Sunday, March 30, 2008

an oath of love was your dying cry

As a romantic, I long to be in love. I think I fall in love with cities to satisfy that a little.
The thing about cities is they come at me like love stories, relationships between them and my heart. Boston and Portland charmed me, sweet like summer camp romances, my heart skips a little at their name, and I know there will always be a spark. San Diego, my Gold best friend, always near and dear to my heart, the ever-present knowledge thaet I will forever return home to it.
San Francisco my steady darling, wooing me from the beginning and with the ability to constantly reinforce that sweet love, take me by suprise, romance me, remind why I love it so. We have such a love affair, my Heart and San Francisco.
New York's fire smoked, but never ignited a flame, Paris, my celebrity crush--that fabulous ideal, the captain of the football team, that just seams unreal, impossible. Paris is the one you stalk, lust after, dream while in, near. It is the awe-striking adonis that I swoon over when in it's presence, yet when away somehow isn't what I find myself longing, yearning for.
And there is Spain. While not a city, and so unfair to be judged against such, each city holds true to the feeling. I think perhaps Spain is my Soul's True Love, its epic romance, the love story of my heart that I fear will end as a tradgedy of Virginia Wolf proportion. There is a peaceful excitement the moment I set foot within its bounds. It is like many other things as that ideal, with unrealized faults becuase I have not truely known it. Like a long distance relationship, our times are sweet and full of romance, lacking the opportunity for the hum-drum or negative to be seen, experienced, realized.
San Francisco remains.
I'm having a hard time getting back on the wagon. While there is much to be said for the comforts of home, it feels like I am trying to think positively, finding the good points to get myself through, selling myself on my current life. I hear myself thinking I would forsake the comforts of home for the adventure of traveling, or living abroad, even, if out of a suitcase.

Today I met Krista for brunch. We spent the morning catching up over mimosas, followed by boutiquing through the Mission. A beautiful City day, we ended up at Tartin, for afternoon treats and tea, and strolled past the park on our way home. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon, and a neccesary reminder of how much and why I adore San Francisco.

I think it's going to be about finding the balance, until I can actually live in Europe, finding things in the States or the City that satisfy my European longings, and enjoying what the City has to offer so I'm happy here, and not wasting days. I do so love living here, and feel like I may have brought home with me a zeal for living a young life, full of night and adventures.

All in all, my body is still tired, but my soul feels rested.

PS I accidently killed Marco Thursday morning. God rest his little fins, I'm a terrible mother.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tainted Love's too fast to dance to

Here is a list of 20 things I love right now:

-Tuesday night pub quiz
-sunshine on my skin
-spring flowers
-good beer: mostly Belgian and British creamy blonde ales. esp. Affligem Blonde
-when ballet goes modern, like the joffrey ballet or esp this video:
La La La Human Steps: Amelia
-sundresses and cardigans
-Vampire Weekend's self-titled CD, and Iron & Wine's Woman King EP
-street art / grafitti, esp stenciled
-the colors mustard yellow and emerald green
-red lipstick and penciled brows that make me feel like 1948
-forward thinkers like Antoni Gaudi, Diane VonFurstenburg and Eero Saarinen
-McSweeney's Quarterly Concern
-good conversation
-rooftop patios


I am home safe and sad. I need to live in Europe. I'm going to try to learn Portugese.

PS I love love love the double cheek kisses, why hasn't that carried over to the US??

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

i said no no no

The Gugg is incredible, and the current exhibits perfect for me.

It's now time for me to leave. Hasta luego mi Espana, te amo.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Blame it on the rain

I did not make it out to San Sebastian today, I had just missed the bus and the next one wouldn't be for another two hours, so I decided to save the 18 euros and put my Bilbao city guide to work. I took the metro out to Portugalete, to see El Transbordador de Vizcaya, and wandered through Portugalete down to the river, and paid the 0,30 euro to take the gonola over to Getxo and see the bridge in action. Man, what a marvel.

