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January 2, 2012 / Aware of the Void

Las Bohemias Del Amor.

The proprietor

I had been to Los Molinos before, I remembered it as a beautiful rock of a place on the west coast of Fuerteventura. When you get there the next stop is the Atlantic ocean. You arrive on a winding and indeed windy road. The wind tears in from the Atlantic causing massive waves that have shaped the black and gray cliffs and produce beautiful booming noises at regular intervals. The sand on the tiny deserted beach is jet-black and when you stroll on it you can feel the burning heat  rising through the souls of your feet. This is a place like no other.

People live here. There is evidence of life. A small Marian Shrine standing like a beacon staring out to sea, hoping and praying that the ocean will not claim the last fragments of the tiny village. There are houses. Worn by the sea, bleached white by the sun, paint peeling on the old timber doors. There are no locals to be seen. Maybe during my visit they were too sensible to be out in the afternoon sun.

The heat and the view were starting to get to me when I spotted a sign hand-painted in large letters on the side of a ramshackle building, “Las Bohemias Del Amor Cafe – Abierto” I like an adventure. So in the finest spirit of nothing ventured nothing gained we climbed the steps to see what was cooking.

Before we made it all the way in to what passed for the cafe we were met by a man who was dressed like a cross between a hippie and football coach. I used all the Spanish that I know to try and find out if the cafe was open. He looked through me and my wife for whole minutes before saying in a very loud voice “For you my friends we are open!” We asked for menus, he just laughed. We asked for coffee, he just laughed and wandered off.

He returned a few minutes later holding something that resembled a large fishing net. He motioned to me and I tried my best to understand what he was saying. I have a bit of a talent for languages. I have learned how to say “Can you repeat that a little slower?” in 12 languages and dialects. The problem I have is matching the words with the country I am in at that moment. Generally I try German in Italy, Spanish in France and Irish in Belgium. So like most native English speakers I revert to pointing and speaking English in a loud voice, until I give up or my adversary cracks and admits that they knew how to speak English all along. I knew instantly that this was no place for shouting. I shook my head and waved away the “fishing net.” My wife suggested that he wanted us to catch something in the ocean for lunch. I gave a little sigh of relief when he smiled, shrugged and turned away into the dark cave that we think was the kitchen.

On his return he had an arm full of kindling and a box of matches. It was only then did it occur to us just how remote this little cafe was, no running water, no electricity, no convenient multi-language menus with little flag pictures to let you know that you are reading it in your own native tongue. This man was lighting a fire to boil water to make us coffee. We were then left in the odd situation of sitting next to an open fire on a burning hot day. All the while our host was smiling and nodding at us.

Rather foolishly we had ordered our usual tipples of choice. Mine is normally a  caffè Americano and my wife likes a caffè latte. These duly arrived but with a small twist. I received a black cup of coffee that I believe was made with salt water and the latte was made with condensed milk. I summoned all my extraordinary ability as a cunning linguist and some how managed to come up with ¿Es usted el seel helado? This made him laugh even harder as he dashed into his kitchen. He returned 20 minutes later with a very long explanation en Espanol and with something that was cold and had a flavor and texture that even if you gave me 100 years I could not describe. We wolfed it down and tipped back our coffees.

As we relaxed our host tiptoed off to climb into his hammock, which incidentally can resemble a fishing net when not hanging. I asked should we leave so that he could have his siesta. He indicated, verbally and through gestures, that he was not going to siesta but was going to meditate. That he was thinking, always thinking “Spiritual.” I fear that he too had been at the ice cream and salt water.

There was something special about that beautiful place, that man, the whole afternoon. If I could only have one memory that lasts I would like it to be this one………

No 29 Main Street, Los MolinosNikon F100 Polypan F50

Las Bohemias Del AmorNikon F100 Polypan F50

A Shady DealNikon F100 Polypan F50

The Shape of ThingsNikon F100 Polypan F50

Room with A FewNikon F100 Polypan F50

Where the Sea Meets the SkyNikon F100 Kentmere 100


Leave a Comment
  1. David Hall / Jan 2 2012 7:40 pm

    Once again beautifully written with fine mono photos.

  2. christian harkness / Jan 2 2012 11:48 pm

    Wow, some fine ‘stuff here.’ I am looking forward to cranking up the little darkroom at our Arts Center next week, and hopefully start using some film again. I have been using Yashica SLRs with Zeiss lenses for years. They have served me well, and sure take the beating of being on, around and in the water a lot better than digital cameras.

    • Aware of the Void / Jan 6 2012 6:10 pm

      I have decided to make more of an effort with the darkroom this year. I am mostly scanning at the moment and I am looking forward to holding a print again!

  3. marinachetner / Jan 3 2012 6:37 am

    I adore this post. Humour in writing is the best – and you’ve got it 🙂 I could taste that salty coffee – not good! And I wonder what that smooth ice cream consisted of. Glad you’re back, healthy. Image-wise – #4 is a top pick. Great post for the start of twentytwelve!

  4. James Brandon O'Shea / Jan 6 2012 3:13 am

    Well realized photography, and solid writing. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to more.

  5. Phil Kneen Photography / Jan 7 2012 10:14 pm

    Beautiful shots. I had an F100…..RIP 😦

    • Aware of the Void / Jan 8 2012 10:54 pm

      Thanks Phil, I am sorry to read about the passing of your F100 but from looking at your website you seem to be doing OK with what you have left working…:)

  6. kathryningrid / Jan 10 2012 1:53 pm

    Those layers of texture and geometry in the wall-and-window shot are fantastic. Just the thing to complement the layers of the experience in your retelling. Delicious (despite saltwater coffee)!

  7. Kate Anthony / Jan 11 2012 4:04 am

    Love these black and white photographs! I love how they all share the theme of simplicity in places that are probably filled with people at one point in the day or another or at least some time in the past. I also empathize with the struggles of language-barriers, especially the part where you just start speaking english loudly. I also love the part about the dark cave that you assumed to be the kitchen- made me laugh! ALSO (sorry for the long comment) I am going to take note on your use of hyperlinks and try to do more of the same! Smart blogging 🙂 Anyway, great work here!

  8. Cool Your Jets IV / Jan 17 2012 9:50 pm

    Just ‘WOW’ lovely photos with great texture and nice writing – love it.

  9. patriciakirsch / Apr 23 2012 5:46 pm

    LOVE these photos. Amazing.

  10. nigel / Nov 24 2015 9:47 pm

    We’ve been there today and enjoyed precisely the same experience, although could never summon such descriptive commentary!

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