Saturday, October 15, 2005

Lost and Found

Ah, I have discovered Sevilla´s hip section. I had clues before - the anarchist bookstore with the very polite clerk, the hip hop clothing store with spray-painted murals on the walls - but after being lost in Sevilla´s winding streets for over an hour (not including time out for tapas and a beer), I have definitely found it. It´s in the Almeda de Hercules. The trow of grungy bars and their inhabitants could be straight out of Williamsburg in Brooklyn or Manhattan´s lower east side. So far away and it´s like I never left my neighborhood.

Much of the rest of the city seems given over to tourists and "nice people." I wondered if the young, scruffy and disaffected had a section of town to call their own, or if they kept to the outskirts. Wish I had found this area on my first night rather than on my last. After walking around town feeling out of place in my "House of Voodoo" t-shirt (especially around churches, which all seemed to have well-dressed congregations gathering outside each time I went by) I finally fit in. Except that I don´t smoke.

In some respects it was a productive day. I bought my ticket to Tarifa for tomorrow, and finally plotted my itinerary for the Italian part of this journey. I bought a plane ticket from Rome to Amsterdam the day before I fly home. But my biggest goal today, one that remains frustrated, was buying another Nazarene.

I don´t know what the Nazarenes really are, but I became obesessed wiht them since coming to Sevilla. As close as I can tell, they are a religious order affiliated with the Catholic Church, perhaps only with the Church of the Weeping Virgin. What fascinates me is their uniform, which look like Klu Klux Klans´ but with a really long pointed hoods. I saw some dolls in a shop window my first night here and thought "What the hell are they?" The hoods are sometimes in different colors. Sometimes the Nazarenes carry a giant cross, sometimes just a candle. I bought one from a shop on Friday, and think I offended the shop owner when I asked if he had any other colors. "Macarena" he said, referring to the section of Sevilla we were in, and pointing to the green hood. I guess it´s like going to an Irish store and asking if they have any orange sweaters. And yes, that section of Sevilla is where that damn song "The Macarena" gets its name.

So I got a little lost this afternoon, although Sevilla is such a pleasure to wander that the definition of "lost" comes into question. I stopped in countless souvenir shops, asking "¿Quiero Nazarene?" But no luck. Finally, I gave up and decided to concentrate on getting back to my neighborhood. Of course, then it happened. Like a zen riddle, as soon as you stop searching, you find what you were looking for.* I stumbled acrosss a store that makes Nazarene outfits and it was...closed. This is probably just as well, because might have been tempted to buy one and I don´t know how well it would go over in Brooklyn. Did I mention how much they look like Klu Klux Klan outfits?

I took a picture of the shop´s sign, which is suitably creepy, and went on my way...only to pass a toy store selling large size Nazarene figures for just 6 euros! The toy store was also closed, of course. I truly was trapped in some zen arena (which, by the way, is an anagram for "Nazarene"). After this, I swear I saw a car drive by that had a suction-cup Nazarene figure stuck to their back window. I decided I had had enough of the universe´s mocking, so I went and had a drink.

*It also happened when I was looking for the internet cafe where I am typing this. I had been here yesterday and was looking for it tonight. When I couldn´t find it, I decided to head back to the hotel...and then turned a corner and found the cafe.


Iva said...

Hi, John,
I have been searching the internet to find stuff about Morocco. I am quite ignorant about the country except, of course, except that Rick Blaine and Ilsa Laszlo seemed to like it well enough. Seriously, I even took a look at the State Department's travel warnings and it is probably one of the few countries in that area that are NOT on their list. Good news. It seems great...Fez seems to be very interesting. I feel somewhat less worried after reading about it.
Have a good time and please keep in touch. I love you,

the hanged man said...

I'm glad you id some research and are more relaxed about Morocco. Trust me - I'm not so much the adventurer that I would head to an unstable region. I guess the truth is finally out.

My guidebook describes the country as "not really Africa and not really Europe." I'll let you know more when I do.

Molly said...

Hey, John-did you get my response about the Decemberists, Dan Bern, Bugs Bunny, and Vermont? (not varment, Vermont...)If not, I'll email you another time. Also, re: that zen-ny thing you've got going on...hate it at the moment, love it when I 'get it'!

the hanged man said...

Molly -
No, I did't get that email. Please resend. Yeah, the zen-ny thing can be cool, but it can also be a pain in the ass (and I mean that in a nice way, Buddha).


bill said...

zen arena (which, by the way, is an anagram for "Nazarene")

Love this.