Skip to main content

Princesas de Primavera (Spring Princesses)

Writing in the local paper. Local issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.

It’s the time of year for cherries, little sailor suits, Playstations and travel agents with deals on trips to Euro Disney. I happened to be invited to a communion the other day and to this guiri travel writer, these celebrations are as exotic as bullfights, Songkran in Thailand or Novrus in Iran. It wasn't my first, so I had an idea as what to expect but this one happened to be in one of the megachurches in one of the newer parts of the city and therefore promised a different look at an old custom. It's been a warm spring and that particular day was no different. The traditionally sombrely dressed men had added a bit of color and had decided to dip into their clothing reserve that is normally reserved for summer weddings but it was definitely the rather short skirts that seemed to catch everyone’s...eye. When the ceremony began, I found myself inside the decorated gymnasium as the nervous children walked up the aisle, the weight of their protagonism etching itself in ever slightly different ways on their serious faces. As the ceremony drew on I found myself drifting outside along with clouds of incense and a steady stream of better-dressed people. Walking around the growing crowd, I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on conversations here and there. Lunch seemed to be the topic of the day with the key words being where the luncheon was taking place and how many had been invited. According to many, communions were becoming like weddings in order to help with that trip to see Mickey in Paris. Sentries peeked in on the ceremony now and then and as it began to come to an end, the crowds slid back in. The children were now standing at the front and a crush of paparazzi formed in front, but the priest had yet to finish. The crowd grew and so did the noise as the priest strained to be heard over the hum, 'Don't forget that while today is important, it would be nice to see this enthusiasm here tomorrow (Sunday).’ I don’t often agree with sermons from the pulpit but this time he was on to something.


Popular posts from this blog

The 10 Best Places to Swim...?

I read a post the other day listing the 10 best places to swim around the world. Reading through them I realized that I hadn't been to even one of them!

Poor me, but then I thought, wait...I've swum in some lovely places.

Let's narrow them down to 3 in no particular order.

Ginnie Springs, High Springs, Northern Florida

If northern Florida wasn't interesting enough in its own time travel way, these springs are perfect. It's a surreal place to swim among the Spanish moss while the alligators patrol out in the warmer river that the springs flow into (the big toothy grins don't like the cooler water).

Bir Ali, Yemen

Yemen never makes it onto the glossy Caribbean style travel brochures, but the emerald green of the Arabian Sea is a mighty match for hurricane alley. Just outside the town of Bir Ali you can camp on a deserted white sandy beach that seems to extend all the way down to Aden. Behind you the sands of the beach meet and mingle with those of the desert on the vol…

The Statue of Liberated Woman

Last night's Minaret exhibit was not only a chance to share some photos that I've taken on my travels but an opportunity to retrieve and relive some dusty memories that had been lying forgotten in my 1.0 memory chip mind.

During the evening, a few astute visitors were quick to notice an early Soviet-era statue that features prominently in one of the photographs, thus refreshing my memory in regards to one of my favourite emblems in Baku, Azerbaijan.

While living in the city, my wife and I lived just off Nizami square/Metro stop in the infamous 'Beysh Barmak'. Baku's first 5-story building (thus the name) that was stodgily yet sturdily built during the years of Russian rule. The window panes hadn't been changed since the 5 year plans, allowing the winter wind free access to the flat, but it was a handy address that every taxi driver knew...especially given the fact that I speak no Azeri or Russian, no matter how much vodka I drank.

At the time we lived there (2004-…

A Nestorian Epiphany in El Pais

A successful Chinese Buddhist businesswoman who professes her devotion to a 15th century crucifixtion figure gives birth to a Nestorian satori in my first piece blogging for El Pais. Of course, all framed within the slightly morbid context of the celebration here on the decidedly european Iberian peninsula of a man's death by torture so many years ago.