Zodi’s Blog

Interview with the Gypsy

I apologize for the repost but this is one of my favorites of all time. And this is new to some of you anyway. And for those of you loyalists who have read this before, consider this a reward for sticking with me for all these years. Next time I’ll buy you Isotoners. I’ve been slacking off lately due to a *found* bushel of opium. (I didn’t know it came in bushel form either until last month.) Starting this week though, I’m rededicating myself to writing while beginning a long and arduous detox.

So enjoy this Crazy Ass Gypsy Post…  

 

Part I

 

I met her on a narrow winding street surrounded by tidy whitewashed homes, but there was nothing tidy, narrow, or white-washed about this woman.

I’ve done it! Through persistence, 8 cardboard boxes of wine, 1 pack of roll up cigarettes, 7 euros, and an old pair of boxer shorts I was finally able to begin to chronicle the Gypsy life. For the purposes of simplicity and duplicity I have translated this interview from its original format of her speaking broken English and me speaking broken Spanish to something resembling coherence. So now, in the proud tradition of Frost/Nixon, Larry King/Tony Blair, Howard Stern/Crackhead Bob; I give to you….. Oglesby/Crazy Ass Gypsy Lady…..

G.L.- Do you got a cigarette?

Me- Yea, I’ll buy you a pack of roll ups if you talk to me for a minute.

G.L.- I want to drink something too then. And not no goddamn water.

Me- Ok, I’ll buy you a box of wine.

At this point there was much celebrating in the form of hand kissing, dancing, and suggestive hip thrusts. After I bought her the wine I pulled out my camera to get her photo…

G.L.- Oooh, oooh, shiny thing, give me, give me??

Me- No, get off of me. Stand back there, I want to take your picture.

G.L.- Can I have a euro?

Me- Yes, now stand still and get your hands out of your pants.

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After capturing her image on the ‘evil shiny soul catcher,’ we found a nice spot in the park for me to sit down and type, and for her to endlessly pace, smoke, drink, shoot-up some smack, smoke some crack, and scream insults at passing tourists. After I was able to calm her with another euro, we began again.

Me- Can you please state your name for the record

G.L.- Blearaphariemooshhhhhhh.

Me- Ok, I’ll just call you Crazy Ass Gypsy Lady, or G.L. for short. Ok?

G.L.- Buy me more wine?

Me- In a little while.

G.L.- You Goddamned mother fucker.… yes yes.

Me- How old are you?

G.L.- 29.

Me- What? You can’t be.

G.L.- Coke miles ain’t easy miles, white boy.

Me- I guess we’ll skip the personal information for now. Can you tell me anything interesting?

G.L.- I’m the hottest bitch on the block white boy, wanna fuck?……….. Hey, why are you throwing up and stabbing at your eyes and poking sticks into your ears? Are you ok? Do you need some brown mother fucker?

Me- No, no (calming down) I’m fine, I just must have eaten something.

G.L.- Oh yea, that happens to me everyday. I thought I was funny.

Me- What can you tell me about Gypsies? Do you have any family legends or lore?

G.L- Well, one legend states that we were forever cursed because we made Christ’s crucifixion nails. But that’s a load of horseshit! The truth is that we stole one of the four nails that were used to crucify him.

Me- Wait are you saying that you are a 2000 year old vampire?

G.L.- What are you, fucked up? You’re in the wrong ‘Interview.’ Stay with me here white boy!

Me- Sorry.

G.L.- That’s why Christ had both feet stuck with one nail. The truth is we didn’t do it out of mercy; the nails were made out of olive wood, which were really handy for stabbing relatives back then. Anyway, because we spared Christ that one painful nail, God bestowed upon us the blessed ability to be the best thieves in the world.

Me- But you always get caught. Old, half blind, drunken shop owners have kicked you out of every store in Europe.

G.L- Fuck you white boy. Buy me some wine. Please mother fucker?

Me- After one more tale.

G.L.- This wine is getting my womanly juices flowing!

Me- I’ll give you a euro if you just tell me why the Bulgarians have a country and a church and you don’t?

G.L.- Hell yea! At one time there was a country in which the Bulgarians and the Gypsies lived. The Bulgarians built a church and the gypsies built another one. The Bulgarians made their church out of gold. We made our church out of cheese. Time passed. The gypsies were wandering incessantly, and hunger gripped us. We did not have anything to eat…. so we began to eat the church. One Gypsy took a slice, and then another… We ended up without a church. For that reason we do not have church, because we ate it. The Bulgarians have one, but we don’t. We do not have a state either. We do not have anything.

Me- Ooh don’t forget your God bestowed talent for thievery.

