the little problems I've mentioned here seem so big when I'm writing
them. They seem very small today.
My Uncle Dave
passed away. He was a character - always had a joke and his sense
of humor never seemed to end. That's why I like this picture of
him, in true Uncle Dave form: always joking around. He was a good
guy, a good father, a good brother, and we will really miss him.
I'll tell you right now it's hard being here and getting this
news. We want to be around for everyone but our family is living
in three countries at the moment. Grief over the phone is awful,
and I don't wish it on anyone.
We all loved
my Uncle Dave. There were at times differences between him and
others in the family, like any family if you think about it. Nobody
was right or wrong. Sometimes differences are just that: differences.
Everyone always loved him and everyone knows those differences
didn't mean a thing - not then and not now. He was a Spielvogel,
a brother , a father, a husband and an uncle, and there is nothing
better in this world than to be a part of our family. There were
five brothers and sisters (and there are who knows how many cousins
and grandchildren). There are four brothers and sisters with us
now. We will all miss him. We are incomplete without him.
is something we can all be proud of - where we came from and who
we are is truly a blessing. Our grandparents came from Europe
and raised five children and sent them out in the world with much
and an honest foundation on which to live life. As the children
and grandchildren of these five we should be truly thankful. We
have a better life because of how our grandparents raised our
parents and in turn how they raised us. Uncle Dave was an important
part of this family, and someone we were fortunate and blessed
to have known. I am glad for the years he was in North Carolina
and thus closer to our family. I am glad for the years we saw
him at the reunion. There was always more than a good laugh when
he was around. He was more than just a character - he was good
person who cared about all of us and we all cared about him. At
the reunion this August I am sure there will be much sadness,
but as well a lot of joy in thinking of his life and all the memories
we have of him as our uncle, our brother, our father or our friend.
We send our love to everyone, especially our Aunt Pam and cousin
Kurt. While we are not there in person we hope they know we are
in spirit and will see them soon.
Setbacks; Being Illegal, Capitalism; A Domain Name; The Fly I'm
going to Kill NOW"
successes can also bring setbacks. You win or earn one thing which
leads to questions that in turn lead to setbacks in something
else. You know what I mean?!? Well, maybe not, so here goes a
good example with the history of my week so far. We were so very
happy that our contract was accepted for developing and marketing
a site. Many prospects on this one, with some future work to create
new parts of the web site as well as a maintenance agreement for
at least the near future. So we're down to the part where I need
to write the bill, but neither my friend or I have N.I.F., or
Número de Identificación Fiscal, which
allows us to properly invoice people, and for them to properly
declare it, when doing our work. No problem, I thought, I'll just
meet with the lawyer (I already had the appointment scheduled)
and see if they can help. Well, I figured this one out in that
I'll invoice them from the U.S. with my permanent address, but
learned some interesting things in my visit to the lawyer:
- Work here
illegally. That was the advice I got and I think I'm going to
follow it. Not only would they take a ton of money out of my
check for social security and other taxes, by the time I finish
the paperwork and get approval from the Spanish consulate to
live here it would likely be this time next year. As for the
old Schengen Agreement - to hell with it. They hardly ever stop
anyone from coming and going, I was told, and many folks have
been here illegally forever. So I'll take my chances and sweat
it out every time I come and go. If they say something I at
least have a lawyer I can call, which may or may not help me
with immigration issues here.
- Don't try
to become an autonomo or self-employed person if you
are from the U.S. Ever heard of reciprocity? Well, we treat
Spaniards (and many others) like shit when they try to get a
green-card in the U.S., so the Spanish say "¡toma!",
i.e. we get the same treatment from them. If you're from
somewhere in Latin America where they treat the Spaniards better
it is much easier to get a visa this way.
a corporation, company, (whatever you want to call it) here
looks like a bunch of crap. Without getting into it here - I've
got a philosophical point I want to make below - you'd be better
off starting one in the U.S. and then trying to get a visa to
work here for your own company, especially for tax reasons.
sometimes sucks more than you'd think. Ok, have a good laugh now
you Rush Limbaugh lovers, even though you're a bunch of idiots
who value political posturing more than you do the truth. Or if
you're very liberal perhaps you're thinking - "this guy's
just another conservative American getting ready to praise the
values of his own society and selfish political philosophy!"
