Gran Canaria 2, Email #10

Dear friends and family,

Canary Islands continues:

Warm enough to eat outside at night.

These pieces were printed on aluminum panels at Magnolia. Era, Faisal Abdul-Allah (artist whose work is in the exhibition), Omar Pascual-Castillo (museum director) and Barbaro Martinez-Ruiz (curator and Stanford professor).

Faisal spent 4 years photographing London mobsters (one seen through the door). These were printed on gold plated panels, not by us. Seeing these men's faces blown up large is truly chilling.

The CAAM gave the exhibition 3 floors in the museum.

Faisal and Era standing in the room with the awesome Revelations series, also printed at Magnolia. 

Another area of CAAM, checking out the red stairway.

Took a walk with Faisal and Barbaro up and down the Las Palmas boardwalk, had dinner in a restaurant specializing in seafood. You can see the fish in this part of the world (less than 100 miles off the coast of Southern Morocco in the Atlantic) are pretty different from what we have around here or in Europe. I had some of the small pale fish in the foreground, which look a bit like angelfish. They had a taste similar to chicken and were quite delicious. Have no idea what they are called; maybe my uncle does.

Poor things look much better alive. Thank you for helping to sustain me/us.

This restaurant could be anywhere.

A literary club in Las Palmas. It is called the Cabinete de Literario de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. We had a barely passable coffee there. I'm afraid the coffee is not good in Spain or France, unless you get very lucky, and worse in Portugal and the Canaries. In our experience, the only European country where you can get good coffee most of the time is Italy. Our coffee in Oakland is now better than most Italian. We do get coffee beans which have been roasted the same day from Bicycle Coffee. It shows how far we've come, as I remember going to France in the 'sixties and the coffee at that time was far superior to anything in California. Of course, it is still possible to get wretched coffee in California.

My sister-in-law, Leanne, just wrote me and said she and my brother, Marc, loved the coffee in Seville. So maybe we didn't have coffee in the right places.

Doorway in the same club.

Didn't have time to visit the other islands, but we did take a bus ride to see more of Gran Canaria. This little structure in a fishing village is festooned with floats, hanging like amulets. Brand new BMW bike parked nearby.

Always find these little fisherman's chapels very moving with their replicas of boats. This little chapel had about a dozen boat models. When you make your livelihood from the sea, and are out every day in a fishing boat, at the mercy of storms, freak winds and freak currents, large floating debris which can crush your hull, what can you do beyond using all the skills and perceptions you have, but pray for good fortune and mercy? But then my maiden name, Hamaji, translates to Ocean Cove or Temple by the Sea and my father drowned while swimming in the ocean. I have both a love and a healthy respect for the ocean.

Back from the fishing village in time for another al fresco meal: Clockwise from Era - a local gallery owner; Omar, director of CAAM; Rocio (behind a pole), a talented local artist; Marina Vargas, another talented artist who lives in Granada and is having an upcoming show at CAAM; her friend Mario, who is involved with videos.

Faisal and Barbaro, off to photograph this banner (below):

Faisal with banner.

Omar and Era

It's sad that because of SpanAir going bankrupt, and having to grab an available flight on Very TryingAir (Ryanair), we missed Faisal's opening which was later that evening. The Ryanair flight was pretty late taking off, to add to our disgust.

Got into Barcelona and our apartment at 1:30 am. The wonderful people at Habitat accommodated us; a young German girl with an Irish accent and an American guy met us at the apartment with the keys. If you do visit Barcelona, and you go the apartment route, I highly recommend Habitat. I have read on-line of people renting nonexistent apartments in Barcelona, or renting an apartment which showed photos of a completely different apartment on-line. Habitat has a good reputation, which seems well-deserved to me, on the whole.

One more email and then we are done.


Era and Don