Thursday, July 30, 2009

August: Peace, Shanti, Wa Salaam, Shalom

Images by Eleonore Weil

David Seaton's News Links
Some of my readers may not be aware that southern Europe shuts down in the month of August.

Great cities like Paris, Rome, or Madrid, where I live and work, are deserted in August except for the tourists.

Many years ago, in my painter days, I spent two Augusts in Madrid painting exhibitions scheduled for October. It was a perfect way to get a lot of creative work done.

I was totally alone: no one I knew was in town, there was nobody to call, nobody to see, nothing to do, except work...

No distractions, most bars and restaurants closed, the streets deserted, no traffic.

A city of nearly five million people: a ghost town shimmering in the Castillian heat.

Almost everyone is on vacation.

Employees here get one full month vacation a year, with a vacation bonus of an extra month's pay (there is another bonus at Christmas too, they call this the "
catorce pagas", 14 paydays) and almost everyone takes (or is forced to take) their month off in August.

Those, who like me, are free lancers, self-employed, with many irons in the fire, are simply unemployed in August and must make provisions throughout the year for this unpaid vacation.

This year, as I usually do, I am going up to spend August in a cabin I have in the
Guadarrama mountains. We have solar electricity, running water (if I choose to run up the hill from the well with it) and the high mountain valley where it is situated blocks cellphone reception.

Internet? LOL.

Peace, Shanti, Wa Salaam, Shalom.

Deer, wild boar and assorted reptiles abound in the surrounding forest and, since it is common grazing land, there are free range cattle wandering through it and even wild horses that roam free in the woods until the spare stallions are caught and sold for their meat.

Eagles, hawks and giant vultures circle, glide and swoop through the cloudless, blue skies.

There, during the month of August, I will --
si Díos quiere, Inshallah, God willing -- lie, sit, sprall, under a tree and read and read and read and also block out some ideas for a book I'm going to write -- si Díos quiere, Inshallah, God willing.

So, this will probably be my last post till September.

I always feel bad about this because every time I take a month off, some faithful readers drift away and don't come back.

But for those who like what I write, I promise -- si Díos quiere, Inshallah, God willing -- to be back full of piss and vinegar and fresh ideas in a month's time. DS

PS. To decorate the page for people who stumble upon it during this month of abstinence, I am hanging some of the work of my lady wife, Eleonore Weil, inlined from her webpage. Enjoy!


bailey said...

David, I wish you a peaceful august and look forward to reading your thoughts in sept.

We too will be adrift, with much air fresh air creating surround sound. We set sail soon, from malta to venice, then trieste, looking forward to a bit of tranquility, some navel gazing and much good health.


Forensic economist said...

David - have a nice vacation!

For those of us still reading this blog, I just got back from my vacation.

click for pictures:

Pinecrest, California is what more of the country could have looked like if the New Deal had continued.

The Stanislaus River was dammed in 1935 as a WPA project, creating Pinecrest Lake. All the land is owned by the National Forest Service, which operates three drive in campgrounds, that can accomodate about 900 people. There are a few concessions operated privately, such as boat rentals and fishing supplies. About 200 people have summer houses on land leased from the Forest Service, which restricts the size, materials, access, and right or requirement to cut trees on the lot. As a result, the houses are all modest sized, surrounded by trees, and of wood; and the public has access to the entire lakeshore.

The lake is stocked with trout by the state Dept of Fish and Game.

There are a few group camps on leased land, such as the Boy Scouts and the University of California Alumni Association, where I take my family.

Compare it to Lake Tahoe which has casinos, mansions, tacky motels, traffic jams, and barely a tenth of the shoreline with public access.


RC said...

Welcome back Dave, I guess in a few days {I don't know exactly when Agosto officially ends there, it seems a movable Feast}we'll be getting some well turned phrases from you on the Obama health meltdown, the international head banker pronouncements of the end of the recession, and the latest Mideast and Afghani political and military follies. Or, you may be so overwhelmed by the realities you face when you return from your glade, that you may become, as you might term the condition: completely unhinged.

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