So the "Bridge" was built in 1893, and it has a gondola that hangs at road level from the top part, and ferries cars and people accross connecting Portugalete and Getxo. It's a working port at the mouth of the Nervion off Biscay, so big huge ships have to get through, and it's so incredible. Plus it's beautiful. The sky and weather was not, but the bridge still was. My book said its called the Eiffel Tower of Bilbao, with its weblike iron design. I love that these kind of architechtural stories are all over Spain. (Tomorrow I'm going to the Gugg to see Gehry's ingenuity that revived Bilbao, and also the Zubizuri footbridge, and Sat night I was in Barca, surrounded by Gaudi's wonders.)

I took the bridge across to Getxo, a supposedly awesome seaside town, that was a fishing village, but it was hard to feel that in the rain. I didn't go very far in --everywhere everything was closed today (in all three cities) being Monday, and especially the Monday after Easter, it's still a holiday-- just a few blocks in before giving up and heading back to a cafe on the waterfront. I rested and warmed and dried up with a cafe con leche, and then went back across the river via the transbordador and stopped in another cafe in Portugalete for a slice of tortilla and a glass of Calimotxo. The tortilla may have been the best I've ever had--amazing, and this was my first Calimotxo. --It's good, I could make it at home, it's more like a refresher than a wine or cocktail tho. I liked it enough to get it again in Bilbao later tho, novelty I'm sure. I chatted with the young bartender, a gal from Paraguay, about travelling, the US, (she did an exchange program in Kansas, but had wanted to be in California instead) Europe and South America. She practiced her english, and I my castellano, and we had a good time. She wants to go to Las Vegas, and is not the first person we have talked to who said that. Really, Vegas? Gross, of all the places in the US to visit, don't go to Vegas (and we tell them that).

I metroed back to Bilbao, and to Casco Viejo for the Ascensor de Begona, which was a severe dissppointment, but a pretty walk back down the steps and through Casco Viejo (old Bilbao) which is charming and I would think a lovely place to be on a sunny spring or summer afternoon. I stopped for churros con chocolate and calimotxo to get out of the rain and wind again, and then found myself at the Catedral de Santiago, a happy accident as it is amazingly beautiful with flying buttresses and high cathedral arched ceilings, gorgeous windows up top. It was late, getting dark and my umbrella broke this morning, so holding it together in the wind was getting challenging, and I came back to Sheila's. My face burns at now being warm, it's skin beaten all day.

Tomorrow is art in Bilbao, and I plan to spend more time indoors, in the Museo de Belles Artes and the Guggenheim, before I have to pack up and head out. My flight leaves at 8:25pm, and i have little desire to be on it. It takes me to BCN for the night, but I don't know if I will leave the airport. I'm worried about getting back in time, and right now, all I can think about is how cold and tired I will be. I might end up sleeping in the airport. My back and shoulders are so tight and knotted right now I feel like throwing up. Goodnight with sweet love from Bilbao.

my skinny jeans are stretched out and it makes me feel like i've lost weight, but that's a falsehood.

In: a cafe in Getxo, Spain.

On the table in front of me rests a cafe con leche treat. Throught the window is El Transbordador de Vizcaya, the river Nervion, and Portugalete. A few feet away sits an old man in a cranberry colored cordouroy suit, drinking a small glass of beer, and at the table next to him, a man sits smoking a ciggarette and drinking his own cafe con leche, ordered at the bar just before mine. The rain and harsh winds outside makes me want to stay here and order a second cup, but I will move on to another place, one in Portugalete, which is too charming for words, even in the gloom. I'm okay with not having gone to San Sebastian, this bridge is incredible. I'll save San Sebastian and Biarritz for another time, when I come in higher season and can fully enjoy their bounty. Rainy days are not for them. Rainy days are for cafe con leche inside looking out.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Buttercup is marrying Humperdink in little less than half an hour.

So we left Portugal behind, and I don't want to face that I have to head back to real life in two days.

I need to live in Europe. I long to live in Europe. I want to marry a European boy, with European style, European romance, and a European accent. I want to have a European life, with a value of culture, and where the streets are small, the buildings beautiful, the travel made easy, and adventures are like banks--around every corner. Please let me live here. I need to find a way. I will miss Mexican food, my people, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the American music scene, but I will have good wine, new people, and dancing all night.

