and i'm doing it again, i know. in English you call this Itchy Feet. in Urdu, you call it something far less polite. but then, many things are far less polite in Urdu...
anyway, to go back to what i'm doing again -- i.e. - not staying in one place. this is where the mental camera cuts to several shots of emails and phone conversations with people where i explain where i am -- "...in Pisa, but actually now in London." "...but on the whole yes, still in Italy." "...oh, you didn't know i'd moved to Italy?" "here, let me give you the address to my blog..."
and London? London is alright. it still rains a lot. and you get nothing, absolutely nothing for free. from a toothbrush at my ninety-pound-a-night hotel to the chili sauce at Wagamama's. but it is cool to be taking a subterranean form of transport again (and stand by because i have *much* more to say about The Tube), and it is fabulous to have so many spicy-food options for lunch and dinner, and it is nice to wonder again at how many possible different accents English can be spoken in, and it is good to be able to get a chai tea latte with soy milk when i feel like it.
also, i like my new job. and more importantly, i find it interesting. also more importantly, i like my co-workers. *especially* the ones who are reading this, of course...
[saturday 20 november 2004 at 16:57:19] [¶]
Madrid was, straight off, a city i felt i could live in; a city i would *like* to live in. it's been a long time since anywhere made me feel like that. not since Italy, have i thought: ooh, i think i'd like to move here some day. hm.
we did the Prado, we did Picasso, we did paella, and we did pata negra.
Madrid was good.
Toledo reminded me of my Cortona, except that there they have been impressively efficient, and considerate enough, to provide escalators from the lower-down car-parks, up to the city center. we took three or four of them, before we finally reached a road that was named after a crab.
at Córdoba, we stayed in a hotel right behind the Mezquita. and when i say right behind, i mean, right behind -- you stepped out the front door and had to watch yourself in case you walked right into a thousand-odd-year-old wall built by some fabulously inspired Caliph. when i heard bells marking time in the morning i figured of course, these must be Mezquita bells, from the tower Carlos V added on in the 16th century. the bells were marking nine am, and were so close, that you could hear that post-bell vibration-echo inside you, the kind that makes you think of Tom from Tom & Jerry staggering out from under a just-rung bell, arms outstretched and head spinning and brain dislodged.
Sevilla, oh dear. this is where The Good-Luck-Hotel-Fairy left us. this is where, sick as a dog (probably from too much pata negra, says my guilty muslim conscience), i got to know the porcelain in our slightly stinky hotelroom-bathroom more than i would have liked.
this is the hotelroom that was covered with badly-translated notices and signs from management warning us on pain of death not to do anything remotely related to laundry in our rooms. "this is a hotel room, not a laundrymat," they asserted. "if hotel staff find that you have been washing clothes in your room, a penalty fee will be added to your bill upon checkout"... of course, the hotel offered laundry service instead. and of course, this service was priced so that you might as well have gone out and *bought* new underwear. of course, this service took a minimum of forty-eight hours to come back to you. and of course, the signs went on, there could be no guarantees that your clothes would come back the same color.
so Sevilla is where i experimented with daredevil acts of rampant rebellion and subterfuge. hiding damp tees in my bag before we went out for the day; feeling like some sort of criminal as i wiped handwash-laundry-detergent suds from the sink; wondering fearfully if they had transparent plumbing and could see the color of the water i was sending down the drain...
we checked out and no one said anything. i felt so victorious.
then there was Jerez de la Frontera and Arcos de la Frontera. and Ronda and Zahara and Granada. we saw flamenco and it was all i could do to stay in my chair. we had more paella. i saved a baby's baptism bootie from becoming roadkill. Ciro ate Rabo di Toro and almost bought an entire leg of pata negra to take home (his only concern was the embarassment factor on the flight back). we toured the Plaza de Toros at Ronda -- where bullfighting is reputed to have been officially born -- and got to wonder if the horses tied up in the back ring were the ones they use in the corrida and whether they'd had their vocal cords cut. WE SAW THE ALHAMBRA. and i have lots to say about it. but i am tired now. and the Alhambra needs me to be awake enough to sound moved.
and this has gotten to be too long a blog entry anyway...
[Via da Morrona, Pisa]
[lunedi 8 novembre 2004 ore 22:38:29] [¶]