The Greatest Show in the Galaxy!

. . . Or perhaps not. It was a rather small circus. But for small circuses, it did pretty well.

In other words, I went to a circus yesterday. On the whole, I thought that the people acts were better than the animal acts (with the exception of the horses, even though I’m not sure that it’s at all healthy for horses to be doing what that pretty chestnut one was doing, and the dogs who “played” fútbol with balloons were pretty amusing). There were certainly a lot of animals. Besides the horses/ponies (who took up three acts and were quite impressive especially if you consider how small the space was; I quite liked the kid who can’t have been more than seven, who directed tiny ponies (not quite Shetlands, but close)), chimpanzees, a bull (I was somewhat puzzled, but I figure that a bull in a small Spanish circus serves the same function that an elephant would in a larger American circus – certainly the tricks were much the same), large placid snakes and equally large but slightly less placid crocodiles and two largish spiders (the crocodiles performed tricks for a given definition of “tricks,” but the snakes and spiders seemed to be there merely for the oh-look-I’m-holding-a-snake/spider effect, and I really doubted that any of them were very, if at all, dangerous), a llama, performing bears, trained dogs, a cute persian cat that walked something akin to a tightrope with a bird on its back . . . and possibly something else that I’ve forgotten.
As I said, though, I liked the people acts better. There were jugglers (moderately good; the one guy did seven rings, but the woman only did four, and they did seven clubs as a pair, and the man only did four clubs . . . they had two drops, and I noticed that they didn’t keep it up as long as The Give and Take would’ve. They did a pretty good “Friendship, sharing,” type routine with the clubs, though, and I liked the fire. I’d never seen anyone juggle fire in the dark before (though I noticed that they did not juggle fire around the small child . . . I can’t really say that I blamed them), and that was impressive. And while I hadn’t seen the frisbee-plate routine before, I can throw a frisbee at the proper angle into the air that it comes back to me (angle other than vertical), and I don’t think that it would be too terribly hard to “juggle” in that fashion; he would’ve needed to have more than two in the air at any one time before I was really impressed. Which is to say, I’ve seen better jugglers. But perhaps I’m hardly a usual audience. There were aerialists, too, which I thought were good (though I’m a less discerning audience for the single rope and the double cloth than I am for jugglers); I particularly liked the use of black lights with the white costume and white cloth, and the use of the fog machines with the spinning was pretty cool. There was a guy who balanced himself on a stack of chairs and held himself in uncomfortable-looking poses while positioned in that manner . . . he would have been more impressive if I hadn’t just seen the summer Olympics, but on the other hand, I don’t know anyone who can do that. The Spiderman (espeedermahn) act was pretty good; though I liked it better when the lighting was low and dramatic enough that I couldn’t see the flaws in the costume. The guy with the snakes also did fire-breathing. There were clowns. It has been decided in the past that I have very little appreciation for the sort of slapstick that usually accompanies clowns, and I was not surprised (I did, however, like the outfit of the woman who accompanied them, and got through that by waiting for her to turn around so that I could analyze all angles of it and determine if it was possible to keep the general form without actually showing one’s bra in front). There may have been something else, but I don’t remember it at the moment.

We left slightly before the end, but I was, at that point, tired of clowns and my behind was beginning to hurt (I found another set of narrow twisty stairs, and, of course, climbed them. (More on that later.) Yesterday my legs were informing me exactly what they thought of silly tourists who climb things just because they’re there, and then go play fútbol for two hours . . . yes, there was another fútbol game yesterday. I had fun. That’s all that there really is to say on that topic.

And I have photos!

There is beach in Málaga, but it wasn’t really warm enough to swim, so what people there were were on the boardwalk. And did I mention that the beach was gray?

The cuñado and the hermana have a lovely house in the country, up in the hills, with an excellent view.

They can see the sea. What, you can’t see the sea in this picture? It’s there, I swear.

The family, sans Pepi, who took this picture. Miguel, the cuñado, told me that I should send the picture to a big paper in the US, and asked me which was biggest. I told him that it was probably The New York Times, though I thought that the Wall Street Journal has a pretty good circulation, too, though I didn’t feel that pictures of random people was really their thing. He suggested that this might not matter, and we decided that we should advocate for a caption of “The Economy may be terrible, but here’s a lovely picture of a Spanish family and one American student.”

Car picture of the Málaga countryside. I had the window open, but you can see how bad the smog/cloud cover/humidity was. And this is one of the clearer pictures.

More car pictures. And there are people fishing in this lake.

On Friday I met up with one of my compañeros de conversación, a Spanish guy who is studying to be an English teacher. (This is a program that PRESHCO facilitates; I may or may not have mentioned it earlier. There was a very crowded party at a restaurant last week that involved one of those awkward standing-up dinners. I’m not quite sure why I dislike them so much, but I feel like I’m being made to work for my dinner. Which doesn’t entirely make sense, since you have to provide polite conversation at fancy dinners, too, and one would think that it would be easier to be able to move and go talk to different people. Possibly part of it is that these copas are at least as much about the drink as about the food, and I never like any of the offerings (except water). At any rate, I met my compañeros in this incredibly awkward crowded party, and then met up with one of them the other day and basically dragged him over to Alcazar de los Reyes Christianos so that I could wander the gardens and take pictures (there wasn’t much dragging involved; it’s not like he had other plans, and Alcazar is free on Fridays).

