Monday 31 March 2014


How good to be back in in Sevilla, the prettiest city I know. How good so say "I know", knowing the lay of the land and river, even roughly. I guess it shows. This morning on my ramble a man stopped me to ask, in Spanish, if _______ was this way or that way. Before I could sputter out my no habla, another man gave the lost man the answer. The lost man thanked us both. I count him as a happy customer.
I'm surprised at what seem like momentous changes in Sevilla. An entire wall of scaffolding covers the north wall of the cathedral, which used to be the first thing I saw turning left out of my hotel a month ago. Nearby, an entire plaza has been refitted with bleachers--for the forthcoming April festival, no doubt--displacing the well-established horse-drawn carriage home base. And the newspaper stand in Plaza Nueva where I bought my International New York Times every day has been replaced by a generic kiosk selling postcards.
What chance do we humans have amid such transience. I wonder if the horses, blinkered or not, are upset in some horsey way about their new surroundings.
So go the musings during my walk to/from the Flamenco Dance Museum. The narrative offered there about flamenco is all about transience--dance influences from the far east, the Euro Roma culture, and the Afro-Caribbeans taking form in west Andalusia as flamenco, and flamenco, in turn, adapting through street, club and theatre out into the world.
Change it is. Sevilla was shirt-off, rowboat hot last time. But heavy rain took over last night, two days after I'd mailed my high-tech rain jacket home. I'm living by cheap umbrella now.
As for the tapas culture I found so bewildering when I got here a month ago, pass the paella and queso manchego and never mind.
All of this is preamble for tonight: back to La Caja Negra for my last hit of flamenco.

Sunday 30 March 2014

Flamenco Tres

Warming up for a 13:30 show at El Paraje, I bought stamps, watched the seafood vendors chat with three people and gut six merluza at the same time and, once I realized I was listing, sat down for a noon hour beer. I took my time but still got to the venue 45 minutes early, picking a spot at a stand-up table behind 20 or so chairs, with standing room for 20 more. Others showed up at a more civilized 25 minutes early, taking a quick glance (though can a glance, I might ask my students, be anything but quick?) at the performance space and pulling up at the bar for a sherry and tapa. Soon the joint was jammed and club-noisy, though the voice-guitar duo didn’t seem to mind. Their performance didn’t get too far off the ground, so to speak. Still, the scene was a marvel of interplay between performers and audience. People seem to need flamenco here, as if flamenco’s the charge and they’re the ones with the (de)vice.
After that, I slipped back to the hotel for a baguette and siesta, to get ready for . . .

Flamenco Cuatro
at Peña Buleria, 5:00. This place, a beautifully renovated courtyard, looked a little more formal—stage instead of a corner, spots instead of house lights. Photos and prints for flamenco legends on the walls. Again, a voice/guitar duo, with a pair of long-haired twins coming up to clap once in a while.

Now this was a trip. Think of “testifying” in the blues sense—the vocalist bringing the news and affirming what we already know. Tease-tifying, too—as in, how can you surprise us and olé when you do. I could see bliss on the faces of the aficionados, especially a small gallery of what I gathered were retired performers off to one side. When prompted, flamenco clapping broke out through the audience (flamenco flatcap nodding and sandal clicking in my case). I have no idea if the songs were traditional or contemporary, but the performance style seemed traditional—vocals delivered in breath-long streams by the singer’s entire body. Especially at the ends of songs, he would stand up and almost stagger toward the audience, as if to collapse, at which the audience would burst into olés and applause.
Again, fabulous interplay among performers and audience. And these guys could swing the up-tempo pieces. In the look-alike department, it was Charles Bronson on vocal and my nephew Mark on guitar.
That does it for flamenco in Jerez. Today I’m off to Sevilla to catch a show back at the joint that blew me away three weeks ago.

