Close Ups

Text Box: Port de Soller, Mallorca   August, 1985

We spent the month of August, in 1985, in Mallorca. One of the three Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea off Barcelona, Spain. I found the apartment from an ad in the New York Times. It had a small balcony overlooking the sheltered harbor and beachfront of Port de Soller on the Northwest coast. 

I thought I had really gotten a steal at only $900 for the month. We spent some time at a little bar up in the hills that was owned by an English couple. We needed to phone home fairly often and we could call from the phone on the bar. They were able to keep track of the charges and I could pay for the phone call with the rest of the tab, a great improvement over standing in the dark at a phone booth feeding pockets full of change into a pay phone only to get a busy signal.  It was a really great place to hang out anyway, with families having drinks and petanque playing on the patio. Petanque looks to me to be a lot like bocce.

We learned two things from the friendly innkeepers. The first was that we had gotten ripped off on the rental. They thought it should have cost more like $300. We decided we were quite happy with what we had spent. The second was that we shouldn’t miss Sunday Dinner at a restaurant down the mountain that served spit-roasted Suckling Pig. We decided that we wouldn’t like Suckling Pig so we didn’t go until the last Sunday we were there. It was amazing, we sat on the terrace eating this incredible meal and trying not to be mad at ourselves for not dining here earlier. After the meal they passed a wineskin containing some dessert wine and we didn’t spill too much wine on ourselves working out the process. We decided it was one of the best meals we have ever had.

Adam was almost two and had so much energy he needed to wind down before bed. I started taking him for a walk every night before we all went up to the top of our hill to see the Mediterranean sunset. There was a maze of streets that weren’t wide enough for cars down the hill from our apartment and Adam and I would walk through them. We often passed a group of old women mending fishing nets and he immediately became their favorite. One night we walked past a woman feeding a puppy a bowl of white rice. Adam said his first sentence; “Dog eat rice”. I was astonished.

I did the drawing at the bottom of the hill next to a tiny Spanish Navy facility.  One morning we woke to tinny sounding Marshall Music. There was a grey cardboard looking naval vessel pulling into the base. The sailors were all lined up on the dock and on a table was a record player which was the source of the music. 

It was much too hot in the daytime to do anything but be in or near the water so we alternated between one of the beaches and a hotel up in the hills which overlooked the Mediterranean and had a beautiful pool. For the price of lunch at the poolside grill we could spend all day in the pool.

At the right middle of the drawing is just the bow of a fishing boat. Almost every time I was working a kid would ride up on his bike and check my progress. He didn’t speak much English but he made me understand that the boat belonged to his uncle and he really wanted me to include it. I relented and drew the bow in just before I decided the drawing was finished.

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We tried to always keep these red chairs away from direct sunlight which would make them really hot and sticky. This must be in the afternoon when they were cooler.

Goodnight Moon, always a favorite. On the television we watched some of the Spanish Sesame Street from Barcelona, as well as a rock and roll show titled “Awapbobaloolawapbamboom”.

When Adam got this look in his eyes we knew it was time for a walk, or a run.

All material copyright 2016 Neil Borrell

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