our current home away from home

This year, we are staying at one of the apartments run by Frans and Nuttee, who we first met when we stayed at their Casa Charlotte some years back. It's hard to imagine better hosts. Frans is Belgian, Nuttee is Thai, and they are lovebirds (they call each other "My Darling"). Nuttee came by today so we could finally pay her ... one example of their hospitality is that we rented the place months ago, and have been here more than a week, now, but we didn't have to pay in advance ("we'll get to it"). She had scheduled a cleaning crew to come today, but someone's kid was sick, so Nuttee decided since she was already coming to get the rent, she'd do the cleaning herself (we're low maintenence and all that was really needed was fresh sheets, although she "Hoovered" the floors anyway). We were running some laundry, and left for a quick stop at the grocery store ... when we returned, she was still there, hanging our clothes on the line.

Part of going on holiday is "getting away from it all", and when you go halfway around the world, you certainly don't expect to see anyone you know. This made it all the more charming when we were having dinner (and sitting outside as we usually do if the restaurant has tables on the street) and Frans and Nuttee walked by. OK, Nerja is a small town, but it was still happily unexpected.

Here is a brief video of our apartment:


more life in nerja

Garbage:

We've been here for about a week, and our garbage is filling a lot of bags. But I'm not sure what to do with them. So we asked our host/landlord, and she said to just dump the bags in one of the many public bins you find on almost every street. When in Nerja, do as the locals do.

Baseball:

Well, the Giants lost. I woke up during the first inning, listened on the MLB app. Didn't go back to sleep ... made it to the 9th inning. Then, the Lord had mercy (if I believed in the Lord): I fell asleep for about five minutes during the bottom of the 9th, and so was spared the awful conclusion. I awoke to Jon Miller saying the season was over.

Porn:

Our apartment comes with satellite TV. Not much to watch, but sometimes you just feel like checking it out. I turn it on and start channel surfing, pausing for a soccer match or the BBC news. There is a channel that pops up ... no adults-only warnings or anything ... it's pure porn. Hardcore, not the kind of softcore porn you get if you pay extra money in hotels, but actual porn. I've noticed a couple of things. One, it's hard to say from 30 seconds here or there ... small sample size and all ... but it seems like every video features enormous cocks entering female assholes. Also, there doesn't seem to be any plot, not even of the Pizza Delivery Guy genre. It's possible a narrative is there but I'm missing it because I don't watch long enough to see if a plot is involved. But this isn't Behind the Green Door. The titles are like Ass Attack Vol. 14, and that's what you get. At least once, I'd like to see a pizza guy as I surf past the channel.

Books:

I load my Kindle with lots of books when I travel. One year I remember reading a biography of Lyndon Johnson, and there are always plenty of Philip K. Dick books when I get in the mood. This time, I'm reading Stevie Van Zandt's memoirs, Unrequited Infatuations. He's done a lot of stuff, and he (and/or his editor) makes most of it interesting, not just the expected Bruce and Sopranos material. Not sure what I'll read once I finish. I've got Barney Hoskyns' God Is In the Radio, Richard Neer's FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio, and my friend Charlie Bertsch's new book, Listening for the Future: Popular Music for Europe, which would be next on my list except the Kindle formatting is a disaster so I'll wait until I get home and can fix it. One thing is clear: for whatever reason, I have music books on my mind.


chinese in spain

Last night, we ate at a Chinese restaurant. The food was quite delicious. Authentic? What does that mean, anyway? The woman in charge looked Chinese, as did the man we decided was her husband. But she spoke Spanish like a native. (At one point, she complimented me on my own Spanish, saying I didn't have an accent, which I thought was odd since I do have an Andalusian accent. But after I overheard an English customer say "Gracias" with, well, an English accent, I decided she meant I spoke like a native. Which I do, if the native has terrible grammar.)

