Sunday, 22 November 2009

Mus, Yoga and Pretty Persuasion by Theo

Spanish lunches are quite a thing. Last weekend we were invited to lunch at Belen and Cesar's and made the mistake of having plans for that evening. Bad idea. This weekend we were more sensible, as when we were again invited to lunch at Belen and Cesar's (clearly Belen wanted a rematch at Parcheesi/Ludo), we cleared the schedule!!

We arrived at 2pm as instructed to find that Nataly and David had not only beaten us to it, but were also providing food - a delicious goat's cheese salad followed by cannelloni. Kind of unfair we thought, seeing as we had been ordered in the strictest terms NOT to bring any food. A slight double standard on the part of our hosts, but we graciously let this slide especially as our tongues started to melt with delight at the taste of Nataly's culinary arts. Mmmmmmm! A delicious meal and great company, Cesar bravely trying to insist everyone speak in English (apparently the others need practice, not that we noticed), though lots of Spanish was spoken too.

We hadn't however turned up completely empty handed. We had discovered the previous week that our hosts lacked a set of Spanish playing cards, which we remedied on this visit. Spanish cards have coins, clubs, swords and cups as suits and further differ from English cards by lacking the queen, the nine and the eight. However these cards are completely necessary for playing Mus, a popular card game in Spain, often practised by large groups of old men in bars and squares around town. We first came across it a year ago in Vaughan Town and totally failed to understand it - our complete lack of Spanish back then being a major barrier.

On this occasion Belen, the only one who knew how to play, was much more successful at teaching us despite constant interruptions, questions, protestations and disagreements among her students. It's a combination of poker and bridge, in that you play with a partner and you bet on the strength of your hand, though there are no trumps and the value of the cards changes depending on the stage of the game. Very complicated. Needless to say, the Belen/Katetheo team won.

The Mus lesson concluded, Kate proceeded to instruct Nataly on the finer points of the yoga sun salute (it was dark by now) and the afternoon was rounded off by a foray for films and popcorn followed by a showing of Pretty Persuasion on the large screen - who needs cinemas! It was a very good, blackly funny look at the bleakness of American private schools, teen jealousy and litigation. If you enjoyed Cruel Intentions, Heathers or Election then it's definitely worth renting. By the time we got home it was 11.30pm. Some lunch!

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