If it weren’t for the mushroom (see photo), our word for what is known as the Metropol Parasol, we would be lost. It is our guidepost. We are staying in an apartment in an old part of Seville, Spain — not just a few years old but centuries old — in a warren of narrow streets accessible only on foot. Yesterday, while looking for the square where the off-site apartment manger to leave our trash — Plaza de Alfalfa — we discovered a shortcut to the mushroom, which was good to know but also in the opposite direction of the trash bins.
Five days ago, we arrived in Seville after dark. The taxi driver let us off at the entrance to this street, called Calle Siete Revueltas. “A la izquierda” he said.
“What do we do after we turn left?” I asked my husband, who shrugged.
I first learned the adjective “revuelto” in Mexico in the context of “huevos revueltos,” scrambled eggs. In this case the street name means “seven turns,” but scrambled describes it just as well.
One nice thing about this neighborhood without cars is that it’s dead silent. Back home, we live near a freeway and we’re used to car traffic and planes flying overhead. I woke up the first night here and wondered what was wrong.
Within the streets of this maze and everywhere else we go, strangers are not safe…from us. Asking for directions of people just stepping out their front doors, resolutely crossing a plaza, or sitting quietly on a bench in a public square occupies much of our days. Today, on our own, we discovered several new shortcuts, successes which always give us moments of rejoicing.
Our Spanish is improving quickly. It has to, because few people seem excited to test their English out on us. I’m thankful that Spanish words buried deeply in some storage bin in my brain are popping out. Usually these words make sense to the hearer. However, today, a man I was talking to kept backing away. He was trying to sell me a ride through the city in his horse-drawn carriage. I told him I’d taken this ride years ago, and it had rained (llover) during the entire ride, just poured down on us. A few hours later I realized that the word I used wasn’t quite what I intended to say. I was talking about water falling, but didn’t mean to say I was crying (llorar) during the carriage ride.
I really need to get my Spanish straight tomorrow when I have to call a pharmacist to explain that I have a blood clot and need a blood test with an immediate analysis of results. If this doesn’t work, it’s off to a hospital emergency room to ask for the same procedure, another potential scramble in this labyrinthine world. So far everyone I’ve asked for help has come through, except for two teenage girls who didn’t know where they were and even they tried.