G.L.- Fuck you.

Me.- No really, you guys are like Satan. The greatest trick you ever pulled was making the world think you didn’t steal.

G.L.- Fuck you, I’m getting mad.

Me- Cause nobody would ever think that a gypsy would steal anything. I’ll bet the shop owners ask you to lock up for them every night huh? Cause you guys are so trustworthy and all?

After she pulled out a knife I changed the subject back to the cheesy church.

Me- Wait, you made a church out of cheese?

G.L.- We’ve always been a bit eccentric. We like cheese, plus we like to horde shit. This was like stabbing two relatives with one knife. Smart huh?

Me- What kind of church was it? Romano Catholic? Christ of the Ubriaco? Saint Paulin? Protestant Pepper Jack? Anglican Acorn? I’ll bet the Marble marble Saints kept the Munster out! Jajajajaja. You guys should have made it out of Swiss; then it would have been really holy.

G.L.- You are seriously a fucking idiot. My IQ is like 48, I’m strung out on smack, I’m drunk; and I still know how lame you are. What’s next in your comedic repartee, knock knock jokes? Jackass.

Me- Uh, sorry. Do you want to finish this tomorrow?

G.L.- Yea, because you suck. Buy me some wine. Mother fucker.

The End

If you enjoyed this and want to read Part II, you can do so here.

April 3, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 36 Comments

Hasta Luego España

I was originally going to put up a real post but then realized how that would have been disingenuous to reality. Because right now, in reality, I’m freaking the fuck out. After three years, it’s finally time to leave the peaceful, quiet village life of Southern Spain and head home. I remember the journey here vividly, arriving in Madrid, seeing all the beautiful women dressed in high fashion, the decadent nightclubs, the five star hotels and amazing restaurants and immediately driving far away from all of that into a tiny village filled with old people and dog shit.

  

But it is cool looking in a disaster movie kind of way.

 

 

We arrived in May of 08 and once we finally found the house we were to be staying in I was surprised in a ‘testing positive for testicular cancer’ kind of way. We’d just come from a beach house we were renting in Florida after we got lucky on a ‘real estate sale.’ When I say ‘real estate sale’ I really mean a crack farming venture that went well in that we grew a lot of crack. And then farmed it. So moving from a beach house into this, this… was not what I was expecting at all. There wasn’t even anywhere to grow my crack.

 

 It was a redone ‘ruin.’ There were walls, mostly, and a ceiling, kinda, but not much else. The windows were wooden and hundreds of years old. There were no screens and dozens of flies circled lazily in the dusty air. The floors were cement. I walked through the empty rooms, shooing flies and half expecting to find a decomposing body or a secret chamber filled with snakes and/or treasures of antiquity. The whole scene had an Indiana Jonesy feel to it. 

 

We eventually put screens in the windows, painted, and did other minor repairs and improvements. Not many, because I’m about as handy as an elderly Jewish grandmother. We managed to make it into our home and grew an inexplicable fondness for Casa de Cadiar. It did manage to keep the psychotic biker clowns out and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in. Which was important because that chick is violent. Somehow, I also acclimated myself to the rural culture as well as a weirdly awkward loner can become acclimated to anything. I grew to love it here. Surprisingly. Honestly. 

They were my hula hoop drug ring rivals. And they were serious about it.

 

I loved the way that I could walk for 5 minutes in any direction and be out of civilization. Not only would I not have to see people but I couldn’t even see evidence of the existence of humans. After a five minute walk! I loved the pristine, unsoiled air. It was there, up in those mountains, where I found myself. And also found a kickass place to manufacture ecstasy. I loved the way that nobody here asked or cared what I did for a living or what religion I was. Which is great when you’re an ex crack farmer Flying Spaghetti Monstertarian. To them, none of that mattered. They only seemed to judge people by their character. I loved the way that I could jump on a 10 Euro flight to anywhere in Europe and find buyers for my new ecstasy ring. I’d begun loading hula hoops with MDMA as a way to smuggle it by that time. I got to meet a lot of nice people and see amazing places. And there are hardly any cops, anywhere. And if you do run into one they’re usually too drunk or high to bother checking hula hoops for contraband.   

 

 Spain, and especially this small rural village, has fundamentally changed me for the better. I’m no longer materialistic. In fact, now, I could barely give a shit, I’m much more relaxed and at peace than I’ve ever been. I quit drinking and smoking (everything but opium, weed, crack, meth and the pituitary glands of my enemies… I just realized that it would have been easier just to say that I’ve quit smoking tobacco) here amongst the heaviest consumers of sin in all of Europe. Whereas I used to be fidgety, anxious, and always thinking that I had to be doing something, counting flowers on the wall or blood feud initiating, or some other nonsense, now I’m much more relaxed and happy. I would’ve never had the patience to sit through a four hour dinner with friends without stabbing somebody in the hand with a steak knife, but now I can.   

