The Girl in the Fluorescent Yellow Jacket

Ayamonte Travel Blog

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Being invisible has it’s pros and cons. There is a strange phenomenon about wearing fluoro ‘safety’ clothing - you become invisible. This comes in handy when you need to escape but there is no physical place to hide.
I was thinking this during the week while sitting in a bar surrounded by local Spanish people, new acquaintances and newer strangers. I put on my imaginary fluorescent yellow jacket and immediately I was invisible - a voyeur peering silently into their world but not a contributor. I was lost in my own ‘English’ thoughts and invisible to them all. Not out of rudeness but just because it was impossible to include me without losing the flow of their social interaction.

Pensive today? A little, but I have another wonderful story to recount.

Last weekend I was invited to Punte del Moral, a pretty beach right on the border between Spain and Portugal. My friend Javier has a family appartment right on the beachfront. The view from the balcony is a 270 degree vista taking in the coastline and perfectly situated for a sensory gift of cerise sunrises and peach sunsets.

We arrived Friday early-afternoon and immediately went for a paseo (walk) down the boardwalk with Nano (J’s very animated Jack Russell dog). It was another spectacular day and fortunately I had project-managed my packing and included summer/autumn/winter attire. Only the summer clothes were unpacked all weekend!

Lunch at 4.00pm (totally normal) was homemade seafood ‘pasta’ (J’s mum) and icy beer as we chilled out on the open air terrace.
Nano was fast becoming my (NLF) new ‘low’ friend. His tiny legs were the fastest I have ever seen. Initially eying me with trepidation; a few tasty morsels his direction and a symbiotic relationship blossomed. (I give him food and he gives me grief for more!)

How strange - I thought about my previous life, crammed in an air conditioned office, dealing with people who have forgotten to be kind and whose sole purpose is to make themselves appear more important. And here I am, living my soul purpose and reflecting that the only important thing in my world now is kindness. It’s easy really. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

As a Sevillana-in-training I was told it is mandatory to have a siesta. Travel chocolates first and then a small rest. My body is still resisting the middle-of-the-afternoon slow down but I guess I will get the hang of it in time.

A perfect evening to read; breathing sea air, respecting the silence and sensing the energy of peace following me like a lazy cloud. Perfect perfect perfect. There is a U2 song: “Stuck in a moment you can’t get out of”. It was written for me in that moment.
After a mesmerizing sunset - two floors up, leaning over the terrace like Kate Winslett on the Titanic I was thinking my perfect day was over. Not so.

We left Nano behind and headed for Portugal (by car!) to have dinner in a small seaside fishing village.

Ohm-god! Sea fresh crabs, oysters, local beer, Portuguese ‘green’ wine like young champagne, homemade creamy caramel dessert . . . .ooooh aaaah mmmmm . . . flying now. . . .in heaven . . . is there a heaven . . . .did I die? . . . . .I know I deserve . . . .enjoy . . . .imbibe . . . feel taste see smell touch sense . . . .

And then I came back to earth and we returned to the appartment for more chocolate and a perfect sleep.

My NLF was a little restless during the night as he had smelt some lovely canine ladies and was desiring some hanky-panky action. Sorry Nano, no cigar!

I woke early and left my human and canine companions sleeping until late-morning (normal for Spanish) while I sneaked out for a walk and more reading time on the beach. A few locals set up umbrellas, shade tents and enormous fishing rods. I watched the net fishermen collecting some sort of shellfish 100m from the shore on the nearby sand island.

Later that day, we rolled the kayak to the beach, plonked an excited Nano on the bow and rowed out to the the island for a swim in the Atlantic, more like a warm bath than the sea. It was gloriously hot but not uncomfortably so. Nano inherited the ‘Eveready Bunny’ nickname and was hours and hours of fun chasing a ball, jumping ten times his height, and running at light speed to chase imaginary objects. Laugh? . .

Today no siesta for me, or so I thought, but awoke suddenly in my recliner, book dangling, glasses askew and a dribble from the side of my mouth. Maybe I am a step closer to being a Sevillana after all although I suspect the real ladies of Seville would be a little more decorous than I!

So, after the previous night’s dinner, how do you ever eat dinner again? Well, you head for the local (Spanish) fishing village. Sit at an outdoor table next to the salt crusted fishing boats, Nano sleeping peacefully at your feet and plate after plate of breath-fresh local seafood. Did I mention that I tried Navajas? (a type of worm-like clam). Sort of like wichety grubs in cigar-sized rectangular shells. They arrived still in their perfect crash-helmet-hard casing after a quick hotplate sizzle: drizzled with oil of olives and juice of lemon.

