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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Playa Siempreviva

Playa Siempreviva

I saw that it was supposed to be sunny and warm on Tuesday so I thought that I’d go to bed early the night before, get up early, do some work, and then take an extended bike ride to make up for a week of rain. I did go to bed early but got up a half hour later, turned on the light, and read until 3 a.m. I picked up a Spanish translation of Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms ( Adiós a las Armas) at the Sunday flea market for 1€. I don’t care if that flea market is a den of thieves as many people claim; I get some good stuff there.

It was very easy for me to read and I must have ripped through 100 pages or so before I passed out. A lot of that is dialogue which is really easy, but still, can’t you just let me be a little proud of myself? The only word that I bothered to look up (acaparar = to horde, corner, monopolize) I came across this morning again in an article in El País and I couldn’t remember what it meant. I really fucking hate that and I think this means I’m some sort or idiot (algún especie de idiota).

So I didn’t get up early and now it’s already 11:30 a.m. They weren’t lying about the weather but with the time change I really don’t need to get out of the house so early for my rides. The warmest part of the day is a lot later and I have light until well past 8 p.m. I’m trying to calculate how long I’ll have to ride to go from “Fat, lazy slob” to “Buff stud.” If you check actuarial tables you will see that it isn’t possible, but I’m going to give it the old college try.

I have less than a week before my five month anniversary here in Spain and I really want to feel good about my Spanish when I reach that milestone (hito, now how did I pull that word out of my culo?). The words just keep piling up and as unsatisfied as I am with my spoken Spanish, I can read the stuff pretty well these days. I hope that my speaking will catch up.

I have decided that I haven’t been working nearly as hard at Spanish as I could (although I think that I work harder than any illegal immigrant at learning the language of the host country). I need to watch more TV. I am currently reading Plenilunio (Full Moon) by the very talented Antonio Muñoz Molina.

The good news is that the bike trail is finished all the way to Pinedo beach, which is about 10 kilometers from my place. The hardest part of my bike ride when I head south is dodging cars and buses, and playing chicken with mopeds on my way out of town. Now I can get on the bike path at Aragon Avenue, which is about a half a block from my front door, and stay on it until the end of Pinedo beach. From there you have to get back on the highway—at least until the next stretch is finished. I really don’t mind the highway down there because it has a wide shoulder and the drivers are used to plenty of cyclists.

There is a wild flower that is all over the dunes on this section of the coast. I remember them from living in Greece, although I have long since forgotten the Greek name. They have a sweet aroma like pancake syrup. I took a picture of the plant so that I could look it up when I got home. My roommate not only knew the vulgar name for it, but also the Latin. I’ll stick with the vulgar, as I’ve already forgotten the Latin. It’s called “siempreviva,” or “always alive.” I call the beach in this photo “Playa Siempreviva.”

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