 

All that and we had the privilege of saving animals. I’m like the Mother Teresa for animals because I feel like it partially absolves my other sins, the ones against humanity. I saved kittens and cats and puppies and dogs and a goat. We are bringing two of ‘the pardoned’ back with us so they can try to make a better life for themselves by lying on our couch all day licking their junk. It’s the American Dream.

Tunado, Luca Brasi and The Puppy/Pueblo Escobar/Big Pappy

 

 

And that is going to be the toughest part about this move. Transporting all of these animals. Actually, it’s all going to be hard. I’m not a detail oriented person so traveling is hard for me to begin with. An intercontinental move with three animals may damn well kill me. If an angry and vengeful Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn’t first, I mean.    

 

Even after we make it out the other side of the tarmac, it’s not over. At that point we’ll be balls deep into the badlands of Florida. The last time we lived there I had to defend my homestead from roving bands of pillagers/rapists at least once a month. I used to use their hollowed out skulls, tastefully under-lit with those Chinesy lights, to frame my lawn. I went through a minor Colonel Kurtz phase that was, frankly, horrifying. Those skulls deterred everybody but the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Those people are fucking hardcore. Florida is no joke and now I’ve grown all soft and feeble minded. I just saw that there’s a dealership giving out AK-47’s with each pickup truck sold and I wonder what they’ll give me if I buy a Saturn wagon. Probably a utility knife. Maybe even a tire iron but it’ll be bendy and made in Korea. Sorry, I’m rambling so much; it’s indicative of my state of mind right now. I think I got some hula hoop in my coffee.   

 

 

Buy now and get a free confederate flag!

 

 

We rented a one bedroom apartment month to month until we can figure out where to go and what to do next. I’m hoping to be able to jump right back into crack farming but I hear that all the good drug addicts switched to meth and I can’t grow meth for shit. I tried. So I might have to actually get a real job until somebody decides to pay me for incoherent, stream of consciousness, drug-fueled ramblings. Maybe they’ll pay me in meth so I can plant some more and try again. Hopefully this time it’ll yield a successful crop. I assume meth works like potatoes.

 

I may not have internet for a week or two but when I come back I’m sure I’ll at least have something to talk about.

 

PS- You know I suck at farming.

PPS- Do any of you know if I could bring six hula hoops as one Carry On?

PPPS- Can customs dogs smell ecstasy?

PPPPS- Do government people read blogs?

PPPPPS- shit.

February 20, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 50 Comments

Angry Letters; Me to Spain

Dear Spain,

First of all please allow me to reiterate how much I love you. I’ve told you before but I was really drunk at the time. Which was all your fault by the way. Who in the hell sells wine that cheap? And why would wine be 40 proof? Plus, when I told you that I loved you, you were high (as you usually are these days)…but I’m not here to nag, I’m here to bitch and complain.

Anywho, while I do love your beauty and appreciate your hospitality, there are a few things that are really beginning to piss me off about you.

Your taste in music really sucks ass. You have a few decent genres in your collection but rarely play them. You know how I love Spanish guitar and Flamenco but you insist on getting all wired up every night and blasting awful imitations of American pop (and no, Hasselhoff is not the ‘new Elvis’) and 80’s style rock ballads sung in a Spanish, Sinatra-like croak that leaves me wanting to dig out the remnants of my eardrums with a red-hot, kabob skewer.   

Why are you so far away from America? Your selfish refusal to move closer makes it really hard and expensive for me to see my friends.

It bothers me that you look down on your South American cousin Mexico. I think that maybe you are a little bit racist. You have to get over being pissed at them for having sex with the Mayans. That was a long, long time ago. Do you think that the Mayans’ families were happy? I don’t want you to start throwing the paella bowl at my head again, so I won’t even bring up the whole rape/murder/torture of the inquisition thing, I’m just saying, ‘let it go.’  

The way you produce weather is making me believe that you are either bi-polar or retarded. You go from freezing and snowing (a fact that you kept quiet until I was already moved in BTW) to the flaming furnace of hell, kind of hot all in one month. Did you not get the memo? There is this new and fabulous season called ‘spring,’ you should really try it sometime. All the cool kids are doing it.

You really have to do something about your old people too because they scare the living shit out of me. Every time I walk by them they grimace at me with toothless, open mouths. They hobble along on legs that must have been broken four times and never healed correctly. Why don’t you fix their legs Spain? Maybe buy them some dentures so when I look at them I don’t feel sad and uncomfortable and a little scared.

