Tuesday, 29 November 2016


 Today was a nice day. I found new mountains to climb and found a solution to how to shop at the butcher's, or anywhere, when it is siesta time and everything is supposedly closed (shop in a different city). I tried to hitchhike because I thought my friend who drives me to school was ill, and the polite village people would stop to explain why they could not give me a ride. But we got there on time! 
"Did you do it?" asked one of my 6 years old students, because I was sitting next to this drawing.  
 Then I went out for a walk. Found a beautiful park, an artificial waterfall, experienced some tepid sexual harassment disguised as a concern about my health (outside of park).
More interpretations of the human body. Note how much bigger the head is compared with the brain. 

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Rainy Madrid (and hardcore tourism)

 It is raining and pending between 5 and 8 degrees. Then it rains a little bit more. I am here to attend a concert and for some tourism till Monday! And well, why not throw in some fever. Things always get more exciting with a fever.
 This is across Palacio Real, the royal castle. The Almudena cathedral! (Not officially, names are always longer when official.) I was lucky because just when I entered the museum, a nun pulled out secret drawers and opened a secret door and hung in priest clothes for the afternoon ceremony and we had a chat! IN SPANISH. 
 Then I was lucky to get a permission to take the lift to the top. 
 And then I dropped by the National library museum. I spent a great amount of minutes in their shop contemplating whether people I normally send letters to would like the pop-up cards that were offered, or if it should be saved for other occasions. I caught the guard making funny faces to the staff, and the staff was friendly in more than I-am-just-doing-my-job way. Seems to be a nice work place, thumbs up! 
On the other side of the same building is the Museum of Archeology. They had this practical umbrella parking. And entrance is for free! After 14 on Saturdays and entire Sundays. I liked it heaps, go there if you have the time. 

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Mucha mierda (break a leg)

He is transforming into "80, maybe 84" years. The trick with make up is to enforce the features you have, otherwise it does not look natural. In less than 10 minutes, he will hold a 1 h 45 minutes long monologue in Spanish. I expect to understand 10%.
 This takes place in Cieza, Spain. 
Before. I don't dare taking a picture now, but I assure you the auditorium is almost full and that I have one of the best places. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Kids ask

"Is it plastics or a real human?"

We usually answer "old teacher".

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Siezing the day

 "I like men in tights", I thought when the professional bikers passed by uphill. And then one of them turned around and waved! This was Juan Carlos, a colleague, who suggested me and my brother should go to the park Fuentes del Marque, as we were in Caravaca de la cruz anyway. It was great! A piece of autumn, caves, cactuses and a completely transparent miniature river next to the mountains.
Caravaca de la cruz also has a recently opened  a restaurant, d'gusto, where one of the waitors speaks English. It takes up an entire small street, and serves one dessert only. That is the reason you should go here! It is light and tasty and meant to be shared. 

Friday, 18 November 2016

Spain on the radio

Love radio. Witty and uncensored. Spanish people don't hide that they don't like their politicians, so this morning the radio declared Spain is a great country: the government is in Germany, the money in Panama and the problems in Venezuela. And that Jesus took the Jumilla (a city) wine and made it into water :) :)

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Officially signed coffee

I am at the "Extranjero office". To continue teach here in Spain, I need a green card with my photo, and for that I have to schedule a fingerprint and bring a few documents with my residential info. This is the hour I teach, so my contact person at the school asked to bring a paper from the office to confirm the validity of my absence.

Guy at the counter: "I write you were here at 11, ok? Then you also have time to relax and have a coffee. "

Monday, 14 November 2016

let's speculate about future laureates.

I have already suggested that some day, a blog(ger) will receive the Nobel literature prize for literature. It is indeed possible that a blog can render the peace prize. If you still have doubts about the format being too informal and deviates from the concept of traditional literature, check who was awarded the literature prize in 2016.

And now I have some new data.

