Do you think I am a fool?
I have the holiest hope that the matter of this letter and the illustrations accompanying it will not shock you because the last thing in the world I want it is you to get angry with me. I thrived, past tense will be appropriate now, but I expect things to improve, thanks to your magnificent protection revered guardian angel. As you know I am an architecture buff and the architecture it is the mother of arts for many, I always wonder who is the father, but nowadays you will agree, the FATHER’s rank went down some rungs, not offense intended. To be sincere, I know it through direct experience and I should say that worst things can occur. An egoist will think that if women want to raise kids alone or to make them by themselves, see serene Serena, why to discourage them? A cynical historicist, it should be one around, will say that this was the case for thousands of years during matriarchate, so the HOW DO is there!
Nevertheless when I realized that Bilbao has outside the mighty dwarf’s museum, which is the city’ SUNSET BOULEVARD, and the big income inlet, CASH COW AND FAÇADE simultaneously, some seventy outstanding buildings. I said to myself: enough. Bilbao invested in Urban Catharsis in a time that they were bankrupt and won. Sir N. Foster left his mark there and a Japanese guy too, I believe Isozaki, and Calatrava and Pelli, and Legorreta and Siza, all these are Pritzker prize flesh and had a major say and do. Mink enveloped Zaka Hadid, the poor woman is dead by now, got also a mammoth project too. I wonder what happened to her company: Zaka Hadid and associates. 400 architects were toiling there. Probably the “Associates” got everything. Life is unfair! But as far as I am concerned let’s escape this building frenzy, a clean tepee is a smart shelter too and you can also schlep it from place to place, particularly handy in our migrant era.
I was alone, my companion, Lothar who came to Segovia to meet me left disgusted for life of puppets and puppetry of any kind (we enrolled for Tiritimundi festival) and of the orgy of cochinito, that being roasted piglet, in which I was continuously indulging. He is a vegetarian of sorts. Then I began to talk to myself, I do this on a SOUND basis and in a steady frequency. The answer I got was let’s go to somewhere where NOBODY OR FEW are going. As you know tourists like to be in places which are tourists free.
I went to pay my respects to Biscayan Bay. Open sea always fascinated me. Many bloody battles occurred there and especially in 1592 the Spanish light weight flyboats got some victory against heavily armed English fleet. It was a pale vengeance after the ferocious rout inflicted by the Brits to Invincibila Armada four years before, but it was much better than another loss. Even more
important and civil is that by the Biscayan Bay many fishing boats sailed out to fish the cod, known under the sanctified local term as bacalao so far as the Newfoundland and St Pierre and Miquelon crossing the unpleasant Atlantic Ocean like it were a country lake. When they came back, if they came, they went up the stream on the Nervion watercourse, which is a quite pacific river and passed under the bridge near where Frank G. built his Cultural Mall. The bridge is called La Salva, meaning that they were safe,…for a while! You know, people live on deadline and in deception.
In the morning I entered Moyua, a posh Bilbao metro station, coming from my posh(TEL) Hostel, that was its real name, and got under one of the Sir Norman canopy, feeling free and light, towards a spot called Punta Galea which holds a blessed location in the Biscayan Bay. The day before I went around a huge display of Abstract Expressionism at the Gehry’s joint and when I say huge I mean enormous. La crème de la crème was there, heroic painters producing heroic size canvasses. they are all dead by now, but they were alive when I was studying in New York, except Rothko who hanged himself early. I met only one of the fellows, Sam Francis in real life. He was using some long perches with sponges to do his things and I had a lot of fun seeing him acting. I believe that he too had a lot of fun in general. Type of happy! I have to avow that during the visit I was obsessively fantasizing that I should get one work for free. Doesn’t matter whose – Still, Newman, Pollock, de Koonig, Rothko, Gotlieb, Francis, they were all there. They marked the first massif eruption, better stay polite, of
American art on the world scene. Their historic interest is whale size, but whatever I will receive I will sell it immediately for a bushel of gold coins, Royal Canadian Mint please, to satisfy my mercantile nature. It is high time to go back to NATURE!
I feel that I need to open a parenthesis. That is my style, I am going from one parenthesis to another like a drunk from a tavern to a bar and back. This kind of advancing in circles assures me that I eventually will reach the departing point. I went out at the Bidezabal (the Basque language sounds very odd, what I can say? devilish!) station and realized that if La Punta is not posh it is certainly well off. I easily reached the sea shore, admired the expanse of the bay and remarked that I am on the top of an impressive cliff, the strand being fairly low below. Now on cliffs, if you are fat or old, and even if you are slim and old like me, it is better to stay on the top because if they are quite nice to rush on down they become nasty when you have to climb up. When I was quite absently asking myself what to do and where to start, I distinguished a remote puny yellow stain somewhere near the margin of an immense bell like blue vault, (sounds the same?!) and decided that it should be a lighthouse. I was barely seeing it but I heartily felt that I have to go for it. There I may empathically sensate the feelings of the returning fishermen, who by the way passed away longtime ago, the trade being today fairly extinct, while after a dangerous fishing campaign, North Atlantic is not a piece of cake, were happy to come back, totally exhausted, barely able to kiss wife and kids. It was the time of steady families. Today everybody is kissing. SMACK time! Here we go!
