Monday, January 9, 2012
We have no grand plans until Friday when we will go to the Flumen Theater to see a magic show called Jandro TV. Jandro is a regular on a show called El Hormiguero that originates in Madrid and is show nationwide. Jandro either does a comedy bit or he performs magic. Jandro is originally from Valencia and I met him some fifteen years ago when I came to Valencia as a guest of La Cuchara Mágica that met in Pedreguer lo those many years ago. It was so long ago that Jandro even had hair! Nacho Diago will also make a brief appearance in the show, as he and Jandro will recreate the piano scene for the movie “Big”. Brian and Ofelia will be attending, also and we will go backstage after the show to meet the guys.
Saturday evening we will be attending a guitar concert sponsored by Los Amigos de la Guitarra. Susan and I are now members of the organization and we have free admission to all concerts this year. There is usually one concert a month that takes place in the auditorium of El Colegio Luis Vives and once or twice a year there is a very special concert that takes place at the Palau de Música. Sunday we will head to the Palau to listen to The Emerson String Quartet who is currently on tour in Spain. From past experience I know they will be well worth the 18 Euro admission price.
I will be heading out to the gym shortly and at 4:00 I am meeting Melissa, one of the servers at La Fórcola to help her with her English conversational skills. I have never done anything like this so it should be interesting. If I feel I can actually be of dome help, I have three other “students” waiting in line. At 9:15 Klaus, Zahava, Susan and I will find us in an Italian restaurant that reputedly serves the best pizza in Valencia. Tune in tomorrow for a full report.
As I predicted, yesterday was a day of rest… for the most part. In the morning I went to El Parisien and picked up a couple of loaves of bread for our breakfast. While I was out, Susan made an amazing fruit salad to go along with the rest of our breakfast. While I was out, I also picked up a newspaper. If we buy a newspaper it is usually on Sunday and we buy it mainly for the supplements. Sunday’s paper was focused on the Republican primary in New Hampshire and the current political situation here. The new government has made budget cuts, raised taxes and lowered the salary of government workers in order to cut the expected budget shortfall. As it turns out most of the budget overruns have come from the overspending of the autonomías and the most indebted autonomía is Valencia whose overspending includes the construction of an airport in Castellón that is complete, but most probably will never have a scheduled flight arrive or depart.
Like many others, our usual source of news is the Internet. Every morning I browse through the electronic editions of the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, El País and El Mundo and that combination succeeds in giving me a pretty good idea of what is happening in the world. We rarely watch the news on TV and although we can get CNBC and CNN as part of our cable package I think we have tuned in once since we have been here.
After breakfast we paid a visit to FNAC where I bought some replacement ink cartridges for the new printer. The instruction booklet tells you that the initialization of the print heads absorbs a great deal of ink from the cartridges and to avoid any future crises I figured that it would be best to have replacements on hand. Although FNAC is a good resource for things electronic there prices are no bargain (pun intended). They sell everything at retail with an occasional discount when there is special promotion. Amazon has recently opened a beachhead here in Spain and although the range of products they sell is limited – books and electronics – the price differential is eye opening. For example, the cartridge pack that I bought at FNAC cost me 42 Euros. I bought it because I had two discount coupons and I receive a 5% discount on all purchases because I have the FNAC members’ card. Amazon sells the same product for 25 Euros. Amazon Spain does not include free shipping unless you are a Prime member. However there shipping costs are low and usually average around 3 Euros.
We had lunch at home and Susan prepared her take on Giada’s orzo and sausage recipe. She also made a salad. After lunch we kicked back and either read or worked on the computer. I have started a new novel called El lector de cadáveres (The Corpse Reader). It is a novel that takes place in China and follows the adventures of the protagonist Cí as he moves from his small village to the provincial capital. Around 8:15 we headed over to the Cines Yelmo to see the newest Sherlock Holmes movie. The 8:50 showing had the original version subtitled in Spanish. We spent an enjoyable two hours watching the film and really enjoyed the performances of Robert Downey and Jude Law. On our way home we decided to stop in at La Fórcola for a pizza and beer. We were back home a little after midnight and we read until 1:00 to let the pizza digest and then it was lights out.
Here are some photos that Susan took last week during an afternoon and evening stroll through the streets of Valencia.