Getting Lost and Losing Myself in Jerez

Blog #2 from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

By Andrea Williams
March 2010

These are the continuing Andalucian chronicles of our beloved teacher, Andrea Williams…her first major flamenco trip to Spain.  Go Andrea Go!  Go go go!

Well into a week in Spain, and my feet are taking the brunt of the load!  Days dancing and nights walking around the city.  I am getting my butt kicked in class, but afterwards I am having fun writing in cafés and taking photos around the city.

In fact, I had fun getting lost in the maze of the city.  Finding my way around Jerez is not logical.  From my apartment to the theatre is pretty much a straight line.   But the way back always takes my some circuitous route.  My first afternoon in Jerez, I had two full bags of groceries, plus a case of water, and I ended up somewhere outside the old city!  Picture me in the dark, trying to find an obliging street lamp so I can consult my map full of unnamed streets, and trying desperately not to look like an impossibly lost Tourist.

If in the right frame of mind, Jerez at night is eerie and alive, Flamenco seeping out of every stone and orifice.  When I pass an impromptu cancíon, I have to stop.  Who knows if they are Anybody or Somebody, but young and old, drunk or sober, the song still moves the soul.

Some other things I have noticed so far:
1. My Spanish is not only r-u-s-t-y but it is SO 90s! I used an expression the other night and my dinner companion laughed out loud, saying “My mother uses that expression!” (Umm, does that make my Spanish old like your mother, out of date, or un-cool? J).
2. I feel very much like I am in familiar spaces, and familiar habits (Olé café! Olé siesta! Olé flamenco!).
3. Everyone smokes.  Everyone. Cigarettes are cheaper than olive oil (come to think of it, so is wine…).
4. I look strange.  People look at me funny, but I can’t tell if they think I look like a tourist (which I am, somewhat), like a Canadian (which I am), or exotic (which I could be).
5. Spanish men are hot.  And so are the women.  Like birds and their plumage, they look after themselves and dress well.
One could get used to this mode de vie and the permanent flamenco attitude.  Ask me in a week or two, however, and I may have changed my mind!  Right now, I am enjoying getting lost and finding myself in Spain.

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