Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What's Trending In Beachwear

Update On the Residency Cards:
I went through a box of miscellaneous stuff in my office and found our old passports! I have no idea why the US Embassy mailed them directly to that box. OK, I apologize for saying we never received them. Anyway, San Geraldo will make copies of our old passports and we can head back this week to complete the process. What a relief! Coming up with other documentation was turning into a major problem.

Hot Style at the Beach
I was walking on the beach the other day when I spotted someone in the distance who was exposing so much of his hind quarters that he needn't have bothered wearing a bathing suit.

Major plumber's crack (commonly referred to as builder's bum in parts of Great Britain). It's also called "hucha" in Spanish, which is the word for the slot in a piggy bank or vending machine.

Since, as you might remember, I enjoy sharing collected images of huchas (click here and here), I began snapping away. But when I zoomed in I was even more surprised by what I saw.



THE LATEST IN BEACH FASHION: THE SUIT WITH THE BUILT-IN HUCHA.

Truth be told, this is just a pocket belt to hold all the loot he finds while metal-detecting. But I'm much more entertained by my own version of reality.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Unrenewed. Next Stop, Columbus.

Our experience at the Foreigners Office this morning was a pleasure. But we needed copies of our passports that expired last year and the US consulate did not return them when they sent us our new passports. So, now, in lieu of those passports, we have to go back within 10 days with documentation that shows we were living here for the seven months not covered between the last copy of our old passports and the start of our current passports — utility bills, monthly payments, etc. If we had our old passports, this would be a breeze. Now it's just a bit of searching, downloading, and copying. The requirement is that, in our first 5 years here, we may not have been out of the country for more than 3 months at any one time or for a total of 10 months over the entire 5 years. We haven't. Now we just have to document what's missing. Still, I have tremendous appreciation for Málaga's Oficina de Extranjeros! Even the security guards were kind and professional.

THE TOMB OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
IN SEVILLA CATHEDRAL.
Colomares Castle in Benalmádena was begun in 1987 and completed in 1994. It was built by a retired American, Esteban Martín Martín, to honor Christopher Columbus.

Martín claimed to be disappointed by the lack of homage paid to Columbus.

I wonder, did he not read his history books?

I had never heard of the castle and discovered it (kind of like Columbus discovered America), when admiring the view from up above in Benalmádena Pueblo. It wasn't until I got home that I learned what it actually was.

Promoters of the castle claim that it contains the Guinness Book of World Records' smallest church. The church is said to be 1.96 square meters (6.43 square feet). However, I cannot substantiate their claim anywhere other than in information provided by the promoters of Colomares Castle.

Alongside what is probably not the world's smallest church is an empty mausoleum in which, I've read, Martín hoped Columbus's remains would one day be re-laid to rest. Not likely.

In addition to his apparent adoration of Columbus, Martín was a huge admirer of the late Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. I don't think I'll be investing my 2 euros to visit this castle (of which you can only see the exterior).

MY FIRST SIGHTING. WHAT IS THAT?
WORKING MY WAY AROUND FOR A MORE COMPLETE VIEW. 
THIS IS PROBABLY AS CLOSE AS I'LL EVER GET.
(UNLESS I GET A BETTER ZOOM LENS.)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

From Toledo to Corpus Christi

In the past few weeks we've gone from Toledo to Corpus Christi. And we haven't left Spain.

Corpus Christi is a "feast" celebrating the belief in the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist (bread and wine). That's all the religion you'll get from me today.

I attended the festivities because Paula (Tynan and Elena's adored 13-year-old daughter who is a gifted oboe player) was marching at noon in Benalmádena Pueblo. Benalmádena is the town just east of us. Benalmádena Pueblo is the old town and a white village similar to Mijas Pueblo (click here).

A tradition at Corpus Christ is to adorn procession routes with intricate flower mosaics. The art on Calle Real was lovingly created in the morning and happily trod upon a few hours later. Other streets were strewn with carnations and greenery, terraces were adorned with elegant shawls and tapestries, walls were lined with flowers and plants.