Well, maybe you're not thinking exactly that...but I'll tell you
I'm no conservative or Republican. I'm getting to my point, but
a little background here first:
I spent a
few days at a conference where the Spanish Tourist Department,
the Andalucian Tourist Department and the Andalucia Rural Tourist
Department all touted the need for small businesses (PYMES), especially
hostels and hotels, to get online and use new technologies. Sounds
like a great plan, and certainly crossing the technology front
for some of them would prove profitable in an economy driven by
tourism. They talked of public funds to get these businesses online,
providing computers, training, software, etc. All this time I'm
salivating like a good little capitalist dog, thinking this may
help in some future projects I've lined up. But then I hear their
further plans and I begin to get sick. "We're going to create
a portal for tourism with a reservation system for hotels and
hostels, offering a free website and e-mail to every hotel and
hostel who wants it and just take a commission from each reservation."
It wasn't enough to develop the electronic infrastructure and
let private enterprise take over and perhaps create a few jobs.
What they're saying, in other not so friendly words, "We're
going to screw the private sector by cornering the market on web
development and online reservation systems for hotels and hostels."
Where will all the jobs go? The government. Where will all the
profits go? The government. Where will the monopoly be held? The
government. What choices will hotels and hostals have when they
want to generate online revenue but pay less of a commission?
None. Where will all the small web design, hosting and development
businesses go who were hoping to work in this market. The toilet.
To top it all off, all three departments are working on a separate
system for hotel reservations without working together - the pinnacle
of government efficiency is here!
So, back to
my point, or did I already make it? The lawyer we met with had
a great idea about starting a company. As my sister is a resident
here and under the age of 39, if she started a company with me
and a friend as her partners we would be eligible for 25,000€
- without having to pay it back! Granted it might take 3-4 years
to get the money, but it would be worth the wait, no? Well, we
were onto something here so we asked more questions. It seemed
better and better as we talked, and the likelihood of me getting
a work permit if we went this route was greater than trying to
do so being self-employed. There was even a monthly payment that
my sister would get if she had a child while running this company!
good to be true, right? Well, it was. Aside from the 500-600€
we would have to pay for licenses, etc. (not to mention lawyers
fees) while getting started we would have to pay about 200€
per month for Social Security, and then what it costs to keep
the monthly books, about 100€ more. Doesn't matter if you're
making money yet or barely scraping by to meet expenses - you
have to pay at least 300€ a month just for the privilege
to work. Then take out 40-50% for social security and taxes on
all the income that you might make during those first months.
Who cares that you want to generate jobs or help the economy grow
when it is badly needed here? Who cares if you aren't making money
at first? "Why, we want to start you off right here, ole'
boy, with a never ending bill that will put you in debt on the
very first day you start your company. We're in the business of
charging you a hefty fee for the government so they can turn around
and grant you 25,000€ if you fit the profile for one of
their plans." What a a bunch of "maroons". Might
I politely ask, why take the money from everyone for that 25,000
"grant" when you can keep that money (or let the others
who paid taxes keep it) and just eliminate my social security
bill every month? If you really want to start businesses here
and create employment you don't do it through disincentives! If
you really want me to get started then make it easier for me and
everyone to get started!!!!!!!! This ends my "rah!
rah! capitalist" rant.
I have one of my three planned domain names up and running, and
while it's my 3rd choice it's the only one which works at the
moment. You can get to my page by simply typing in www.exploreseville.com!!
a large fly buzzing around here so I am off to kill it. Unlike
him I'm sure I'll see better days than today.
(go ahead and click on it! You'll end up at the top of the page)
Presentaion; Meeting with a lawyer; Page Progress"
up tomorrow's presentation so I don't have much time - it's 3am.
