My my daily routine in Jerez has been as follows: get up mildly hungoverm eat breakfast of meat on bread, soy yogurt and a fruit; flamenco class; lunch; nap; snack; rest time; snack; shopping; show, drinking; bed. Last week when there were more girls here there was more shopping. I also try to get to the imternet place either before siesta or after. Siesta lasts from about 2 in the afternoon until 5 or 6. Siesta is the best thinv ever. It takes a bit of getting used to because we all want to keep doing stuff in the afternoon like shop. But nothing is open during siesta so we can’t. I’ve taken the opportunity to practice my napping skills. Though I think if you are a Spanish person you would use the time to have a masskve lunch. We haven’t really gotten used to thag parg and everyone in the apartment tends to be famished right after siesta, which would bw our Canadian dinnertime. However, restaurants tend to close their kitchens until 7 or 8 so there’s a bit of a problem for us. I’ve tended to snack all afternoon so that sort of solves the problem.
I had to have a nap today. I was up late last night and I was cranky after class. But it was a lovely night and then also a lovely nap. We were at our new favorite restaurant in Jerez. It’s called La Farola or The Lampost and it’s at C/Francos 10. The “C” there must be the abbreviation for Calle, which is street or road or thereabouts. They are open from 19 until 00:15 but we were there until 01:30. I took a pamphlet from them because their hours aren’t posted anywhere handy on their storefront, so we didn’t know if we were there past closing. The guy working said it was ok, though. There’s a map on the pamphlet too, but I shan’t try to describe that as the geography here includes a fourth dimension that is hard to explain (nevermind navigate). I am familiar with Francos St, however, because I have travelled it every day for the past 2 weeks on my way to classes. It starts at the Jerez Flamenco Centre and ends at a plaza with a church that has shrubbery growing on it.
I’ve spent the past few days dancing and resting and drinking and watching (spectacles). The day before yesterday the bunch of us went for a tasting at the Gonzales Byass sherry bodega. For 19 euros we got a tour of the place, four samples and tapas. Thank goodness for the tapas because the “samples” came in the form of four wine glasses of sherry right in front of us. Result: happy group. Result 2: I don’t think I like sherry- at least not four samples of it at the same time.
I could have met up with the Alma de Espania group who are here and doing a day trip to Cadiz today but I have not gone for the following reasons: my feet are sore, and I need to get groceries. Stores aren’t open on Sundays and I’m out of food, particularly, breakfast food. Also last night we were up late following some native Jerez-ians to a pena* and so no one has gotten up in time.
We are losing 3 of the 6 smart women who have been sharing the apartment here. Two are off to Ronda and Granada for the sights and shopping; one is back to Germany, where she lives. However we have acquired a new roomie for the remainder of the time here: the new dynamic shall be 3 smart women and a guy.
*Pena- should have a swoosh over the N, so it’s pronounced “pen-ya”. According to our Jerez-ian guides, it’s a small, intimate show, in this case, a singer. Also in this case, a few hundred people “intimately” packed into a small venue.
Hi. Still in Jerez. Still no wifi. It’s rather ok to be not checking my phone all day for “updates”. I’ve even forgotten my phone at the apartment on a few occasions. Imagine my surprise when I didn’t spontaneously combust. I have it with me now, though, as a distraction. I’m sitting in a mini-plaza as my roomies check out another flamenco store. I’ve bought my shoes already so I’m trying to avoid temptation. Oh, I call my location a mini-plaza because there are actual plazas here surrounded by restaurants and shops with tables and play areas and such in the centre. And they have names like Plaza de Whatever that are labeled such on, say, a map, but there is no sign or anything to indicate that you have reached it. I’m having a hard time getting around here with my zero sense of direction and an ability to read maps only if right angles or at least street signs are involved.