The gardens were lovely, and not as crowded as I had feared. I want to go back another time and take more pictures; possibly it would be almost empty in the early morning. I can try, anyway. The camera did provide a good thing to talk about, although I’m not sure that I really managed to get him to understand what I meant about having difficulty taking pictures of people . . . he was going on about how he’s improving; he doesn’t cut people’s heads off now. My problems with taking pictures of people is that I don’t feel like I take good pictures of people most of the time. I have no difficulties in composition of the photographs or getting the shot I want; I just usually feel that I have captured a likeness of the person and not the person him/herself, and it’s also often just not a good picture of the person at all. This may be connected to the fact that I feel that I generally don’t take good pictures of people, and so take more pictures of scenery than of people, and so have fewer pictures of people which have the possibility to be good . . .

I do feel that I’m generally good at taking pictures of scenery, though, and had a lot of fun with the gardens, especially the topiary. This garden did have some marvelous topiary, even if it was rather overgrown. None of it was human, but there were lots of columns and jars and trees that might once have been spheres on sticks (there were also some pretty cool whooshy things that had once been columns, but now looked like breaking waves converted into vertical form).

I think that I mentioned when talking about the Alcazar the first time that there were bits of mosaics inside dating from Roman times? There were some outside, too. I was told that this was the cellar, or something like that.

The lighting was excellent for a Garden Photos day; just slighty overcast, enough so that the pictures weren’t all washed out but no so much that things were dark.

This was a patio on the way to the Baños Arabes, the Arabic baths. Really, though, it just looks like many of the other little patios in Córdoba, except that it happens to have bits of old ruined stonework in the wall sticking out between the whitewash.

You can see that Córdoba has a share of the Impressive Old Buildings, too.
As I mentioned earlier, I found another set of stairs for tourists to climb and went up them. There weren’t as many as the tower of the castle in Segovia, and it wasn’t as high as the tower in Sevilla, but it was still about two flights of normal stairs and then several rotations of a narrow spiral stairs. We got stuck coming back down and were plastered to the wall for what seemed like twenty people passing us. Maybe it was only ten. And I was certainly glad to be plastered to the wall rather than edging cautiously by in the middle of the stair. My legs complained afterwards, though.

The view from the top was pretty nice, though. I didn’t think to take a picture of my house from up high, but it’s over to the left of this picture.

And then we went over to play fútbol with the Preshquitas (or rather, I went to play fútbol and my compañero followed but didn’t play because he was recoving from a cold and didn’t want to have a relapse, and hence hadn’t brought proper footware). And then he left after a bit and we played a lovely bit of not-fútbol for nearly two hours. My team only scored two goals, one of which happened before I arrived, but we felt that we did pretty well to get that far, considering that the other team had the only two people in the group who had ever actually played fútbol in any kind of organized way.

Edited to Add: And I forgot where I was going with that. In the course of finding the fútbol game, we wandered past this children’s park, which reminded me very strongly of Changes, Changes, by Pat Hutchins.

A brief sidetrack on orange fruit: I’ve realized that I don’t like really ripe mangos. I like just-beginning-to-get-properly-soft mangos; when they ripen properly the flavor gets stronger, more citrus-y, more bitter, and has an taste that I don’t like at all. Also, mandarine oranges are amazing. They’re practically clementines. They aren’t Easy To Peel, and the flavor isn’t quite so sweet, but it’s not as tangy as satsumas. Also the color is slightly closer to that of tangerines, but they make me very happy. I think that I’ve eaten four or five in the past 24 hours.

I sewed two books in bookbinding class on Friday, and might progress to adding covers tomorrow.



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2 responses to “The Greatest Show in the Galaxy!

  1. Anonymous

    I can just picture the circus animals…especially the Persian cat with a bird on its back! So what exactly was the chestnut horse doing?? I just saw a segment of 60 Minutes about two Spanish brothers who do bullfighting. Yuck! Despite serious accidents they are going to continue killing bulls next season. At least with the circus animals they don’t have to die as part of the entertainment.
    Nice photos of Malaga, but it does look awfully grey and bleak. Your family seems happy. I missed seeing Pepi, though.
    The garden is lovely, too. And you know how much I love photos of any old stuff.
    I’ve been hiking with the dogs and my legs are complaining, too. I love those twisty stairs…but not if I’m squished for twenty minutes.
    Any more trips to the library?
    It is almost time for my favorite orange fruit–navel oranges from Florida. There is nothing better. Oh, yeah, I did buy a whole box from your Spanish club at GFS. I’ll have to see if they are selling again this year.
    Time to walk the dogs…I’m glad you moved on from folding paper in bookbinding class.

    • Re: Hey
      The chestnut horse was doing fancy trick steps with a rider on its back – the one I remember in particular was when he had it going sideways so that its front legs crossed. It just looked – wobbly.
      I noticed that unlike the last circus I went to, this one was completely devoid of anyone protesting the treatment of the circus animals.
      Yeah, Málaga was kind of gray. Although I mostly just noticed the wind.
      Yes, the jardines at the Alcazar are gorgeous, aren’t they? I think that I want to go back at some point and take more pictures.
      No, I haven’t gone back to the library; reading in Spanish takes longer, so I haven’t finished the books I have. Also, the loan period is shorter, only 15 days, I think, so I don’t want to get more than I can read.
      GFS usually has somebody selling yummy oranges. It’s sometimes music or sports rather than languages, but the oranges are always good.
      Have a nice walk!

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