By Mildred Largaespada/ Anny Baldwin
He arrives by car, with a beautiful blonde woman beside him in the passenger seat.
He is easily recognisable: his photo has recently appeared in the Spanish press and social media: a man in an elegant crisp white guayabera shirt, pictured standing on the roof-terrace of a building in Madrid. The headlines name him with the reverence due celebrities. His words are retweeted, commented and celebrated.
His name has a substance of its own: Jon Lee Anderson. Known as one of the best journalists on the planet, he has garnered worldwide praise for his writing in the New Yorker. University schools of journalism study his dispatches from Latin-American reality: Nicaragua, Cuba, Brazil, Haiti… and also from Libya, Siria, Liberia, Iraq and Angola… he not only exercises the craft of journalism, but also teaches it, at the Gabriel García Márquez Foundation for Iberian-American Journalism. The school was set up by the Nobel laureate himself and provides training to dozens of Latin American journalists every year.
My meeting with Anderson takes place in Salobreña, near Granada, in southern Spain. The Mediterranean is just a few feet away, but we won´t be dipping into it. Instead, we’ll refresh ourselves with ice-cold Alhambra beer and eat a modestly-priced set menu. Having managed to park the car, Anderson hurries over, apologising for having arrived almost an hour late. But I don’t have it in me to grumble at someone who has courteously agreed to be interviewed in the middle of his summer holiday.
He’s wearing the sort of t-shirt generally favoured by true rock stars at their hot-weather gigs: short sleeved, grey, or a washed-out shade of blue, easy-fit. And loose-cut jeans. Summer flip-flops on his feet. Altogether essential clothing for riding out another of Spain’s July heatwaves.
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