Things look good and I'm hoping the contract is accepted so we
can start some work. If all goes well it may lead to a few other
web development/marketing jobs in September.
up a meeting with a lawyer to see if I can legalize my situation
here by becoming an "autonomo" and getting a self-employed
work visa. I have to come prepared with all my questions - it's
a free consultation - but if all goes well they can help me with
filing the right papers and the tax work. Social Security will
take 30-40%, which scares the hell out of me.
hours and hours of tweaking my photo albums are almost completely
updated. I plan to launch new ones specific to monuments and events
very soon, but you can see the new look on some of the links in
the photo page.
of July Boat Parade - S.C.
, July 4th
Moving to a Pueblo; Missing the 4th"
A week of
work has finished, with a lot of new sections partialy developed
for this site. Most will launch when I have time to change the
navigation. Have promising leads on some web page development
and I've been putting the finishing touches on on the project
plan this week to make a presentation on Monday. Juglling this
with my own site here, preparing for a trip back to the U.S. and
taking care of the daily necessities has been tough. Many nights
of going to bed at 3-4am, and then waking up at 9am. Hope to get
some rest this weekend.
and boyfriend are moving to Umbrete finally after a 3 month delay.
She will be there all weekend helping to unpack and clean the
house while I spend my days trapped inside working on the computer.
A movie and a few drinks out tonight will be my only break, but
I'm happy to have work! We're looking forward to a night or two
in Umbrete once they are all set-up, hopefully before we head
to the U.S. in late-July.
have been a little down as it's the first year in many that I've
missed the annual 4th of July fishing trip at Murrells Inlet,
SC. The Simpson bothers and I usually spend 4-5 days fishing and
drinking, seeing the boat parade and visiting all the places full
of characters (like Cedar Hill Boat Landing). It's hard being
so far away sometimes, and as much as you can love Seville you
will always find times when you really miss home. So I've been
checking the weather down there everyday and hope to get a report
town ; Online Hotel Booking"
So where did
everyone go? That's what I'm wondering while walking around on
a Saturday night in late June. Then someone smacks me in the back
of the head and says, "¡Coño, todo er mundo
está en la playa!". Everyone goes to the beach, and
it will only get worse as we move into July and August. More than
half the people I know are there every weekend. And if
for some reason they're not at the beach you can find them by
the river. The center is like a ghost town, and I'm learning the
difference between summer and winter bars. It's all fine by me
- the river is great when we want to see a lot of people or it's
just plain hot as hell. Having the bars in the center to myself
(and of course the tourists) works well on some nights, too.
Took a look
at online hotel booking services for Sevilla in the hopes that
someone might come visit me in the next 5-6 months. A confusing
mess, really. A site with no secure server (please, someone take
my credit card number), another with a total of 7 listings or
a visitors nightmare when it comes to the process. Not to mention
the translation - know the saying "it's all Greek to me"?
Well, it's all something, but it ain't Greek, English or Spanish.
My favorite, though, was looking for "hostels" on hostels.com,
which is actually a pretty decent site. I put in Sevilla and what
I just started laughing when the results came up:
Worldwide Hostel Database
the most complete directory of hostels in the world. Choose
from thousands of hostels worldwide. Sevilla:
results were found.
missed; Updating; Internet Conferences"
come and gone, but you can see a picture above. Although some
here would kill me for saying so, Corpus Cristi is a bit like
Semana Santa Light. It seems for a few months nobody wants to
admit that Semana Santa has come and gone. First you have Semana
Santa with the larger processions, all the people and bars filled
until 6-7am. Then the Feria where you can drink and eat and try
not to remember that Semana Santa is over. In May we have Cruz
de Mayo, where the little ones practice in hopes of one day being
part of Semana Santa. Little costaleros and trumpet players
are seen everywhere, as smaller versions of the floats are dragged
around the streets for a few days. Then comes Corpus Cristi in
June and the teenagers (or a bit older) carry larger floats, balconies
and store display windows in the center are decorated in hopes
of winning a prize. In Plaza Nueva and Plaza Salvador tarps are
hung and seats placed for everyone to watch the processions go
by. Things are a little more festive for Corpus. Finally we have
moved into summer and nobody is "practicing" for Semana
Santa until next year.
