They are finally pedestrianising Calle Mateos Gago, where l lived for 18 years (just above those orange trees on the top left pic). I walked all through Barrio Santa Cruz the other day and didn’t see one shop or one bar open, even beyond the street works. Why? Because nobody lives there anymore. This is what happens when you turn a previously vibrant and thriving neighbourhood into a tourist ghetto.
Yesterday I was working away at my desk when suddenly I caught sight of a woman on the roof of the building across the street – who was waving at me! So I cheerfully waved back and then thought – duh! – maybe she wants something. I opened the balcony door and said hello and found out that she did indeed want something. Turns out she’d seen me coming home late after a tapas tour last week and confronting the asshat who acts as a bouncer at the sleazy bar in my building. I mean, it was about 1 am and there were at least forty drunk teenagers hanging around outside my front door. So I took a photo of them and told the bouncer I’d call the police and show it to them if he didn’t DO SOMETHING immediately. Of course he made a pathetic showing of dispersing the crowd, which only lasted until I went inside.
Anyhow, the woman (Aracel) wanted to talk to me about DOING SOMETHING about this bar and the other illegal bar just up the street, which are both owned by the same person. I told Aracel that I actually had a petition signed by all but one tenant in my house (can never catch him at home) and was going to take it down to city hall this week. So she said she would get the president of their building management committee to write up a petition as well to present at the same time. After that I wrote to the woman who rents holiday apartments in the house next door (Ryan’s parents stayed there last month and complained about the noise) to see if she wanted to do the same. If she does then three houses with 6-8 apartments in each will have registered a formal complaint in the same week about these two bars. And just maybe that will make a difference.
You may recall that the scuzzy bar in my building was the one that caught fire in the middle of the night a couple of years ago. There is no way he is operating within what his licence permits. The place doesn’t open until after 10 pm most nights and stays open until about 4 am. Then his other bar (pretty much in front of my bedroom balcony) opens at 6 am. And both of these bars attract a combination of underage drinkers and the absolute dregs of society who hang out in the street basically all night and well into the morning. We are hopeful that the closing of one “iconic” student bar a couple of weeks ago just around the corner from us means that city hall is trying to crack down on illegal opening times, as well as illegal drinking (and gawd knows what else) going on in the street. So wish us luck! It really feels good to suddenly have this unexpected support from my neighbours.
After all was said and done my “scary” hospital day yesterday turned out quite well. I’d got up early for yoga class and tried to keep busy doing biz stuff at home later, but I was getting more and more nervous as the day went on. And it was silly because I KNEW that this oncology appointment was just going to be about setting up my next PET scan, but unlike going to get my port flushed out (which I can now do on my own!), actually having to talk to the oncologist makes the whole cancer thing feel more real and threatening somehow. But it went well. Had a nice chat with doctor Ana and, after a bit of consternation on her part, she agreed to let me have the scan early in June, which was what I’d been hoping for. I have so many things on the go that I want to know as soon as possible if I’m going to be okay for the next few months. Also, if this next scan is clean, it’ll be the first summer in three years that I haven’t been on chemo…
In case you’ve never seen an angel before…this is Isabel.
If you haven’t read the story about Isabel’s wonderful generosity and how she totally saved my holiday in Málaga last weekend, you can find it here. Someone asked if I had offered to pay her for taking me to the train station, but I knew she would have never accepted money and so I got her this lovely box of Belgian chocolates while I was away. And it was hard enough getting her to accept those! She kept waving them away and telling me not to be “tonta”. And when I asked if I could take her photo and told her that she was already “famosa” on my blog, she turned to the shop assistant and said, “I just did the tiniest of favours for this girl and she’s making such a big fuss over it!”
The tinest of favours. Yeah right. She only saved my holiday and renewed my faith in human kindness with her very spontaneous act of generosity. No big deal.