At our second appointment with Dr. Nur, he invites us for lunch to his house, and to meet his partner Maria. Although a very hardworking man, he closes his practice every day from 2-6pm, to give priority to a good meal and a siesta (this, amongst other things, reminds me of my father, who also went home from his practice every day to share lunch with the family and have a one hour siesta). We drive about 15 minutes, the last couple of kilometres winding our way up a steep hill through lavishly built houses, each of them unique.
When we arrive, we are gobsmacked at the outlandish beauty of his place. It is like a little Alhambra, with Moorish ornamentation and water features everywhere in the house and garden. The garden is beautifully designed on many levels, with well-established plants and palm trees everywhere, and many nooks and crannies to sit down in a comfortable chair, sofa or love seat. The swimming pool has many little spouts creating water arches across it, and at night it glows in slowly changing colours. Nur has lived here for 30 years and has designed everything himself. We have a sumptuous meal, followed by a siesta where the host disappears and leaves us to our own devices. Very trusting, leaving everything open and accessible, with the keys to his house and car lying openly on the living room table. Just as well that we are trustworthy. We chill out in a little swing in a corner of the garden from where you can overlook the hill swooping down to the sea. There is no other house like Dr. Nur’s house it is like an expression of his mind and heart. There is something very persuasive and sensuous about it – all the little corners are sun traps with beautiful vistas, and wherever you are, you can hear the sound of a fountain gently splashing. The rooms in the house are large and light and one room flows into another connected by Moorish arches instead of doors.
Conversations flow like the water, and soon, we agree to meet the following weekend to spend some more time with each other, and to teach Nur and Maria Tango.
When we come for the weekend, we dare to drive Emma up the hill, despite the fact that there is a 3.5t restriction, and park right outside his house.
I don’t know how to describe the richness of this weekend. Rarely have we met someone so openhearted and hospitable, generous and amicable. The weekend passes with excellent food, good conversation, a couple of very focused dance lessons, a massage teaching session (Maria, who is interested in physiotherapy, wanted to learn some massage techniques from Frank and Nur was a more than willing subject!), taking a dip in the swimming pool (brrr) followed by a hot outdoor shower (yay!), and enjoying the sunshine in the luscious garden. Food is a big theme this weekend…. on our morning walk up the hill with Nur’s bouncy dog Nar, we scrump some lovely Nispora from a tree overhanging a wall by a villa which is closed up for the winter season. Never having seen Nispora in my life before, they have quickly become my favourite fruit! Maria is up the wall like a mountain goat to get us this most delicious fruit. Nur is an excellent cook and makes such delicious meals that it is hard to think of leaving this place!
While with access to the internet, I make use of the delights of Skype to catch up with my friend Ansuman in London and to have a group chat with Lilli and Yoli – one in London the other in Berlin. It’s great to be able to do this, to spend an hour or so chatting with the two of them. In fact, I can’t think of when we’ve ever sat like this together in real life chatting with each other for an hour with no distraction, no-one shooting off to meet a friend or do something else (apart from when we celebrated our registry office wedding last year, with Franks and my children). Somehow Skype enables us to do something we haven’t done before, or maybe we are changing and appreciating each other in a new way. Interestingly, our different characters or ways of expressing ourselves, which in a real situation sometimes bring disharmony, make for a lovely dynamic in our conversation, constantly changing from serious to surreal and funny and back to serious. I look forward to more of these sessions!
When we part from Nur and Maria on Sunday night, we feel like we leave some very special people behind, who in the space of a weekend have become good friends. We hope we will see each other again!
More photos on flikr
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