Huelva, the back streets

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sweet, sweet Spain. . .

As fin de semana lends a peak at us, we decide to hop on bus and greet the city of Huelva. . . The ride started out a drag until serendipity blessed us with an encounter with John Mayer.
No, seriously.

Deciding, better judgement intact, we do not stalk him all the way to his humble abode, but to rather explore the city.

Our first sighting of Huelva (pronounced "Welba")scared us shitless. WOW! How different from Sevilla and it's whimsical frontiers!To put it in a nutshell: Huelva is landmarked by captivating contemporary graffiti that polute the backtreets, industrial monstrosities and guys that we now famously call the Wet Looks (definition: those of the masculine gender that most likely spend a precious amount of time grooming their mops, pouring half a container of hair gel to create this immaculate masterpiece).

Roaming the streets, we did discover the sweet inside. Cobblestone roads that guide you towards Plaza de Virgen where locals enjoy the afternoon sun during their siesta, white doves flocking at their feet with a view of a enchanting and ancient church. Typical Andalucian bars line the alleyways and this is of course were we got stuck. We tuck away at plump green olivas, meat stew, tortilla espanola and fresh pan con cafe. We must have either looked ravenous or the waiter took pity on us, for we enjoyed all this for a mere 10 euros (he probably thought since the South Africans are going to lose the World Cup he might as well give us free munchies).

In short, Marcella´s birthday rocked: after a drink and an exotic trip to The Buddha Bar, were the young and the not so young, come together to jam it out on a few American tunes (despite them singing along to every word of the songs, they still
can not speak a word of English), we ended up in typical Sevillian bar - Bar Torro - with some locals at seven o´clock in the morning and inbetween moutfulls of tostada and coffee, we were serenaded - flamenco style.

As we bring this delayed update of Sevilla and it´s oranges (don´t try to consume those that litter the streets, not a joyful experience for lack of actuall orange taste), we share a copa with the likes of George Clooney, Robert Downey Jnr., Andre Agassi and Giovanni Ribishi.

Interesting finding for the week: there are definitely more good-looking men around, than women. In fact, men seem to reach a peak after adolescence and, with the help of all their beauty products and ridiculous excercise routines, wallow in that peak for. . . ever. Women, on the other hand, are pretty, reach puberty, become very pretty and then go bald over the years and end up looking like their male companions (naturally, with a few exceptions)

Man, do we love Spain and it´s beautifully groomed beautiful men.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Pilgramage

Day Three. Still no luggage.

Friendly warning: never try and apply for a non-permanent (TEMPORAL, if you should ever need it) residence card in Spain. Spaniards have no clue whatsoever of direction or english. A sure recipe to get lost or confused. . . or both.

We started off in good spirits, singing in the rain and all that jazz, just going to the bank to register for an account. Only to be sent to some dodgy little police station to acquirre the oh-so famous tarjeta de residencia. . . temporal. Finding a cute man in uniform, more than willing to help us, was no problem. Understanding the bloke, was Mission Impossible numero 4. So, the sweetie sent us packing to Plaza de Espana (another police station), with very little comprehendible directions.

We ended up following in the footsteps of our ancestors, copying the good 'ol Groot Trek, walking about seven kilometres and seriously contemplating the meaning of life. . .an empty stomach.

The cards were NOT received. Work in progress. As well as emotional preparation to follow the same procedure again tomorrow. . .

Awesome finding for the day: a place that serves tapas for less than two euros and there is no need to only stare at your plate to fill up. . . you can - wait for this - eat! Heaped plates galore! Lovely, crispy fried aubergine, floating in a lush bath of tamatoe gazpacho and fresh hake, eveloped in a jacket of authentic spanish beer batter and a killer garlic mayo to go with it (seriously, it might just kill you dead - the garlic that is).

Thus we formulated our own meaning of life. For heaven hath ascended after that meal.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shit comes in pairs of three. . Or not?

So The Amazing Race commenced. . . There we are tossing back our last South African rooibos teetjie for the next seven months. . . Connection flights smoothly caught and movies galore later, something had to go wrong, right? Right. You bet your afrikaanse gat, ja. Madrid airport: we are shuffling around in glamorous plastic socks (boots are obviously hazourdous to the country and need to be removed asap at customs - more lickely the appetizing stinky sock wiffs) and the lovely male securtiy guard and Lindi having an intimate conversation about her sanitary towels, more or less sets the tone for what is about to come.

And so, Lindi's luggage got lost somewhere in Europe. The next step was to get a taxi to our apartment in Seville. You would think a TAXI DRIVER would know something about GPS, right? Right. However, the idioto did not actually know the street we were meant to spend the next two months resting our heads and had to ask SEVERAL Spaniards for directions (men!), on our tab. . . Eventually dropped off at Arcangel San Gabriel instead of Rafael. . .we had to walk. . .

Dripping with perspiration and heavenly downpour we greet our flatmate. . . A middle-aged granny that speaks not a word of Virginia's tongue.

Next day: we step into. . . the Wildernis. And no, there was no Candy Mountain. . . Instead we got classmates that are all fluent in this foreign language of Spanish, as opposed to other newbies that are only starting to comprehend it. . . like us. A torturous hour and a half later we at least sorted that problem out and decided to skip conversation class for a little tapas (an understatement. . . it was minute). Spent R85 on three saucers worth of food (not even heaped), a bottle of water and a shot of coffee.

That schocker over, we decided to do some grocery shopping. We selected a supermercado we passed on our way to school. Walking out with 6 litres of olive oil (gonna be here for two months, so what a bargain!), 6 litres of water, 6 litres of milk and two very heavy bags of other stuff - did we mention we had to drag this shit for 1,5 km's to our granny flat, no pun intended. Not only did our hands chafe, our keys did not fit into the blinkin lock. Luckily, someone from the same building strolled by and let us in. So up four flights of stairs (the elevator from the previous night seemed to dissappear) we arrive at number 15. Only to find a doggy barking from behind the door. Yip, you guessed it! Wrong apartment, wrong building, wrong street.

No, we are not making this up.

Yet again, drenched in sweat and downpour, we arrive at the final desination.

We attempted to relieve all the negative energy from the past hours, and took to exploring. There must have been TOURIST written on our foreheads, for some gypsies attacked us with promises of true love, a frivolous marriage, two bambinos, everlasting friendships, intelligence, beauty (although they spin that crap to everyone) and a twig of holy leaves. They then demanded a helping of our precious euros for those obvious truths!
Yes, we are that fabuloso.

We then headed home for a home cooked meal a la Marcelle and a good glass of shitty wine (headlines for broke Stellenbosch students: come to Spain. You can get drunk here for the unbelievable price of only R9,99 per bottle of vinegar!)

And as we sit here, writing you this post, Eskom even failed us in grand Europe. Did not know they had contacts with far, far away. . .