On the right side I have seen some buildings, flats and private, mostly new, fairly opulent without being flashy. It was not Malibu, but it was cozy. Then, I happily realized that financial crisis, and Spain had a mighty one, does not kill totally the economy and does not necessary bring the impoverishment of the entire population. So, people should stop whining! They have enough fun by going to vote often and with the ongoing Catalonian carnival.
On the left side, towards the sea, my glances fell on some kind of human landscape, to be more precise on some middle age female breasts belonging to a couple of ladies who were taking sun, enjoying breeze and talking on the phone. By a strange turn of mind, free of any lecherous associations, I didn’t like them, I thought of Desmond Morris seminal book, The Naked Ape. Morris who was a towering scholastic and media figure on the English scene from the 60 on, PhD in philosophy and zoology, et biologist, writer, TV
producer, surrealist painter, enormous art collector of ancient Cypriot art, curator of mammals at the London Zoo and manager of Congo, his chimpanzee painter whose production he was bravely peddling and selling. Do you want to see him within creative fever? Just click here:
He, Morris not Congo, assumed in his books, he ruthlessly produced, that the women breasts and human male organ, let’s call them like this, are bigger and heavier when reported to the body mass than of any other mammal, elephant included. To mention that I was impressed?
.Morris suggested that the hypertrophy of above mentioned organs was determined by an evolution enabling, decision making power, at work during the quest for a mating partner. Then, this quest for the “best” is as important as the biological functional task of milk and semen producing. I support him even if there are many real chances that the human race evolution is in a jam session and I was delighted to find yesterday that the chap is still living and kicking, 89 years young! Does somebody know where I may find a CHIMP at a discount price?
I overpassed the mermaids without the necessity to be like Ulysses tied to the ship mast for not to yield to their irresistible charm and continued to head north towards the light tower (?!) which by now was taking shape and substance. Suddenly two exceptional events captivated in a tight sequence my total attention. The big piece of land that stretched for some three kilometers from the end of the town to the lighthouse was halved by a rough narrow path on which I was bravely plodding forward when I became aware, like somebody who is receiving enlightenment or a blow on top of the head, sometimes they are coming together, that the whole blessed area was covered by bushes and millions of wild flowers as variegated as possible, in full blossom, flashing the most subtle and splendid, both acute and tender hues at once. That harmonic colorful conjunction recalled me the little I knew about the millefleurs concept and production. Millefleurs was a weaving technique en vogue by the end of the Middle Age and the beginning of the Renaissance which led to the creation of large tapestry decorated with infinity of flowers on a steady and dense deep green grass background. The care for minute detail and the optic vibration of the ensemble, which sometime housed also human and, or animal figures lead to unequaled masterpieces. Some of them as La Dame avec l’Unicorn, which I went to contemplate at the Musee de Cluny more than once, brought me to a state of veritable emotion, what it is not little and quite rare. Now Sir, to get back to the point and make it short I found myself drifting inside a three dimensional, chromatic opulent, shimmering and shinning enchanted millefleurs tapestry. Alleluia!
Ready to have a true spiritual vertical drive I remarked on the other side of the road, because it was a road, for regular people leading to the light house, parallel to the vicious path on which I advancing, an enormous wall, as well in length and in width profusely decorated with qualitatively sound graffiti. Admiringly I thought, smart Basques, they built their town near to graveyard to avoid toiling too hard to reach the final address when the second click occurred in my mind and concomitantly materialized on the blue celestial vault in fiery characters. ARE YOU A FOOL with a great question mark (?) at the end. I stopped dead in tracks to consider the situation and find an answer to the query. I was going into my eighty years of life, I was alone, nobody in the world knew where I am, my children were thousands of kilometers away, the charming girls running the posh hostel didn’t asked and didn’t care where I went, I do not have the phone number of any local emergency help, the weathered path was strewn with salient stone ribs and hindrances which may make me, with a little bit of misfortune, trip and fall, sprain an ankle or broke a bone and I am not covered by the slightest HEALTH INSURANCE whatsoever. The question was pertinent!
I avoided giving an answer to this kind of rhetorical inquiry and I swore on the bones of my ancestors, my grandfather that I adored broke the hip and died of that, that I will lower the rhythm and double of precaution.
