The simple things in life are often the most complicated.
I was supposed to be writing worms of wisdom about yer man Joyce and Ulysses and the Wake today. I just had a few easy tasks to get out of the way first. A couple of days earlier I’d booked flights out to Seville on the new service, for to meet up with a friend and her sister in the early autumn, when said sister will be celebrating a multiple of decades of life in sunny Seville.
Flights are on Thursdays only, so I got myself a week. Stay in Seville until the lassies set sail on the Sunday, hop on a train to Cádiz and meet their Fred Olsen there on the Sunday, then have four days reacquainting myself with my little city by the bay, as featured in my famous journal of a year in Cádiz. As the flight back is in the evening, get the train back from Cai to Santa Justa station and get straight on the airport bus.
Easy. And plenty of time to book rooms nearer the date, I thought.
Well, I made things harder for myself by a decision to spend the Friday revisiting the lovely little town of Ronda, with its gorge and historic bridge which every artist has to paint. I’m no exception. They don’t let you leave until it’s done.
Two hour bus journey, a night in my chums’ hotel, the exquisite Alavera de los Baños, and an early afternoon bus back to Sevilla the next day.
And eight months to do it in.
But but but …
A quick glance to check the hotel is still there and still run by the lovely Christian and Inma showed it was also fully booked for September. My own fault. People like me, among their firstest customers at the turn of the minnellium, enthused so much to our general acquaintance, that word of mouth alone made them a firm fave of many visitors. But an idle enquiry on Trivookingtels dot com suggested that there wasn’t that much room at any inn that week. A suspicion sneaked into my brane. Once before around that time of year, la Frizada and I found ourselves in the town in the middle of the Goyescas, a colourful event where the squares are full of bars and dancing and everyone dresses like a character from a Goya tapestry. It’s part of the week-long Feria de Pedro Romero, a celebration of tauromachia, named for the famous bullfighter who codified the laws of the modern corrida.
At the main fight of the week, the King acts as president and awards ears and other trofeos to the successful matadors.
Sure enough, I was aiming to be there at the end of that very festival.
¡Mierda con garbanzos!
But this was all the more reason to revisit, not go to fights; even if I wanted to, I couldn’t afford it and they’re probably all sold out. But deffo to have a dance in the square with frilly-dressed señoritas and neck a beer or six with a plate of rabo de toro. Maybe revisit my favourite tapas bar, if la Giralda is still there. So I wasted a few hours this morning but managed to find a small pension on the hill going down to los baños, in the old town.
Phew! After this, it gets easier.
I needed two nights, nonconsecutive, in Sevilla, preferably handy for the bus and train stations. Quite quickly I found an Airbnb room with a doble bed at the south end of la Macarena (near where I’d stayed with mis hermanos last year). Booked for the Wednesday, got confirmation, booked for the Friday, got a mail from the host saying it wasn’t really available at all. Both nights? Yes, both nights.
‘José’ (name changed in case I’m accidentally slandering the innocent) duly cancelled the Wednesday booking; I found another room, slightly cheaper, nearer to the station, booked both nights, got confirmations and nice mail back from ‘Consuela’.
Then Airbnb tells me I’m booked for two places on the one, Friday, night. José says he can’t get at it to cancel, ¿would I do it? I find I’ll lose a £4 admin fee if I do. No, say I (in Spanish, ie ‘No’).
I write to Airbnb, get friendly reply saying tell José to cancel and, if he can’t, to contact customer support.
Well, between my bad Spanglish and Google Translate’s variable efforts, things go on for ages, get very confusing, and he seems to be saying the £23 quoted on the site was wrong. I can’t be sure, but he may have been saying I can cancel it and he’ll send me the admin charge; or I could have the room after all for the ‘correct’ price of £35.
Fuck that. T’other place is under £20 a night and both it and Consuela look charming.
So it’s now the evening, I have spaghetti to cook and still I await some sort of resolution. At least I have one room. Or to put it another way, I have at least one room.
Joyce can wait a week.