Saturday 29 March 2014

Flamenco Dos

Forget my entirely inadequate flamenco notes of the other day, which failed even to evoke Lorca's untranslatable term for the spirit of flamenco: duende, a notion (untrans. or not) of great interest to poets, of course. You can see useful clips of flamenco online, if you want. And I recommend a great NFB film called Flamenco at 5:15, a documentary about a flamenco teacher visiting the National Ballet School and turning the young dancers on to flamenco. Fascinating to watch a master teacher at work, and those fab dancers took to flamenco like a stick to moving water.
Anyway, last night I caught a couple of flamenco sets as Los Cernicalos, the oldest club in Jerez. Plain open hall, lined with photos of flamenco legends, 100 chairs, basic light and sound, leaky roof. The place was packed for a singer/guitar/clap ensemble (resembling Campbell from Mad Men, Dr. Assman from several Seinfeld episodes, and a young James Caan, respectively).
The look of the crowd reminded me of the Jazz Society crowd in Regina, who bring live jazz acts to Regina, bless their hearts, then treat the event like a concert rather than a club. Last night, it was clear that the crowd--all ages, including hot young beauties on dates (I imagine)--was ready for more than passive listening. Audience and performers alike were there for flamenco, let's say for duende--to be transported together. This was folk music alive.
Again, I don't know what the songs were saying but I could see and feel what they did. It was call and response action. I may have been the only one in the house who said nothing (except to snarl at the guy next to me who kept pulling out his phone). I remember feeling that way as a boy in Herbert standing next to a train blasting by on the CPR mainline.
I did miss the dancing, though.
This afternoon and evening: more flamenco!

Friday 28 March 2014

One Rainy Morning in Jerez de la Frontera

I left my hotel at about 9:30 for my daily hit of the flamenco archive.

Turning west at the Plaza De Las Angustias.
On to the central Plaza Del Arenal.
Through the Plaza Plateros.
Later I'll catch an excellent beer café, Cerveceria Gorila.
Because Jerez is a sherry-producing area, I must stop at La Cruz Blanca later.
Calle Francos winds to the northwest.
Like many Andalusian buildings, the Centro Andaluz Del Flamenco looks modest from the outside.
But rainy on the inside.

Back at the hotel by 1.

Tonight, Flamenco at Tabanco El Pasaje.

Thursday 27 March 2014

Flamenco Uno

Before I tell you about the flamenco show I attended last night, I’d like to offer some observations derived from viewing several archival flamenco performances at the Centro Andaluz Del Flamenco (CADF) here in Jerez de la Frontera. (A note to you artists: nourish and celebrate your own archive!)

Forgive me if these notes are obvious. Flamenco consists of guitar, dance, vocals, and clapping—in configurations that vary in size and composition from one dancer and vocal with guitar to larger ensembles of 8 or 9. Only the guitar—and, if more than 2, clapping—is common to every flamenco performance. I’ve seen only male guitarists, and can they ever play. Think Al DiMeola, you jazz fans. The guitar itself is a little smaller than the usual acoustic, I think. “Canadian cedar”, says CADF, is an important part of the guitar.

Men and women sing (rarely in unison or harmony), men and women clap. During the “song” (an inadequate word I’ll use for now), the main vocal may switch from one to the other. The ensemble dancers will sit and clap, stepping forward for a dance lead and sitting down again in the course of a song.

The clapping, another inadequate word, is no idle time-keeping. It’s an instrument. I noticed in Sevilla that one can take classes in clapping, which I’d like to do some day.

All of these components vary in intensity during the course of the song. The song itself, as far as I can tell, is more of a journey—a regular harmonic and rhythmic pattern will shift to another one along the way. The song enacts a series of rises and falls, the peaks evoking cries of olé and outbreaks of applause. I think there’s some improvisation in the transitions, which the performers—profoundly attentive to one another throughout—convey in the moment.

As for content of the song, I have no idea. But based on the racetrack that my body and soul becomes, let’s call the song, almost always in a minor key, a journey to kingdom come (a phrase I’ve never used before) and back. That's the content, I guess.

The king and queen of flamenco are the male vocalist, accompanied brilliantly by guitar, or the female dancer, also with just guitar. She may wait offstage until she decides to enter and take over in her long skirts, her dance taking those rises and falls even further. The guitarists are simply masters—the engines of flamenco.

According to my crude understanding of flamenco as performance, there are two kinds: (1) the more mannered, exaggerated display, as opposed to performance, of the elements mentioned above, and (2) the real deal, that picks you up by whatever aspect of your being is handy and gives everything a deep shake.

The show last night was recommended by the hotel and the tourist info, sure signs that I was headed for (1). I went anyway, amusing myself in a couple of tapas joints on the way. Seated in the flamenco venue--a large, open, high-ceilinged space comfortably decorated with rural images--yokes, rakes (hinting at common sources of bullfight and flamenco?), etc.--at around 9:30, I got worried when two dozen older women with short grey hair and cameras filed in, herded by their tour guide, and started taking pictures of each other. But the show wasn’t bad. The 7 performers were young and obviously schooled in flamenco, and they did achieve some high points, but all in all it was rather tired and automatic.