Neat class this morning. We had a substitute teacher as our regular teacher was in the hospital. I didn’t catch the whole story there due to no Spanish skills but one of the other students translated. The sub was a man, opposed to our regular lady, and he is the regular lady’s husband (I think). He was a bit of a dream come true for some of us as we were meant to do our choro. solo today (half the class went yesterday, the rest of us were meant to go today.) The new guy started slowly with hands and arms and ran us through individually our marking step. His big lesson was that flamenco is about emotion and that technique and doing the steps perfectly is Less Important than personal expression and being able to show that to your audience. I need to work on that part. The technique too, but ths showing off part for sure. Really, this holds true for all dance, and performance, but no one really says it.
He also went over listening to the singer (there’s a singer and guitarist in each class) so we know when to start our choreo. I’m not sure why I can’t hear it. Everyone else seems to. I’ll try again tomorrow with new ears.
The apartment’s hot water (and all hot water in houses in Spain) is provided from a propane tank that is kept under the counter in the kitchen. Usually. Right now it’s in the middle of the kitchen, empty, sitting next to a new tank, waiting for someone who can hook it up as we are all frightened.
EDIT: As I laze over here writing, one of the smart women has figured it out. Our original plan was to ask the guys staying upstairs to help (by which I mean hook it up for us)… Or is it not working now? New subject.
EDIT 2: (1 hour later) Nope. Still no hot water. Post-dance showers are cold.
Hola. I know about three Spanish words. They are “hola,” “gracias” and “perdon” and some miscellaneous flamenco terms. I also know how to ask for the cheque at a restaurant if my spanish speaking friend is there to tell me what to say. Mostly I’ve been communicating with points and grunts.
I also know “si” and I use that a lot in class. Not very loud but, you know, hopefully it looks like I know what’s going on even though I have little comprehension of what the teacher is saying.
When I’m at the stores, however, when the cashier asks me something I just say I don’t know and they say “english?” and I sheepishly say yes and then the ask me if I want a bag, or that they don’t take Mastercard or whatever and I say thank you and that’s that.
I haven’t found any place to WiFi here yet, so these entries are being stored on my phone until I hook up again.) I went to my first flamenco spectacle last night. There was gunk on my left contact lens so I couldn’t see the show as well as I might have. But it was pretty amazing. We ate at a place before the show and met up with other dancers from Victoria. Also there was wine so I was sleepy at the show. Also there was shopping yesterday (before the eating before the show) but I haven’t bought anything yet.
I can get to the venue for my class on my own. This is a feat as the streets here are ancient and narrow and mazey, but we sussed out a route. We also sussed out a route to my next week’s venue as several people have a class there this week. Score.
I had my first flamenco class this morning. It was perfect. I couldn’t understand the teacher’s words but I understood what she was trying to say most of the time. I got to use my skirt so that made me happy. Just before I left Victoria one of the advanced dancers at my school suggested that I not worry about getting the steps right, that it’s more important to get the feeling and the rhythm of it. Good advise but so far I’m getting the steps, too. It’s nice when that happens and I hope I learn the rhythm, too over the course of the next 6 days.
So here I am in Jerez de la Frontera, Andelucia, Spain, going to my first flameco class tomorrow. If I happen to run across myself from 2 or so years ago and told me what I was up to, I’d be all “what the fuckitty-do is going on here, miss classy pants, and what the hell have you done to your hair??? It looks GREAT.”
We went grocery shopping tonight. (There are five of us now, the sixth joining us tomorrow at noon.) I did ok reading the ingredients looking for “leche”. I found some vanilla soy milk and also some soy yogurt. I’m scared to try the soy yogurt just in case I missed something. I might be living on bread and meat for the next two weeks.
We arrived by train in Seville around noon or noon-thirty. Nearly caused a riot at the taxi queue by having too much luggage for the first taxi available. The driver we got was a woman with thick black eyeliner who charged us by the person. No one said anything about this, because it looked as though the whole cab driving thing was a cover for her real job as a professional hit-person. That’s probably why she drove off so fast afted dropping us off– had to get to her next “job. ”
I have some awful jetlag. I slept only 3.5 hours last night due to it being afternoon where my body is usually located. I’ve been hovering on the edge of a nap all day but I Shall Not Sleep untll tonight. Right? Please?
Seville is home to the world’s largest cathedral. I was there today and it was very cold inside.
Now it’s ninish at night and so it’s suppertime. Food.