I am a night owl in a city of night owls. Should be a perfect fit, right? I´m fine with staying awake until 2 a.m. if I can sleep until at least 7; preferably 8. But when I´m awakened at 6 a.m. by the hotel staff´s noise while preparing breakfast, followed by motorcycles and garbage trucks, I´m not so pleased. By 8 a.m. the noise became a concert, with more motorcycles, the construction crew down the street and crying babies en route to the creche at the other end of the street. This is where siestas come in handy, I suppose.
The B&B where I was originally booked - and where I am now -is a traditional stucco building, with arched doors and windows and beautiful azuelos. And the room? Well it has a certain rustic charm -make that very rustic. It´s on the ground floor and has 12-foot ceilings and a wrought-iron grilled window covering - at about the nine-foot level. This means I can´t look out the window, so it´s a bit like being in a high-ceiling dungeon.
The television is mounted at the ten-foot level - the only way to watch it is flat on your back in bed, but as the screen is so small, it´s hardly worth the effort. The only light comes from a single overhead fixture, which isn´t enough to illuminate the room properly. As there´s not a single electrical outlet in the bedroom, I have to charge my cell phone and camera in the bathroom.
Last night, after the joy of ironing clothes on the table in the hotel´s small breakfast room, the enterprising manager found an extension cord. So now I can plug the extension cord in the bathroom and iron on the desk in the bedroom! Such fun. I know I shouldn´t complain - these are pretty small annoyances in the grand scheme of things - but I just need more light. It´s depressing not to be able to look out the window or have enough bright light to see what you´re doing. At the moment, there´s no other room available.
The manager has gone out of his way to be accommodating after the little fiasco upon my initial arrival. When I returned with my luggage and told him who I was, he blurted "I thought you were younger!" "Thanks. Thanks a lot," I said. "No, because you were phoning me from the school and I thought you were a student. Also, your voice sounds really young." "I am a student, " I said. "A mature student."
But he´s right about the student bit. Seville is filled with students, most of them college age. Perhaps there will be some fellow "mature students" in my class, which starts Monday.
Dining alone in the evenings is the thing I find most difficult about traveling. I still feel shy when walking into a restaurant on my own - especially since I don´t speak the language. Last night I went into a lovely restaurant and ordered four tapas dishes. Of course, I was able to eat only a third of the food, as the portions were huge and the food wasn´t what I thought I ordered. But it was fine, accompanied by a nice glass of Sangria. And I dined early enough to avoid the 10 p.m. dinner hour for most locals.
On the way back to the hotel, I saw an Yves Saint Laurent bag filled with clothes hangers. Apparently a department store had thrown them out. So I took them to the hotel and showed the manager, who was aghast at the serendipity. Earlier I had requested more hangers, but he´d looked in the housekeeping cupboard and couldn´t find any. Finding the hangers in a French bag did seem a bit odd. I took about 12 of the hangers and asked if he wanted the rest for the hotel. He said as they were really nice, he would take them home.
Joaquin Cortes tonight!
At the end of my first hectic afternoon in Seville, I asked the concierge how I could get a ticket to see the famous flamenco artist Joaquin Cortes perform Mi Soledad Friday night. He phoned me and said tickets were still available at a department store nearby. So after much kerfuffle in finding the ticket office, I got one of the few remaining tickets - for 100 euros! A bit extravagant, but after the day I´d had (see Sassy in Seville) I deserved a treat. No doubt the performance will be worth every centime. It´s at 10 tonight at the Plaza de Toros de Sevilla. That´s the bull ring and as my seat is close to the stage, perhaps I´ll be sitting in the bullring!
Cortes´s performance caps a month-long celebration of flamenco in Seville. Famous flamenco dancers and musicians from throughout Spain have been performing at venues around the city.
Now what to wear, in this heat? Of course I brought all the wrong clothes. Everyone in Seville is walking around in summer things, although the stores are filled with fall clothes. After welcoming my favourite season of fall in Paris, it seems as though I´ve been catapulted back to summer.
You would think I´d be the one needing a map. But so far, three Spanish people have stopped me on the street to ask directions. All I could do is throw up my hands and smile. Realising their mistake, they laughed and walked away.
Meanwhile, the sun is shining on the Guadaquavir, it´s 2 p.m. and I must find a place for lunch!