Snippets of Life

What is the world coming to, when such an emblematic landmark is moving house?

Bingo Paris

The sign says: “We’re moving to Sala Cayri, Martínez Maldonado St., 63″.

For those of you who aren’t from around here :) this “monument” probably doesn’t mean anything. However, for the locals of this neighbourhood, ever since anyone can remember, Bingo Paris has always been THE LANDMARK OF REFERENCE.

People would always say, Let’s meet in front of the Bingo Paris at 8 o’clock.

Or, Where do you live? Near the Bingo Paris? Oh now I know where you live!

Now, how will people situate you?

Where do you live? Oh, where the Bingo Paris used to be?

Paella Facil

It always gets to me a bit when I see Spaniards jumping onto the American bandwagon of fast food, convenient cooking and pre-prepared meals.

This package says: “Easy Paella – Just Add Rice!”

In case you didn’t know, paella is a most typical Spanish dish. Traditionally it is slow-cooked all morning in a special large, flat frying pan with chicken, seafood and any other goodies you feel like adding to it, all slowly simmered in rice with saffron.

But now all you have to do is pour out the contents of this package and – just add rice! And it’s done!

Now, I might add, I love pre-prepared food. It makes life 100% easier when you’re a working single mami.

But…… paella?

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Spain vs. Canada

Everyday Scenes From Everyday Life in Spain

When I read about people living in another country, I always wonder what it’s like to live in that country.

I wonder what these people do every day. How they do their shopping. Where they buy their food. What sights do they see as they walk around.

So I thought I’d show some of the things that I see every day.

Now, as a developed European country, Spain isn’t really that different from any other developed country. There are high-rise buildings, modern skyscrapers in the downtown areas, apartment buildings fully equipped with all the usual utilities and household appliances, cars, internet and mobile phones.

There is free public education for kids. Free medical care and modern hospitals. Corporate offices, shops, department stores and shopping centres.

When I visited Morocco, I found life there extremely different from life in a developed Western country. That would most definitely be a delightful country to visit for a photo shoot, or to write a blog about. However, at that time, I wasn’t in the habit of taking photos and I didn’t have a blog.

In Morocco local people usually do their shopping in the vividly coloured marketplaces filled with leather and spices, not at supermarkets. I didn’t see a single shopping centre.

However, here in Spain, life isn’t really very different from life in Canada. My kids go to school in very civilized, well-equipped elementary and high schools with amazing teachers. I usually do the shopping at a regular supermarket.

Yesterday, however, just by chance, I happened upon several interesting scenes and took photos of them. So I thought I’d share them today as typical scenes from an ordinary day here in Spain.

Flowers in November

Nothing spectacular about this photo, but it always thrills me to see green trees and flowers blooming all over the place in those chilly, arctic months when the rest of the world is covered in snow!

Misty Mountains in Malaga

Who would’ve thought you could see misty mountains in sunny Malaga?

Fire in a Building

As I was coming home I happened upon a fire in a building. Although spectacular, fortunately it wasn’t serious and nothing happened. The affected building is the one with the lighted doors in the background.

Ham in Super Vegetariano

This place really made me laugh out loud! Well, to understand the “joke” I’d have to explain it a little. As you can see, this used to be a large vegetarian supermarket called “Super Vegetariano”. It very quickly went out of business, given the *overwhelming adoration* of the Spanish public for vegetarian diets and a more ecological and ethical lifestyle haha. Now the new shop that has opened up in its place, which is quite wildly more successful than its predecessor, is called “Azabache: Jamones y Embutidos” which means “Azabache: Ham and Deli Meat”. It is enjoying far greater success than the old vegetarian supermarket. Clearly, round here, tradition and “the way things have always been done” always win out over ecology and a more ethical way of life.

Maro in November

Now here are a couple of photos that aren’t from yesterday, but they do show typical places that we can see and visit round here. This photo is from the exact same date but a few years ago. You can see the people bathing in the sea in the background, so happy that here in Spain you can swim in the sea in November!

Empty Garden

An empty playground in the rain that we pass every day on the way to school.

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Abandoned Sugar Refining Factory at El Tarajal, Malaga

Sugar Factory Tarajal Malaga

I first discovered the old, historic, abandoned Sugar Refining Factory of El Tarajal, Malaga, when I was sent to work at a nearby industrial park.