I have higher hopes for flamenco in small clubs tomorrow night and the night after. Tomorrow morning it’s back to the CADF archive.

Wednesday 26 March 2014


Yesterday on the bus up from Tarifa, the guy in front of me was driving me crazy with his constant rubbernecking. Except for the 45 or so degrees that I occupied of his circumference, he covered the rest in nonstop rotation.
As coincidence would have it, that very morning I'd spotted the Google mapping car in its endless circling through the streets of Tarifa and, if I'm not mistaken, got mapped myself. That's me sitting on the iron railing behind the Tarifa bus station.
This morning I spent roaming around Jerez de la Frontera. Just getting to the flamenco center and back took me through or past several plazas, a dandy market, several historic buildings, shopping areas, and, of course, numerous cafes. By the time I got back to my hotel around 2, intending to shut down for the afternoon, as is the way around here, I could walk without a map. It's the little google mapping car in our heads. If we circle long enough we get where we are.
Even at 10 in the morning, the classic flamenco performances preserved on video at the Centro Andaluz Del Flamenco were dynamite. For the first time, I witnessed down-tempo flamenco. As you performers know, it's the slow stuff that's the greatest test of control and expression. In this case, the performance sustained its high charge with exquisite control. I'm going to catch another session there tomorrow morning.
Meanwhile, tonight I'll catch a flamenco show in a mainstream restaurant. The tourist info and guidebooks all rave about this place, probably a for-tourists thing. Anyway, I've also extended my stay in Jerez so I can visit a couple of small flamenco clubs Friday and Saturday.
I know where they are.

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Tapa Times 3

Tapa One 5:15
Only at 5 do the tapas joints even open, and then mainly just for quick beverages at the bar on the way home. (Exception: the places open all afternoon for the tourists, who oblige by being the only people vertical from about 2 to 5.) I'm in the corner of one place, working on a wine. The tapas menu goes, Cold: shrimp salad, seasoned roe, roasted pepper tuna, seasoned fried, Spanish omelette. Hot: meatballs, tuna onion, beef stew, veal sauce. 3 bucks per tapa, 4+ to share, 7 for a full plate. I'll stick with the wine for now.
Tapa Two, 6:15
I pull in to La Cruz Blanca and order a sherry (Jerez being sherry capital of Andalusia) and two tapas, the stilton blue cheese with honey and nuts, and croquettes made with the ingredients of stew, as the awkward translation has it. The sherry, dry, is served chilled. Wow! The croquettes are deep fried battered fishy mix served with potato chips. Tasty enough but ho-hum microwaved.
Digression #1: I remember Fred Wah telling me about working as an underling in his dad's café in Nelson years ago. When they ran out of something, Fred had to run down the alley to the next Chinese café to get it, which went on all the time. I saw the same thing in Tangier, where why have tea-making equipment--though how much equipment does it take--when the guy next door who's got it can just run the tea over. Anyway, when the blue cheese was slow to turn up, I imagined somebody running in the alley, though there are no alleys here. The Stilton never did show up. I must have screwed up the Spanish/English blend of my order.
Digression #2:
Here's to my friend Brenda Schmidt who, after I'd reported my amazement four years ago at being sure I knew which direction I was walking and finding myself 180 degrees wrong, said "Get a compass!" Which I've done. Thanks to Brenda, I know to turn right when I leave the bar now, or is it left?
Tapa 3, 7:15
In this joint, green olives are served free. That's old-style tapa fare. For me, these are olives #50-60 in my lifetime, the most recent 55 of them in the last two months. With a few groceries I picked up while trying to stall until 7:00, the bare beginning of the daily tapa season (not counting the noon tapas), that'll do me for tonight. I did happen across a couple of busy shopping streets filled with locals, families doing their shopping. No tapas joints on those streets. In other words, I think, once the family outing is done, the serious evening eating begins.
I'll be back at my hotel, signing off.

