We pulled into the city of Barcelona after a dry and dusty bus ride, but we expected comfort. The expression, "it isn't the Ritz" was not appropriate as this was The Ritz we were booked into. We crossed the vast lobby, "we" being three black men and three white, three bearded men and three clean-shaved, but still totaling six musicians altogether, plus two people there to schlep things, check us in and pay. This group of 8 males ranged in age from early twenties to late forties. A fairly wide sample of humanity with, as a bonus, one of us wearing a turban.
The moment we had entered what must have been a wondrous place 40 years earlier, a svelte Russian-looking woman in what would be called stretch-slacks had followed our sauntering gait across to the desk, and when I sat on my road case, her eyes settled on me. (Why?) I was tired, and as I gazed over I was thinking of a middle class suburban housewife on vacation, but it didn't seem right. As I reflected on the anomalies, she rose and walked directly over to me. She was at least twice my age, perhaps more but she was not bashful when she said, "You are artists? My husband is an artist." The accent was there, fairly strong but unrecognizable to my then inexperienced ear. Not Spanish, though, at any rate. Coming from Los Angeles, I naively believed I'd have recognized that.
"Yeah, I guess you could say that." I managed, in a neutral tone, already losing interest. "Maybe you have heard of him," she intoned. "Salvador Dali?" I looked at this woman for the first time, directly, and my own Russian background from two generations back saw something in those eyes that went deep and yet, I somehow didn't believe what she had just said. It wasn't until I later asked the hotel concièrge who this woman was and heard his incredulous answer, "But you didn't know, Senior, that is Senora Dali."