Saturday, July 11, 1992

2:00 am

I had to write. Too many stimuli! You could do quite a case study of this area. From.... The two British guys in the last apartment on the left. They arrived -- one bringing an overnight bag. On my way out, I noticed a candle in the bedroom window and low voices. I wish I had lingered! On the way back, perhaps I did walk by slowly and perhaps I temporarily stopped, just beyond the window, long enough to hear the word "relationship" amongst the low, gravelly rumble, but not quite long enough to hear the gender of the pronouns. To.... Bar Donde. A place that I've been to dozens of times in the past 5 months, the last time being a month ago. I was shocked to recognize not a soul, except the workers. Not even anyone I've seen before. Amazing the turnover rate here. I stayed for a beer and eavesdropped on the basic language groups. English seemed to predominate, edging out Spanish as it usually does. But there still seemed to be a strong German contingent lurking about. I was aloof, alone, just soaking up the atmosphere of this trendy international hotspot. Children of conservatism mingling under the patio palms, discussing such hot topical tropical topics as how hot it was today, what time shall we hit the beach tomorrow, and have you learned that damned subjunctive tense yet?? Yes, pretty as a postcard, and just about as deep. Inside, the ubiquitous fat chicks, excuse me, chicas gordas were getting down to "Good Stuff" on the dance floor. Encircling the bar and in small groups of three, were the singles and singles with couple friends, trying a different approach. Haven't mastered Spanish yet? Shut up and dance! Moving on to.... Walking along the beach. Tried to call Bob, but all circuits were busy. "Spain!" he spat. The moonlight on the Mediterranean, rippling through the unusually warm night. The ubiquitous (can you use that word twice in the same journal entry?) The ever-present couples kissing on the benches along the beach. Magical, really. Why are some people blessed with such beauty? I guess the same reason some people themselves are blessed with beauty. Hmmm. Anyway. Along the main drag -- Juan Sebastián Elcano, the place where real Spaniards like to hang -- hanging they are. Onto each other, out of doorways of cars and bars. So many people! Where do they all come from? What do they do for God's sake? Professional partiers? And finally.... Here alone in my little studio apartment. Well at least it's bigger than De's. I think De's getting a little fed up with my good fortune. "I don't believe it," she says to me. "You go off to America and come back and find a place just like that." I reminded her that 5 weeks ago we were both putting off looking for a place to live. Figured it would all work out in the end. And here we end up neighbors once again! De, teaching English classes, has had to struggle a lot since she came here in January -- about the same time as me. When I tell her about the great job I found the first time I looked in the paper, the friends back home offering me their cars and homes for my visit, the apartments I've found by fate, she says through a clenched smile, "How lucky you are!" I had gone to the apartment manager before I left, inquiring about a place that was becoming vacant. He said I'd have to take my chances on whether it might be available when I came back. Annelies advised me to go ahead and take the apartment -- and pay an extra three weeks' rent -- to assure I would have a place on my return. I rolled the dice and won. Meanwhile De moved in to the smaller apartment, with the hopes of looking at the other (my) place when it was available. I walked in one step ahead. Well, she does pay a little less. Small consolation, I suppose.

Backpedal! So here I am, writing on my apartment terrace, on a hill above the noise of the busy street with the expanse of the Mediterranean beyond. So much happens here! One half-hour excursion results in so many tastes of life. Actually, I was already lying on my bed, so close to closing the day, at 1:00 am. By 2:00, I had gotten cleaned up and dressed, walked out into the candy store of life, experienced a little of this and a whole lotta that, and retreated back into my observation post once again. Just another story of the night.

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