And if they can get everything fixed for free then why don’t they? What did you do to make them afraid of you Spain? If I find out that you smack around your elderly parents for their bingo money I’ll kick your ass.     

Why does no one here know what Spanish Fly is or where to get it? Why did someone name it after you if nobody here even knows what it is?

I love your language but it’s too complicated. Why do inanimate objects have to be masculine or feminine? It’s like some kind of sick perversion with you. Not everything is about sex Spain; get your mind out of the baranco. And you should make your people speak like they do on the Berlitz. I can understand the Berlitz people.

Your people sound like they’ve just snorted an eight-ball and have a mouth full of tapas….which they probably have, that’s the whole problem. You are too much of a speed freak. You even got me hooked on your black, liquid crack.

I know that this is hard for you to hear but THE MULLET IS DEAD. It’s time to find a new style. Maybe step all the way into the 90’s with a fade with your initials…!

I really do hate to break it to you Spain, but your food is nowhere near as good as you think it is. You’re so quick to try and distance yourselves from your mariachi playing cousin but I’d kill a matador dead for some good Mexican right now. Nobody wants to eat your greasy, fatty, bristly pork or to have their fish frowning at them as they try in vain to plunge a knife through his rubbery abdomen. I’ll take a God damn chimichanga over a hot, greasy paella any day.    

Or maybe you could jump into the latest health craze that’s been sweeping the globe for the last 50 years and mix in a fucking salad.    

Also, you need to start treating your animals better.    

And if you’re not a third world country then why don’t you have Eggo’s? HUH?   

Oh, and start being nicer to Portugal, he’s your little brother and he looks up to you.

I hope you can take my constructive criticism on board and make some changes. I have to warn you though, if you go bankrupt and get all stupid and crazy like Greece did, our friendship is over and I’m leaving.

May 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 75 Comments

More Doors

May 8, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 66 Comments

Doors

I just wanted to show you guys some of the extraordinary doors around these parts. If I had any photographic skill whatsoever or even a decent camera I think I could make a pretty cool coffee table book about them. But I don’t so just enjoy the doors…

 

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 40 Comments

The Three Kings

       

Tuesday night featured my favorite fiesta of the entire year, the Three Kings. Every other fiesta is basically an elaborate excuse for the town to get shit-faced plastered for 2, 3, or even four days straight. They are fun in their own right, but they do get old after awhile. The scientific definition of awhile being…. after having to pick up old men from wherever they’d fallen, yelling at people for pissing on the house, and watching everyone between the ages of 14 and 20 throwing up almost nonstop.      

The Three Kings fiesta is unique in the fact that it’s all about the ninos. I’m not saying that no one drinks….or smokes pot….or does ecstasy, that would be anathema here, but for once the partying is not the focal point, the kids are. The children here really only know Santa Clause as the fat, white, alcoholic American that he is. I think that most of them think that he is actually the ghost of Hemmingway. They’re really not that far off the mark, are they? It’s only been in the last 10 or 15 years that they’ve started receiving a token present on Christmas morning. For them, the mother lode is during the Three Kings (or Los Reyes fiesta.) This is held on either the night of January 5th or 6th. And all the kids and most of the adults become unhinged in the revelry.      

The day is also referred to as the Feast of the Epiphany and the festivities start out in the Spanish home with paella and 7 courses of fish dishes. There is also a desert made especially for the occasion called Rosco de reyes which is a ginormous donut shaped cake filled with delicious cream. Unfortunately, they only make it for this occasion or I’d eat it everyday.      

Torches

  

The children’s anticipation and excitement continue to build all day until it is finally released in frenetic, ear piercing shrieks of pandemonium. Which surprisingly, the kids can hold for a good 5 hours.      

Finally the stretching and very slow procession begins with the youngest of the children who are wearing both costumes of monks and priests as well as slightly dazed expressions. They are each holding either a sparkler or a flaming torch which is about twice the size of them. There is also a man among the first group who is letting off flying M-80’s every 10 seconds or so to ward off evil spirits. It also helps my dog to piss on the floor.      

Next is a cache of adolescent girls dressed as…..actually no one that I’ve asked seems to know. But they are wearing some type of cool ass costume and using their spears to drop a beat to their medieval sounding, thunderous chanting of “long live the king.” The girls are the entourage of King Melchor who is riding a jet black horse and who I presume was the king from Arabia, based on the Spanish legend of the story and the girls’ outfits. Some of them had the crescent moon of Islam with two swords crossing it. It’s at this point that you have to start ducking. You see, there are boys on horseback in the middle and back of the procession whose sole purpose is to throw hard candy into the crowd. The thing is, all these little fuckers could close for the Yankees. I’m talking about a 90mph fastball to the grill. If you get hit in the face it hurts… a lot. The old ladies in the crowd are carrying grocery bags and will literally throw you an elbow if you get between them and their free sweets.      

