Castillo San Marcos

Castillo San Marcos
13th-century castle, El Puerto de Santa Maria. That WAS our house to the left and behind the tree!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Rocking Bar Milord

One of the best things about having my sister here is all of these experiences I have that I wouldn't have had otherwise.  For example, the Canary Islands have never been high on my list of travel priorities.  But Suzi, with her high-energy, go-go-go approach to life, asked Ethan and me if we wanted to run a marathon on her birthday.  After all, there was one going on in the Canaries!

Go, Mom, you can DO it!!!
So off we flew, leaving Todd behind yet again with the cats (Todd claiming that the furthest he could run was a 5 k).  Alas, injuries beset us, and only Ethan completed a measly half-marathon in a respectable 1:41 and change, with Suzi, Daisy, the kids and me as his cheering squad. Still, Las Palmas and its restaurants were a welcome celebration, although the kids could have lived without two visits to La Champiñoneria (The Mushroom House).  We found it fungilicious.  And Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria (a name, by the way, that comes not from birds but from the dogs found on the islands by the first European explorers) was quite beautiful in a pastel baroque way, with a wonderful museum dedicated to Cristobal Colón.  We took a day to drive through the island's interior, reminiscent of the dry side of Maui.
On the edge: the interior of Gran Canaria
Who is Daisy, you ask?  Yet another benefit of living with my sister was the opportunity to have Daisy come stay with us for three weeks.  A combination mentee/adopted daughter, Daisy has been part of Suzi's family for the past decade or so.  She and I bonded over flamenco; I enrolled her in my bulerias class for two weeks (which she picked right up!) and took her to the Jerez pasarela (fashion show) where we oooohed and ahhhed at the amazing dresses for this year's ferias.  One of my many segundo mano dresses fit her to a T, giving her a fancy souvenir from Andalucia.  

Gitanas through the ages
Daisy fit right in: Clowing around at Suzi's birthday party
Skiing is another adventure made easier by the melding of two families.  It's easier to get a ski house for 8 and pack all the gear into one eurovan, even if it turns out that high wind speeds close the mountain for two of the three days you are there to ski.  The Spanish Sierra Nevada is usually more dependable than this, they are quite good about refunding your lift tickets and rentals, and the kids were marvelous at inventing ways to amuse themselves in the snow outside our front door.  

At least the slopes were bright for ONE day!
It's lucky we couldn't ski much, anyway.  Suzi and I had packed a guitar and bass into the overloaded Espace (eurovan), and we practiced for hours while the kids built a dangerous sled run off the wall and through the trees.  We left it to Ethan to supervise between soccer games at the pub, while we played Surrender, Back on the Chain Gang, and Country Roads until the kids begged us to stop.  After all, our big premier at Bar Milord was only a week away.

Practice makes perfect
Yes, we now have a band.   Our clever name, Vale That, joins the omnipresent Spanish word vale, as in "Sure!" or "great!" or "Got it!" or "yeah, yeah, yeah" with the military/aeronautic "Roger That" airspeak to make a joke that almost no one gets.  "Is that 'Vale That," like over hill and dale?'  a friend of mine asked.  

Oh, aren't we clever?
Nevertheless, practice we did, and despite Ethan's doubtful face, the kids assured us that we sounded great.  The microphones fed back, the guitars untuned themselves, and we forgot some of the chords, but we'd packed the bar with our friends, complete with a fan throwing her black bra to the singer, and a good time was had by all.  Consider yourself invited to the next gig!

The sisters rock

Todd rocks

We rock the house...or at least Bar Milord
Packing up and going home post-party
Watch us perform!!  Click here

Next up in our Spanish adventure:  Carnaval in Cádiz and El Puerto de Santa Maria spools up.  We are officially entering the party season, which starts with carnaval, rolls into Semana Santa, picks up speed with the start of feria season, and rocks along through the summer.  ¡Olé!

A chirigota, or singing group, in Cádiz.  Hilarious.  AND they sing! All night long.

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