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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Simplicity Defined (Chapters 112, 142)

It is the city dweller's version of people coming by unexpectedly for a visit. I was at home last night and some friends called and told me to meet them down the street for a drink. It's not like people never drop by your apartment unannounced, but it is a lot easy just to call and meet up at a corner café or a local bar which serve as the collective living rooms of city folk. I was already dressed when my friends called and not really doing anything. I wasn't in the middle of cooking and I didn't have plans.

I was there in about ten minutes and spent about and hour and a half catching up with two friends at a bar that is equidistant from our apartments. While we were there a few more people we know showed up. I wouldn't say that I have more friends here in Valencia than I had when I lived in other places, but I would say that of all the people I hang out with, we all live within a few blocks of each other. My neighborhood of Ruzafa has an even more dense population than where I lived in Seattle. I almost always run into someone I know when I am sitting at a café reading a book. For lack of a better description, I wold say that this place is starting to feel like home—whatever that means to a lifelong wanderer.

It is hard to think of anything more delicious than a ripe tomato. I like to slice a tomato thinly and lay the pieces on a plate. I sprinkle a bit of salt and crushed pepper on each slice and then anoint (this is the word they use in Spanish) them with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then I flip over each piece to let the other side soak up what has dripped on to the plate. If I am really trying hard to make this into a meal I will add a few choice (very choice) olives, bread, and even some sardines. Of course, it would be rude to have this without a small glass of wine. We aren't animals, after all.

You may be thinking to yourself that these two things, meeting friends and tomatoes, have nothing to do with each other but they are both chapters in the book The Best Things in Life.

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