A sensual place to live

It’s been a pretty nice couple of weeks. Semana Santa (Holy Week) was fun — my wife and I did quite a bit of walking around Seville to see the processions, which are spectacular. You’ve got to be here to really appreciate it. Being crammed together with strangers in narrow streets is something Anglo-Saxon types generally try to avoid, but Sevillians are not as bothered by having their personal space invaded. They are friendly, tolerant people, and it is unusual to see someone here who is really aggressive (though a newcomer might think they are, judging from the high decibel level of their conversation).

For a 17-year-old Sevillian, Semana Santa is an opportunity to go out with friends and range all over Seville till the wee hours. I remember experiencing this sort of feeling in the States, but one night a year (Halloween). You feel free, the city is yours, and there is no parental supervision. I can see why even non-religious people here adore Semana Santa — it is associated with so many good memories for them.

And it is a very sensual experience. Even though I have lived here for a couple of decades, I am still frequently surprised by how lovely Seville can be. If a city can be feminine, Seville is. The orange trees which fill the city come into blossom around this time, filling the air with sweetness, and when the Holy Week processions are going the air is filled with incense too. If you aren’t too Anglo-Saxon (or old) to enjoy it, you do your best to see the processions in narrow streets where you are cheek to jowl with people you don’t know.

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Spaniards, and especially Andalusians, are very clean people — I have heard that soap consumption in this area is one of the highest in Europe — and they add their own perfume and cologne to the mix of scents in the city. The processions and the pasos (floats) are visually impressive, and the music is very special. Before coming to Seville, I had always associated trumpets in their highest register with a sort of macho aggressiveness. I would never have expected them to be appropriate music to accompany a statue of Jesus Christ being being carried in a solemn procession at about one mile an hour. But once I heard the cornetas here (cornetas are a kind of trumpet with only one or two valves) wailing away with their unique vibrato, I was converted.

There’s been other stuff going on this past fortnight which kept me from blogging, but I won’t go into it all. I have started (or rather re-started) another project which I think is appropriate for a seventeen-year-old: I am trying to learn to play the banjo. I’ve got a blog about it: Trumpet to Banjo (I used to play the trumpet).

Oh, and I weighed myself today, having skipped a week. I am now at 90.1 kg (198.6 lb), which is half a kilogram behind schedule. If I want to get back on track I’ll have to lose a whole kilo this week. I may be 17 years old again, but for some reason I seem to burn calories more slowly than I did the first time I was 17. No more between-meals snacks for me….

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