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I have no idea what he was protesting about, but he was very happy when someone decided to take a picture of him.

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It seems logical. El Corte Ingles needs to name its own-brand patio furniture range. It goes outdoors. Outside the house. Nonetheless...

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Insert crude joke about thrones here.

...maybe you should check your branding with a native speaker.

(Urban legend background behind the title for this post here.)

She looked at us all radiantly. "Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day in the year and then miss it."
"We ought to plan something," yawned Miss Baker, sitting down at the table as if she were getting into bed.
"All right," said Daisy. "What'll we plan?" She turned to me helplessly: "What do people plan?"

-- The Great Gatsby


With only a few days left in Malaga, we're getting into checklist mode, although this last week is especially stretched because I'm cramming two weeks' worth of Spanish lessons into one. Nonetheless, today was a good day for checking items off the list: visiting the Museo Picasso~Malaga; hanging out at the beach; trying some recommended paella.

Even with the checklist as reassuring organizational tool, however, I forgot two important things:

(1) The Museo Picasso may be one of the least-known Picasso-related sites in Malaga, at least among locals, because the building has no relationship to the artist. It's a lovely 16th century palace with marble columns and railings, built over some interesting archaeological ruins from both the Roman and Islamic eras, but its only connection to Picasso is that the museum opened there in 2003.

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View of the second floor of the Buenavista Palace, which houses the Museo Picasso.


In contrast, the rest of the city center is dotted with plaques proclaiming that here is where Picasso's father was born, there where Picasso was baptized, over thataway where Picasso pere did some artwork of his own... I specifically asked my taxi driver to take me to the Museo Picasso on Calle San Agustin, to which he agreed and then tried to drop me at the house where Picasso was born, on an entirely different street. After repeatedly insisting that this was the Musee Picasso, he finally condescended to type "Musee Picasso" into his GPS, and discovered that my destination really was not Casa Natal.

(2) Malaga's city center is one of the best places I've found on this trip for strolling around on a sunny afternoon. Unfortunately, part of what makes it so nice for pedestrians is that cars aren't permitted in large sections of the area, and the taxi driver declared that the Museo Picasso was in one such area and that he couldn't get any closer. This was technically untrue, as there were roads closer to the museum. But since I lucked out finding the most direct walking route from where he dropped me, it almost certainly would have taken longer to coax him to take me to a nearer drop-off than it took to hurry to the museum by foot.

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Sol y sombra in the Buenavista Palace's courtyard.

Pallavi brought this to my attention while we were in the grocery store today, with the comment, "This looks like a very bad idea." So long as it's a choice between risking this and my new favorite, Alhambra 1925, I'm going to take the latter. Does anyone know if this is available outside of Spain, and if so, is it as horrible as it sounds?

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Weekend Gluttony

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Back from the Millesime Weekend Valencia food festival. This weekend we drove thirteen hundred kilometers in order to consume an untold number of calories. I suspect that Pallavi will be doing some food blogging shortly, once Picasa's upload function starts working again. And yes, I might have a wine review or three.

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Cerezas con foie: Cherries covered in port and coffee, by Restaurante Moo, Barcelona

The situation in Egypt altered our travel plans considerably. We'd originally hoped to travel south from Egypt to Tanzania, from there to South Africa, and then on to Morocco. Instead, we skipped straight to Marrakech: South Africa is showing lows in the 50s and will only get colder, and we couldn't find an inexpensive London-Tanzania flight on short notice.

Right now, we're in Malaga, and the only flight left on our round-the-world ticket is Madrid-Quito, which we'll probably skip. We're working with a time restriction, in that we need to leave Spain around June 28, must be in India for a family event around July 23, and then need to return to the United States by early August. Yet we can go almost anywhere the budget allows in early July. Ideally, we're looking to travel somewhere cheaply, live there cheaply, and then get to India cheaply. (If it weren't for this last qualification, I might actually take the Madrid-Quito ticket, and then take a short hop to spend our last three weeks in laid back Buenos Aires.)

If you have a recommendation, we're all ears. Although we're open to any and all ideas, we're currently thinking about:

  • Tanzania: Back to the original plan. Although tickets are expensive, the cost of living is pretty low, and we'd be able to make our way back to India without much fuss.
  • Iceland: We'd been strongly considering Iceland as a recession-tourism destination. Despite their currency woes, however, it doesn't appear that the cost of living has fallen enough to make this budgetarily feasible.
  • Greece: A few weeks on a Greek island might be a nice way to chill out, but they're still part of the euro, and unless the dollar surges this may be a problem.
  • Ireland: Both of us have always wanted to go to Ireland. Same problem as Greece, however: the strong euro.
  • Turkey: Midway between Spain and India, and would allow for weeks of "it's Istanbul, not Constantinople" jokes.
  • Kurdistan: Adventure tourism. The NY Times says it's one of 41 places to visit this year, and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office is apparently less anxious than the U.S. State Department. What could go wrong?

As always, we'd welcome comments.

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