Friday, June 1, 2012


Tarifa -  sounds like Spanish for tariff.  No me gusta!
Tarifa- sounds like Spanish for taffy.  Me gusta!!
Actually, Tarifa is a town at the bottom of Spain and one of the main entry ways into Morocco.  It was the only reason we headed there.  As it turned out, it has a wonderful beach
and the quickest entry into Morocco.

(I took this picture of a billboard advertising Tarifa!  Standing on my tip toes just didn't give me the elevated shot that I was looking for!  Hence, when in need...plagiarize!)

Classic:  Some days you are the pigeon and some days you are the statue.  When you are the statue too often...change parks!

There aren't many photos of specifically Tarifa.  Think San Diego circa 1929.  Yeah, small, but manageable.  We stayed in a hostel 3 blocks from the beach.  We both liked it a great deal.  It was good for Zack because at about midnight, he and about 20 others from the hostel would go out... and not with DAD.  What a drag I must be!!!  I don't blame him one bit.

Anyway, here are some random pictures that were taken in Tarifa, but could have been just about anywhere in Spain.  They are meant to give you some ideas of normal life in Spain.

What does the CIA want with this old man?  The answer is at the end of this post.

These are Tapas.  Every restaurant has tapas.  They are overpriced little portions for the most part, unless you have a stomach the size of a bird, or just aren't hungry.  They are fun, however.  Four of us went out the other night and ordered 7 or 8 tapas, a 6E bottle of wine, and six 1.5E beers and the bill was 38E or roughly $50.  You choose what tapas you want, and they bring a tiny portion.  It's good if you want to try some different foods, or to help you avoid ordering a whole dinner and taking one bite, scrunching your face, pushing the plate away, and saying, "I can't eat that!!  It's still alive!"  The portions are so tiny, however, that you may have to cut a croquet the size of your little finger into 4 parts.  That's why when I have tapas... I go order a pizza after we leave the restaurant!

Now this is good...real good.  Usually, I get coffee con leche and a pastry... but on this particular morning I noticed that someone at a table next to me had this drink.  It was a coffee con leche, however, instead of milk, it had condensed milk.  Mucho sweeter.  Like I needed that kicker in the ticker.  I was speeding my brains out!  Could have written a novel in thirty minutes.  Changed the oil in my car in 10.


    One thing I can't get use to is the graffiti.  Everywhere.  On the ATM screens.  On people's homes, on their businesses. I hear people defend this and I take out my small can of spray paint and scribble nonsense on their forehead.  Wow!  Do they have a change of heart.
    Come on Europeans!  Grow a backbone and cane these little malfeasant bastards!  Go Singapore on them!
No one has a right to do that to someone else's property.  It just isn't nice.

This is a sign that you see all through the state of Andalucia.  I'm not sure about the No and Do part, put the figure eight in the middle represents a knot, as in Andalucians are tied together with the King of Spain,  It is meant to send a message to Madrid that even though  several states in Spain that would break free and become their own countries if they could, Catalunya (Barcelona) and the Basque region on the French border, Andalucia is loyal to their King!!
     No doubt this has a double effect:
1) the King sleeps better knowing that at least 1/3 of the people support him and 2) Andalucia has much better  roads!

You gotta admit:  These little grocery stores are like shopping in Lego Land.  I love them because I can save mucho bucks rather than eating out.  But like Albertson's, Frye's??  Whoa!!  And the best part are the little carts for groceries.  Repeat after me:
Zoom Zoom!!

Okay and now for the original reason we went to Tarifa. It's only 15 miles from Africa. Morocco to be exact.  More on that later.   As for Tarifa, nothing but good memories.  The beach is on the Atlantic and it was a bit nippy, however, people were swimming...they just weren't named Zack or Steve!

The answer is nothing!  The two boofs are not CIA - they are turistas trying to blend in as locals while having a coffee in a outdoor cafe.  The old man is playing his accordion with the greatest sales/bum pitch ever:  Por favor... Por favor, leche para mi cachorro!   Please, milk for my puppy!  He could have added accordion lessons and got just as much money.

Seville - city of jacarandas

We started in Madrid, then up to Segovia (not on the map but it's about 60 miles NW of Madrid), then on to Avila, (not on the map but it's about 40 miles NW of Madrid) and now we're in Sevilla! Sevilla is about  6 hours southwest from Madrid.

Seville - which the Spanish pronounce as Say- Bee -ya, has it's own Alcazar (castle) which rambles on forever.  Gazillions of rooms, huge gardens, and beautiful patios.  

The Alcazar is built in typical Moorish style - Mudejar  - pronounced Moo day jar, NOT muddy jar!  I've noticed several things about castles, mansions, alcazars, and chateaus:
1. I'll never be able to afford them.
2. No one I hang with will ever be able to afford them.
3. They are not built for casual lounging about.
4. No one I've ever known will ever be able to afford them.

Zack was actually awestruck by the palace. I figured he would be ready to leave know... seen one 1000 year old mansion/castle...seen 'em all.  But he wanted to stay!  By all means, let's soak up this history!

I love the doorways that look like giant keyholes.  As you peer through this doorway you can see one of the flying buttresses on the cathedral of Seville.
    The seated man in the white shirton the far right  is the "vigilante".  I'm not making this up.  He's the "guard",  He's suppose to be watching out for bad people.  He must be very good at his job as he never stood up  or even looked up, despite 1000's of people that walked through the gates.
    He's what's known as a
"sitting buttress"...

To an adult, it's cute.  Maybe even adorable.  BUT... To a fellow student with anger's an open invitation for one serious butt-kicking.

Ohhhhh.... it's his  outfit for First Communion, cool!!  Really cool.  Just don't send him to school like this!!

Now these pictures deserve to be in the Prado!!

Purple rain!

Yes!  Yes!! It's true!
Zack and I have found a way to make money as we travel through Spain.  We are now Flamenco dancers!

For 14E, we were in a little hole-in-the-wall dive that's been around since before Columbus was turned into an accordion-sized corpse, given a free drink -
a) watered down sangria or b) local beer called CruzCampo,  CruzCrappo as it is known amongst the tourists!.
But the show was the real deal.  Incredible amount of energy.  The guitarist was equally talented.  Made me realize just how many talented people walk by you on the street every day and you would never guess in what field they are talented.

I wonder if people recognize my talent when they pass me on the street. My talent is, "the ability to recognize and appreciate great food!"

After a good day of castle climbing and flamenco dancing, what better way to cap the day than with a cold glass of sangria and a plate of paella!
Muy sabroso!!