Sugar Factory Tarajal Malaga

I love photographing old, abandoned historic places of interest, such as the Old Provincial Prison of Malaga. So I couldn’t wait to get in a photo report about this new discovery.

Sugar Factory Tarajal Malaga side

On the chosen day I set off with my oldest son. The factory is surrounded by a wall, but I hoped someone would come along and open it.

Interior Courtyard Sugar Factory Tarajal Malaga

Here is a photo with open doorways, but they’re not open to the exterior. They look out onto an inner courtyard that you have to climb into through a hole.

Sugar Factory Tarajal Malaga

Sure enough, we were lucky and as we arrived someone else arrived too. It was a group of farmers, they are using the factory now as a stable and dozens of horses live in it now.

Interior Sugar Factory Tarajal Malaga with horses

At the beginning of the twentieth century Spain provided practically all the sugar that was consumed in Europe, so sugar production became a major industry in Spain at that time. Sugar factories were erected all over the country.

Water Tower Sugar Factory of El Tarajal Malaga

Interior Water Tower Sugar Factory Tarajal Malaga

This was the water tower, where water for the factory was stored.

Chimney Sugar Factory Tarajal Malaga

The Sugar Refining Factory of El Tarajal was built in 1931 (and if there was any doubt about that, the date is inscribed into the chimney along with the name “AMET”, which I assume is the company that probably built the factory).

Graffiti on the Sugar Factory El Tarajal Malaga

Graffiti on the side wall of the sugar refinery of El Tarajal, Malaga.

Interior Sugar Factory Tarajal Malaga

Once considered an architectural wonder with walls dressed in sumptuous tiles, displaying a rather formal, stately classical air, the factory was built by the influential Larios family, the family that gave their name to Malaga’s main street.

Back of Sugar Factory Tarajal Malaga

After the Second World War Europeans began to import sugar from Central and South America because it was cheaper, and no one wanted Spanish sugar anymore. So all the Spanish sugar refining factories were closed and left alone to their devices. To the ravages of time, abandonment and vandalism.

Latrines Sugar Factory Tarajal Malaga

We assumed that these were the latrines. They were sooo indescribably disgusting, we didn’t want to step inside to find out!

Interior Sugar Factory Tarajal Malaga

You can be sure this is not a place where you would want to touch anything! We made sure to touch as few things as possible. When climbing inside (through the holes as there were no open doors) we did have to touch the icky walls a bit.

Sugar Factory Tarajal Malaga

I went with my oldest son, which was great, because he was able to chat with the farmers while I took photos. Farmers are very laconic and don’t think about things a lot and don’t spend a lot of time wondering about things and pondering over things. (Or at least it seems that’s what they’d like us to believe).

Back Sugar Factory Tarajal Malaga

So they didn’t think very many things about the factory. They didn’t know much about it nor did they have any interest in its history. They told my son: “It’s just a big stable!”

I’m not too sure what sugar cane looks like, but it would only make sense that it would grow near a sugar factory, right?

Sugar Cane at El Tarajal Malaga

My son told me it had been a bit boring. So I took him for a Coca-Cola to reward him afterwards for being such a game haha!

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Puerto Banus – Bumping Elbows With The Jet Set

Perhaps not everyone knows, but Puerto Banús, in Marbella, is synonymous with…… jet set, rich Arab and European royalty, Hollywood celebs on holiday, luxury yachts and Lamborghinis, James Bond, maybe? (Well, not yet, at least.)

I’m not too sure how or why this little locality acquired such fame. It’s just another ordinary port on the extensive coastline of southern Spain. So I don’t know how the powers that be saw fit to transform Puerto Banús into the playground of the ultra rich as opposed to, for example, some other port on the same coastline such as Estepona or La Línea de la Concepción.

But be that as it may, very fortunately, taking a stroll in Puerto Banús alongside the super rich and famous is free. Anyone can go there. Happily, there’s no “entrance fee” in order to gain access to the town or port.

You can take a walk there and window shop at the many luxury boutiques that you can find there. You can admire the dozens of luxury yachts all neatly parked in a row (many of which were, nonetheless, up for sale – a testimony, perhaps, to the effects of the times that we are living on the pocketbooks of even the ultra rich?).

Parked Yachts Puerto Banus

It was a very happy day for me that my friend and I took our families out for a walk in Marbella, where we had a fabulous lunch at an incredible local treasure chest of a restaurant – unfortunately I didn’t pay much attention to the name of this restaurant, and I wouldn’t be able to find it again, since I just followed my friend around haha – that served the most amazing Malaga fried fish dishes.

