Oct 31, 2008

when death comes to visit

These photos were taken by me in Cementiri del Sud-Oest on Montjuïc, Barcelona.

Celebrating Halloween in Spain is a little like celebrating Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.. It's not a tradition here so it's not really done.. but that is quickly changing with globalization. Santa and the ghouls of Halloween have begun creeping into Spanish culture bit by bit with niños embracing any excuse for extra sweets and presents. Popularity is also growing among some trendy hipsters - these costumed botellonistas can be seen haunting plazas in the city centre on hallows' eve. However some Spaniards resent this infiltration of their traditional culture with paganism, Americanism and corporate manufactured mumbo gumbo to sell more stuff. For the Spanish November 1st is an important day. On All Saints' Day most Spaniards attend church services in honor of the saints, the martyrs. Many also visit their family’s graves to beautify them with wreaths and small lanterns. My students tell me that this one day for remembrance of ancestors and tending of graves is an important aspect of their culture, so much so that they've made it a public holiday.

I'm going to a Halloween party tonight hosted by an American expat. I'll be dressed up as the long-haired freaky girl from The Ring. I'm not a great fan of Halloween parties in general, having been drunk and costumed many times before but my Australian friend has never been to a Halloween party so her excitement kinda makes the whole party thing this year a little more exciting. Kinda like having kids around the house at xmas.

BoooHaaHa. Happy Halloween from Madrid!

Oct 30, 2008

wait, don't go

I captured this little drama on Calle de Claudio Moyano - a popular artery into Retiro Park that often displays giant sculptures.

I know. I know. I've been neglecting Mock Moons.. I've been suffering from the usual seasonal cold and flu maladies and as a result, my mind craved movies, tv shows and vegging on my warm couch. I couldn't muster any creative mojo... Not even a dribble... But all this will change. Soon. I'll dust off my ailing (they don't seem to build them to last anymore) camera and begin snapping. So stay tuned.

Oct 21, 2008

flying tree?

What pagan witch's ritual inspired this winged tree in Retiro Park? So deliberate was its feathering that I wondered what magic took flight.. perhaps these feathers sprouted from bark in a leap of plant/animal cross pollination. 

An evolutionary leap? wizardry? or mere park art?

Oct 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008: Homeless man finds a mattress

Today is Blog Action Day - a day where thousands of bloggers around the world focus upon and highlight issues around one topic - poverty.

This photo was taken from a balcony in the barrio of Cuatro Caminos in Madrid but this scene of homeless people sleeping on discarded and dirty mattresses can be seen all over the city in quiet plazas and empty lots. And they are the lucky ones. Most of the homeless here just have cardboard boxes, cement or wooden park benches on which to rest their tired bodies.

Oct 12, 2008

Happy National Day, Spain!

Every October 12th Spain celebrates its National Day, also known as Día de la Hispanidad ('Day of Spanishness'), with a spectacular military procession in Madrid's Plaza de Colón. The date commemorates the so-called "discovery" of America by Cristobal Colon in 1492 and marks the birth of Spanish speaking communities abroad.

Disclosure: I took these photos on a sunny October 12th in 2006. I didn't go this year. The change in weather has left me sleepy and tired.. so today I chose my sleep, warm bed and duvet over the gloomy grey outdoors, crowds of Spanish patriots and their military possessions.

Oct 9, 2008

I'll have what he's having

Spanish jefes (bosses) are notorious for yelling and biting the heads off their underlings. In fact, I've had to ignore quite a few bombastic scoldings while teaching in the next room.. what an unpleasant management style! Last year I taught a Business English class on how to deal with difficult people and every single one of my students had stories to tell about belligerent, tyrannical bosses. From what they told me, this abusive managerial style is actually quite ineffectual. Is this type of asshole a given in the corporate world? Seems so. Kinda makes me glad I'm a freelancer hovering on the fringes of corporate culture. Except for the being poor part.. and having no job security.. or paid holidays or sick days.. or rights..


Oct 7, 2008

Satan in Retiro Park

El Angel Caído (The Fallen Angel), considered the world's only public statue of Satan, is one of the most interesting and popular features in Retiro park. The Fountain of the Falling Angel was created by Ricardo Bellver (1845–1924) and erected in 1922. The work is said to be inspired by a passage from John Milton's Paradise Lost, which represents Lucifer falling from Heaven.

While the angel sculpture is emotive, I actually enjoy the demon faces at the base more.

Source: wiki

Oct 5, 2008

a peaceful solidarity march

Yesterday, while walking home from Retiro Park we stumbled on this protest on Calle Atocha. Both the regular and riot police cleared the road for the marchers.

Yesterday's march of solidarity with the Cuban Five was organized by the Comité Estatal por la Liberación de los 5 presos cubanos en EEUU

The Cuban Five are Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González, five Cuban nationals who were arrested and convicted of espionage, conspiracy to commit murder, and other illegal activities, in the United States. All five are currently serving prison terms in the United States after being convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001.

Source wiki

Oct 3, 2008

awaiting the birth of hope

Photo taken on the staircase to Mirador S. Cristobol in Granada, Spain.
Originally upload by Shehani

"There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities, it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain."
Citizen G'Kar quotes G'Quon from Babylon 5: Z'ha'dum (#3.22)

Oct 2, 2008

How crowded is the Madrid Metro at rush hour?

It gets so crowded that the other day an old Spanish man's pot belly fit snugly into the small of my back and I was glad that his rotundity kept his other parts from touching me.

It gets so crowded that sometimes you leave the Metro damp with the sweat of others.

OK, so maybe it's not in anyway as crowded as say Japan, where they have guys in uniforms called Oshiyas (pushers) who shove commuters into the trains, but it can get pretty squishy here. Got crowded Metro stories of your own? Please share them. 
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