I have spent
the last few days addicted to travel forums as a result of my
research for this site. Instead of updating my page here I tried
to updated travelers who planned to come to Seville or other towns
and cities in Andalucia. While I learned a lot about what people
are looking for I also managed to waste an incredible amount of
time, hoping to see folks thank me over and over again for such
great advice. I got a few of those, as well as some severely misinformed
individuals who tried to tell me a train from Madrid to Seville
would take 8 hours, not 2. I just took the damn train about a
month ago!! Oh, well. You can't please everyone, especially not
the hell-bent "expert" travelers on these boards.
investigation I have now come up with a mountain of new links
and content which are in waiting to be posted. Must start working
today or none of it will get done!
Today I attended
the First Andalusian Congress of New Technologies on Information
and Communication. Whew...it was nice to see where things stand
here, and the e-commerce section was an eye-opener (or was it
an eye-closer). I almost fell asleep during one guest speaker's
lengthy publicity speech about what his company had been doing
to generate 10 million Euros over the past year. E-commerce here
is a hard thing to get going here but it seems they're moving
in the right direction now. New internet users here are leap-frogging
dial-up access to connect with ADSL or Cable service. There are
now more Spaniards with broadband access than in the US. A good
sign! We need to catch up.
Andalusian Congress of New Technologies on Information and Communication
Had a scare
for 2 days where it appeared I may have lost everything on my
system here. After 8 hours and a trip to MegaSevilla (these guys,
located in Triana, are wonderfully helpful) we found a problem
with my RAM and the slot it is in. It "became" incompatible
with the first slot, and we moved it to the second slot and all
was well. After so much time it was a little frustrating to have
the answer make no real sense yet be so simple.
out in Triana and Los Remedios on the other side of the river.
Once I've recovered from my crash plan to update some more here.
and Play; Una Velá; AC and Electricity"
page through several revisions, including changes to the color
scheme. Work has picked up, with the article in the paper about
the new company having been released. An opportunity to translate
a web site, as well as possibly mesh my page with a new hotel
reservation system has got me putting in extra time, although
most changes are not visible yet. A separate project - redesign
for a study abroad page - is possibly in the works as well.
We will spend
most of the weekend with friends and family, as well as head to
the last Betis home game and pray for a loss by Athletic Bilbao
and Sevilla FC, continuing the slim chances for the UEFA. We will
also check out una velá, a neighborhood party
of sorts, for Santa Catalina . They have blocked off a parking
lot where they will have a tablao, for some some singing
and dancing, as well as a covered area and a bar with many kegs
of Cruzcampo. Lights have been string up around the trees and
it will likely go into the early morning hours.
there were power outages in the city, likely due to the 45°
temperatures and everyone using their AC. We were happily unaffected
and hope today proves to be a little cooler.
A link for
in Diario de Sevilla
you're inspired to do a lot. Especially when you have to get up
at 8am, which is early for many people in Sevilla. After eating
a breakfast of tostada con jamón
serrano and a cafe with Granada we head to Diario de Sevilla
where I'm to meet a friend for an interview with a reporter there.
He's started an internet marketing company and I'm helping get
things off the ground in hopes of some real work down the line.
Granada leaves me outside the building and heads to the doctor
while I wait 20 minutes for my friend to show up.
We meet with
the reporter for an hour while a photographer snaps 30-40 pictures
of my friend and I. He does most of the talking, being from Peru
and of course having much better command of Spanish. When applicable
I chip in my two cents and give them a little little background
info, my marketing beliefs, etc.. The interview goes well, we
have another cafe afterwards and decide we've made a valuable
contact and hope it pays dividends in the future. The article
should be published soon. We're both working on separate projects
and agree to pool resources as much as possible. And we agree
that as much as we're working it's all too easy to lose track
of time and get distracted in Sevilla. A quick trip down the street
to meet a friend and have a beer can turn into a 3 hour event,
with tapas, another beer (the next is always la penúltima,
as they say here), and a lot of discussion. Granada also has 5
brothers and sisters, and their is always someone to see or something
I meet Granada and we head to El Corte Inglés to buy groceries.