        

Next comes the army of King Gazpar, all dressed as Roman soldiers and beating another rhythm out by slamming their swords against their shield in time with chants of, “The King has come!” King Gazpar is riding a brown horse and if you can get a glimpse of him without getting pelted by molted sugar, you will see that he is tossing small trinket toys into the crowds. Now with a sugar buzz firmly in place by both the infantile and the elderly, the tease of the little presents and the approach of the last king, the place is in a delirious stupor of derangement.       

Lastly comes the Moorish King Baltasar on a white horse and with his posse. They are all in full blackface. The PC thing hasn’t really caught on over here, but then again they don’t have as bad of a history regarding these things. His soldiers’ main function is to distract the children so that the parents can covertly load up the king’s saddle bags with the real gifts for their children. This is done every 15 feet…. ad nauseum. King Baltasar then hands out the gifts to the delighted squeals and shrieks of the kids. The procession goes through most of the streets of the town for about 5 hours before stopping in the town hall to continue the festivities until at least daylight.      

The beginning of the procession

  

 I’d think that the whole thing would be as intimidating as hell to the younger kids, but I guess not. I didn’t even see any of the babies or toddlers crying. Every one of them was in a perpetual state of awed bliss! There is nothing better in life than seeing children at their happiest, and this was the happiest that I’ve ever seen any group of children. Ever.         

I apologize for the quality of the video. It was taken with a normal camera which was also very low on battery to boot. Next year, I’ll have and use a proper video camera. But honestly, this is one fiesta that you really do have to experience for yourself if you ever get the opportunity.

January 8, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 35 Comments

The Fountain of Wine II

Sultry women and dancing horses.

 

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If you missed the first part of this post, you can read it here. After the old men miraculously got the three statues inside the second church, the fiesta kicked into high gear once again. The marching band went all stationary on our asses and played a long, kinda painful two hour concert at the second town square.

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I was a lot more sympathetic to their musical ineptitude until I found out that they each get paid 300 Euros, plus food and lodging to travel around southern Spain playing gigs. That’s more money than most of the adults make around here at their full time jobs. It’s at least enough money to keep the kids in weed and I-Phones, because every break they’d fire one up and play with their apps.

 

The town does then provide another late dinner for the party-goers; a fine selection of paella and sausage from earlier. As tempting as this was, I just couldn’t stay up until 5:00am when it was finally served. Apparently most of the elderly men can drink me under the plastic folding table, because they were still staggering home when I got up at 8:00am.

 

The highlight of the fiesta came for me on Sunday night. There was an almost palpable change in atmosphere and energy. The entire town seemed to take a deep breath, sober up, and focus on the last event of the season; the flamenco dancers and horse show.

 

I begrudgingly allowed my wife to drag me away from the NFL updates, to what I was sure was going to be an alcohol infused donkey party. What I saw blew my doors off! Arriving at the soccer field, I saw more people than I’ve ever seen in Cadiar. Many of the children in the crowd were dressed as performers, the boys’ costumes resembling bull-fighting suits, and the girls in beautiful flamenco dresses. This alone was worth the price of admission considering that this was a free show. The entire place looked like a Normanello Rockwelli painting.

 

fiesta

                                                                                                                                                                        

Then the action began with a flamenco dancer in the middle of the soccer field. If you’ve never seen this mainstay of Spanish culture, you are missing one of the most emotionally charged and powerful art forms in the world. For this occasion the woman was stunningly beautiful and sultry, with an aura of mystery and magic. The dance itself starts slow and methodically builds pace until she is moving in a frenetic blur of hands, feet, hair, and red dress. In the beginning of the first routine, four horses came barreling in from the four corners of the field. They were ridden by men with long fiery torches propped in front of them, as if on attack. The horses came to a screeching halt just as they reached the dancer.

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Unfortunately my camera batteries had died before the first act, so I had to run home at full speed myself to replace them. So I wasn’t able to catch any of the coolest part of the show. There were four other performances which I was able to get small clips from. This video was the best I could do with a camera recorder and a quick edit. It does not do the show justice. At all.

 

 
                                                                                                                                             

 

The skilled riders and horses performed moves and stunts that I never thought possible. There were times that you believed the horses were seducing the dancers and other times that the dancers seemed to be hypnotizing the horses. The show was an unparalleled display of the animals’ natural power and grace. It reminded me of an equine Cirque du Soleil. This show was the most amazing experience I’ve enjoyed since moving here. If you ever get the opportunity, this is something that you really do have to see for yourself!!

