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Monday, November 24th "Rain!; Fire!; Manolo comes and goes; Sunday in La Huerta; A possible apartment?"

It was an interesting and generally pretty active weekend. We watched Betis tie Deportivo even though they really won. A dangerous play, as it was called by the arbitro or referee, took the only goal away from Betis. One thing you can say about life is that it's not fair. One thing you can say about fútbol is that it's never fair. But the arbitro was awful and the filed conditions were worse after a few days of rain. We had a 15 minute period during the first half where the rain was unbearable and we had to wedge ourselves in under the covered part of the stadium. Our seats are right below a gutter which drains the rainwater in the section above us - a master engineer was on the job when they decided this - about every 10 seats on our row all around the stadium have this problem. So aside from the pouring rain you get a small waterfall on top of you as well.

On Sunday a house/empty lot down the street from us caught on fire. When they renovate a building in Sevilla they tend to tear down the entire thing minus the front. What you get is an empty lot between two buildings although from the front it looks as if the building is still there. These are attractive areas to people who live in the street, and one fellow decided to make a little fire to keep himself warm. That little fire turned out to be a big fire which or course made the neighbors very nervous. The firemen were there in no time to get things back to normal.

Manolo is a friend of my sister's and is quite a character. A bearded, chain-smoking photographer from Sevilla, Manolo now lives in Chihuahua, Mexico. He's doing freelance photography with a really nice digital camera while he lives with his girlfriend and her children. Every 3 months or so he comes back to visit and tell us some interesting stories about life in the Americas. He's been to the U.S. more times than I have in the last 6 months, and his descriptions of border crossings are always fun to hear. We spent an evening between our apartment and the Alfalfa listening to some wild tales and some doing some general catching up. Afterwards he headed home and we continued on to La Extrameña for a lot of grilled meat. Chorizo al infierno, then pinchitos, then a huge serving of presa iberica. All was good but we admitted we ordered too much. Final bill between four people was 45€.

We spent Sunday with a Stuart, a visiting professor with an abroad program, his wife and his little girl who kept us all entertained. After a long lunch in La Huerta we visited our apartment and then had a cafe in the San Buenaventura close to home. The rest of the day was spent doing a lot of nothing.

We did learn this weekend that there is an apartment in our building for rent that seems to good to be true. Six windows on three different patios, a bigger kitchen with a real fridge, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, as well as a large living room. 110 square meters, marble floors, a fireplace and the same location in a building we love and I am just getting more and more nervous thinking about it. Rent is very reasonable as well at 540€. We'd of course prefer to pay less but for what we'd get and to not have to leave our old neighborhood, well, it's just too good to pass up if we can get it. We are trying to track down the owner as I write this, so maybe I should stop writing. But to give you an idea of the freakish nature of renting versus buying in Sevilla how about some prices. The owner wants to sell or rent it from what we understand. So 540€ to rent it, or about 385,000€ to sell it. You can do the math, but there's no way the mortgage payment would even be close to the rent. There's no way I'd ever pay that for this place although someone may. Either way you can see it's a renter's market - much cheaper than buying at this point.