Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Eurovision 1968

Chapter 19

Massiel (Click photos to enlarge)

My arrival in Palma (Chapter 1) was a turning point for me. So now I'll leave Vancouver Flashback and continue with Memories of Mallorca where I left off in Chapter 12.

While walking around any street in Palma during the summer of 1968, one could hear music emanating from cafes and bars, and it seemed to be always the same song. Not the strains of a flamenco 'cante jondo', or a stirring pasodoble , but rather it was the voice of Massiel who had recently won the Eurovision song contest for Spain with the tune La La La. Having never heard of the Eurovision song contest I was surprised at how ubiquitous this one piece of music could be, but its popularity was probably due to Spanish pride that their candidate had won over England's Cliff Richard with his song Congratulations. In later years it was rumoured there had been some questionable negotiations in the voting process.

I was more interested in continuing with my guitar, teaching and learning to speak Spanish. Somehow I managed to communicate with my Spanish music students but I needed to increase my vocabulary. Helen was a great help as she had been back and forth to Mallorca from England and Canada so she spoke the language well and did her best to teach me. She suggested that I practise learning to roll the double rr by saying the word 'arriba' (up) over and over again, so I set myself to the task.
I'd heard the expression 'Arriba España' often on the radio at the end of speeches so I practised saying that too.

It didn't take long for me to start enjoying the life of downtown Palma. The Borne was the social centre of town, a place to meet friends and stroll under the immense, leafy plane trees. There one could see young couples followed by mama, older sister or aunt acting as chaperone. It was frowned upon for respectable señoritas to be seen walking alone with a young man without the vigilant eye of a close relative watching over them.
The Borne Businessmen were seen in hot weather wearing 'guayaberas' the Cuban-style men's dress shirts worn loosely over trousers in place of a suit jacket, often clutching a leather 'carpeta' or thin briefcase under their arm as they walked to and from their offices.

guayaberaGuayabera photo from cuban market website

The streets of Palma were beautiful.
It was customary for many ex-pats to pick up a copy of The Mallorca Daily Bulletin at a kiosk and have a coffee and ensaimada on the patio of the
Bar Bosch (Link to photo by Francisco Diaz on Photo.Net.) That was one of several places where the waiters were older gentlemen dressed in white shirts and black waistcoats, who wore long white aprons down to their ankles and carried small white towels over one arm as they maneuvered their round trays of coffee through the narrow doorway.

Bootblacks, 'limpiabotas' were to be found along
The Borne shining the shoes of businessmen as they sat and read their newspapers.

El Limpiabotas Ivan Petrovszky "El Limpiabotas"

Continue on to Chapter 20...... Mallorcan Countryside

Go back to Chapter 18......Off to Mallorca

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