❤️ granada marks the completion of a milestone, at least one that i have constructed in my mind. in honour of this, i feel like celebrating, engaging with the senses- it seems like that kind of place. i want to reset a little, before moving on. freshen up a bit.
staying at the convent is a great experience. walking past images of different popes on the way to my sleeping quarters, and resting under an image of the virgin mary sets me up for a certain type of sensorial experience. across the day i hear the sisters chattering away, bustling about. there are a bunch of indian nuns (young women from kerala) and then some spanish sisters. they are as fascinated with me, i think, as i am with them. talking to them, eating with them, listening to them sing………in some ways there is a resonance, its just that i happen to throw up in my mouth a little when i think about all the shenanigans that men have gotten up to in the name of christ. men that these women seem very keen to follow. but i see that these women are very industrious, hardworking people doing good things. so, respect 🙏🏼
one thing i struggle with is when i feel myself being subjected to someone elses missionary zeal. this kind of thing tends to get my back up. one night, i converse with a mexican deacon who tries his magic on me. the word of christ is the only truth, bla bla bla……..he certainly has his work cut out with someone who doesnt even believe in the concept of one truth. he excitedly talks about islam, how violent it is. i shudder at his example. he goes on: ipso facto islam cant be right, or true. oh sweet jesus, save us from this hypocrisy. i remind him that christians come in all shapes and sizes too and that some of them work for powerful governments/armies that with a certain sense of righteousness go into islamic countries and do violent things like blow up buildings and people. isnt this stuff obvious? and what about missionaries? going on a mission to save someone spiritually is tricky ethical territory if you ask me. at what point do we imagine a missionary’s work to become an act of violence? i think telling anyone that you know better than them, that you are the possessor of the truth, is an act of violence in itself. sure, it’s a subtle violence, but that is the most dangerous type. the one hidden in plain view that has become normalised.
the mexican deacon has me wandering away from the senses…….lets bring it back again……..
i visit an arabic teahouse and book into a hammam, which is superb. soft lighting, beautiful music, the reflection of shifting candlelight on the surface of the water, the sounds of water moving, bouncing off the intricately carved stone walls of the different bathing rooms…….it all sends me into a deeply relaxed space. a woman washes me and it is a delight to feel the slipperines of the soap giving way to the foam that she drops over my body before rinsing me with ladles full of warm water poured over the legs, lower back and upper back. divine. and then, to finish me off, a massage, before going back to the baths, where i continue my transformation into a globule of jelly. leaving the hammam, the hectic streets of granada are a shock to the system, especially when i see a group of fifteen or so people on segues go past on a guided tour. so, i go to a bar and reorient myself back into the here and now with a plate of churros and a couple of coffees.
bad weather is a-coming, so i make the executive decision to hang in granada over the weekend. there are worse places to be trapped! i take my leave from the holy surroundings of the convent, jose comes from almeria for a visit, and we launch into a different kind of sensorial experience, involving delicious food, skin, wine, haagen daaz, wandering around granada, and visiting a merendero in güejar sierra for lunch on sunday. we go to church in the cathedral and we visit an art exhibition. a nice little weekend, despite the weather, which is drizzly and cold. monday morning arrives and i have come back to my senses, eager to get going again……the time comes to wander away from granada and start on the next leg to cordoba-a week or so away…..❤️