The twenty-second installment of my abandoned Granadino memoir, Flawed Abroad: Useless editorializing from an ignorant, close-minded American on his semester overseas.
Sabado, 12 Febrero ’05, 21.00 (Saturday, February 12, 2005, 9:00 pm)
We visited the Alhambra today, the imposing Moorish alcazaba located on the hilly outskirts of Granada proper. With indefatigable hummingbird Marie Carmen acting as our guide, it was occasionally difficult to absorb every iota of information inherent to your average thousand-year-old fairy tale fortress, but most of the time the ancient architecture spoke for itself. (Fortunately, I speak fluent ancient architecture. Unfortunately, ancient architecture doesn’t have a very large dictionary, so most sentences can be roughly translated as, “I AM ENORMOUS AND AWE-INSPIRING! COWER BEFORE ME, FLESHY MORTALS!)
I snapped a couple of photos for arbitrary posterity, but not too many, because I knew even then that they would prove an insignificant reminder of what the Alhambra really IS. [Insert fascinating history and melodramatic posturing here. Or just direct readers to Wikipedia.]
Miscellaneous Observation: When making your way across the intersecting stretches of serpentine macadam the Granadinos call “streets,” I’ve found that it is always best to position the following entities between yourself and the flow of traffic: A) a slow-moving señora of advanced pedigree, or B) anyone pushing a baby in a stroller. Oh, I dare say their bodies will do little to physically impede the speed and force of any oncoming vehicles, but the sight of a bloodied Castellano flying through the air — be they in their first year of life of their last — has always been enough motivation for me to avoid inconveniencing the policia by adding yet another name to their hit-and-run investigation. Maybe I’m more thoughtful than most, but I feel that’s the right thing to do.
Lunes, 14 Feb. ’05, 14.00 (Tuesday, February 14, 2005, 2:00 pm)
Oh goody, El Día de San Valentín — a.k.a., Valentine’s Day. Every loner’s favorite holiday…for suicide attempts. Let’s see, what was I doing a year ago at this time? Oh, that’s right, I was alone in my dorm room…watching a Freddy Prinze, Jr. movie…and trimming my toenails. Aww, good times! Hopefully today will be a slightly lower-key affair, as I don’t think the ol’ ticker can take another celebration like last year’s.
Actually, “low-key” is sounding pretty attractive right about now, considering I didn’t get home until 6:00 am last Sunday. “What were you doing out until 6:00 am?” ask the voices in my head. Well, I’ll tell you. After somehow finding myself in the clutches of a small CUNI delegation in the mood to shake its collective groove thang, we eventually wound up at the Ole Olé dance club in La Plaza de Toros, where we boogied the night away until the oui hours of 4.30.
Now, I’m not saying that my sudden dinomania (according to Balderdash, the “irresistible urge to dance”) was a product of the quarter-bottle of Negritas whiskey and five shots of vodka con Fanta I consumed that night, and I’m not saying it wasn’t. All I’m saying is that—okay, yes, yes it was. I can’t prove it, but I probably wouldn’t have been quite as inclined to engage in various booty shaking activities without the aid of my trusty Finnish sidekick, Inni Bree Ayshun.
Frankly, I’m lucky to have even made it through the front door — not because I was drunk (I wasn’t yet), but because Ole Olé apparently adheres to some inexplicable footwear requirements, despite an interior boasting nothing more than a scuffed wooden dance floor with an undecorated cement perimeter. Luckily, Ellen’s hermano worked there, so he let my sneakers slide this time (which is ironic, considering what good traction they provided on the dance floor), but if I ever want to return, I might have to suck it up and invest in a decent pair of zapatos. Friggin’ snooty discotecas — you’d think that Franco was still in power. (Would that it were!)
Incidentally, after bailando the night away, Kelly innocently volunteered the information that her señora was out for the evening with her novio, so we all stumbled back to her empty apartment under the guise of wanting some tea. Surprisingly, tea was actually brewed and served. However, with two people passed out on the tile floor and a television that somehow kept tuning into the late-night cable porn channels with absolutely no input from us (well, maybe a little input), the rest of the evening was not quite as genteel as perhaps our initial drink requests would imply. In any case, with the handy excuse of intoxication tucked away in my back pocket, I may have also attempted to put a minor league move on the gal who had ended up as my primary dance partner for the night as we sat on the couch together. It didn’t extend beyond the painfully cliché, “yawn, stretch, let arm fall where it may” phase, but that’s practically calculus for me when it comes to the subtle math of romance, so I was pleased when she didn’t immediately vaporize into a cloud of loathing. (I was less pleased a few minutes later when she got up suddenly and didn’t return, but what are you gonna do?)
Rhetorical question: Should I be worried that my señora didn’t know the Spanish word for “snap” — even after I demonstrated the technique with my fingers?
Rhetorical answer: Delicious, but only if it’s been lying in the street for less than 24 hours and no stray dogs have gotten to it first.