Malaga fried fish is a specialty of this Spanish province, and it has nothing to do with the greasy, pre-packaged fried fish that is so popular in Britain.

(Many apologies to fans of British fried fish, I’m sure there must be tasty fried fish in Britain too, it’s just that, unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to sample any of those kinds of fried fish when I was in London, only the greasy ones……)

I usually take photos when I go out to eat with the kids, but for some reason I wasn’t in the mood the other day. So I’ve got no photos of our famous dish.

Here’s a photo of my kids devouring similar fare, however, on a beach in the city of Malaga.

Pescaito Frito

After our meal we decided to spirit ourselves over to Puerto Banús. I’d never been to Puerto Banús, although I’ve gone several times to visit in Marbella.

Playa de Puerto BanusThis is a weird statue, commissioned for a huge sum from a Russian sculptor. We thought it was weird since it reminded us of the statue of Columbus that points out to sea in Barcelona.

Statue Puerto Banus

This is the statue of Columbus in Barcelona.

Colon Barcelona Columbus Statue

Sunset in Puerto BanusIt’s hard to see them, but if you squint a little bit you can see the itty bitty (and not so itty bitty) fishies in the water here.

Fish Puerto Banus

Little fish, big fish, swimming in the water
Come back here, man, gimme my daughter!

PJ Harvey

Imagine being the owner of one of these!

Yachts Parked in a Row Puerto Banus

 Lighthouse Puerto Banus

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The E-Book You’ve Been Waiting For

I’ve Written a Book!

Oh yes it’s been a while since I’ve dropped by this blog. It’s been so long, I almost feel like it’s someone else’s blog hehe.

Most of the things I’ve been up to are things of no transcendence and that aren’t worth mentioning, like working long hours at dead-end jobs that don’t lead anywhere.

So I thought I’d write a book. Unlike a dead-end job, a book doesn’t have an end date or a best-before date.

A book is eternal, evergreen, always relevant to the human condition and to what it’s like to be human (as long as there are still human beings around, of course!).

And unlike in a dead-end job where you have to please your boss or, you know, get the sack, in a book you can be whoever and whatever you choose to be.

In a book you can be yourself. You don’t have to please anyone. You can say what you want to say. You can proclaim to the world what you really BELIEVE IN.

So without further ado, here is the book:

The Power of Loving Yourself

“The Power of Loving Yourself: 10 Simple (But Effective) Tips to Help You Raise Your Self-Esteem, Self-Confidence and Self-Worth”.

(And don’t worry, you don’t have to memorize the subtitle!)

You can read more about the book by clicking here.

People do ask me what this book is about and you know, it’s like, ooogghh, how do you summarize a book? How do you condense 120 pages into a single paragraph (or blog post)?

It’s about…… when you’re at peace and in love with yourself, there’s no room in your heart for hatred, rancour, vengeance……

If all people were at peace with themselves WE COULD ERADICATE WAR in the world! But it’s not easy to find ways to feel peaceful……

So I’ve put together a set of PRACTICAL exercises to help people feel more at peace with themselves and in love with themselves.

To help people learn to LOVE, and RESPECT, and to be TOLERANT, of themselves and with other people.

If we ALL LOVED, and RESPECTED OURSELVES and other people there would be NO MORE WAR on earth! We would no longer need weapons.

There would be no more bombs. No more children orphaned to bombs and guns. No more mothers crying for children killed by bombs.

But first we must LOVE OURSELVES. So in my book I teach PRACTICAL exercises to help people learn to do that.

Because, you know, people do say, “It’s all fine and well and all to say that we should all be full of peace and joy and love and all that s**t, but the last thing I feel right now is joy! Or love! The only thing I feel like doing is griping! I can’t even stand to look at myself in the mirror! So what can I DO???”

Well, you can read my book.

Of course it’s got some chatter to help you change your mindset too. I mean, after all, hating yourself, or believing you’re NO GOOD, or believing in yourself, or not, are mindsets.

But it’s also got PRACTICAL exercises too.

Because sometimes it’s not enough to just, you know, “think you’re great” or something.

Sometimes you do need to PROVE IT to yourself, first, before you can believe it.

So. Try out the exercises in my book, and soon you’ll see how you, too, will find that you just CAN’T HELP but start to feel better about yourself, and to see yourself in a NEW LIGHT.

