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sledding

Greetings from Granada

While I have time, and before it slips from my memory, I´d like to finish talking about the jazz show I saw in Madrid the night before last. After the show I talked briefly with the drummer, a Swiss dude, who told me that the band gets together only on occasion.

The leader, Josexto Goia-Aribe, from Pamplona, is the guy with the vision. On the sax, tenor or soprano, he is a competent soloist, but no Mr. T. His genius lies in his arrangements, and the way he takes the traditional (paso dobles, jota-waltzes, fandagos) and makes it new, I might say giving it a Monk twist ... arrangements for tuba, trombone, trumpet and sax. Speaking of Monk, they played interesting versions of ¨Well You Needn´t¨ and ¨Misterioso¨ alongside such traditional numbers as ¨El toro que se enamora de la luna¨ or a paso doble from the bull ring. I also liked his explanations between tunes and his little jokes. He said that the band´s name, ¨Jamalandruki,¨ was taken from a magician in the Pamplona in the sixties who always fascinated him. One tune was called ¨Nanai de la gutimendi¨ which is something that kids in Pamplona would say to deny a request instead of simply saying ¨no¨:

-¿Me das chocolate? (Can I have some chocolate?)
-Nanai de la gutimendi.

So, I´m back in Granada, the city where I lived during the 1993-1994 school year. I rode a luxury bus down from Madrid: during the four and a half hour ride they sirved drinks, sandwiches, candies, snacks, moist toilettes (¨moist toilets,¨ as my daughter and I say). I saw windmills in La Mancha, and I awoke from dozing to see the dramatic mountains of the Sierra Morena, where don Quixote and Sancho took refuge after freeing the galley slaves. By a quarter to nine I was at my friend Jose Luis´s house in the Albaicin, not far from where I lived seventeen years ago.

A word about the Albaicin: it is the best preserved Arab quarter in all of Spain, a maize of narrow streets, whitewashed houses, ¨carmenes¨(enclosed gardens), small parks, ¨miradores¨ (places from which to look at the Alhambra across the way), bars, restaurants, ¨teterias¨(North African tea shops). I could have happily stayed there back in 1994 had that been an option.

Jose Luis´s and Cati´s house is amazing: not wide, but with three floors, including a terrace on the roof with a magnificent view of the Alhambra. We sat up there, eating and drinking into the night, soaking up the beauty of the place and getting caught up. Jose Luis and I haven´t seen each other for seventeen years, even though we´ve exchanged emails and post cards every once in a while.

Today I had coffee with a couple of my students who are studying here in Granada, then I spent a good while just wandering around, refamiliarizing myself with the city. I went to the market to look at the seafood, the meats and the vegetables; I meandered through the streets of the Albaicin, snapping pictures; I listened to some buskers play gypsy jazz in the style of Django Reinhardt. I went to the Bar Aliatar where I ate small sandwiches: a Mallorquin (sobrasada and melted cheese ... sobrasada is a sort of lard-like substance flavored with paprika), then, greedy, one with artichoke hearts, anchovies and mayonaise. I sat in the San Greogorio church for a few minutes, before being kicked out by a couple of cloistered nuns, who looked like phantoms, dressed in white habits with their faces veiled... and to think there are prostitutes just a few doors down.

And this evening, there will be tapas. We´ll probably start at the bar I´ve been dying to go to - Bodegas Castañeda, where they make their own vermouth and serve Spanish ham, among other treats.

Tomorrow morning, I´ll be on the bus to Cordoba, and by nightfall, I´ll be in Sevilla, if things work out as planned.
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hi

You lucky bum! I wish I was in the Albaicin too sipping on some Moroccan tea! Guess I'll pick some mint from the garden and make some mint tea myself and dream....! Have fun!
sledding

May 2018

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