Summertime for the Desperate Artist

What did you think?  That I’d be the only one working in Madrid while the rest goes on vacation? 

          Yeah, right! 

          I’ll still be around and updated this page as often as I can in the coming two weeks or so, but it may be a little sporadic, I’m warning you.  But maybe not.  We’ll see.  Just letting you know.

         My alternative guide to Madrid is moving along, but it has gotten a little crazy of late as a few twists and turns have made it tough to catch up on everything, and there are a few details I’d rather not tell you about until I am fully aware of the facts.  I do this for the safety of some, including myself!   If I had guessed that, when I wandered up to the Fundación Juan March four weeks ago or so with the innocent intent on just rediscovering Madrid on a human scale, I’d been in the predicament I am in now, I just may have reconsidered.  But such is the world of a teacher/writer who can’t keep his nose out of other people’s business!   So the Desperate Artist’s Guide will continue, but beween good meals and siestas, and hopefully everything will turn out all right.  I’m sure it will. 

       In the meantime I’ll be adding more to an upcoming book on my tumultuous relationship with Spanish, and other projects.

       I just uploaded and made available an eBook version of my first book on Spain and Spanish Wine called “Let’s Open a Bottle” (for a nice price too) and my new books on the Camino de Santiago (both in Spanish and English) are just about ready, so hopefully they will be out no later than September 1st. 

       So, that’s the latest.  I’ll just keep posting and rolling…and rolling and posting!

       So, I am keeping busy and doing my best to buoy the struggling Spanish economy…both as a producer and consumer! 


Bienvenida Mrs. Obama!

It’s been over fifty years since the release of the Spanish comedy classic “Bienvenido Mr. Marshall” depicting a small modest Spanish town’s desire to turn itself into a flashy Andalusian village in order to impress the impending arrival of American dignitaries.  Director José Luis Berlanga ridiculed then Spain’s unabashed childish behavior whenever someone famous from abroad made their presence, and now half a century later, the attitude seems to still survive.  

      Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha have decided to spend a few days of their summer vacation in the south of Spain and there seems to be little talk of anything else.  The chosen town, Marbella (this time it really is Andalusia), was a hotspot for the semi-jetset during the 80s and 90s, but in the last decade it has seen its image tarnished by a series of real estate and political scandals, seriously affecting its tourism economy.  It just wasn’t cool to be there anymore.  But the Obama’s arrival may just turn things around there, and the locals are delighted.  

      The first day has not come without certain controversy.  Apparently the State Department had to remove a sentence on its website stating “racist prejudice could lead to the arrest of Afro-Americans who travel to Spain”. Can you believe it?  Aside from being a crock of you know what, what a lot of nerve those people have.  As if law enforcers back in the States have never been accused of that. Just ask the good Hispanic people in the state of Arizona.

      Anyway, the First Lady and her daughter have chosen a top-notch new hotel inland called the Villa Padierna as their home base.  It’s said to be one of the 30 best hotels in the world, but from what I have read, it sounds a little tacky and far removed from something with a real Spanish flavour to it.  Otherwise I guess it’s all right.

      Regardless, the Obamas don’t seem to have a reclusive agenda alongside the pool lined up. Today they spent the morning strolling around the downtown of Marbella looking at shops. The media here reported on every single item of clothing Michelle found interesting.  I think they even interviewed a few dresses.  And this afternoon, they presidential family is hoping to visit the Alhambra in Granada without having reserved their tickets, which I assume is supposed to mean they are doing what they can to be just like everyone else.  So far, so good.

      ¡Dios mío!  Now that I think of it, I’ve just written a brief article on their stay here too.  Mr. Berlanga would be laughing his ass off right now if he read this.  I have become just as Spanish as the rest of the country!