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Monday, August 29, 2011

Dispatches from Siesta-landia

August is a VERY slow month in Spain. No one works much. Some of my favorite cafes are closed. The little movie theater around the corner has been closed for weeks. It’s a good time to do a lot of cooking.  In order to balance out the eating I’ve been working out like never before. So we have a heaping of heavy exercise mixed with lots of food and also lots of free time. The result of these ingredients has been some howling naps in the afternoon, one hour or sometimes more of unconsciousness. The kind of naps that when you wake up you don’t just look at your watch to get oriented but you also need to consult a calendar.

There is something special about a nap after a big bike ride and a big lunch. You feel like a cartoon character that just got smashed in the head with a big cast-iron frying pan so that the pan takes the shape of your head. After the ride in the hot sun, after the ice-cold shower, and after the big lunch you lie down with your heart still beating fast and hard.  You wake up feeling like your blood is champagne. I don’t know how else to describe it. Your heart-rate isn’t at resting—it won’t be until after a long night’s sleep—but it has kicked down into something resembling a high idle. Your heart recovers much better with a nap than without one. The post-nap euphoria is about as good as you can feel without sex, drugs, or rock and roll. I don’t know if you can duplicate this from running or swimming or any other aerobic fitness because you can cycle for two or three hours every damn day.You get a good aerobic work out and you tax the hell out of your muscles, not only the legs but your back as well if you stand up and sprint as much as I like to do.

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