It was fascinating hearing her speak Spanish. She had the like-a-native accent, but the tone of her voice was, for lack of a better term, "Chinese". If you didn't know Spanish or Chinese, you would assume she was speaking Chinese, because that's what it sounded like. But the accent was Spanish, as were her words. 

Meanwhile, the Feria is over. What goes up must come down:

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we arrive in nerja

Robin went to a yarn store on our last day in London. Then it was finally off to Nerja.

Our apartment is lovely. There is a feria in Nerja the next four days, so it is very loud outside. A ferris wheel goes around just outside our balcony. We don't care, we're in Nerja!

Did a quick shop once we arrived:

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almost holiday time

On Sunday the 3rd, we fly to London. On Friday the 9th, we fly to Nerja, where we will stay for three weeks, followed by one more night in London and then a flight home on Sunday the 31st. The only specific event planned is to see Patti Smith at the Royal Albert Hall during our first stay in London. I'm posting this now, before I forget, so you'll know what's coming on this blog during October. I have already written four Letterboxd Challenge movie posts that will run in my absence, along with four Music Friday posts. And I'll be posting this week when the urge arises. Anyway, even if I don't post a single thing during our trip, I've got eight posts just waiting for their various timers to run down, so my vast readership is guaranteed some stuff while we're gone. I will also try to remember to post another eye-and-nose update ... I'd do it now, but I'm seeing the nose doctor later today, so I'll wait until I hear from him.

Meanwhile, here is where we are staying in London:

Strand

And here is a picture of Nerja, where we will be staying for the seventh time:

View from the balcony


shelter in place: the trip that never was

Everyone has a story to tell about the virus. Ours is minor compared to most. It grows out of privilege, and we aren't suffering. 

Sometime today, we would have landed in London on the trip to Spain we would have begun last night. Oh, I'm not exactly sure about the dates. We were to be gone for four weeks, would have stayed a bit in London on the return to visit friends, but most of the time, we'd be in our favorite apartment in Nerja on "our street":

Our apartment is on the right (60 Carabeo) just past Mini Market Mena on the left just after the 4-minute mark. (We get most of our groceries at the Mini Market.) It would have been our third time staying there, our ... well, I've kinda lost track over the years of how many times we've stayed in Nerja. 2000, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2017, that seems about right.

I like to trot this out. There is a famous paella place on the Burriana Beach in Nerja. It has a long name, but everyone calls it Ayo's after the man who runs it. (He's in his 80s, I hope he's still with us.) In 2009, an Andalusian TV network, Canal Sur, visited Ayo's and the reporter took a turn helping Ayo cook. At about the 1:40 mark, someone special turns up for a few seconds.

We had already paid for all the plane fares, hotels, apartments, etc. Everyone is very nice about allowing us to postpone our visit at no extra cost, but so far, no one is actually refunding our money. Which is fine, except we were/are flying Norwegian, and we keep hearing that airline is going bankrupt, so we might want our money from them sooner rather than later.

Here is a little something I've been thinking about lately. No, I don't read French ... I've been reading this in translation for most of my life. But I thought it might be worth going with the original here.

Ecoutant, en effet, les cris d’allégresse qui montaient de la ville, Rieux se souvenait que cette allégresse était toujours menacée. Car il savait ce que cette foule en joie ignorait, et qu’on peut lire dans les livres, que le bacille de la peste ne meurt ni ne disparaît jamais, qu’il peut rester pendant des dizaines d’années endormi dans les meubles et le linge, qu’il attend patiemment dans les chambres, les caves, les malles, les mouchoirs et les paperasses, et que, peut-être, le jour viendrait où, pour le malheur et l’enseignement des hommes, la peste réveillerait ses rats et les enverrait mourir dans une cité heureuse.

Here is one of the English translations:

And, indeed, as he listened to the cries of joy rising from the town, Rieux remembered that such joy is always imperiled. He knew what those jubilant crowds did not know but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen-chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.

El Pulguilla:

Seven at la pulguilla

And the view from the balcony of "our" apartment:

Nerja balcony morning