After 2 hours in the grocery we take a break for a cerveza then
head back to El Corte Inglés to buy a new pair of glasses
and a few other things. We have lunch and head back home. Since
then I've been cleaning the house (it was greatly needed), balancing
checkbooks and have sent about 5 emails. I work a little on the
page and decide I need to include a page on the Betis-Sevilla
rivalry. As for now my plan is to stay inside, keep cool and do
a lot of nothing.
A link for
afternoon we slept until 9:30pm and thus made it out late. We
went to El Refugio for dinner, then stopped at a new Italian "Ristorante"
down the street which had just opened. Real Italians in the kitchen
but the seating in the bar area was awful - large barrels with
no place to stick your feet and hard, wooden seats. We ordered
a few tapas to see how it was - one was ok, but the bruschetta
was pretty bad - tomatos and dried basil and oregano on a bad
peice of toast. The platos coming out of the kitchen,
however, look pretty good.
we decided to stick close to home and experience some la
marcha (nightlife) around the Alfalfa. Frist headed to
Sopa de Ganso where we were welcomed with super-cold AC and expensive
beer (2€ each) After one beer we headed down the street
to La Rebotica, a hole in the wall offering some 50 shots named
after people, concepts or disgusting stuff. Retro '80's tunes
were on the video jukebox and soon a group of American, English
and Spanish folks came plowing in. They, along with a a fellow
who asked and successfully received cigarettes from anyone who
entered, were our entertainment there. Beer is a little pricey
as normal in a bar de copas, but the
shots cost on 1,20€. No wonder the Americans liked this
place. These are older bars, and not too fashionable anymore,
but we had a good time.
After 45 minutes
here we headed to El Mundo, a strange little club down a back
street or two from the Alfalfa. Although it was 1:30am the place
was dead. During the summer everyone heads to the river or to
bars with outside seating. El Mundo is dark and there are no windows,
so we practically had the place to ourselves. After one drink
we decided to head back home. On the way two people on a moto
stopped us to ask where El Carbonería was located. We sent
them halfway around the center to get there and being slaves to
suggestion we decided to check it out for ourselves. We took the
shorter route and made it there in 5-10 minutes, laughing as we
thought of the poor directions given to the folks on the moto.
is a bar full of tourists along with a few Spanish possibly looking
to meet foreigners. Inside there was music, flamenco guitar, singer
and a dancer. As always here you struggle to hear the music a
little while every 2-3 minutes a small group of the crowd tries
to hush ("shhhhhhh!") the rest of the drunken patrons.
It was hot as hell here, and the wait at the bar for a drink was
5-10 minutes. After finally getting our drinks we headed out back
to the patio where it was much cooler. 20 minutes later with our
drinks low we decided to finally head home.
We hit Bustos
Tavera, our street, and were lured into El Perro Andaluz for one
last drink. They need AC here badly. While the bar is a lot of
fun and we are regulars it is extremely hot here. I can't even
think what the place will be like in late-July or August, but
I think they'll lose customers if they don't do something soon.
At 3:30am we finally make it back to our place where there is
much needed cold air and a bed.
I need to add a little section on nightlife, and while I certainly
won't cover everything I'll try to list some of my favorite (and
not favorite) spots. I also will start listing the live music
at El Perro Andaluz.
Real estate; More page work"
we spent the evening in Umbrete, a pueblo about 14 km outside
of Sevilla. Both a sister and a brother of my girlfriend are buying
houses there, as the price in Sevilla for apartments has risen
sharply with the Euro over the last few years. Had I the money
in 1996 I would have purchased an apartment in Sevilla. The dollar
was strong against the peseta and prices had just started to rise.
A few years before the switch to the Euro (2001) people were scrambling
to find ways to get their "undeclared" (i.e.: black
market) pesetas into real estate. The result was a very difficult
buyers market and rising prices. Over the last 3-4 years property
values have increased almost 60% here. If you want to live in
the center or even the city for that matter you are often looking
at $200,000-300,000 for an apartment, and in general not a very
big one. The good (and sometimes bad if you ware walking around)
is that many of the buildings in the center are being rehabilitated.
