Sunday, April 3, 2011


Spring seemed to come overnight.  In a matter of days the weather changed from cold and windy, with dark grey clouds, to clear and warm: Springtime Warm.  Previously absent birds returned to the pink blooming trees and the loud, aggressive construction that made its home in Baza before I did finally finished, unveiling newly paved sidewalks and streets, large Arabic style fountains, and a tree green park in the center of town.  The Spain the Spaniards had told me about—people out walking their dogs, children playing soccer in the street, the sunset beginning at 9 pm—has finally arrived, and not a moment too soon.  There is a tangible joy and newness in the air. My bug bites are healed and after an intense spring cleaning/disinfecting (see previous post) Spring is here!

This winter has been good, long, hard.  The cold days in Baza were all contrasted by small trips to the beach:  a day watching a fisherman hook a purple octopus right out of the sea (which I touched and got suctioned!), a trip to the Canary Islands, and participating in one of Spain’s most famous beach parties.

 I took myself to Lanzarote, the Northern most island of the Canaries, which due to its volcanic origin, reminded me much of Kona, Hawaii.  Now more accustomed to traveling alone, taking the trip wasn’t the big leap—renting a car was.  I spent three days driving all over the small island, singing at top volume and driving at top speed with the windows rolled down.  I watched the sunset at the Southern point of the island.  The large cliffs and the forever ocean made it look like the end of the world.  I watched the sunrise from the Northern part, where the tall dirt mountains eased slowly into the sea and the jagged volcanic rock at the bottom welcomed the waves.  The simple joy of non rushed driving, shifting up and down with the changing terrain…..ahh, driving is a freedom I have missed.   

My other beachside experience was visiting Carnival in Cadiz.  Cadiz is a small old beachside town in the South of Spain, famous for its Carnival celebration (Carnival is what we would call Mardi Gras in the States).  It is the time to dress up and party—eat a lot, drink a lot, dance a lot.  My friend Francisco and I went as Mafioso, and our group included a priest, a pirate, and my friend Leti who went as bubble gum on the bottom of a chair.  As we mixed drinks in plastic cups and danced to the car radio in the parking lot, putting on our accessories and costume makeup, I was reminded of The Playa.  The energy of everyone—excited and happy, ready to take on the night.  Carnaval was a good time, fun to see the costumes, creative ones, silly ones, but of course cannot compare to Burning Man.  The Playa has the art, the music, the surreal setting, and a magic that no place, even for a foreigner in a new country, can ever match.   
The night of cobblestone street stumbling, Michael Jackson tribute dancing, and fried shrimpfishcrabcalamari eating made for a good night. 

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