Monday 24 March 2014

16 Km Across the Strait from Tangier

Tarifa, Spain, has a resort feel. It's famous for its winds (hence sailboarding, hang-gliding, etc.) and whale-watching and, for your warriors, its 1200-year-old castle. Today, for me, it's famous for its beer and tapas in the sun, its families in the café with me, its sand on my feet (from a spell down at the beach), its baguette/cheese/sausage in my belly (from a spell in the grocery store), its short pants we internationalists all wear (in general, much more skin showing, women and men), its sense of open physical and cultural space--all things I missed in Morocco.
Only 16km, but worlds apart, as the guidebooks say. I do carry a bit of Morocco: a small teapot for mint tea--you're all invited to my place in May--and a small _________ for __________.
Being a Monday, and at siesta time, the afternoon feels sleepy in Tarifa, or I do. Opening Lorca's Poet in New York, I read "Out in the sky, no one sleeps. No one, no one" ("Brooklyn Bridge Nocture", trans. Christopher Maurer). Try to stop me, Federico, after I have one more beer, after I read one more poem.
This is the only one-night stop since I left Regina. Tomorrow, up the road to Jerez de la Frontera, in search of more flamenco.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Tangier by Skyline

I took a walk this morning and thought about Morocco.
While doing so, I shot these skylines in the area around the medina.

I'm troubled by the place.

Many are the charms here.

But few are the men seen looking after children, for instance.

The range of contemporary arts seems narrow.
And liquor stores non-existent.
Nobody bothers with garbage bins or recycling.
I suppose the reason for all this is obvious.
But my observations don't matter.

I'll be leaving tomorrow.


Saturday 22 March 2014

Hey, Isn't That My Overcoat?

My many readers (bon soir, Uncle Fergie and Aunt Di) know that a while back, a long while back in this blog, I went on about an overcoat. To recap briefly, after the fashion of Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive and Jerry Seinfeld in his tv show, I wanted an overcoat. It had to be long--so long, as it turned out, I had to have one custom made. I love the coat and wouldn't mind putting it on right now on this chilly evening in Tangier.
Anyway, earlier today I was minding my own business in the Grand Socco, the plaza just outside the medina, when I saw my overcoat on a Moroccan man. Smaller coat, smaller man, but there it was, wasn't it? I took a picture over my shoulder.

That's the nearest mosque in the background, by the way. I wondered if I should make something more of seeing this coat, beyond the fact that the old guy found it the medina somewhere, where you can find anything. After a while he took off.

I did too. Now there's a problem with my bank card, which means I have to cut this short (the opposite of what I ordered for my coat) and see what I can do. Uncle Fergie and Aunt Di, if you get an emergency call in the middle of the night, please answer it.

Friday 21 March 2014

More Morocco

I'm tickled that the grand, if modestly perceived, turning known as the spring equinox occurs as I turn myself and begin the long backtrack to Regina (but don't get excited, my peeps. I'm not home until May5). First step, the same hotel room in Tangier I vacated four days ago. How satisfying, a couple of hours ago, to arrive in a place I know instead of have to figure out.
Now, a couple of delicate matters. My experience of this country, brief as it is, includes two prominent responses. First, in a religion-dominated culture like this one, (a) there's no liquor in the cafes, and (b) no women. A woman would have to speak for herself of her life in this culture. But from my perspective as a writer whose office is a series of cafes, well, these places are deprived of at least half of their vitality, and then another half when I can't get a beer or a glass of wine. That doesn't leave much. Who wants to sit in a place filled with old men, even young old men, like me?
I exaggerate, but come on, Morocco.
On the plus side, the food. Absolutely stunning. My lunch just now: a plate of saffron couscous topped with chicken topped with a kind of raisin relish with boiled carrot, zucchini and chick peas on the side and, the clincher, a tiny bowl of a sauce the woman described as "piquante"--let's say flat-out killer hot. And a bowl of onion soup. These things were familiar, but the exquisite delicacy of tastes entirely new. I could go on in that vein about breakfast this morning in Fes, dinner last night, street vendors in the medina, and so on.
What brings these two sides of the Morocco coin together for the moment is the place I had the couscous: the Darna restaurant in Tangier. A women's co-operative. I'll be going back there for sure.

Thursday 20 March 2014

How To

Serve a Moroccan breakfast:
Seat your guests in the renovated courtyard of a 16th-century house, now a riad. Give your budgies the fly of the place. At the table, around a central bowl of sugar, arrange four or five small trays of butter, olives, honey, jam, marmalade, and [some kind of caramel paste]. In the gaps between the trays, arrange four or five plates of croissant, various sweet buns (warmed or cold), a fried egg, cream cheese, [some kind of creamed cereal, warmed]. Bring orange juice, made just now. Bring coffee and warmed milk, or bring mint tea. Sweet? Sure! cry the budgies.

Feed a donkey:
Park him beside some orange peels.