It was promoted as the festival of Corpus Christi only because they couldn't publicly admit that all the festivities were in honor of our upcoming 5-year renewal (see yesterday's post).

(Click the images to see how big Benalmádena Pueblo went in our honor.)

MY FIRST VIEW FROM THE TOP OF CALLE REAL.

WORKING MY WAY DOWN CALLE REAL.
CONTINUING ALONG THE WAY.
REACHING THE END
(AND ALL BEFORE THE MAJOR CROWSD ARRIVED).
CALLE ALAMOS DECORATED AND STREWN WITH CARNATIONS AND GREENERY.
PLAZA DE ESPAÑA.
CALLE ALAMOS FROM THE OTHER DIRECTION.
LOCAL PRIVATE DISPLAYS OUTSIDE HOMES.
(ABOVE, AND THE TWO THAT FOLLOW.)


A LOCAL BROTHERHOOD'S TRIBUTE
ON PLAZA ANDALUCÍA.

AFTER THE PARADE PASSES BY.

OUR FAVORITE PAULA!
MY FEET AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW...

Sorry for the poor sound quality.
This band is really good!
video

A final note (and smile) from Paula...
video

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Sense Of Renewal

In the more than 34 years San Geraldo and I have been together, we have moved nearly 20 times. (That's why I called my blog, Mitchell Is Moving; it seemed like a safe bet.)

We lived in Connecticut (two different homes) for a total of 7 years.

We lived in San Diego (two different homes) for a total of 5-1/2 years.

Those were our record stays. We spent no longer than 3 years in any other place.

In July, we will have been in Spain 5 years — nearly 1-1/2 years in Sevilla and, now, 3-1/2 years here in Fuengirola. Long enough to graduate from a temporary residency card to a long-duration residency card. The new cards won't need to be renewed for another five years. To review our renewal history, click here.

The Málaga Foreigners' Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) has been phenomenal, responding kindly and completely to my three emails within minutes of their being sent. The last email was to request our appointment. I sent it Friday afternoon, received a response Friday evening, and we already have our appointments — on Monday!

Here's hoping the in-person experience is as exceptional.

APRIL 2011: WE EACH HAD OUR OWN ACCORDION FILE WHEN WE APPLIED
AT SPAIN'S LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, CONSULATE FOR OUR VISAS
JUNE 2011: SAN GERALDO SHOWING OFF HIS VISA AT THE CONSULATE.
THIS WOULD SIMPLY ALLOW US TO APPLY FOR RESIDENCY CARDS IN SPAIN!
AUGUST 2011: DOCUMENTS FOR OUR FIRST
TEMPORARY RESIDENCY CARDS IN SEVILLA. 
OCTOBER 2011: THERE WAS A PARADE IN SEVILLA AFTER WE RECEIVED
OUR FIRST RESIDENCY CARDS (GOOD FOR 1 YEAR).
NOVEMBER 2012: AFTER RENEWING FOR THE FIRST TIME (GOOD FOR 2 YEARS),
OUTSIDE THE OFICINA DE EXTRANJEROS, PLAZA DE ESPAÑA, SEVILLA.
SEPTEMBER 2014: AFTER WE RECEIVED OUR 2ND RENEWAL (GOOD FOR 2 MORE YEARS),
FUENGIROLA CELEBRATED BY CLEANING THE STREETS. NO PARADE.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Perfect Martina in Mijas Pueblo

Before taxiing up to Mijas Pueblo Monday morning, I did some research on restaurants and found one that sounded good for lunch. Described by visitors as "off the beaten path" and "a quiet escape," Restaurante La Martina sounded like a good option.

It was better than good. It's on one of the main pedestrian streets in the center of town but the neighborhood very quickly became residential. In addition, La Martina is up some steps on a terrace that overlooks the street. The terrace was inviting but the sun was hot so I peeked inside. The long narrow interior opened onto another terrace out back. That terrace was even more inviting. We sat, the waiter rolled out an awning to provide some shade, and the day got even better. (Click the images to see how much better things got.)

