ve visited us in Spain quite a few times over the past thirteen years, usually for a week or two every year, but now they are here for a three month stretch. The other day, in my brother-in-law’s backyard, my mother was listening to the rapid-fire conversation taking … Continue reading “¡Hay ropa tendida!”
So where were we… Ah yes, Greece. Summer of ’96. Two policemen were pulling me off a train in Thessaloniki for riding without a ticket… The night before I had slept a grand total of fifteen minutes on the floor of the main train station in Skopje, Macedonia. I unsuccessfully tried to buy a ticket … Continue reading “Welcome to my country!”
My brother-in-law, Alberto, had a client in need of a painter this spring. So one day we drove out to the village of Cuacos de Yuste in the Valle de la Vera, where the gout-ridden Carlos V, Holy Roman Emperor, spent his final months in 1558, to take a look at the job.¹ It was … Continue reading El Pintor Que Pinta Con Amor (The Painter Who Paints With Love)
After a chaotic game of Hundir La Flota (Battleship) against the 12 year old, which I narrowly won, (I was so close to cheating) Lola left to take the 9 year old to ballet class. “I’ll be back in 20 minutes. You gonna be OK with these two?” She motioned to the 12 year old … Continue reading Sobrinas (Nieces)
My little nephew plays soccer (aka: fútbol) and after a recent match la Unión Polideportiva Plasencia released a cow onto the field in the hopes that she would take a giant numero dos. The economic crisis in Spain has people looking for new and innovative ways to make a little extra cash. The field was … Continue reading La Caca de la Vaca
Gold Rush: The Journals, Drawings, & Other Papers of J. Goldsborough Bruff (April 2, 1849 – July 20, 1851) “The human animal can bear more hardships and sufferings than can be described, if the mind be kept above water.” –JG Bruff I first saw Gold Rush mentioned in Theodora Kroeber’s ISHI in Two Worlds: A … Continue reading So many books, so little time… (Part 6)
In Spain children don’t receive gifts on December 25th. Here it all happens on January 6th, el día de los Reyes Magos, in celebration of the Three Wise Men. It’s tradition in Lola’s family to celebrate with caldereta de cabrito, goat stew. My brother-in-law, Julio, was sitting across from me at the table this year. … Continue reading En el país de los ciegos, el tuerto es rey.
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan I picked this one up at City Lights in San Francisco during my last visit to the states. I bought three dozen books on that trip, but this was the only one I bought new. Edward Sherriff … Continue reading So many books, so little time… (Part 5)
My folks were here visiting for the holidays. My father and I got into the bad habit of going for a walk along the Jerte river after lunch. I say bad habit because he’d smoke a cigar and then, on the way back to town, we’d have a gin tonic somewhere. Exercise, Spanish-style. The river … Continue reading So you want to learn Spanish?