Sevilla should look even better in the next 2-3 years, but as
many say Sevilla está siempre de obras - they
are always working on something here.
Back to Umbrete.
It was nice to get out of the heat in the city - I think there
is a difference of 3-4° C between the pueblos and the center.
With the small streets the air tends not to circulate and the
heat from the day radiates off the pavement and buildings well
into the night. Umbrete, a town of some 5,000, is what they would
call in the U.S. a bedroom community. Most who live there work
in Sevilla and make the 10-15 minute commute into town.
We made a
quick tour of the center and got a good feel for what life was
like in a pueblo. We saw more than a few houses where people set
up seats outside their front door to watch others pass by. In
passing one house with the door open we saw a couch with three
of the largest women I've seen here. They were all knitting and
watching television while the younger people in the family stood
outside. The people in pueblos like to eat, I was told. We also
saw a few teenagers trying to break into an abandoned house next
to a plaza. One stood watch for cars while the others tried to
pry open a window, although they didn't seem to stop what they
were doing when we passed by. We then passed a small, dirty bar
with an entrance like a garage where I was informed they made
some of the best arroz (rice) around.
the car and enjoyed walking in a place where the air was actually
moving. Unlike the U.S., pueblos the size of Umbrete do have a
fair amount of bars and restaurants. Getting a table outside of
one proved to be a bit of a problem on a Friday night, as most
folks seemed to camp out once they had one. After a tapa in a
small bar we finally made our way to a restaurant with a free
table around 11:30 and ate very well. Walking back to the car
around 1am we noticed it was almost too quiet. By the time we
got back to Sevilla with la marcha in full swing the
contrast was even greater. Pueblo life has it's advantages and
disadvantages, but I think I learned I am more of a city person
when it comes to Spain. If you dropped me into a house in the
mountains here with plenty of land around me, I may just change
my mind, though.
Last but not
least I have been making significant progress on this page. I'm
trying as hard as I can to keep the personal feel, but slip into
tourist speak in some of the sections. Right now I have too many
"Coming Soons" in these sections, something I hate to
see on a web site. I will be trying to correct that over the next
few days, as well as revise my photos albums some. Some links
The Depression hits when teams drop to 2nd Division
Here we are
in the first few days of June and already the heat is bothering
me. While it is only 34° today we spent too much of the afternoon
in the sun. Our plans moving forward are to be out by 9am and
back here by 12:30 to avoid the hottest part of the day. Can you
say siesta? This is how the siesta came about
way back when, especially without air conditioning. It was simply
too hot to be out in the streets during the afternoon, so why
not eat in the shade and then sleep it off. I never had trouble
embracing the idea of the siesta - who wouldn't want to sleep
after a big meal at lunch? I am now understanding the heat part
of the equation and have even more reason to stay inside during
also beginning their summer hours and closing a bit earlier -
around 1:30 - and staying open a little later. Thank god we have
air conditioning here...
Rate; Jobs; Our Patio; Victory!"
One of the
difficulties in living here with our current economy is the ever
changing exchange rate. In the last few months my rent has varied
from $440-489, the bed we bought on a 3 month plan is now $100
more expensive then when we purchased it. I of course am complaining
about this on the day it has dropped (in my favor), but it is
one of the issues you must keep an eye on when living off a U.S.
bank account in Europe. My current fear is that our government
and a certain president likely see the falling dollar as an advantage
- the lower the dollar the cheaper it is to import American goods
which (supposedly) will help the economy. Of course a solution
to this would be to find a job, something I am working on today
I do have
a lead on some possible work here and will have a meeting this
week. I hopefully will be helping a cyber cafe here in translating
their page to English as well as on a future, and larger, tourist
related project. As with many opportunities here this is in the
"talking stage". That means it doesn't mean a damn thing
until the topic of actual pay comes up.
finally bought a table for our patio. It only set us back
about 69€ plus the cab fare to get it to our place.
