I was thinking of the days gone by, maybe from all the karoake singing at the Black Anchor, which featured a particularly rip-roaringly, full-throated version of Those Were The Days by all those in attendance.
I was thinking all day of days that have passed, and also of the ones still to come.
What will they be like?
Did you know I am a Saracen? For that, I would be obscenely quartered, here, 900 years ago. At least according to the book I am curently reading about the history of the Iberian peninsula.
In Tavira, the Catholic Church repurposed mosques, turning them into churches with beautiful interiors, that you cannot imagine exist when you wak outside their crumbling stone walls — despite the thick white plaster coating that has been slapped onto many of the historic buiildings in the heart of old Tavira.
Yet I am not here to plunder, which is the etymology of the word Saracen: to rob, or sark, in Arabic, سارق .
Compared to benighted Florida, there is much to see here that pleases the eye.
I look at the women in the streets of Tavira. Some of them very beautiful, the ones from here, with Arab features and black hair and black eyes and some tall and lithe.
Beautiful too is the architecture of Tavira inpired by Arab design elements, such as colorful tiles and mashrabiya in windows and doors.
Some of these houses are abandonned, with fig trees growing out of their windows.
I sit at a cafe on Left Bank, with a view of the river. A man with an earring walks by, cash poor says someone.
A long line of aging tourists wearing baseball caps — luckily none red or with the despicable MAGA insignia — forms in front of the beach ferry, some treading uncertainly on the cobblestone sidewalks.
Do you choose a place, or does it choose you? I overhear someone else say at the next table.
A woman walks by, smiling to herself, and then two young women sit by me, and they are in love.
Someone told me the other day that gays are attracted to the beauty of Tavira and because it’s the city of tolerance and poetry and the eternal love that is symbolized by the river with two names. People come every year hear to leave locks on the Moorish bridge, to symbolize their eternal union with their own loved ones.
I know what they did to the Moors and Jews in Iberia, 800 years ago.
It was a dabha.
But things change, and then they don’t.
In Trump’s America, it would surprise no one if an inquistion were held targeting Arab Americans like me, throwing us all in concentration camps.
Which is why I am here, in this town, far away from the clutches of a Hitlerian orange demagogue and his adoring blood-thirsty brown-shirted mob.
There is a definite Hindi presence here in Tavira. A turbaned man walks by, his beard resplendent. He sells postcards and various knick knacks the next shop down.
And then a woman in a colorful sari ambles also by.
What was the terrible sin of Catherist heresy? I wonder, as I read my book, while sipping a bica at some cafe by the river.
And where is the Santiago pilgrimage route?
Today was I saw here is various European interpretations of being old, seemingly harmless, but in the alley ways there is always the barking of pariah dogs.
You never know how much is enough or too little, someone else said.
You just never know.
I go to sleep and wake up a few hours later to a majestic dawn.