My family recently discovered that we have living relatives in the area. As I never met any of my grandparents -- thanks to exile after the Cuban revolution -- this will be a particularly spiritual journey.
With a beautifully bound blank book and a fountain pen in hand, I'll be journaling old-fashioned style. (Oh my, do I even know how to write with a WHAT? A PEN?)
As soon as I return, volume 2 of Meridian will come to life. Manola has always traveled to Spain alone. This time, she accompanies the old folks, so she'll have to behave -- a mighty challenge considering that opportunities for Manola-style mischief abounds in Spain, land of man-hunks falling over Manola like bees to honey!
I will stand at this window, looking at the same view my grandfather surveyed in those baby blues I inherited from our Celtic blood. This region in Spain is one of the seven remaining Celtic nations. Bagpipes and jigs are cultural legacy.
I imagine this would-be grandfather as an infant, in diapers with a great-grandmother stirring some thick, rich bean and sausage soup in a black cast-iron pot. Today, it's the granddaughter he never met, gazing upon the peak in the distance -- named Naranjo de Bulnes because it captures the waning orange glow of sunset.
[photo courtesy of my brother, first sibling to make the pilgrimage]
The Campillo family currently uses this house as storage. I want to buy this precious heirloom and turn it into a summer writer's retreat. Would you join me for some sidra some summer afternoon on the terrace, enjoying the crisp mountain air?
I'll miss all of you ... and just think of all the reading I'll have to do when I return! So I depart with this message:
Resolutely Slutty, Mama Manola won't be able to watch over your wanton behavior. Daddy Stevie, it's your turn to babysit our hellion.
Rick, keep lighting those candles and don't lose faith. Love knows no boundaries. 836, 826, I-95 and 1-95 are no match for cupid. :-) I expect the Cliff Notes version of Stuck on the Palmetto upon my return.
Alesh, I'd hire you in an instant, if I were a major performing arts center. :-) John, you're not off the hook either. A pastrami on rye from Katz's is your get out of jail card, ok?
Mr. Manners, you'll never run out of fodder. Promise.
New Miamian, may I continue to discover new things in old places.
Steve, you need to take a blood thinner. But that doesn't mean you aren't a man of well-balanced humors.
Christian, I know you will run over to Miami Ink around the corner and get a Manola tattoo. Child, I realize my absence on the innernets will be traumatic. However, a good Red Bull and bagel will help assuage the symptoms of Manola withdrawal. :-)
Al, I'm not a smoker, but you sure do make it interesting.
Rebecca, things are only going to get greener!
And last but not least: Dubious Wonder, you ARE a wonder to behold!
If I've forgotten any favorite blogs in this Oscar acceptance speech, please forgive me, including Hidden City, who once gave me flowers. It's 12 AM and I've yet to pack my luggage. Believe it or not, Manola is really a low maintanence woman who will throw a pair of jeans, a few tshirts and a nice jacket into a bag and call it over. As long as there's twenty pairs of matching shoes in the bag, of course.
Actually, as Spain is 6+ hours ahead, I'm burning the midnight oil so I can zonk and zzz while crossing the pond and wake up fresh as a rosebud upon arrival. Yeah, right. A little vino and xanax after the in-flight movie should do the trick.
No worries regarding packing. After spending approximately 72 hours scouring the shelves of an Old Navy outlet (actually it was only 45 minutes, according to Manola time ... )
... ugh, I hate shopping, yes I AM THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE WORLD WHO HATES SHOPPING AND CHOCOLATE, OK? Yes, I am a freak of nature. A no-nonsense shopping femme. Know what I want. IN AND OUT of the store. And for pete's sake, don't give me chocolate! However, shoe shopping is like going to an art gallery ...
back at the rant
... I found the perfect pair of jeans (ladies, you know this is an ordeal worthy of an academic dissertation). As well, in addition to a replacement battery for my Pentax SLR, I also found the most frivolous yet can't-leave-home-without-it-this-season travel accessory: espadrille open-toe canvas pumps with non-skid sole for less than $20 ... how could I resist?
PS ... on a completely unrelated note: scrambling around today running errands, I had to park near Lincoln Road and Washington. Manola convinced the otherwise rough Sopranoesque valet parking attendant to let her park for FREE in a $10 flat-rate spot! Talk about SOUTH BEACH street smarts, honey. I begged the man (in Español and English, of course): "I'M FROM MIAMI BEACH. I'M NOT A TOURIST! PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! ALL THE METERS ARE FULL! PLEASE, PAPI RICO PLEASE ... ! I JUST NEED HALF AN HOUR! PROMISE!" It worked. No blow jobs involved. And I tipped the guy a cupla bucks. Not bad, eh? Talk about a smooth quickie parking job ... WINK, WINK!