Sigh sigh sigh - the memories!

Sunday morning I was prepared (that’s my motto - ‘be prepared’). I had the key to the bicycle, the leash, a water bottle, some cash for a life-saving cafe and the exuberance of a 12-year-old going on guide camp! It was 10.30am and Nano and I were off for a magical mystery tour.

The boardwalk runs for about 6km - to Portugal in one direction and in the other it follows the solitary row of near-deserted holiday apartments and hotels, all the way to the small fishing port.

We headed for Portugal first. After about five minutes of fighting for power, Nano finally realised that ‘the one with the leash’ wins! Ha-ha, I had him trotting along at a reasonable pace, turning to grin at me every now and then. I was falling in love and so was he. I taught him English and he taught me to giggle out loud again. A lot.

We stopped at the last post before the border, a collection of small cafes and beach bars. Selecting one with an outdoor patio and beach view, I ordered a cafe and tostada entera con mantequilla y mermalada (full serve of toast and jam). Nano was tethered next to me and happily chewed and slobbered through his media (half) of the toast while I did the same. We read, barked at the seagulls, smiled at the little girls in identical shirred dresses making sandcastles and breathed in the energy of Sleepy-Sunday-Spanish-beach.

Rested, topped up, watered - we headed off back towards the apartment without stopping, in search of more sensory treats. The boardwalk was dotted with teetering European vacationers, pace-makers de rigueur. They smiled as we scooted past, Nano’s smiling face and my ponytail flying in the wind.

There is certainly a market for size 48 leopard skin bathing suits in this neck of the woods - oh my! Fashionistas, they ain’t but what fun. ‘You go girl’, I say.

After picking up a paper for J, we continued to the fishing port and discovered a row of line fishermen, perched on the small bank, lines taut, faces relaxed, waiting.
Finally, a catch! Nano and I approached the brown fisherman as he hauled in a decent sized pulpo (octopus) for our amusement alone. This is how Sundays should be.

I checked my phone for the time and realised that it was now 1.30pm so J should be up. I was right - just risen!

We decided on another day relaxing on the beach. Reading, endless hours of chasing the ball (me, not Nano!) and a picnic of bocadillo con caña de lomo (pork loin sandwiches) and icy beer. Have I mentioned how perfect it all was?

Late afternoon settled and we were about to head back to the appartment to pack and depart when we realised that ‘daylight saving’ had ended and we had another hour up our sleeves. Why not . . . . .stay . . . . ..a little longer . . . . . . OK then!

In the end, we had to hit the road for the ninety minute drive back. I had that feeling again, arriving HOME. Delicious Spain, tasty Sevilla.

Another week loomed - no one week is the same as the last. Oscar, housemate, had (Jazz) band practice on Monday night. I sat on my terrace with some tapas and a wine and enjoyed my own private concert. Tuesday was the gig so off I went in support. A neighbourhood bar, very French, very smokey, very left. It was fun but I sat at the bar with my fluorescent yellow jacket on, happy but missing friends - real friends.

Wednesday, J and I went to a CS meeting, had a scrummy meal in a small side-street cafe and later met with his friends - more fluorescent yellow jacket moment followed s my continued struggle to speak in Spanish. It will take time and I have patience.

I am having a little adjustment this week. The reality of my escape has set in. Time is my best friend right now. I love that I am holding hands with seconds and the hours are hugging me. Slowly slowly life goes here. Everything slowly. Meals are precious time, shared, experienced, seated.

During the week I paused opposite the Cathedral to listen to a young man play pop music on a harp - yes, a full sized harp. He was just sitting on a bench, lost in his seconds and minutes. I sat with him - slowly slowly listening, smiling, lost in my own warm bubble of life. The music coated me like ripples in a puddle, rainbowing, richer, wrapping around me.

I couldn’t help it - giggling out loud when I left him to wander home.
But first, a few moments to say hi to St James, always waiting for me at the front of the cathedral. We chat often. My best friend in Sevilla. My confidante. My reason for being here.

And today is friday. My day of rest, no teaching. Another glory day. Silk blue sky, sitting on my terrace, fresh mint tea from my own plants, another U2 song - by chance called “Grace”

“Grace is a thought that could change the world. Grace finds goodness in everything”
(Insert your name instead of Grace and have a wonderful day)

. . . . . .Try this - experiment with a fluorescent yellow jacket. Sit still, live slowly and love your own thoughts.
geokid says:
This blog was a joy to read, some very interesting concepts!! Thank you for posting it!!
Posted on: Oct 30, 2009
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