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Showing posts from January, 2014

Swedish Archaeology Finds in Extremadura

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.
One of the things that foreign friends visiting Spain for the first time never fail to comment on is their surprise at how late Spanish kids stay out playing in the parks during the summer. I usually keep quiet and wait until the next day and let them discover for themselves one of the main reasons for these midnight’s children. After exploring the often deserted old town and surrounding area, we usually venture out into the haphazard new town in search of life. It’s out here in the neighbourhoods of the city that my visitors stumble across their first epiphany. There under the fierce midday sun lies the tired, bleached Swedish plastic that kept the children occupied last night while their parents sat drinking sweaty caƱas at tables at a nearby terrace in search of that rare cooling summer breeze. The only shade to be …

Hiking in the Sierra Grande de Hornachos

You've really gone off the beaten path when the GPS in your rental car shows you are literally off the map. You're out here castle hopping your way north from Andalusia just as the Moors did a thousand years ago. A beautiful mountain range rises out of a carpet of vineyards. Set in the Sierra Grande de Hornachos, this ideal spot has attracted humans since cave painting was the "in" thing. You'll catch sight of  an eagle in this protected area as your hike through the lavender-scented trails leads you up to a beautifully ruined Arab castle, reminding you to not always listen to your GPS.

#hiking #history #wine #birding #mountains #vineyards #castle #muslim #castles #offthebeatenpath #offthegrid #moors #birdwatching #freelance #moorisharchitecture #sierra #alandalus #muslimspain

WOMAD, Caceres

Arabic ouds, Senegalese drums, and Mongolian fiddles bounce off 10th-century walls and reverberate onto 15th-century churches but have no fear, this is no military invasion. Spanish grannies rub shoulders and trade dance steps to the bouncing beat with dreadlocked Dutchmen, while pierced locals teach newfound Polish friends that it's not a sin to mix wine and coke. This is WOMAD, a festival that's been pulsing within the old city walls for nearly 20 years. Every second weekend in May, four days of free concerts by musicians from all over the globe are set in a fairy -tale setting, where the only rules are tolerance and, of course, pick up after yourself on your way home (though that last one often gets forgotten in the fun).

#music #architecture #festival #party #concerts #dance #historic #dancing #getaway #musicfestival #livemusic #unescoworldheritagesite #drumming #unesco #free #diverse #old #diversity #oldcity #global #15thcentury #worldmusic #10thcentury # #fest #womad #w…

New Year's Revolutions

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 hard to tell which Americanisms will get adopted in foreign lands and I suppose it’s even more difficult to predict just how these foreign trends will morph as they become fixed in the host culture. Unfortunately, these days it seems that my old neighbor to the south is exporting less Thomas Jefferson and more baggy pants and Miley Cirus. Even things that don’t necessarily originate in the good 'ol US of A often get rebranded in Hollywood and are exported via the latest blockbuster. A perfect example is Santa. The popular myth that Coca Cola turned the monk from Turkey red still holds fast with many but the influence the Americans have had on the figure the Dutch call Sinterklaas can’t be denied. Spanish cabalgatas de reyes (xmas parades) are far from being under threat but the fat man’s presence here in Spain…