Women offering blessings and palm readings are always to be seen around the main tourist attractions in Seville. I am told that they are gypsies seeking money for these services. I suppose that they are the Spanish equivalent of the Romany people in France which the French are trying to eject from their country.
Yesterday afternoon, whilst enjoying a coffee outside the Plaza de España, I was approached by an old woman dressed in brightly coloured clothes, with a rose in her hair, offering me a green leaf of some sort. She was telling me that the green leaf was for blessings and luck, and she then proceeded to grab my hands to read my palms. Apparently, I will have a long life and two children. Uh-huh...
This went on for a while, and I have to admit, I got impatient. I knew she wanted money, and I tried to dissuade her by pretending not to understand a word she was saying. At the same time, I felt sorry for her. But, then I remembered another experience with these gypsies the last time I was in Seville: three women surrounded me, two taking me by the arms, the third offering me blessings with her sprig of rosemary, marking the cross on my forehead. I got nervous, as I knew they were trying to pick my pockets. Thankfully, at the time, I had my passport and money in a pouch around my neck - if they wanted to rip me off, they would have had to get into my blouse.
These memories came flooding back when this woman took my hands to read my palms. I resisted by repeating the words "No, gracias" over and over to get the message through that I wasn't interested. Of course, she ignored me, and kept telling me wonderful things about my future before she lowered the boom. "Dinero", she stated expectantly.
It was at this point that my mother interrupted and said to her in Spanish: "We are not interested, Please leave us alone."
Boy, did that change this women's tone. The smile immediately disappeared from her face, and she turned to my mother and snarled "Eres muy mala!" (You're very bad!)
My mother retorted, with equal vitriol: "Si, soy mala!" (Yes, I am bad!)
The woman roughly let go of my hands, and walked away, repeating the insult over and over to my mother, as if she were warning the other customers present that they should avoid this brujita (witch).
My sympathy for this woman completely disappeared. I was on the verge of giving her something, because she did look like life had gotten the better of her, and times were tough. But, witnessing the ominous change in her face when we insisted we weren't interested, it was like seeing her eat one of the oranges from the trees that were everywhere!
Despite this unsavoury experience, the night improved. We didn't end up going to the tablao (we had the wrong night). So instead, we went to a restaurant called Puerto Delicias. The dinner and sangria was lovely... but, I must make mention of the dessert I had. The waiter came out with a plate and a small jug. He put the plate in front of me, announcing what it was. I saw a halved strawberry, some grated chocolate around it, and a large dark chocolate ball about the size of a clenched fist.
Before I could ask any questions, with a flourish, the waiter started to pour the contents of the jug over the chocolate ball. As he did so, I realised that the jug contained hot, melted white chocolate. As he poured this hot chocolate over the ball, it melted to reveal a little cake inside. Before I knew it, the cake was at the centre of my plate, next to the strawberry, surrounded by a brown and white moat of delightful, heavenly sweetness.
Ahh! I was amazed at this miraculous, magical ball of dessert. So much so, my mouth was agape as I watched this amazing event unfold before my eyes. The taste? Equally as divine. Had I just had a religious experience? I didn't wait to consider this. I immediately got to work, spooning the goodness in.
If any of you ever go to Seville, I HIGHLY recommend this place. The rest of the meal was great - the dessert was just a perfect way to end a perfect dining experience.
I'll leave it there for now... It's 10am here in Seville, and there are more things to see and enjoy out there. The rain from Toledo has abated here, and the sun is out and shining. I think it's time for another promenade to see what else can be discovered.
Hasta la vista, mis amigos!