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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Moving Out

I received one month’s notice that I had to be out of my apartment. I moved three blocks away but it was a very long three blocks, especially the last twenty-five meters or so that consisted of five flights of tight stairs. If the stairs aren’t enough to kill you then try doing it during the last two weeks of August. I think this was the hottest it has been in my three summers in Valencia. Lucky me. Thank god the nightmare of moving is over…at least until I move again this month to another apartment that is up four flights of stairs. At least it should start to cool off a bit before I start humping stuff over to my new, new place.

I was thinking about renting a burro to help with the move. I figure that a burro would be perfect for negotiating flights or narrow stairs while hauling all of the junk I have accumulated since I came to Spain two years and ten months ago. I looked in the yellow pages for burro rentals but all I found out was that burros are somewhat of a rare species in the land of Sancho Panza. Could burros become extinct? Is there a burro wildlife refuge somewhere in the world? If there is a world burro wildlife refuge I would go there for a visit because I think that burros are cute. Ever since I was a kid I have wanted my own burro…and a chimp…a chimp with a huge sombrero.

So I have been in moving hell and it is only half over. I moved into one place and then got a much better deal on another place that is really nice. Where I am right now has what you call “old world charm” which means it is as old as dirt and without any sort of nod towards modernity. The bathroom is about the size of an airplane toilet. The kitchen is really small and kind of on the side of crappo. One thing that is a true marvel here are the set of knives. I have never had such amazing kitchen knives in my life. I need to work on that. Just to break in the new kitchen I made some tomato sauce and pasta for dinner.

Another cool thing about this place that I took in the short interim is the great stereo. I am listening to some great CD called La Guitarra Clásica Española which is a collection of classics played by Narciso Yepes.* The other CD I am listening to is the Afro Cuban Allstars which is always a lot of fun to listen to. My new building seems to be filled with South Americans so I will fit right in blasting this music at all hours of the night.

This apartment is only three blocks from my old place but almost literally worlds apart. The old place was super modern as were most of the other buildings in the vicinity. The people living there were mostly younger to middle aged Spaniards. In my new hood it is mostly immigrants—South Americans, Moroccans, Sub-Saharan Africans, and Chinese—either immigrants or old Spaniards who have probably lived here all of their lives. No wonder Spanish people supposedly live so long: you would live a lot longer too if you have to deal with walking up a few hundred steps every single day of your life. If you get down to the street and realize that you forgot something you can also purposefully forget you stairmaster class at the gym.

The place I will be moving into is from about the same era as the building I am in now—built sometime in the 1930s or early 1940s—but it is a lot more modern and hip looking. It still doesn’t have an elevator but there is a storage room on the ground floor where I can keep my bike locked up. The new place will also be a block or two out of the heart of Ruzafa where I have lived these past two years. A big plus in the new building is that all of the construction for the new metro line has been completed on the street so I won’t have to listen to jack hammer pounding from eight in the morning until seven at night. The new sidewalk project in Ruzafa has been wearing me the fuck out with all of the noise, detours, and dust. I am all for these new changes of widening the sidewalks, eliminating a lot of street parking, and making some streets for pedestrians only, it’s just that I have already paid my dues at the old flat.

*I just met someone named Narciso, a name I had never heard of before but since I have seen it many times.