Monday, May 01, 2006

después de abril

no pude creer que el último escrito aquí lo he hecho hace un mes. i can hardly believe it´s been a month since i´ve blogged. i knew of course that it was in a state of semi-neglect, but that was the path chosen. i returned to madrid on 1 April, and a week later went to South Africa. I arrived back in Madrid this past Monday (a week ago), and so now I am here to experience the 1 May and a little bit of the 2nd May celebrations (2nd May is an official holiday in Madrid). This morning I was out hunting for a birthday present for a three year old that I know, and nearly didn´t find anything due to the closed shops (only restaurants, cervecerías, etc were open). In South Africa consumerism pretty much reigns on this day, though you will have a smattering of marches. It seems, somewhat surprisingly and not so, that 1 May is still a big deal here in Spain.

Last night we had lovely fireworks in my barrio, just before and after the stroke of midnight. I video´ed that. Tonight, in fact as I write, there is again a fiesta, with stage, flamenco dance troupe, and of course music. Madrid has truly come alive during the past month. It now becomes the prototypical picture of Spain, with people socialising everywhere, sitting in bars, and sidewalk cafes, taking tapas. It is the Spain that most people love, I guess. Though, I did feel some weeks ago, upon returning from Berlin, that my "home" had been invaded by...tourists.

Speaking of tourists. Today I was walking from the Plaza Mayor, down Calle de Atocha, en route to Atocha station. There was a 1 May march and I stopped in a doorway, to watch the passing stream. Who is also in the doorway but Derek Law and his wife, also perched there waiting for the crowd to pass. Small world. I´ve had a lot of those kinds of coincidences in the past month; bumping into people I´d not seen for a long time, etc. It happened so often that after a while it started to get creepy, as if stage-managed. Oye, I know that it couldn´t be, but still...

I was ostensibly on holiday in SA, but I did end up having a lot of professional, work-related talks. Which were good. Nice thing is that I took some time to read fiction. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. I just love the following line:

Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.
Flamenco music playing in the background on the street. There is something about the guitar, the wail of the singer, and the clapping of hands. So Sevillano. I realised when in SA; Flamenco music just doesn´t sound the same when outside of Spain. It just isn´t the same. You can take the discs with you, but it loses something in its transplantation to another environment (even if SA, and particularly the Cape winelands landscape looks a lot like here...) I guess, obvious, but worth mentioning.


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