Snakes and Ladders

Sevilla Travel Blog

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A mini blog tonight. I am at the tail end of another long weekend in Sevilla. No-one seems to be able to tell me what it is for but I think another saint may be the culprit.

It began with my usual Friday ‘free’ day. Before I settled here I planned on using Fridays to learn Spanish and write but don’t seem to have the discipline now I’m here. It will all work out. The writing gets done and the Spanish lessons just seem to happen in the streets, across bar counters, reading papers and eavesdropping in queues.

An interesting week as I have unfortunately lost one of my favourite students. She has left Sevilla with her boyfriend and I just can’t compete with a Latin lover! Another lovely student has been unwell for 2 weeks and a third has cut her hours down to study for university exams in December. A little stress never hurt anyone - down the first slippery snake!

I have been hitting the streets with my US gal-friend putting up posters to advertise our availability as English teachers. It is the easiest and most effective marketing tool here but the posters don’t last too long and need replacing regularly. We see our regular ‘postee friends’ have been here recently too: pintura, musica and flamenco.

There are some great spots which are like ‘gold’ for poster-putter-uppers and we are always careful never to poster over someone else. That cannot be said for some of the other English teachers. It’s a whole new area of expertise I have developed. I completed an MBA to work out the best walls to sellotape up my marketing posters in downtown Sevilla!

Early in the week, I heard from a friend, tall and dark, Zorro style facial hair. He has been out of circulation lately and was requesting my pleasure for a coffee or drink in the weekend. I rolled a two and climbed the ladder. Something to look forward to.

I am also trying to organise a replacement credit card from Australia. Unfortunately my card and several hundred others have been compromised as a list of numbers were stolen from an Aussie store - weird huh? So as it stands I am now in the void between my old one having been cancelled and my new one being validated. Whoooghhhhh, down another snake - long weekend looming, students dwindling, rent due and no credit card . . .

Friday night was such a lovely balmy night that I decided to ‘dar un paseo’ (go for a walk). While passing my local cinema (which happens to be the only one here playing original version movies) I noticed that the Michael Jackson movie had started and with a short life span of 2 weeks, I thought I would get in early. There was quite a queue and I was worried I might not get a seat. My turn came, my ticket was dispensed, I made my way to the tiny theatre and, lo and behold, it was almost deserted. Huh?? What’s going on here? Well, I think Spanish would rather listen to their cheesy pop (think Eurovision) or Flamenco than MJ. This country seems resistant to the music the rest of the Western world listens to. Maybe that’s a good thing . . .

The good news for me was a brilliant seat, quiet theatre and no-one next to me enduring ninety minutes of grinning, humming, foot-tapping and emotional sobbing. What a luscious piece of movie-making. I had rolled a six and straight up an enormous ladder. Feeling like a star now.

It was a brilliant evening and I stopped off at my gorgeous ‘Monsalves’ bar on my way home. I have a very strict 2-drink rule with the boys (owners - Clark Kent and Spiderman) and they are usually compliant. For some reason, I ended up with the never-ending glass of manzanilla and it was 2am before I wandered the 100m home. With my housemate away, it was lovely to switch on all the lights, make a cuppa and generally faff around for a while before bed.
Therefore a sleep in!

Saturday was the 31st (Halloween eve) and the streets were full of kids and families shopping for goodies - not much different to any Saturday really! I met Zorro at 5pm and we had a lovely walk across to Triana (old suburb across the river) and meandered the little streets hugging the river, A tour of the Santa Ana church (15th century) was followed by a cold beer at the corner bar. Outside was a quieter spot as the footy was on inside (Sevilla vs Jerez).

More paseo back down to the river and a quiet moment on a little pontoon to watch the near-full-moon over the old Triana bridge - whoosh, up another ladder.
My lovely local friend Zorro then took me to a small theatre bar with a typical Sevillan open air patio bar: overhanging trees, soft lights, warm night, another tinto!

Unfortunately, half way through our drinks, the show started and we had the choice to stay and watch or head off to eat somewhere else. The latter. Outside it was not good news as Zorro switched his phone back on and had to rush off to a family ‘emergency’. Damn, another snake!.

I was close to home and wandered cheerfully back through the narrow cobbles, never really having to worry about traffic - there is hardly any. It was still early so I decided on tapas at my bar for dinner. After some home-cooked salchichas and a delicious warm goats cheese dish, I left. It was before midnight but as I rounded the corner to my home, I was confronted by a pile of soil and smashed giant planter pots obscuring my doorway.

Some idiot had come past and not only pushed them over but ripped the bolts and tiles out of the wall as well. A couple of weeks ago the plants were vandalised and one lovely big palm head was snapped off. Now - there is nothing left to salvage. Why are humans so vicious? What makes people damage things? Here I go again, another goddam snake.

But I was not going to let this ruin my night. . . . . until my phone rang. It was `the stalker’ again. Myself and my gal-friend have been getting random calls from the same person. He sounds a little strange and just says . . .‘hola hola hola’ repeatedly. We have his number logged and do not answer his calls any more. This time he had switched off his number sending option and I was caught unawares. I am sure it is not him who has vandalised the pots as there is no way he could know where I live. It made me slightly uneasy, especially alone for the weekend.

I woke up brave on Sunday.

I decided on a day of climbing ladders so packed my bag and headed off to visit Cartuja monastery. It was a lovely afternoon wandering among the orange trees and outdoor sculpture art. I decided to take a Sevici bike back home. I have a card and can use the bikes for free for half hour periods. As you must give your credit card details prior to being assigned a card, it is imperative to return the bikes correctly. Unfortunately I had selected one with a broken locking system and on return it would not register. It looked like I was going to be up for 150€. After trying every angle and combination of moves to get the damn bike locked into it’s carrier system, I was just about to give up when a lovely American girl came to my rescue. She held the bike pressed against the lock while I swiped my card and finally I was free!! Up the ladder I go - thanks chica. I owe you one.

After this episode, I took myself home quick smart and decided to stay in or walk for the rest of the weekend.

Rest assured that there are always many more ladders than snakes in Sevilla though. I will never be down for long.

But isn’t life always a game like this?
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Sevilla
photo by: JP-NED