We thought of carrying it until we realized it weighed over
100 lbs. and thus would likely take 2 hours to walk it back
to our apartment. Our hope is to use the patio space a little
more during the summer although we'll have to see how the
temperature affects our plans. The patio is now complete
except for a plant or two more and some chairs, which we
could not afford to buy, to go along with the table.
watched a Betis away game where they won, beating Alavés
0-1. Not that it was an impressive victory considering Alavés
is scheduled for demotion to the 2nd division. That gives us just
enough hope for the UEFA, although the chances are slim for the
European competition next year. And while you'd think playing
in the European tournaments would be something a team owner would
want, Lopera (Betis' owner) has indicated he doesn't care because
it costs money to play outside of Spain. So with an attitude like
that we'll see what happens in the last two games.
de San Fernando; Beatles Country-Rock; Spam"
a día de fiesta here in celebration of Fernando
III. Arab occupation in Sevilla began the year 712, and it took
over 500 years for someone to take it back. After a 15 month seige
on the city, Fernando III finally conquered Sevilla on December
22nd, 1248. So we will have the day off thanks to Fernando III,
and tomorrow they will open his tomb in the Cathedral for all
to see his body. So, again, we will have the day off...
of our celebration tomorrow will be to see "El Paso",
a local band here, in El Perro Andaluz. They play country-rock
versions of the Beatles, hopefully in spanish to make it more
interesting. El Perro Andaluz was sold during my trip to the U.S.,
and there is now live music there 4-5 times a week. The new owners
seem a little more interested in serving drinks and attending
to the folks in the bar than the previous ones, who must have
seen the writing on the wall and decided to stop serving most
of their patrons. The new owners also plan to expand next door
making the bar even bigger. They are also friends with the owners
of La Huerta, a great tapas place just down the street, who also
happen to be friends with the president of our apartment complex.
As long as business goes well it should be one big happy family
here in Santa Catalina.
I mention how much I love spam? I'm not sure if anyone reads this
crap, and when my connection slows to a snail's pace I think of
these idiots. What they've "promised" me today:
"There are 4 lenders who want to contact you ASAP."
Culinary Schools "There's incredible food in your future"
Accounts Payable "$860 E-Transfer to your account - Instructions
Notice of Distribution "Your Shipment Status"
Cashier 34768 "860 Dollars Remains Unclaimed- Instructions
Ann Marie "Get extra cash without perfect Credit. Once in
a life time opportunity"
Card Search "You'll love this - a free credit card search..."
Auto Loan Approvals "60 second Auto Loan App. All Credit
Unlimited nights & weekends with "F R E_E Camera Phone
offer expires 5/31"
Dirt Cheap Inks "Save up to 85% off ink + free freight offer"
Issuance Supervisor "Re: Your Platinum Credit Card ($7,500.00)"
Find Love TODAY! "You Have a Secret Admirer - Find out who!"
Sevilla; Page work"
exploring the other side of our neighborhood which reminded me
why I love Sevilla so much. Wandered down Calle Feria and found
a great (and cheap) place to eat, as well as another cool bar
to visit from time to time. There is a bar, store, or plaza around
every corner here and it will take many years to get to know just
a small fraction of them.
It is now
3am and I think I have completed maybe 20% of what I wanted to
get done to transition this to a Sevilla only page. I will be
updating the daily entries less frequently over the next week
to get this done.
in Sevilla on Tuesday after a short trip to the US, and needed
a few days to get back into the swing of things here. My flight
from London was filled with Celtic fans arriving here for the
UEFA Championship game. By the time we left Gatwick around 11:30am
many had already put away more than a few beers, and I was rewarded
with versions of every Celtic football song during the flight.
We were sad
to see them go. Being a Betis fan it was wonderful to see the
streets filled with green and white, and aside from the few fans
passed out in the street they were a very friendly bunch. One
bar here went through 300 kegs of beer in just under 2 days...
My plans are
to make some serious changes to this page in the next few days.
Spent a day
in Cádiz, a small city on the beach an hour south of here. It
was hot but a perfect day to be by the water and I will soon add
some pictures from the trip.
