It has started happening. My itinerary has begun forcing me to leave places before I feel ready. As much as I loved Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona, my last day in each location was marked by a sense of closure, of completeness. I knew it was time to move on. But in Bilboa and especially Granada, I have to move on before I am ready. Rick Steves suggests giving Granada "two nights and a day." Bullshit. I could stay herre a week and feel completely at home, and that´s with having seen the major tourist sites in two days. I feel I could emmigrate to Granada and be happy. It appears neo-hippies from all nations already have. The town functioned as a battleground between Islam and Christianity hundreds of years ago, so the architecture and the "vibe" of the town reflects the best of both worlds. It´s where Columbus made his pitch to Ferdinand and Isabel, who now lie in plain wood coffins beneath a beautifully carved stone crypt. It´s what I thought, what I hoped, Spain would be like. If I can´t make it to Morocco for some reason, I´m coming back to Granada. (Or flying to England. I haven´t really made my mind up yet.)
Two nights ago, I sat in a tea house and felt completely at peace. Last night I went to an Arabian Bath and felt completely at peace. Arabian bath: large communal hot pool, a cool room, and 20 minute massage included. I loved exploring the Alhambra, once I figured out their seemingly complex admitance policy.
Oh yeah. One of my typically bonehead moments proved a. how dumb I am, and b. how easy it is to get out an embarassing social situation by slapping yourself on the forehead when the people around you are cool. I had had two beers and two tapas (little bar snacks - bigger than hors d´ouvres, smaller than appeatizers) at a neighborhood bar. When I asked for the tab, the bartender, who looked like an ex-boxer, and, even though I don´t speak enough Spanish to be sure, seemed to be getting picked on by the other smaller, fiestier bartender (sort of like a small yappy dog intimidating a stout bulldog) rung it up on one cash register and told me the cost. When he did this, I swear I saw the same amount appear on the cash register closest to me. I assumed they were linked.
I gave the barman 10 euros, he gave me my change, which on inspection, seemed a little short. "Uh..." I said, looking at my change and the amount on the register close to me. He repeated the amount and the change several times, as if he was trying to teach a slow child basic math. "But..." I finally said, pointing to the register. "No no no" said the smaller bartender, pointing to the register that was actually used. The amount was slightly different, and the change was correct. I literally, and a little theatrically, slapped my forehead and repeated "Lo siento, lo siento," which is Spanish for "I´m sorry." The big bartender signaled that it was okay, and gave me a big friendly grin. He was missing his two front teeth.