I´m writing from the beach in Malaga. This I understand may make some of my alaskan and seattle friends Jeelous (or ¨celoso¨ as we like to say in the spanish), as it is sunny and 27 degrees celcius. I don´t think I´ve seen the sun in, oh, a century or so. To the american northwest: IT´S THE SKY ORB. THE YELLOW SKY ORB.
I was in sevilla yesterday and it is a fabulous european town chock full of narrow alleyways and unbombed streets. They have a castle and a palace garden (which I fell asleep in next to a birdbath) and row upon row of orange trees. The oranges are sour and intense. I gathered a few and squeezed them into pulp. It was terrible. Sevilla is great.
The fun parts: I met some Ozzies and we went to a local spanish pub to watch ¨the game¨ (I think that these quotation marks on this keyboard, as an aside, are actually ümlauts, which is why they may appear strange to you) and as we were wandering home, we came upon a crowd of uncertain men gathered around one of these charming narrow alleyways. Inside was another crowd of men in front of a structure, and a man on top of the structure wiring something. We went in the alley. The structure was a wooden cage full of men. Maybe ten men across, maybe fifteen long. The men wore towels as blindfolds.
The three of us looked at each other. We looked at the small crowd of onlookers and tried to blend in. ¨Just act natural,¨ one ozzie suggested. ¨Stop speaking english,¨ the other said. ¨This is a cult,¨ I said.
A man in a red jacket then yelled something like ¨time to go, boys,¨ and the man on top wiring things got off the cage–looked like he was attaching long beams of concrete to the roof. They looked heavy.
You know those movie clapboard things that directors will chop and say ¨Casablanca, scene seven, take two, aaaaaand action!¨ ··clap!·· Imagine one of those, except it is a crucifix, and attached to the front of a wooden cage full of men. Imagine, if you will, that an old spaniard in a red jacket claps this thing three times, and the men HOIST THE CAGE STRAIGHT UP. Then imagine that this old spaniard starts barking instructions to a cage full of blindfolded men, who then begin to march like a monstrous centipede down this alleyway barely wide enough to drive a car down. Imagine this thing moving towards you, your two new ozzie friends, and a small crowd of onlookers, who may or may not be involved in this ritual. Imagine it is very late at night, and you are a little drunk.
My brother Jari and I like to joke that ever since visiting georgia, we have fallen into an alternate universe, termed the “georgia-verse,” in which the impossible, bizarre, and potentially life-threatening are all daily occurances. We have fallen into these crevices, and shall probably attract all sorts of weird things to ourselves forever.
The three of us watched this cagelike man-machine caterpillar down the alleys of sevilla for awhile. They took small breaks, some of the men tagged out. Always the old red-jacketed man guided and instructed them, and knocked the crucfix to signal “up” or “down.” We went back to the hostel and slept troubled dreams. Welcome to western europe.