Serve mint tea:
Set down a small glass (4-5 0z.) and 5-6 sugar cubes on a metal saucer. Set down a glass of water, no saucer. Set down a one-cup silver teapot filled with a palm-full of mint leaves and hot water, on a saucer.

Make a hammer from an existing hammer:
Drive from the head the remnants of a the broken shaft. Find a length of pipe about 2cm in diameter. Laying one end on the edge of a concrete floor, pound it beyond round. Drive that unrounded end into and through the old head. Cut shaft to desired length.

Make concrete:
Make a pile of two or three shovelfuls of sand. Add about half that much cement. Use the shovel to mix, creating a basin at the top of the pile. Go get the hose. Fill the basin with water. Shovel the mix into a bucket and pulley it up to the masons, who apply it to an exterior wall (so maybe it's as much plaster as concrete).

Get your Renault out of an impossible parking spot without erupting further into red splotches or permanently soiling with hot sweat the band of your indestructible Tilley hat:
Get five locals to pick up the back end and angle it into the street.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Death in the Afternoon

The fish I’ll be eating tonight, as prepared at my hotel, the Riad Del Skalli in the Fès medina. I can’t yet tell you details about the fish, but the food in Morocco has been superb, even within the narrow range of a cautious eater like me. Orange marmalade, for instance. Doesn’t it tend toward vague fruity sludge at home? Here it’s positively explosive in its freshness. Same with orange juice, jam, grilled sausage from the street vendor, and my new best friend, mint tea.

My nap just ended. Because my limit is one nap per day, it takes some waking up from. This afternoon’s happened to correspond to the adhan, or call to prayer, which from the rooftop terrace I hear from more than one minaret. I know as little about the adhan as about tonight’s fish, but it’s clearly en exhortation—varied in pitch, volume, tone, the character of the muezzin’s voice itself, and the dated technology used to amplify it—that hums over the city like poetry five times a day.

Ernest Hemingway’s 1939 treatise on bullfighting. I picked it up from a bookseller in the medina while lost upon arrival the other day. I hoped in return he’d offer directions toward my riad, which he did. More than serving an immediate purpose, finding that book felt, even in the heat of the moment, like a spark from interest to opportunity. I’d been thinking about the bullfight since Sevilla where, as Hemingway points out, the bullfight season begins in April, around the time I’ll be passing through.

Something else from 1939. “Salvador Dali found a violent new expression for his subconscious last night by heaving a surrealist bathtub, plus himself, through [a Fifth Avenue show window] and getting himself arrested. . . . Dali had decorated two show windows with tableaux of “Day” and “Night” in accordance with his rather peculiar conception of such phenomena, and when he returned to admire his handiwork he discovered the tableaux had been altered in accordance with the staff window dressers’ notions.” International New York Times, March 18.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Ten Stops in the Fes Medina

(money spent at these last two: popcorn and spicy sausage)

Monday 17 March 2014

Missing Trust

My repertoire of hustler-repelling attributes--default scowl, height, slow walk, cool façade that occasionally says I know what I'm doing, threat of an outright snarl--has served me pretty well in the ports, streets and plazas of Mexico, Europe and Morocco. But another attribute tends to get me in trouble: my desire to trust people. Earlier today I was claiming that apart from paid staff in hotels and cafes, I can't trust a single person in Morocco. Not one. This applies to the taxi drivers who won't tell you the fare until you get in--so don't get in until you agree on the fare, Gerry--the hustlers in the doorways of shops, and, most insidiously so far, the friendly types who approach as if trying to help you out.
Here's an example of this last type: This morning I'm enjoying a compartment to myself on the Tangier-Fes train. A guy comes in, introduces himself, starts talking/asking--so, politely decline to answer, Gerry--and offering information and invitations to this and that, even showing me photos of his brother in Vancouver. I didn't trust him, then I did, then I didn't. At first he said he was going all the way to Fes, then--once I'd begun to keep my nose stuck into my e-reader--he announced that he'd just received a call from his family, who'd invited him for a meal, and he got off the train. He'd given up on me, or taken pity on me, or extracted enough info (including the name of my hotel in Fes) to renew his campaign later. His closing words were, "People will come in here at Menkes and act friendly the ask you questions and tell you things. Don't trust them." !!
Here, then, was something I'd read about. The authorities in Fes had cleaned up the area around the train station, so the hustlers had taken to boarding the train a stop before Fes, giving themselves a half hour to work on the rubes like me.
But I must correct myself. I trusted the really old guy in the medina yesterday whose shop offered a beat old collection of old photos and prints and books. He hadn't said a word, just shifted a little to let me into his shop.
This hustle thing bugs me the most about Morocco, in the limited time I've been here. Maybe in more time I'll see this as a game and enjoy it. Right now I don't. It closes my heart to this country (though, later, first forays into the Fes medina start to open it again.)