I am off traveling for the next two weeks. I will be away from
Granada which has got me down a bit at the moment. All will be
better when I get back, and I am looking forward to seeing many
friends during my trip as well. Sevilla is now my home and it
is hard to think of being away from it for very long. I can't
help but wonder what will happen in Plaza de los Terceros, who
will be buying what at the market in Encarnación, what
animals will be on display in the Sunday market in Alfalfa, how
good the boquerones will be in Blanco Cerrillo...the
list goes on.
this page will be updated very sparingly over the next 2
weeks. You can read
previous days here.
Quite a potent
drink, it can be found by the pitcher or 1/2 pitcher in many bars,
especially close to the river:
- zumo de
piña (pineapple juice)
- ron (rum)
- Licor 43
- nata (whipped
cream: on top and then stirred in)
Moreno (brown sugar)
- hielo (ice)
afternoon we went to Parque
María Luisa to rent one of those 4 person bikes. They
look like little cars, complete with the headlights and two steering
wheels. The steering wheel on the right does nothing but spin
round and round, however. With four people it can be fun - we
passed many of the horse and buggy folks, and were able to get
up to some good speeds. In about 35 minutes we made our way through
the entire park, at least where we were permitted to ride. Main
highlights were the Plaza de España and Plaza de América,
as well as a stop for a granizada de limón.
Towards the end we were running late and had to cut through on
a dirt path (against the rules) to make it back in time to return
the bike. Rental is by the 1/2 hour here, and you can choose between
2-person and 4-person bikes. There are two rental stations within
the park on most days. Prices for 1/2 hour:
for 4 person
few other things you can do in the park:
beer, drinks, and tapas at many of the bars around the
with the pigeons in Plaza America
Prehistoric, Roman and Arabic art the Archaeological
Museum in Plaza de América
an exhibit in the Pabellón
we took a few photos of the Plaza de España at night.
to make a Granizada de Limón
Fights; Betis; Roast Chicken"
In the last
few days we were witnessed some interesting behavior around Sevilla.
On the street yesterday we saw a man and woman pointing at each
other and screaming. A few other women stood by, yelling policia.
As often happens here, everyone else stopped to watch the scene.
After a minute more of screaming the man walked off with the woman
following. The women standing around continued to shout for the
police for another 5 minutes, but they were out of site by the
time they arrived.
we were in the Tex-Mex bar to watch the Betis game when a well-dressed
(and drunk) fellow wandered up to the bar. The waiter quickly
made his way to the door and told him he was not welcome here.
The drunk fellow began shouting and the bartender (possibly the
owner) came out to push him into the street. Soon 5-10 people
from the bar were outside holding the drunk fellow back while
he stumbled in circles, shouting and trying make his way to the
bartender. One fellow who was next to us watching the game was
able to move him away from the door and we had a few minutes of
silence. I stepped outside once things calmed down and he started
shouting again, throwing his helmet towards the bar. He jumped
on his moto, grabbed his helmet and begin revving up
the engine, trying to plow his way through some tables and a postcard
stand. A fellow tried to convince him not to drive, and at least
succeeded in having him turn around to leave in the other direction.
I jumped back inside and out of his way as he raced past a few
tourists and down the street towards the cathedral.
Later we found
ourselves in El Perro Andaluz for a drink and witnessed an older
woman and a younger man shouting at each other. She kept her finger
about 2 inches from his face the whole time, while he glared at
her from behind his beer, responding with many obscenities. After
5 minutes she left screaming, only to return 20 minutes later
and scream some more. A bit later they were hugging and ordering
finally saw a Betis game where they deserved to lose 1-3
at Athletic Bilbao. Betis played horribly, with 3 goals
scored against them in a 20 minutes stretch when they decided
not to play defense. They now stand in 8th place, and it's
looking more and more likely that they'll miss the UEFA
unless they start playing better.
we ordered pollo asado (a roast chicken)
- a favorite of mine here. There are plenty of shops to
choose from, even a place or two that will deliver one to
your house. Prices are anywhere from 5-6€. I used
Louisiana hot sauce and drank Nestea with mine, taking me
back to the good ole South for a few minutes. The secret
here: ask for as much sauce as you can get - it drips down
into a bucket below the 20 or so roasting chickens, and
makes it even more delicious.
Spanish fútbol page in English
past days posted on the archive page.