151 – Spanish Portraits

“We’re just the same, you and me” said A.  I take it as a compliment, happily glossing over her thirty additional years on the planet.  She has the most piercing look, she’d have been a great interrogator.  Instead she is a campesina, a countrywoman.  Timeless.  Sturdy.  Hard hands.  Sitting on a stool she scoops handfuls of almonds into her apron, and shells them on a tree-trunk in front of her with a small hammer.  Continue reading

150 – Sábado Night’s Alright

I’ll never forget the moment.  It changed forever the way I looked at art.  Madrid, May 2011.  The square, Puerta del Sol, was filling with makeshift tents as “Los Indignados” occupied the centre of Madrid.  Coming in on the metro from my college accommodation 150-indignados2with a Spanish family, I got off one stop early each day to walk through the square, deliver donations of water, milk or juice to the well-organised communal kitchen area.  I tried to understand the posters, the protests, and the petitions, before heading to my morning classes at the language school a couple of blocks away. Continue reading

149 – You Just Need Fruit

Sometimes you just need fruit.  It was the big food distribution day at Los Ángeles Malagueños de la Noche, and the end of lunch service until September.  The people in the queue had already queued for breakfast and queued to get a numbered ticket for the groceries, and it was way too hot to be standing in a queue.  Even the volunteers were wilting in the heat, and we knew it was nothing like as bad for us as it was for the people in the queue. Continue reading

147 – It’s All About Tongues

Dentists don’t often make me laugh.  Sadly, it’s years since they were allowed to use laughing gas to knock us out before an extraction.  And I’m a really rubbish patient.   But my Spanish dentist is lovely.  Film-star looks, craggy, sexy voice, about the right age …..   COUGH!  Sorry, I wandered off for a moment there!  Anyway, back on topic, he DID make me laugh. Continue reading

143 – How the Other Half Lives

This massive great cruise ship was in Málaga port last week.  It is either beautiful or ugly, I’m not sure which.  But it is big.  Umpteen floors, 6,500 passengers, 2,500 crew.   It’s the 143-shipsister ship of the one that came in a couple of weeks ago, the one that people live on all year round.  Both times, people flocked to the port to gaze at the ship, marvelling at its sheer size, and marvelling at the idea of living full-time on a ship.  Gazing with mixed emotions, of which envy was certainly one.  “How the other half lives” was a comment that was scattered across the English-language press here, and on internet forums.  Not only the extranjeros of course – I listened in on the comments and joined in some of the conversations of the Spanish people lining the port.  “¡Mira!”  “¡Imagínate!” Continue reading

142 – Beer and Bocadillos – On the Government!

142-schoolThe course I’m on at Málaga’s Escuela Oficial de Idiomas is heavily subsidised by the Spanish government (thanks guys!).  So when the head of Spanish said we were going on a “school trip” we didn’t expect a great deal, to be honest.  Imagine our delight, then, when it turned out to involve free beer and bocadillos! Continue reading