October 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 34 Comments

Should we stay or should we go?

Over the past several months my wife and I have been agonizing over the decision of whether to stay in Spain or return to the states. It helps me sometimes to write things out, especially with a decision as tough as this one. I didn’t bother with the trivial minutia like employment, housing, family, or friends because a book once told me to ‘not sweat the small stuff.’ I’m concentrating on the deal makers and breakers only here.

Why to stay in Spain…    

-Nobody bothers me here. If I don’t want to talk, then I can’t speak Spanish.

-Amsterdam, Paris, Greece, Rome, London, most of Europe is within a 2 hour plane ride. I can usually get a ticket for the tax only. 35E.

-Spanish fashion and the women who sport it.

-The crazy people here keep to themselves. They don’t appear on Fox and CNN. Nobody screams nonsense during rational discussions on important topics. Nobody tells anybody else they are going to burn in hell for being gay, or believing in the wrong God, or for disagreeing with them on health care. When the crazy people here get obnoxious or vocal, they get locked up. Except the gypsies, but they mostly keep to themselves anyway.

-Almost all the people that go to church here are actually nice.

-Within a 10 minute walk I can get to a place where I not only don’t see any people, I don’t even see evidence of the existence of people.

-Something I’d never experienced until now; clean mountain air.

-The rednecks here don’t have guns. Or country music. Or political aspirations.

-No strip malls. No Bed Bath and Beyond. No Linen’s N’ Things.

-If you get sick or hurt over here, you will be taken care of.

-They make people on welfare do jobs around town; painting, sweeping, etc.

-There is very little bigotry or racism, even against the damn Brits.

-Did I mention no Fox News?

-No handguns = very little crime or murder. You just gotta watch those damn gypsies.

-Siestas.

-Fiestas.

-Free tapas with every drink.

-Po po ain’t all up in your grill.

-Drugs are practically legal here. I don’t do drugs, except the occasional valium, but I love that po po ain’t all up in your grill.

-When there is a debate, the public discourse while being high-pitched and excitable, is a lesson in civility. Rich, poor, right, left all speak to each other rationally and treat each other with respect and dignity. Other than the mayors during elections. Then it’s a no holds bared cage match in the 9th level of hell.

-Culture, architecture, beauty, charm.

-Spain has fundamentally changed me for the better. I’ve learned how to relax. I’ve finally learned patience. I never would have begun writing again if we hadn’t moved here. Before, I always thought I had to be doing something, anything. I’ve learned that I don’t need a bunch of stuff to be happy. I can sit somewhere and just Be now. I’ve stopped being such a mindless consumer. I’ve learned to eat really slowly and savor food and conversation; the art of the Spanish 3 hour dinner. I’ve learned that I can download and watch survivor on ‘The pirate Bay.’  

In general I love the culture of Spain. The people are much more interested in just living. The rat race here is a slow, leisurely amble. They want to eat, drink, and spend time with their family and friends. They possess a genuine love and passion for life, an optimism that I haven’t seen much in America lately. 

Why to go back…      

-I miss America. I’m American, and it’s what I’m used to.

-Football, baseball, basketball, hockey, tennis, golf, and the UFC. Yes, I watch tennis and golf. I love sports.

-Being able to turn on a TV and flip through the channels without seeing a variety show featuring a fat, mustachioed, corny host, a cache of trashy women laughing hysterically at every awful joke, and the worst music I’ve ever heard. Although I may have to check with our resident expert Capitalistliontamer to verify that.  

-God damn murderous, drug-addled, screaming, stealing, groin mauling, stabbing gypsies.

-Every time that you drive here you are risking your life. The roads are worse than the French Alps. There are sheer 1000ft drops with no guardrail. They don’t really give DUI’s and half the population starts off the morning with a couple drinks. Old mostly blind, drunken men have almost taken me out numerous times by cutting the shit out of corners. People die constantly by going over the cliffs.

-I’m sick of mullets, Shakira, Peugeots, scooters, and the smell of diesel.

-There is dog shit everywhere. Nobody gets their ‘pets’ fixed or lets them in the house. There are almost as many stray dogs and cats as people by now. I love animals so I started giving the ones right outside our house table scraps when I saw that they were starving to death. I now have to buy cat food (incredibly cheap, thank God) for about 15 stray cats.