Xeodung Zou, I believe, will receive the prize in chemistry at some point. I have met her and I have met her husband, who was my teacher, some time ago. He is one of those social chemists, who introduced me to his son who is single, while the son was at work (they work in the same department). I assume this was not the first time. We walked around some more at the department and I found out (was told) that only when Royal School of Technology tried to recruit her, Stockholm university realised that she is a rising star, and asked her what she wanted in order to stay. (Same salary as the other party was offering.) She was offered that, stayed, and now has succeeded to synthesise zeolites. Which is a hard thing to do. She is bright, I am deadly sure she will make other good discoveries and, or, manage with other current challenges in her field.

Chemist Mr. von Heine, also at the time at Stockholm university, will probably also make it to the laureates, I was told. All I know is that two independent sources think of him like philosophers think of Rosseau (I guess; my metaphor alludes to praising). That, and that he was kind to answer my email years ago saying he could not attend the event (a fashion show for chemists, which I thought was a brilliant idea). Almost nobody does reply he or she is not coming to a humorous initiative, professor or not. And such a thing can get you far. As one of the laureates in the field of medicine said in his speech about ten years ago: "...and always, always be nice to Swedes."

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Friends send me snow.

 Of course it is possible to miss the snow! Lucky me who gets snow reports almost live from Stockholm. This was when the first snow fell this season. 
This year it seems to be rich in particular. For those of you who are not familiar with this amount of snow: it gives a soft light even at night because it reflects everything, but most amazingly, it absorbs sounds and gives a specific winter-quietness.
When a Spanish friend saw this, he was worried someone could be underneath. Yes, that happens, but this is not that kind of blogpost.
It is cold too, of course. I remember that one year, I kept a snowball in the freezer and took it out during a spring party, to everybody's happy surprise. 
When it starts melting, it is not pretty - but makes me think of a new beginning, as if Earth starts over.
This is possible as well: rain and snow at once. Here you go, a riddle for the eye: is it 50 shades of white or of grey? 
And my favourite: first member of the Snow family. 

Monday, 7 November 2016

In search for a prince

She hitchhiked here from Madrid! This is near a nudist beach with a name very similar to mine. Photo not taken by me.
 And then we went to Caravaca de la cruz, where we had crisps for lunch and
 this statue was very tempting for climbing.
 I believe it is recurring in more than one places.
 Stable, good.
 Statue, Silvia and I were very amused.
  Little did we know that the castle behind us would close in five minutes.
 And we would not get to see the famous jewel-wrapped cross.
 That would make us discuss how easy the protecting walls would be to climb for two tourists in 2016 compared to an army in 1416.
 But first, the joy of a cement kiss.
We touristed down the hill, lost each other, found each other. Silvia taught me the other meaning of "squat".
 Then it was time for kissing again.
 "Why are you not becoming a prince?"
"Don't you have a boyfriend?"
"Yes, but you can never have too many princes."
 Well, especially not if they went through the very complicated process of morphing from an inanimate object to a human.
And then we went to Moratalla, by a bus that was hard to catch. I liked it, the houses seem to support the mountain from not falling down. More about Moratalla and its castle some other day.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Lemons and Mandarines and Oranges and

 It is not really the season yet, but soon. They hang tempting and heavy and only a few can be picked. Now I know why oranges are popular decoration objects in Sweden by Christmas!
 Lemons smell sweet from the outside. 
 Finding the riped is like looking for gems among the leaves.
 Lemon trees have longer spines than roses - be careful. 
Future lemonade. 
 I know moss tends to grow in a certain cardinal direction. What about tropical plants? 
 Nature's own phone wire that belongs to a naturally grown bath sponge. 
So hungry butterfly that it ignored the camera.
 Then I cut about 0.2% of an old road open.
 I totally get what it would be like with overgrown jungle all around. 
Parts of fagottos can be made of this can, had it grown under slightly more controlled circumstances. So music has silently been growing on this abandoned road for years :)