Friday. We’re headed into Semana Santa, which should prove to be interesting if not downright strange. There’s a concentration of Catholics in the United States but they lack the…Latin-ness…and Latin party-stamina necessary to undergo a week-long holiday celebrating their faith. I’ve heard stories that the most florid celebration happens in Sevilla, and when it’s rained out the people go full-tilt into beating their breasts, weeping and carrying on and tearing their hair for their love of Christ and apparent disappointment that the devil would so punish them with his galactic water-gun.We’ll be staying in Zafra but may journey to Jerez de Caballero, or Jerez de la Frontera, where sherry is made. After much deliberation and study our researchers have determined passing such a holy week sober doesn’t fall within the bounds of what can be considered healthy, for us or them.

Today, I have prepared a lesson and have been working at a side project (a music video) and have been listening only to Bombino, a Nigerian guitarist. His skills are mesmerizing and sublime, and at the moment I can’t think of a contemporary guitarist more original than this guy. His album is streaming at NPR right now. The sun is shining and we’ve discarded a bottle of rum, and will move on to Erdinger after my classes. For €8 we’ve found a 5-pack with a free glass included, of the 1L variety made to accommodate those huge German bottles. It is summer here; the doors are thrown open and the Germans and English have descended onto the Iberian peninsula, trying to glean some respite from their respective climates. The people here call them (and us) guiris (pronounced “giddies”). A true guiri must have:

  1. chanclas con calcetínes: flip-flops with socks
  2. una camera: a camera slung around their neck
  3. un sombrero: a hat, generally a frowsy fishing hat worn by either sex
  4. piel blanco: white, very pale skin (this means that Asians cannot be guiris, for example)
  5. pantalones cortos: shorts

This may sound super-specific, but I’ve seen them. The British are nothing if not predictable tourists. Savi has been deemed a hopeless guiri but I have been excluded from the category by merit of my dark hair, eyes, and tan skin. They think I may be French, or Italian, which is fine by me.

Summer is here. The palms are swaying, the people are all out in their finery and sitting at shaded tables in the plaza, or pushing along babies in strollers equipped with parasols. Que calor, they say from the confines of their jeans and button-down shirts, while gawking at us in our shorts. No pasa nada, tios.


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