Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Odds and Ends


Just finished a two-day course with 35 teachers in Salou, a beach resort an hour south of Barcelona. A lovely town, but apparently quite deserted in November—we found one open restaurant in the whole town and enjoyed a fabulous meal of grilled vegetables with local goat cheese. Many folks in the course new to the Orff approach and it's always a pleasure to open the door to the wonderland of possibilities beyond the norm. As often happens in Spain, I found these teachers from the local music schools to be socially warm and humorous, intellectually sharp and probing, musically bold and skilled. A highlight for me was playing some of the improvisational games I usually do on Orff instruments with violins, recorders, clarinet and more. 

Now winging home after a marvelous two weeks of sharing music with some 200 kids and 120 teachers. Awaiting me back in San Francisco is a Thanksgiving dinner with my sister and family, a visit from my mother-in-law, a Skype visit with my new grand-daughter, colder weather than Spain and Portugal, the final touches put on my new book and holiday films at the Castro Theater. Meanwhile, a 4 a.m. awakening, quick flight from Barcelona to Frankfurt and now a few odds and ends before boarding the long flight back home.

• Frankfurt Airport is enormous. Employees ride bicycles. (Though a subsequent Google search found it much smaller than Denver area-wise and 9th in terms of passengers. Oddly enough, Atlanta’s airport is the busiest in the world in terms of number of passengers.)

• There is no row 13 on my United Flight.
• Some people at the airport bar are drinking beer at 8 a.m.
• These tiny glass smoking rooms would make a Martian pause: “What the hell? *$%@”
• European passport control rocks! Grab, stamp and wave you through. End of story.
• European security rocks! Get to walk through with shoes on!
• European hotels rock! Featuring:
   Small TV’s that don’t lord over the whole room.
   Two or three pillows instead of 15.
   Reading lights you can read by.
   Breakfast with real food and real plates and silverware.
• The term “odds and ends” came from lumberyards—odds being pieces irregularly cut at the sawmill and ends the pieces trimmed from the ends of boards.
• This is a rather odd posting, but luckily, I’ve reached the end.

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