::this is long, fair warning::

Thursday night took us out again, we found our new friends, and finally made it out to a disco, which was eh. The music was bad, and we were not drunk enough to make it work, but we danced and it was fun, a bit of a bust, but it ended with more wine and good conversation and a lively time until after dawn once again, complete with a little tipsy off-roading in the Jeep. Going to bed when you usually get up means you lose daylight, but we made it to the beach in time for some sun late Friday afternoon, an almost swim (just too cold to go past my thighs, even if it was my last chance to swim on that beautiful beach. Shi and I felt like spectacles for the day, like Sex and the City coming home, and then attempting to take jumping pics on the beach. You'd think that generation would know by now that ours is picture crazy, and we aren't about the portrait.
We had some errands to run in town, and decided to finally go to out to dinner in Albufeira, try and find something Portuguese, maybe a little peixes, and ate way too much of a delicious meal out. We came home to find that we'd missed the boys on their way home to Lisbon. They were so sweet, stopped by to say goodbye, and left us a cd of their favorite Portuguese singer Mariza--which Sheila and I listened to in the car on the way to the airport, and is beautiful, I recommend looking into it. Plus, from the album cover, she has cute hair and amazing cheekbones. --Those boys made our trip, I am glad to have new friends, and hope they will remain so and some time come visit us in the City.

Then we packed it up and said our goodbye to our Praia Oura with a bottle of red Portuguese wine and a clove out on our patio under the stars.

The thing about travelling, is that it's not always going to work out as planned, and not being the most flexible, it's good for me to get this practice. We had a 6am flight, and a 1/2 hr drive to Faro, so we left our hotel at 4:30am. THAT is an early hour, and one we had already been seeing the past few mornings. Our flight from Faro for some reason left a half hour ahead of schedule, I guess if everyone was there and on board, why not?? which got us to Lisbon early, but Lisbon was having some computer issues, and our flight was delayed boarding and on the runway for an hour and half, which caused us to miss our connection in Barcelona. I have done a ton of airport hopping this trip, man oh man. Well, there were no more flights to Bilbao, and TAP said there was no other option of getting to Bilbao, so they'd get me a hotel and I would fly out in the morning. I'LL TAKE IT!! Unfortunately, TAP took three and a half hours to do things, so I didn't get time in during daylight or buisness hours, but I saw Barca, ate and drank, made friends with the kindly young bartender at Cafe De L'Opera--who hopes to see me again, wink-- had a hot shower and a nice bed, and was put in Business Class on both the flight to Madrid and to Bilbao, it was quite okay. I'm sad Sheila missed the amenities --I even was given sipping chocolate from Spanair, and my Coke Light came in a real glass on Iberia-- but she went off to Rome directly from BCN, and had planned on skipping out on the last leg anyways. PS--snow all over Basque country, and it is raining and muy frio in Bilbao. Grr.
I found my way home to Sheila's with only a few hiccups, and releived some stress by cleaning her kitchen and cooking myself a little Easter dinner. I have done too much traveling in too little time, with too little sleep, and my body hurts all over. I have not made plans for tomorrows hopefull trip to the Bay of Biscay, whether I see it in Spain or France, and how and when to get there, but it has rained all afternoon and is not at all pleasant outside. I wonder if it will even be worth it.
At this point, I'm very uncertain what the next two days and my night in Barcelona will look like, pray for nice weather please! Cold could be okay, I brought warm things and while I brought a raincoat and umbrella, I have little desire to wander around in the rain too much.
Heres hoping for some deep sleep, pleasant dreams, and waking up refreshed at a decent but early hour.
With sweet love from Spain on a tired and lonely Easter.

