The GermanPosted: January 1, 2012
I didn’t meet the six foot six homeless German genius, but Zack, Will, and Jake did. They told me about their encounter in the residencia’s dining hall, over meatballs and French fries.
They had been looking for a basketball court to shoot around on. They’re all tall, which is what the German used to start a conversation with them. He asked if they were basketball players, and said that he had been, once long ago. And then he talked and talked. Aside from German, he speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese nearly fluently. He learned them by talking with tourists – exactly what he was doing with Zack, Will, and Jake.
He Lived in a Cave
He said he’d lived in the caves on the west side of Granada before, on the back side of Sacramonte and behind San Miguel Alto. You can pick the cave houses out in the picture below – they’re marked by the white depressions on the side of the hill. What you can’t see in the picture are vans and vespas parked outside (just like driveways), or the blankets, boards, and sheets of metal covering the cave entrances. And of course, the dozens of families who live there.
Moving in was as easy as walking in and putting down his backpack. Staying was a bit harder – these are the nice caves, far cleaner than the housing projects north of the train station – and not everybody is as friendly as he is. That’s probably when it paid off to be six foot six. Or, as as Zack put it, a pretty gnarly-looking dude.
On money: “I’m glad I’m not rich, because if I was I’d probably be dead right now from of all the drugs I could afford.”
On property: “That’s it. That’s my house.” – after Jake hefted the German’s backpack. It was weighty, but not heavy.
The German talked a lot. After twenty minutes he was still going strong. They had to leave, though, so eventually they excused themselves from his bench and walked home to our residencia, for lunch.