                                                                                                                                                                                    blog pics 354

-I’m sick of the ear piercing scream of agony when two ill-fitted dogs get surprised during sexy time, and end up stuck together in a biting, yelping, clawing tangle of sheer terror.

poor dogs

 

-The wonderful service, great food, and casual atmosphere that is the TGIF dining experience. Yea, I’ve brought that shtick back.

-If we moved back it would be to Florida, which is always warm. I’d never known how cold Spain got in the winter. While it gets hot in the day, it’s freezing at night. It snowed twice here last year. The thing is, nobody including us, has heat. All we have is a tiny Ben Franklin (they don’t call it that) style fireplace which barely heats the main room. Last winter I had to sleep in 4 layers with 3 thick blankets and a cat nestled on my head to come close to being comfortable. I have a whole new empathy for the homeless. As a matter of fact, I see why they all migrate to Florida. Well I guess the really cheap crack doesn’t hurt either.      

-Bowling. Its little things like that that gets to you after a while. I think I’ve bowled maybe twice in the last ten years. But knowing that you can’t do something makes you want to do it.

-Target. There are no big stores here. Electronics and appliances are ridiculously expensive. A toaster is 30 Euros. A microwave is 100E and complete crap. I’ve never even seen the things I used back home to cook; a wok or crock pot. Almost nobody has a washer or dryer or dishwasher. It’s all done by hand, even in the winter.      

-It’s impossible to get anything done here, business wise. After we had moved here and already paid, we had to wait 2 months for our internet and phone to be turned on. When the technician got here he sat outside on our front step for over an hour, smoking and talking on the phone. If you’re on the phone with a company and 2:00pm rolls around, you will be hung up on.

-The bureaucracy is maddening. You need the yellow form (which is in Malaga) to fill out the blue form (which is in Granada) so you can apply for the green form (which has to be mailed from Madrid) but only If you knew to go get the yellow form signed by the Magistrate in Adra. Or else you must start over at the beginning. And if you’re in line at 2:00pm, you’re screwed.

-I’m sick of this being our only grocery store within an hour drive. It’s the size of a 7/11 and not as well stocked. I understand that we are presently in a rural part of southern Spain but for fuck’s sake I thought they’d have better food. I eat chicken breast and vegetable pasta 6 days a week because that’s all I can eat that’s healthy. Everything is pork, fatty, greasy, salty, gristley (not a word) garbage. All the seafood in a restaurant comes deep fried with a face. I miss good restaurants, and selection at the store. There are no name brands of anything here. You begin to crave some odd stuff under these circumstances. I’d kill a man dead for a bowl of Life cereal, a jar of Jif peanut butter, or an Eggo. Some steak and lobster. Garlic butter shrimp. Ok, I have to stop before I stab a gypsy out of frustration.

supermarcado

                                                                                                                                                    

In general I still love America. It is still undoubtedly the land of opportunity and the envy of most of the world. Life is a lot more stressful, but it’s a lot easier at the same time. You work a lot harder but there are more ways to enjoy yourself. I wish that we could just all learn to get along a little better, and chill out a little more. This is one of the toughest decisions that I’ve ever had to face. In the long run it may be up to the trivial minutia that I mentioned earlier to make up our minds. Well actually, there is no grass to cut here. Hmmmm.

September 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 42 Comments

A beer in every hand

Democracy through beer goggles

Last night was a big night for democracy in Spain. At least it was in our little mountain village nestled high in the Alpujarras.   Yeah baby, Election Day, which was as entertaining as everything else here is to my American mind.  See, they apparently vote the way they do everything else in this country; by getting shit-faced, falling down drunk and stoned. As always, these old farmers started drinking at the crack of dawn, literally. It all starts off with brandy and coffee at a ratio of 2 to 1. By noon, they are drinking vino and spilling out of the bars. At 3:00pm the opposing political parties set up bars on opposite sides of the street, giving away free beer and wine. From there everything progresses nicely to revelry, fights, black-outs, and ballot casting.

So now each political party has half the street cordoned off, with about 2 feet of open space in the center. Each side is growing in numbers, drunkenness, and partisanship. Are you getting a nice mental picture of this yet?

Now if you think that America or the UK is bad with ridiculous politics and campaign promises, you should really get out more. Come over here for some democracy in action. These guys make the smear campaigns we’re used to seem tame. I’ve heard politicians accusing each other of being murderers and rapists, only to ‘take it back’ once the campaign is over, then they all seem to get along again. As far as promises; these guys make the Obama campaign seem dour and pessimistic by comparison. They not only promise ‘a chicken in every pot,’ they will breed it, raise it, kill it, pluck it, and send you a gourmet chef to cook it in a platinum pot in your brand new gold plated kitchen. The problem is both sides are making these promises to elderly, drunken, mostly illiterate men. There is no accountability, only free booze.