Lost and Found

i wanna go to magnolia mountain, and lay my weary head down,
down on the rocks, on the mountain my savior made
steady my soul and ease my worry,
hold me when i rattle like hummingbird hummin',
tie me to the rocks on the mountian my savior made

lie to me
sing me a song
sing me a song until the morning comes
and if the morning come
will you lie to me
will you take to your bed will you lay me down
'till i'm heavy like the rocks of the river bed that my savior made for us

i wanna be the blue bird singing singing to the roses in her yard
the roses in her yard her father grew for her
its been raining like a tennessee honey so long i got too heavy to fly
but there aint no bluebird ever get to heavy to sing

lie to me
sing me a song
sing me song until the morning comes
and if the morning don't come
will you lie to me
will you take to your bed will you lay me down
till i'm heavy like the rocks in the river bed that my savior made for us

we burned the cotton feilds down in the valley and ended up with nothin' but scars
the scars became the lessons that we gave to our children, after the war
there ain't nothing but the truth of a magnolia mountain, where nobody ever dies
steady your soul and ease your worry, they got a room for you

lie to me, like i lie to you
calm me down until the morning comes
and if the morning don't come
lie to me
will you take me to your bed, will you lay me down,
all heavy like the rocks in the river bed that my savior made for us
for us, for me

Saturday, March 22, 2008

that sweet city, she is a temptress too

In: a tapas bar in Barcelona, Spain.

Enchantress and temptress, her beauty lures me and I feel pressure to do things when I should just go to bed.
Sure, it's no wonder I'm feeling sick, as I haven't really slept in three days. PS, it is 7 degrees celcius here, and I'm wearing as much as i have to stay warm, but am freezing! I've fluffed my scarf up as much as possible, and bought some sore throat tablets from a farmacia, and am thinking it can't be all that cold, but I haven't been able to get warm. I don't really know how cold 7 degrees is, probably not even that cold, but it sure feels it. All combined with not sleeping, and being forced to be flexible--and reap the rewards--and also the consequences, has made my entire body ache and or hurt.
Um, PS, I feel a little bit like prey tonight, as I sit here at this Tapas bar, finally after much walking and seeing and being lost in the cold and wet. It's as if the whole wait staff is rooting for ONE of them to pick me up. I don't appreciate their forwardness, and it is almost midnight already, and I have a 7am wake up call. Since the bus comes only once every 30 minutes, it could take me snf hour to get back to my hotel, so no, I will not let you buy me a beer at the next bar Mohammed from Pakistan. I'm obviously not Spanish (I do not have bangs like every other one, and talk to me for more than a moment, and you'll hear that I'm not) but come on, I'm not your target, and you're not my type. At the airport today, they kept asking if I wanted them to speak in French, apparently I looked very French today. Fine by me, I'd rather look French while in Europe than American. And the French are known for style. Thank you lost equipaje counter man, now if you could only have worked quicker with the people before me.
Sangria and the warmth of being inside, and my tasty patatas bravas, are all taking affect, along with my 4:30am wake up call and very long day of travelling, and I am ready to already be back at my hotel, wash my face, brush my dientes, and hit my cama-- like WHOA.
It's now midnight. It is Easter Sunday. Praise the Lord for His Son who rose today and made it possible for me to know the peace that is Jesus and His blessed salvation. Amen.

Pues, aqui estoy en Barcelona

unas de las cuidads cuales tienen mi corazon mas de todas.

Too much drama at the airport today, courtesy of TAP, Air Portugal, NO thank you very much, but for all my troubles, and a freaking lot of wating today, I recieve a night in Barcelona on them. Whoohoo!!
Here is my short to-do list: (which is more like a to eat list, but it's night, so I can't go see places really)

Patatas Bravas
Churros con Chocolate de Cafe de L'Opera
Passeig de Gracia
La Sagrada Familia (I need to at least see something Gaudi, and see if I can tell what's changed in a year)

I am le tired, but I cannot waste this time in Barcelona with a nap! A hot shower and get some bearings, and then it's into the city I go.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

It's been a long slow collision

Yesterday was good, last night was better.
Wednesday night we went out for the first time, met ourselves some new friends, danced, walked home early (2am) because we had to get up early to go to Lisbon. A very good night. I hope Roberto and Ruben really do email us and we keep our friends from Galicia.