Even if you’ve always hated yourself. Or, like me, you’ve always been shy.

Once again here is the URL for more info: The Power of Loving Yourself.

Oh and by the way, I know it’s not a subject very much related to the subject of this blog, but if you Subscribe to the newsletter on the website, you’ll get a couple of gifts from me, with no strings of any sort attached, including two excerpts from the book.

So you can check it out a bit first, you know, see if it’s something you could be interested in, before you commit yourself and actually press the “Buy Now” button.

You don’t usually get a chance to read parts of a book before you buy it.

But I’m offering you the chance to do just that! All you have to do is Subscribe to the site newsletter at www.seasofmintaka.com. There’s a Sign-Up Box in the right-hand corner of any page on the site.

Enjoy!

I’ll end this post with a link to the page where you can read all about my new book and download it immediately, if you feel like it: www.seasofmintaka.com/the-power-of-loving-yourself.html

P.S. Did you check out the really horrid video from the last blog post? I saw TWENTY-SIX enlightened and lovely souls actually sat with their gaze TRANSFIXED on the screen staring at it since we put it up! The last time I’d checked (which was in April) only 10 people had looked at it haha. So…… it’s an interesting video, isn’t it, haha? Well trying to mix up some more horrid videos so when (if) we ever get them out, you’ll all be the first to know!

P.P.S. Oops gotta add, I meant, when you subscribe to my website, www.seasofmintaka.com, I’ll give you all these oodles of wonderful gifts. Here’s the link again: www.seasofmintaka.com.

But I’m sure chuffed all the same that so many of you are subscribing to my blog too!

If you’ve recently subscribed to this blog and you’d like to get my gifts, hop on over to my website and sign up over there, and you’ll automatically get taken to the page where you can download your gifts IMMEDIATELY.

Cheers! And thanks again for your interest!

The Sounds of Holy Week

I’m sure that by now, especially if you are a “Spain-o-phile” lol, you must have seen dozens of photos of the Holy Week processions (and much better than the ones I’m going to post here!). But have you HEARD what Holy Week sounds like here in Spain?

So here I am posting a couple of recordings that I made of the music that they play. Just stare at the photos, imagine a cool night breeze brushing gently against your face (it was a warm night though, 22 degrees), listen to the sounds of Holy Week and pretend that you are surrounded by crowds of devotees and you can even transport yourself there and experience a Holy Week procession for yourself!

Well I couldn’t upload any music so I made a video instead! I invite you to check it out here (I put it in my son’s channel cuz I haven’t got one, in case you’re wondering about the name, oooh I’m so behind the times……):

or here, if the above link doesn’t work:

http://youtu.be/UZrqljbkEos

And while we’re at it, I put up a new demo too on MySpace, I invite you to check it out here:

Medley from Serena Amadis on Myspace.

or here, if the above link doesn’t work:

https://myspace.com/120763532/music/songs

Well that is pretty much all we have been up to these days!

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Bye Bye Birds!

Grey Skies: Ces Jours Si Tristes, Si Gris, Profonds, Estos Días Tristes y Grises, Profundos, Just a Little Piece of Sky

Ces jours tristes, profonds, sans fin et sans espoir, quand les rêves deviennent gris et plus lointains que jamais et le ciel pleure incessant, grisâtre et sans repos.

Just waxing dreary and drab on a drab and dreary winter’s day in southern Spain. Even if we’re really lucky and we never get snow or ice, we do get grey skies. I love the rain. But life can seem dreary and hopeless when this is the only piece of sky you can get from the window of the tiny one-bedroom-with-a-walk-in-closet-as-the-second-bedroom in da inna big city where we live.

Grey SkiesOn a brighter note, this is the Med in January. You can see it is raining somewhere around Torremolinos (where all the grey lines are slashing down) and out at sea. But you can still appreciate the brilliant sunset.

Med In JanuaryJust daily life here in a warm country in winter. It’s great to be in a place where it never snows, but on the other hand, daily life can still drag you down, especially if the economy is bad and you have to work ten hours every day just to make ends meet and pay the bills. There’s no time to even go out for a walk to enjoy the brilliant weather that we have the privilege of, well, enjoying! This photo was snapped as I got off the bus and dashed off to trudge away yet a few more hours at one of the companies where I work. I like the company but the hours are long. Not at this particular company, in case they happen to be reading this hehe, but all together at the three companies together, the hours are long.

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