Sunday 16 March 2014

One Afternoon in the Medina

The guide books will say maze of narrow streets and assault on your senses and half the fun is in getting lost! When I was good and ready, I entered by the top gate

and, no problem, found the Kasbah (now a museum), formerly owned and operated by the pre-Romans, the Romans, the post-Romans, and the Portuguese, with its lovely central courtyard

and the sultan's garden, now a little run down, out back.
All I had to do after that was keep heading lower
maybe with a side trip here and there
and I'd make it to the Petit Socco for mint tea.
In the end (admittedly a difficult concept in the medina), all I got lost in was taking pictures of cats (not just tolerated but revered creatures here, apparently, unlike in doggy Andalusia).
Just lucky, I guess.

Saturday 15 March 2014

Hill Catches Cinema Avant-Garde

Cinema Rif in Tangier was the site yesterday of a meeting between Canadian poet Gerald Hill and the Jim Jarmusch feature Only Lovers Left Alive, not yet released in North America.
"I knew more about Cinema Rif than the film," Hill admitted. "Though on the downside of its latest glory-restoration cycle, it's a grand enough theatre," he said. "Anyway, as a major landmark on a prime meeting point in Tangier, the Grand Socco, it must be visited."
Hill's visit did not go without incident. "The sign said 17h," he explained. "I thought that was a shortcut for 17Dh, the local currency. When I handed the woman and 20, she made no move to give me any change. A heightened exchange took place at that point. I wasn't going to give in, and neither was she."
A third party intervened, conveying to Hill that 17h meant 17:00 hours, the start time. The ticket cost 20Dh. After a campaign of animated apology, Hill was able to exit into the darkness of the theatre, more or less gracefully.
Further incident followed, this time not of Hill's making. A cat entered the theatre while the film was showing. "As Huck Finn might say," Hill noted, "the cat "'commenced to howling'" until someone came in with a lantern and flushed the poor creature out the door.
As for the film itself, Hill offered this commentary: "Think vampires without the usual trash. For setting, think rundown Detroit and contemporary Tangier. Brilliant performances by Swinton and Huddleston, dark tones--they're vampires!--and a love supreme." The film works, Hill added, "as both a love story and a fable for our global future."
Film viewed, Hill called himself a new fan of American indie director Jarmusch (he was already a fan of Tilda Swinton). He felt as if he'd seen a way to use a familiar cluster of images--in this case, wrapped in the word "vampire"--in a new way. With such thoughts jingling in the pocket of his brain, Hill walked back to his hotel and fell asleep, waking with the rooster next day.

Friday 14 March 2014

Getting Here

8:30, waiting in Cadiz bus terminal, reading my Lonely Planet re Tangier.
10:12, heading down the A-5 to the ferry terminal at Algeceris, Pink Panther cartoons showing.
10:30, the shadow-bulk of Gibraltar, next to the industrial port of Algeceris. Fuss: ferry delayed, but I can shuttle to Tarifa and catch a faster ferry there. Agreed.
11:05, waiting until noon for the shuttle, eating cheese, salami, radishes--the last of my Cadiz food.
11:35, inhabiting my usual limbo while waiting for things, unable to sink into, say, reading.
11:55, boarding the correct bus, one a traveler's small victories.
12:20, viewing the Strait, and the mountains across, from the heights above Tarifa.
1:15, seated aboard the Algecira Jet, a high-speed catamaran easing from the dock.
1:40, mid-Strait, the sea messing with the fine motor control of pen in notebook.
2:20, setting foot in Tangier, Morocco, avoiding the hubbub around the port, looking for cheaper taxi.
3:05, entering room of my hotel, the Dar El Kasbah, which looks fine.
3:40, eating raisins and cashews in the Grand Socco, the central square.

And so on. Tomorrow: the medina.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

One Afternoon in Cadiz

I popped by the post office

on the way to the market.

I staggered down the rows,

avoiding most items,

until I found some to my liking.

I waited for the tortilla booth to open.

On my way home I paused before the cathedral door.

The street to my hotel was emptying for siesta.

What a great idea!