We drove up to Lisbon yesterday, it poured rain most of the way, as soon as we got out of the Algarve. We were not prepared. Oh man how it rained down on us. Beautiful countryside, but a tiny highway (we opted for the free National Highway instead of the toll (would end up being like €20 for the whole way), in the rain, slower than we had planned, meant for a long drive. We learned some very expensive lessons about toll roads in Portugal, and had to pay €36.50 instead of the €2 we should have had to pay, becuase we went through the wrong booth and didn´t take a ticket. OUCH. A long car ride, turned longer, since we didn´t have coats or an umbrella to get out and see things, so we drove through them. And got lost a lot. Into Sintra, beautiful, quaint, medeival town, with 7 castles, and drove winding tiny mossy roads, that looked like they belonged in Robin Hood, and we should have been in a carriage. Beautiful.
Over to Cabo da Rocca, our favorite part of the day, the most western point of the European continet, and the place where Queen Isabella deemed to be the End of the World, before they sent out Columbus. We ate oranges there in observance of all those lost to scurvey, and took pictures at the end of the world as we know it, feeling fine.

Down into Lisbon, for Pasties de Belem, and dois cafe con leites, YUM. Belem is the old neighborhood of Lisbon, famous for these custard tarts, delicious. Lisbon has a bridge like the Golden Gate and reminds us of San Francisco very much.
A long drive home was shorter than the way there, and the rain had cleared up, and I listened to the Cardigans, and had my soul warmed and my thoughts given time to gather and deepen. Lisbon is saved from being a total bust by Cabo da Roca, and majorly by introducing us to the city enough to make certain we come back. We did not get to see or experience it, and wish so much that we had. Like Amsterdam, it is a city I need to return to, because my heart is left wanting.

THEN, we finally made it home around 11, ate a little, dressed a little, made a few coctails and headed out to our little strip of nightlife. We went to the place across the street instead, and found our friends from the night before. Oh how they amuse us! There was more dancing, a LOT of laughing, especially on the box. We were about to head across the street, when we saw some more folks from the night before, chatted for a while, and then ended up at their place with wine and more laughing, until morning. They are fun kids, Shi and I had a great time, though we felt a little like hookers returning from our night before at 11am. Such is the feeling when you stay at a place with families and British retirees. We spent most of the day sleeping and lounging. Today was just gone. The sun was in and out, and rain on and off, so my hopes of coming home with a tan are slipping farther and farther away. I got a few short segments in, during breaks in the clouds, where the warm sun would almost dry up the sprinkles I'd withstand while waiting through the grey for the blue, but eventually had to go back inside becuase it started to really rain on me.

We are going out again tonight, our last night to have nightlife, becuase Saturday our flight leaves at 6am. We hope to see our new friends again tonight. They are so darling, they each have these distinct pesronalities, that we can place so commonly as other people we know, and I love their dynamic. John Paul, the Director, self-righteous, loves film and provides good conversation, wants to be a cassanova, a little dramatic. Jose the dreamboat ladies man, ever the host, tells it like it is with a smile in his eye. Joao, the soft-spirited goof, studying music, a pianist, who meets his babes online. They--like the rest of Portugal it seems-- don't let us speak Spanish, and we don't know enough Portuguese, so we speak English together. My language is not improving much this week, but I sure love to listen to them, both in Portuguese and English. I'm at a point where I can definitely distinguish Portuguese from other things, and think I catch a few words in sentances, and can say a very few things, with a very poor accent, though I am so uncomfortable with it, and feel like my Portguese is as unwelcome as it is unneccessary, that I never really use the things I know. Except Obrigado, thank you, as I leave whatever conversation.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

ahh, at last, what i hoped for.

