Flamenco and Seville

Trip Start Feb 14, 2006
1
25
27
Trip End Dec 15, 2006


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of Spain  ,
Monday, December 4, 2006

Good luck

Louise and I flew out of France 5 days ago now and started our Andulucian experience in Seville. Seville is the sort of place that makes travelling worthwhile. It is beautiful, historic, colourful and full of charm. The joy of being able to speak Spanish again is really hard to describe. Both Louise and I have decided that of all the experiences we have had this year learning Spanish was the highlight.

We are staying in a lovely little hostel in the heart of the old-town. Every morning we get up and, after having the all-incluisive (toast and cheese) breakfast we head out to explore another section of this fascinating city. It is a mix of cobblestoned streets and narrow alleys, almost always full of just-ripe orange-trees, and the continued encounter of tapas bars wherever one walks.

Our first exploration was the "Real Alcazar" which is a beautiful fortress that has been used by royalty on and off for years. Andulucia (and Spain in general) has an interesting history given that it was conquered and then re-conquered by both Muslim (often known as the Moors, or as George said the "Moops") and Christian forces for most of its history. It is at the crossroads of Europe and Africa. It gives a wonderfully different sense to the architecture and feel of the place.

The real highlight of Seville for me though is Flamenco. Louise and I have been immersing ourselves as much as we can in its culture since we got here. We have seen 3 shows at different venues and even spent a couple of hours in the Flamenco museum. It is an interesting art-form. Some aspects I love - the rhythm, the percusion, the dancing, whilst others I am having trouble enjoying - like the singing.

The guitar, though, is truly a gift for anyone who likes music. Last night I watched a truly amazing flamenco player who mixed "rasquerdos" with "picados" with my favourite classic pieces (such as "asturias") at an astonishing rate. I love, more than anything else, watching art-forms that require immense dedication and incredible perfection of one's craft. Correspondingly, I am often unimpressed where it is difficult to see the work that went into the final product (such as my love-hate relationship with modern art). It is apparently one of the reasons that "magic" (my childhood passion) is often considered a 'low' art form - the dedication and technique needs to be 'hidden' in order for the illusion to occur. Anyway, what it comes down to is that I love watching 'mastery' of almost anything - from someone gifted in languages, to a great athlete, to a great chess player, to a great musician.

It is also something I have always wished to have done myself. As I watched the flamenco players strum I had this desperate desire to learn Flamenco. When I spent time at the "Leonardo Da Vinci" museum I became enamoured with studying mathematics and sketch-drawing. In Buenos Aires I loved watching the tango dancers and wished to dance as they did. I am alreaady trying to learn Aikido and guitar... the neverending list goes on and on and, unfortunately, by wanting to do so many of these things I will never reach the level I desire in any one of them. A classic catch-22.

However, whilst watching this flamenco show I had an epiphany that, like most moments of clarity, seems incredibly obvious and almost twee in retrospect: MEDICINE accomplishes everything that I want! I realised that medicine and flamenco are, in some ways, incredibly similar. Both require huge sacrifice, lifelong dedication and often the resignation to living in a world that few people understand. Instead of trying to mimic an art I will probably never understand I can return to the art that I do. It is as if I have come full circle. I left Australia needing a break from medicine, wanting to explore other avenues and broaden my experience of life, only to reach the end of the trip and realise that medicine provides everything that I needed in the first place. It is the classic storey of 'the alchemist' except it seems to have happened to me!

The wonderful thing is that I am returning to Australia in 2 weeks to embark upon one of the most stressful and demanding periods of anyones medical career - the pathway to physician specialisation. For at least the next 18 months I will be both working full-time and studying-full time - most doctors seem to work 60 hours a week then somehow study a further 30 on top of it. Many have also described the next 18 months as the worst of their lives. Although I left Australia in some ways running away from such single-minded dedication, on return I am filled with the sensation that it is what I have been both looking for and admiring throughout my journey (and, on reflection, my life). The prospect of living in a medical journal seems to be exactly what my life needs right now. Serendipity smiles!

OK - enough philosophising. As Bruce Lee said, if you think about something too much you will never get it done. If you need me I will be studying

Thanks for reading

James
Report as Spam

Comments

jamesdouglas
jamesdouglas on

Cheers for the input
Thank you for the advice and input

Good luck at being yourself!

James

hello_ondrej
hello_ondrej on

countries
so how many countries have you visited?

jamesdouglas
jamesdouglas on

how many countries
I think it is 33 at the moment with a couple of 'maybe' countries - like the bus I took through Honduras

hello_ondrej
hello_ondrej on

re-post
wow...your description of seville had me watering at the mouth...i just want to be there so bad. there is something about an old cobblestoned lane that is still inhabited and alive that i find unbelieveably appealing.

couldn't agree more with your comments on mastery. i love competence in all of its forms. (the flipside is that incompetence is repellant). but there is always this struggle - by choosing to excel at one thing, you are actually choosing not to try your hand at hundreds of other things. and the more dedicated you are to this talent, the less you harvest your other talents. it would all be alright except for the fact there there is only one life in which to do all the things you need to do, and that is unacceptably short. so what do you do? it sounds like the second big existentialist question in life (the first being whether or not you choose to go on living at all). i feel that the only thing i will ever be the best at (cliche alert) is being myself - and i'm proud of that. like you, i want to be a master of our art - medicine - but i've decided to try and master it over an extended period of time, and fill my life with millions of other (unmastered) experiences in the meantime. who knows? there's no manual.

sounds great that you're excited about getting into your physician's training course. i must admit that i don't think i would have been able to do what i'm doing this year if i hadn't taken the first half of the year off. keeps you fresh and interested.

but after tasting the fruit of travel for such a long time...and enjoying it so much...james after 18 months work you're going to have one hell of a craving. good luck!

xxx

hello_ondrej
hello_ondrej on

thirty three clickety click
33!?

i've got some serious catching up to do!

here's to another 33!

and then another 33 after that!

and maybe one day...(even though it's totally irrelevant and shouldn't matter at all, but wouldn't it just be OH SO satisfying on some weird level that you pretend is a deep down level but is actually a superficial and totally boastful level) another one after that...and the magical 100...

...and then another 100 after that!

and so on :)

xxx

jamesdouglas
jamesdouglas on

Here's to another 100
The REAL question for someone who loves travelling has got to be:

How many planets have you been to?

That is the real mark of a traveller - political landscapes change - Mars is unquestionably a new place.

James (Mars, by the way, is SO last year!)

marvin42
marvin42 on

so interesting
Hey Louise & James,

it is so much fun to read your travel blog. I haven't been to Sevilla yet but with knowing the language now I can imagine that it is such a nice experience to dive really deep into the culture.
Enjoy the rest of your trip and take care my friends.

Bye,
Volker

Add Comment

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: