April 17, 2004

Pop up Like a Cork

Que Guiy!

Hello everybody! It?s been almost two weeks and finally this is the moment we have been able to get to the place where we can post this entry int othe weblog. We?re in Spain, in Tossa de Mar. So far, so good. We are in the process of settling into our house. We are using the computer and internet connection of family friends here in Tossa, wonderful people.

There?s so much to say, an no time to organize the story into a neat narrative. I think it?s best to to let it tumble out like so:

-As we landed on the tarmack in the Barcelona Airport, we could hear our dog Juno barking in the cargo hold below us.

-Three of our suitcases didn?t land with us, and British Airways sent them to us a day later (the same thing happened in the last trip).

-Driving out to Tossa in the rental car ("not the minivolumin", but a "fulgonetta"), the car rental people (Olimpia car rental, a very good company here) met us at the airport to hand the car over to us. They led us out into the direction of Tossa. Now, there are two routes north, freeways both. We have been used to driving on the inland road in the past, and this was our expectation... so imagine our confusion when the car rental people led us out on the coastal road which went through Barcelona (a route my folks have advised us against in the past, and we imagined that it would be utterly confusing and have us stranded, circling in the roundabouts of Barcelona forever!). After we were led through the city, our guides waved us on and sped off in thier accustomed breakneck speed. The sun was dissapating at the end of a sunset, our dog Juno was in the crate in the back of the fulgonetta, the brakes were touchy, questionable (the idiot lights were on and the the slightest touch sent us lurching forward), and we diddn?t have enough map on us to figure the way to Tossa exactly. After finding a gas station and buying a map, we plotted our way through the toll freeways and the towns South of Tossa: Blanes, Lloret, others I now forget.... we arrive closer to Ten at night, a full moon rising. Beautiful. Mom an our friend Rosa had swept out the house a day before (the walls become permeated with moisture in places and fester with plaster dust onto the floors) and Rosa?s husband Joan built a fire that had glowing embers as we entered. Mom was waiting at her apartment across teh city (a ten minute walk...we haven?t timed it yet) Dinner at Mom?s, sausage and salad, cheese and bread. We end the night walking Juno back to our house throught the empty streets of Tossa, pinching ourselves in disbelief.

-I can?t emphasise enough how challenging it is to have all your coordinates changed. Every little thing is daunting. Making a telephone call, finding food, communicating to your banker, figuring out what the availability and pricing of building materials are... doing this once or twice is fun, being challenged at every turn requires fortitude.

-Weather: high fifties, low sixties that fluctuate all day long. Yesterday, we had a storm (tormenta) that was probably mild by local standards, but by our newbie mentality, it was hellacioius. Juno?s taken the habit of pooping out on the river shoal, so we went out to the playa to check the surf out and it was roiling, brown big and angry. I wondered if my surfer friends stateside would have considered trying this one out. The river that drains the local ecosystem here was extremely high, almost to the street (they rout the river round the beach to the sea). Later, soaked, we dried out clothes in front of the fireplace.

-The fireplace. We own a small building in the center of town, four stories. It?s cold by our thin blooded Californian standards. On the first floor, there is a wainscot detail that is mas feo, we want to tear it off one day. This detail extends out into the little courtyard, and this is where I began to tear it off and use the wood as le?a, firewood. We have been making a fire in the morning and evenings, during breakfast and dinner. Our kitchen is primative since we tore out the restaurant that was once here from the previous owner. We kept nothing of it since the equipment was aged and in bad condition, probably twenty years of grease and bad repairs. So now, our kitchen consists of a two burner hotplate, a refrigerator (a gift thanks to Stephanie?s mom from our last visit), a sink cobbled together by our contactor... it only has a hot water faucet, all the dishes from the restaurant, one skillet, two pots small and large... and that?s it.

-Mom took us out to Barcelona to show us the ropes on how to navigate the old city, where the bargain places were. She treated, buying us two electric heaters and a stereo (wow, thanks, mom). She asked the vendor where the best place to have lunch, and there we went to have a fabulous multicourse meal, several coffees and desert for fifteen euros. Muy deliciouso.

-Did I tell you about the leaks? Our terrace leaks and it sits above the bedroom. We?ve had pots and pans out all night, drip, drip. Our contractor Kiku gave us an estimate for the repairs, not cheap, but not out of our expectations.

-Kiku took us out to dinner in the first few nights we were here. He?s about my age, and he looks a bit like Pierce Bronson with galsses (gaffas). A heaping tray of seafood, among the crabs and shrimp and mussels was percebes... barnacles from Galicia. You pull they little heads off and eat their necks. Muy delicioso!

-Gotta go, gotta wrap this up. We?re getting an internet connection... in three weeks. Fingers crossed. We still don?t have the eleven boxes sent from Texas mid March. It might be a bit crazy to get them... not till the end of the month yet.

Posted by Dennis at April 17, 2004 5:46 AM


Hi Dennis and Stephanie,
Was glad to hear all is okay except maybe a little leak or two. I hope the weather is as nice as it is here in Mass. How long it will last is another story. Miss you both. take care Love MOM

Yeah! Good to hear from you. What an adventure. Glad to hear Juno weathered the trip OK, too.

Welcome! When you're settled in drop me an e-mail and we'll get together.

hey dennis,
glad you made it safely. looking forward to regular updates on the blog. now in 'bama. sold my house and bought a new one already. fast moving week.

How's it going? It's been a long time since I've
talked to you. I miss those days of have you as an artist mentor and an architectural critic. Just wanted to let you know that you have made a great impact into my mind and the ideals that come about to me right now. I never realized how much time and effort you gave in you teaching, and how generous you were with your ideals and connections. I continue to paint and practice architecture. I feel that those arts do relate and one without the other creates pure chaos. I really do appreciate you teaching me, since painting is my way of realting to the world, and a great way to express myself. Hope all is well in Spain and Hope to hear from you soon. I would really like to send you pictures of my paintings, so please let me know how to...

So glad you are there. I picture you around the fire, with the fire in your eyes, excitement and terror mixed. Enjoy!!We really miss you here. I met Joan Quinn (from L.A.) when I was in New York and she "knew" you but didn't know you moved to Spain. Your first post reminds me of our first days in Saudi Arabia. It's amazing what you get used to.....Pamela

Cool!! It is great to hear from you. Your walks and restaurants and fires sound very romantic, not at all like Saudi Arabia (except the part about everything beng a struggle). Someday we would love to visit you in your new home

Leave a comment