The bus ride from Monachil to Granada was marked by the panoramic view of the hills of Sierra Nevada. The colorful corners cut across the street which twisted and moved like a serpent. The homes, like little crayon boxes, were stacked one above the other, on the hilly terrain. It was like the white city of Nerja, just a little more colorful, and slightly less spicy.
I was caught in a state of trance looking at the map, trying to memorize the path to Calle Elvira from the bus stop. I was glad and anxious to go around without the GPS. The next bus to Monachil would leave in 2 hours and that is all the time I had to go to Calle Elvira, procure what I came for, and make my way back to the stop. When we got down at Granada, everyone else started moving towards Alhambra, while I crossed the bridge and continued forward to the Plaza.
Half an hour later, I found myself sitting at a bar at a Moroccon joint. The Andalusian music playing in the background reminded me of the title song of “Alif Laila”. The dim light at the bar was lost behind the smoke of the Hukkah, which stood proudly at every single table around. The scent of Shwarma and Kebabs had already filled my senses with anticipation and the quest of Calle Elvira was long forgotten. Somehow, I like lost places like that. Hidden in plain sight and minimal. A place where everyone can be on their own and there is no pretense. That place felt like home and I spent the next hour or so tripping over the blurry lights and the cryptic music that was playing in the background.
I paid my bill and thanked the owner for the food. “Skuriya”, he replied. I came out to see the last few strands of orange in the sky. I had decided to wait until the last bus, which was still an hour away. With a curious mind and a packed tummy, I went around the place exploring this Moroccan neighborhood. The tall cathedrals and huge bells were spread around the narrow street leading the way from Plaza Nueva. I had read on the forums that one should be cautious walking in these streets, lest some stoned driver makes a quick work of you. Nothing of that sort happened though. These narrow streets had everything from motors to bars to a multitude of shops. All these streets were intertwined to form a beautiful maze. A maze I made sure not to get lost in. Little did I realize that I was already lost in that place.
The story of that day ended without any surprises. The bus was full this time around, unlike the afternoon, as everyone was bustling after an evening of partying. The smooth scent of alcohol and weed had filled the place. Monachil was the last stop and the bus was almost empty by the time I reached. The moon shone brightly in an attempt to color the river, which was singing its tune, hustling through the valley. It was the coolest place in Spain that we had been to. Cool and calm.
Well the night that was high, we got into town
Was the night that the rain, it froze on the ground
Down the street, I heard such a sorrowful tune
Comin’ from the place they call the Spanish Moon