THE FRONT TERRACE ON CALLE MÁLAGA.
THE BACK TERRACE.
FRIED CAMEMBERT TOPPED WITH RASPBERRY JAM.
COMPLEMENTS OF THE HOUSE.
HOMEMADE CHICKEN PATE.
MY REVUELTO (SPANISH SCRAMBLE) WITH SHRIMP AND MUSHROOMS.
JUDY'S REVUELTO WITH ASPARAGUS AND IBERIAN HAM.
LOOKING BACK DOWN CALLE MÁLAGA AFTER LUNCH.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mijas Pueblo: A White Village

Andalusia is noted for, among so many things, its Pueblos Blancos (White Villages). There is a series of famed pueblos blancos along a recommended route through the northern parts of Cádiz and Málaga provinces. The villages are characterized by whitewashed walls and traditional red/brown tile roofs. Some were settled in prehistoric times and the cave paintings can still be seen. Roman ruins, ancient defensive walls, charm, and amazing vistas.

We have our own beautiful example here in the south just 7 kilometres away in the mountains and it's called Mijas Pueblo. It's a 10 minute car, bus, or taxi ride and it's taken me more than three years to get there. Judyshannonstreetwhat and I visited Mijas Pueblo Monday. From the top, we could see our home in Fuengirola, which seemed ages away.

And there was great shopping and seriously good food, too!  Food photos are still to come.

(Click the images for grander views.)










Monday, May 23, 2016

Toledo Trinkets And Tasty Treats

Although I have perhaps another 400 photos from Toledo, I've decided to save you the agony. You've seen enough here (for now at least). However, we did buy ourselves some trinkets at a very special shop owned by a very special couple. The shop is called Arte and it can be found on Calle Hombre de Palo, 19 (a short street behind the Cathedral).

Toledo is known for its Damasquinado or Damasquina (in English, Damascene). It's the art of decorating steel with threads of gold and silver — and also known as Toledo Gold. Toledo is famous for this handicraft, which is used on everything from swords (Toledo steel), knives, scissors, and other sharp instruments I try to avoid; as well as for jewelry, platters, art, and much more.

Judy bought herself a watch with a beautifully intricate bracelet band, as well as a couple of pairs of exquisite scissors for sewing.

I bought myself a wrist band/bracelet (pulsera in Spanish) and a couple of pairs of earrings.

The earrings are for the two holes in my left ear that My Mother The Dowager Duchess forbade me to pierce in 1994 (when I was 40). Months later, the first time she saw me with my ear pierced, she complained that my earrings were too small!



Although what I chose for myself was not tourist-grade trash (thats not available at Arte) it was very simply done and inexpensive. San Geraldo and I first found Arte on our own. What drew us in was a window display of some beautifully done glass pieces containing Klimt images. We ended up buying a candle holder that stands about six inches (15 cm) tall.

KLIMT'S "THE WOMAN IN GOLD."

Toledo is also known for its Marzipan (mazapan). I had never been much of a fan of marzipan, appreciating it only as art because I didn't realize there was more to it than the fruit forms in fruit colors. Then I discovered Spanish mazapan! Below is the box I bought at a very special shop called Santa Tomé. Don't expect to get a taste. They're gone. San Geraldo didn't even get a taste. I thought he didn't like mazapan. I swear! I really thought he didn't like it. Honest!

But I'm not as bad as Judyshannonstreetwhat. She bought a box of mazapan and said she was going to give it to Tynan and Elena (Note: Not share with, give to).

A few days later, Judy admitted the plan had changed since there wasn't much left in the box.

The reason? "Well, I was worried it wouldn't stay fresh after it was opened."

THE BOX.
AFTER I REMOVED THE SEAL FROM OURS ... MINE.
I THEN ALSO WORRIED IT WOULD LOSE ITS FRESHNESS.


Because I love Laura Nyro and because she says "marzipan" around 4 minutes and 12 seconds into this 5-minute and 7-second song...