Today it was cloudy, so we went to Faro, and it was the Portugal I´d been hoping and looking for. Old Faro, inside the walled city, is beautiful, from the 16th and 17th centuries, when the Moores conquered. We saw the amazing catedral (second photo) and walked all through these tiny cobblestone streets, (top photo) with brightly painted doors, and intricate iron balconies and window treatments. My mom would love this part. A grrreeeat day. My camera´s battery died halfway through the day, so Sheila has most of the photos on her camera, and I won´t get them for a few weeks still.
In other news, my heart is lighter, and I had a great conversation that reminded me so much of who I am, who I should be, and who I long to be. Praise and thanks, with much love.
Tomorrow we head off early to Lisbon (Lisboa, pronounced lish-boh-uh) and I´m super excited. When we flew over and in, it looked awesome, and I became excited and certain that I wanted to get up there. Speaking of which, Portuguese drivers are CRAZY!! They are rude and drive very fast, and much of the time I wonder what they are thinking?! But, as for the roads themselves, I love driving in Europe, it seems easier, less confusing, for the roadsigns are based entirely on final destinations, so you follow the signs to where you want to go, rather than needing to know directions. Cake.
We have yet to get out dancing. We spent our St Pattys Day at an Irish pub up the road, which was chock full of old Irish and English folks, but lots of fun. We went home earlish, to nap before really going out since bars happen here from 12-3, and then dancing from 3am on. out of time, more to come, with love!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Amor do Algarve

In: Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal

Oh man, the Algarve is beautiful. Gorgeous beaches and coastline, we went to this amazing grotto in Lagos, at the end of the Mediterranean, where it meets the Atlantic. So beautiful, crystal clear turquoise blue water, and these incredible rock formations, orange sand beaches, beautiful. I´m trying to get a little tan, but it was cloudy today, and a little cool. We´ve rented a car, and I like driving in Europe. The roundabouts all have signs that tell you based on where yo~´re going, not like what street, but by cities, and the roads are small. Oh man, at one point we were driving through the city off the main road, through the tiniest one way streets, with hardly sidewalks. Tommorrow we go to Faro, and then Wed Lisboa, and tonight out dancing for the first time.
Happy St Paddys Day!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Love from Bilbao

After long flights, --my seatmate on the flight from SFO to Heathrow, an overly chatty Englishman, insisted on helping me crossword, and wouldn't let it go unfinihsed, grr-- a few hiccups and an uncompromising and unpleasant customs agent, I made it to Bilbao, and was so glad to see Shi outside the Airport. We went out to a club in Bilbao with Erasmus kids and dance dance danced, and met all of Sheila's friends (nice kids). Home late, passed out, woke up in the middle of the day. traveling + Jetlag + shots + dancing till 3am = exhaustion, and sleeping the day away.
We're off to see Bilbao and then get Pinchos with some other San Francisco kids and then leave for the sunny coast of the Algarve tomorrow morning. Another whole day in varois airports before getting to relax poolside, but at this point, eh, whats another? Off to walk!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


*I think my new hair is a bit Velma Kelly (especially when I wear red lipstick) and I like it.
*I am committing to stop cutting my hair for at least a month, especially after two pints of beer.
*I have very chasmically divided feelings about a conversation I had tonight, it's hard for me to be that girl. Perhaps a glimmer of hope.
*I like Pub Quizzes, even when I lose terribly. I would very much like to win. And for it go a little more rapid-fire. I support a more Jeopardy-like quiz, in quick-time.
*Dating again? Hah! NO thank you very much.
*I need to be hugged. I realized I'm not hugged very often, I'm very single, and my new girlfriends up here aren't really huggers. I am a hugger, I need someone to hug and to hug me.
*I have so much to get done tomorrow it's absurd.
*I watched Y tu Mama Tambien last night. VERY GOOD. but very graphic. I almost laughed out loud at the realization that I suggested that for a first date with this boy when it was in theaters, and I'm pretty sure that was in high school. Oh Gosh, if we had actually gone on that date. He called me on New Years, I wonder whats gone on in his life since? and Gael Garcia Bernal still retains his status as celebrity crush, even after that scene near the end...
*I have a feeling I'm going to have a headache tomorrow, it's starting already.
*I was Fit yesterday For the Cure, and you would NOT believe what size Juanita wanted to put me in, or thinks I am!! I bought a pretty matching set, my second ever, and I'm thrilled. now please get me to the church so i can do something fun with it.

TOMORROW NIGHT I LEAVE FOR IBERIA!! And I'm not yet prepared.