Oh, I should mention that all of these old men love their weed too. They roll it in their tobacco and smoke like a tire fire. They are mostly farmers after all, and it’s always been a nice side income. I don’t know which politician promised them ‘a bud in every bowl’ but the entire town was lit up like a Christmas tree last night.

Almost everybody must be registered as an independent, since most people kept staggering from side to side. Maybe different kinds of tapas? Although there seemed to be few loyalties, there were some violent skirmishes. I saw a few pushing matches break out between the bingo brigade, but thankfully no one broke a hip. 

When it came time to actually vote at 9:00pm, after a day of free booze, they all staggered into a large government building. You could only get in if you were Spanish and voting, but I did peek through a door and saw an open bar. No, I’m not kidding. Whatever else happened in there was more mysterious and confusing than the plotline of “Lost.”

The best way I can describe is if you put the democratic and republican conventions in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, then changed election day to fat Tuesday. Can you see the picture now?

I went to bed last night to the sound of angry drunken, stoned, socialist farmers arguing, puking and falling down. My wife and I helped two old men stand back up before calling it a night.

I went to town this morning to find old men sleeping on benches, propped up in doorways, and yep, back in the bars drinking. I don’t know who won last night, but it wasn’t these old men. They probably accidentally voted for Franco again.

June 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 9 Comments

What the hell are you doing to my cat?

 Adventures at the vet.

Yesterday we had to take our animals for immunizations and check-ups. This is not as easy as it may sound. Most of the vets in southern Spain work strictly on farm animals. Since nobody here ever bothers ‘fixing’ their animals (or anything else with dogs and cats), very few of these vets have ever seen a house pet. Some have noticed that there is money to be made off of the British that come over, so they ‘give it a try’ and end up killing more puppies than a minor league Jeffrey Dahmer. If a new ex-pat moves here and takes a pet to one of these vets, the results are bad. I’ve heard of these hacks killing animals by trying to spay them, by trying to fix a broken leg, and by trying to correct a stomach problem.

See, I rescued my cat when I found him tied up in a trash bag with two other dead cats when he was three weeks old. I hand fed him with a plunger straw for two weeks, nursing him back to health. My wife dotes on our dog like he’s a freakin child. So yeah, we love our pets. So we were really cautious. After maybe twenty phone calls we found a ‘family’ vet down on the coast that seemed competent. We even went in to talk to him before we brought the pets. He seemed nice enough and certainly able, so we thought, we’ll give it a shot.

When we get to his office he seems edgy, he’s talking a mile a minute, and is a little sweaty. He was probably on coke, everybody else here is so why not him. Or maybe he was on swine speed or something, I don’t know. I’m pretty sure that he’s never seen a miniature Dachshund before since he kept asking, “perro, no?” Which mean ‘is it a dog?’ Now I’m thinking to myself that this ought to be good! After we all agree that yes, he is a dog, not a puppy, but a dog, YES, he’s a dog, he finally notices the cat. He proceeds to grab him out of his cage by the scruff of his neck. He’s still holding him with one hand, grabs a pair of clippers, and starts shaving his neck. As ginger cat fur starts to fill the air, I’m starting to see visions of the Texas criminal justice system flashing in my mind, so I ask him, “we are just doing some booster shots right? You’re not going to execute him are you?” He assures me that it’s just the shots. Then seemingly without warning, he grabs a syringe out of nowhere and injects my cat’s thigh. “To make him sleepy, so I can draw blood” he calmly says. When I asked how long the cat will be out he replies, and I’m not kidding, “maybe one hour, maybe two, maybe even a day or two!” I had to ask him, “ahh, couldn’t you like weigh him and give him an appropriate dosage based on weight” I was told, “that just isn’t the way we do it here.” WTF??

 After visiting the vet

When our own Dr. Doolittle returns from his second trip to the bathroom, we get into an argument about what shots are needed for our dog. By the time he starts manhandling our nine pound dog, my wife looks close to tears, our dog is filled with fear and hate, and our vet is sweating and grinding his teeth. Dr. Feelgood actually ended up giving us a syringe to take home filled with some type of medicine to be administered, “if anything bad happens.” Now I’m seeing “Pulp Fiction” except I’m kneeling over an unconscious dog asking, “so I stab him three times in the heart?”

After eight hours, my cat is still walking into walls, my dog has PTSD, and the vet is in rehab (I hope). At least they are both ok and I didn’t have to resuscitate anybody!

Oh, I almost forgot, when we were walking out the door of his office, the vet gave us a watermelon! Only in Spain!

May 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 16 Comments