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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Part 8: Granada

 The walls of our host's home in Alfacar were adorned with the following:

• One giant reggae flag with Bob Marley in place of the lion.
• One giant flag bearing an American Indian chief and text that preached respect and love for all humans and earth
• A bunch of family photos featuring the Ivan and Macarena, and their 15-month-old son. The most peculiar picture was taken from the mother's prospective as she looked down at her son nursing. 
• A photo of the family and their friends in an outdoor thermal bath. 

I didn't ask any questions about the photo of Alvaro chomping on Macarena's nipple, but I was curious about the thermal baths. 

Three days later Sarah and I found ourselves en route to the baths, on an Ivan-lead, 1:30am expedition to some rest-and-relaxation in the middle of the desert. Ivan drove us because he said the place was impossible to find otherwise, and we left at 1:30 in the morning because like many Spaniards, Ivan was unemployed, and even if he wasn't, going out at 1:30 on a Tuesday night just seemed normal to Ivan. 

The sounds of frogs and other creatures brushing through the desert landscape were the only signs of life we could hear as our car passed over the washboard rough road in the pitch-black desert. Then we encountered another creature, a fellow bather, fully nude and froze by our headlights in a sasquatch-style pose with his arms dangling from his torso and yes, other parts dangling as well. He quickly covered himself and carried on.

We drove 100 more feet to Ivan's preferred bath. He backed his car up to the side of a tree and with the guidance of one crappy bikelight flashlight we navigated through the darkness to the bath. 

After tucking our sandals behind a rock with the keys and flashlight, we waded into the bath, which was occupied by what might have been an exact clone of the dog from Frasier and a nude, barrel-bellied man laying on the bath's bank in a centerfold pose with this arm supporting his head giving us a full frontal shot of what he was working with.

We sat in the bath for nearly hour, taking turns letting the mini waterfall crash down on our bath and trying to ignore the nude model-in-training within five feet of us. I'd like to say it was the most relaxing experience of my life, but I was really just too freaked out by everything and Ivan's concern that a roaming group of hippy zombies might break into the car.

Although I appreciated the outdoor and nature element of the Granadian baths, if I had to chose between staring at a nude, large Andalucian or the hairy chest of an orthodox Jew (as offered by New York's Turkish Baths), I'd give NYC's indoor baths the edge.

Bread, Dead & Wolverine

The town of Alfacar is most famous for Federico Garcia Lorca, a poet who was executed by Franco's regime. On a lighter note, Alfacar is known for its water and bread. It's not famous for its Wolverine statue, most likely because the monument is not officially a tribute to Wolverine, and Alfacar's bread, water, and poets are all more important. Yet Ivan and Macarena swore the statue was of X-Men's Wolverine, even though neither of them had any clue what kind of connection the tiny Andalucian town had with a mutant. 

After taking a picture of the conceptual Wolverine monument, I asked another resident what the statue signified. He told me it was a tribute to people who donate blood. I assumed that the "donate blood... to mutants" was lost in translation, so I'm going to forever believe that Alfacar has a special bond with Wolverine.

Time Traveling
With a snazzy pick-up from an Arab market, I progressed my style by 20 years to the appearance of a middle-aged man who's given up on fashion (and most of life). I then took a step back in time to the 14th century with a tour of the Alhambra. While inside the ancient fortress, I found a happy medium between 2032 and the 1300s and pretended I was in a 90s boy band photoshoot.

Caja de Papa
After Macarena and Ivan escorted us to their house, we walked through the six dogs that ruled their front yard, dropped our bags in our room and then. Thirty seconds later, Macarena and stood in her hallway, where she promptly whipped out her breast to nurse Alvaro — all with zero sense of whatever it is that would inhibit you from pulling out your breast in front of someone you had met within the past five minutes.

Later we all sat on their terrace, I was glued to a rocking chair covered in fleece blankets as I dazed at sun setting into a valley nestled by mountains that sprawl off the Sierra Nevadas. Just in case that wasn't relaxing enough, they offered us a freshly-made joint from the “Caja de Papa.” We were told Alvero was allowed free reign of the entire house (he also had free reign of his milk source whenever he wanted) except for “Dad’s box” which holds all their smoking paraphernalia.

I then made a mental note to one day own a “Caja de Papa.” Three milliseconds later, I realized that I'm no where near ready to have a child as my mental list of "notes to future father self" consist of having a "caja de papa" and nothing else. 

Water reserve and ladies
Nature, man
Nature, man, part II

Cordoba Bonus!
I better get free Bobo's for life for this.
Yeah that mosque-church thing was really cool. It was too hot and humid for me to enjoy anything else.