I will be as cautious as a tortoise on fairly stiff legs, to impress even the Lonely George,I met years ago at Galapagos and who was claiming 100 years and something, a ferocious abstinent, who did not find any of the gorgeous armored ladies surrounding him of his taste and who was barely moving. Fair enough? And then I arrived to the object of my quest like a lover who is going to meet a forbidden mistress and felt the immediate reward getting hold of both my heart and my dreams with the impetus of a blue deep sea wave – something short of a tsunami but powerful. Alas, it was much more beautiful than expected and forbidden too. The iron gate leading to the object of desire was secured with a heavy chain. Ha! Ha! My dear angel, I am a little bit joking, old age and good mood are rare commodities together, so I try to capitalize on the conjunction, but the very truth is that from the tender age, seventy years ago, after that I absorbed like. a sponge Jules Verne “ “A lighthouse at the end of the world” I was yearning to live in such an enthralling place in the company of a cankerous parrot.
The lighthouse had a proud look perched on top of a hill which was already on a top of a cliff accompanied by some function buildings and surrounded by a wall and seemingly also a moat. The trench was mostly filled with wild thorny vegetation within which many vicious scorpions and poisonous snakes could hide and thrive, also sting and bite. There is a smell of military architecture floating in the air. Was it a fortified lighthouse in its days of glory? The lantern was gone but the gold and buff sandstones of which the light house was made were superbly cut with little or no mortar at all between them and some, amazingly shaped, bent like units of a circular section. It showed signs of wear, of weathering under sand carrying winds blow which remove the softer layers of a stone mass and shape and polish the hard core in astonishing forms. Give to it a half million years and the tower will look like a smart toothpick.
Then I remarked a crack in the wall that could be used as a launching ramp but I didn’t trust the disjointed blocks. For a moment I waited for Saint Christopher to carry me over but he didn’t show up. Probably he was still exhausted after he gave a lift to Jesus child. Jesus Christ was heavier than any black hole after that he begun to take over himself the sins of the mankind. Do you know what that means? At Chicago only, the 4th of July 2017, 100 people were shot. It puzzles me how they came to a round figure. Well, let’s not lose the track, if nobody is here to help me I will help me. A couple of seconds after this bright idea I climbed the crack and jumped safely inside, commando me. Another foolish act some peevishly intentioned guys will say. I am sure that your judgement will be more clement. I trotted a long stretch, I was fairly tired and sweating, it was a sticky day, I couldn’t go back empty handed. You are agreeing? as they say in Switzerland when they want to give to someone the feeling that a dialogue is taking place.
The place was simultaneously the quintessence of beauty and misery. The circular tower, a slender and stable cylinder with noble ionic outlook rose from the rock bed through the flat roof of an octagonal platform. The platform enclosed a pretty high and fairly wide space through which one had access to a narrow spiral staircase. The gutted function houses had noble proportions. With their empty finely shaped windows they gazed into nothingness like some centenary blind bards ready to break into a song or lament. It could be spooky but it wasn’t because in the middle of the quite wide walled compound surged the fine cylindrical rim of a deeply dug well which lent a touching social outlook to the whole.
Alas notwithstanding any tourist exposure, I didn’t know of its existence when I arrived at Punta Galea the place was fouled by a horde of biped pigs during the years. They left behind repellent artistic attempts and disgusting reliefs of their need to nourish and drink. It was time to leave but before, I had to say good bye to the sea and to the sky. I begun to climb the spiral staircase when I discovered the lack of two stone slabs.
Then the devil came to tempt me: hey man, one more little effort and you will be on the top of world…As you realized dear Danarel, I am partially deaf, and sometimes my deafness increase. I also felt insulted, as you know Faust received much more… I went down and threw a long look at the staircase…the rung above the missing slabs was absolutely cracked….
Shrewd guy the devil, a miser too, nobody cares for him anymore, people outperformed whatever he could offer! I went outside, there was a quiet flight of stairs jutting from the drum like platform’s wall to the roof …
I went up and drunk a long sip from the sky and from the sea… It was very fresh and tasty…Maybe after all I am not a complete fool. I went back without to throw a second look at the cemetery. It is not for today and it is not for me altogether. I fancy to go out in ashes, sparks and fireworks. One hour later, dead tired I arrived at my Posh(tel) Hostel, indifferent of what kind of alliteration these acoustically related juxtapositions may raise – rest was requested relentlessly!
With sincere thanks for your patience and continuous support,
PS. 1 My dear angel and patron I am extremely glad and not little proud that I discovered, five minutes ago, one month after my visit at Punta Galea why the perimeter reminded me a fort. In 1844 it was decided that it will be built on the ruins of an ancient fort: “construir un faro en las ruinas del antiguo fuerte del Escarpe de la Galea.” And there it was elevated in 1852. If such a trivial little discovery can make one so happy what should have felt Hiram Bingham to discover Macchu Picchu? For sure he went bonkers!
PS. 2 The nasty false Zen monks are back…I cannot eradicate them totally..They do not spare any efforts to spread doubt upon anything I have to say or even to viciously attack me directly. Please try to ignore completely their rant by avoiding reading their inane comments. Thank you!