This book is a collection of short stories, biographical in nature, based on actual clients; clients who have come from all parts of the world to visit a small shop on the Andalucian coast of Spain. Over a span of 16 years some of these clients left memorable impressions.
There is an underlying message of universality and the equality of all people, and the need for mutual respect. This is a thoughtful book, not a gossip-filled or commonplace book of short stories..
About: The story behind the stories
After over 22 years of a successful but stressful retail/design/business life in New York City, in the Fall of 2001 we moved to the southern coast of Andalucia. In 2002 we opened a multi-faceted business in the center of Almuñécar, a medium-sized town (approximately 30,000 residents) on the Mediterranean coast. We combined our business know-how, love of technology and boundless creativity, and with the internet just beginning to take hold here, we opened our doors at the right time. We used our backgrounds in design, graphics, marketing, business development, human resources, and computer knowledge, to provide service to our fast-growing international clientele.
Our small shop was unlike other internet places: it was warm, inviting, incorporated a 200 liter fresh-water aquarium with colorful koi, and various types of handcrafted items for sale. People had their own personal space within an open environment. It was smoke-free (back before there was a No-Smoking law), game-free (no noisy children) and dog-free (we loved them but many customers did not).
We named it Zen II Net because we were long-time proponents of the "Zen" precepts of tranquility, natural elements, soothing colors and a calm atmosphere. Here it co-existed with today's world, the “Net.” The "II" represented us, a pair of Geminis. We created a unique environment unlike other "cybercafes" and provided the best customer-service possible. We became known as THE place to work in a safe place, in peace and quiet, meet friends, get information, excellent service and assistance...... all in a Zen-like environment. We were told that the word was out: “Go to Zen….they know everything!”
Over the years, our business evolved into more of a Computer and Business Center mainly due to the requests and needs of our multi-national client base. The range of clients was truly international – largely because we spoke Spanish, English, German and Greek. It is from this assortment of interesting personalities that telling some of their stories came to pass in a book form. Of course no actual names have been used but we remember them well. In 2018 we retired from the business but know that this book represents some of the best memories we have of such a global experience…in fact, we still remain in touch with several of our clients.
If the terms "multi-cultural" and "multi-faceted" could be applied to anyone, it would be most appropriate for this author. Louise has lived, studied and worked in Manila, San Francisco, New York, Stuttgart, Spain and Greece. Trained in the Fine Arts and in Interior Design/Space Planning, her relentless pursuit of knowledge and of learning new things led to advanced career horizons in Retail Management and IT.
She has always had a strong work ethic, a passion for creating, a love for drawing and writing, and an entrepreneurial spirit all of which have motivated her to always be her own boss. In 1982 she launched her own interior design firm in San Francisco; subsequently held executive positions at Abraham & Straus, Bloomingdale´s, and Waverly Home in New York, Breuninger Gmbh. in Stuttgart, and with her husband has co-owned and managed Zen II Net in Spain. She is also Co-Director at Zen II Books (www.zen2books.com), and was the original Creative Director at Swedish sites www.almunecar.se and www.costatropical.se.
As an independent and always-curious person, she has written about what she knows best and has personally experienced, such as “S.M.A.RTBIZ – Volumes 1 and 2.” She and her husband are avid supporters of a healthy environment, simplicity and quiet living, and continue to help and nurture anything with a heartbeat - including plant life! Louise is a person who never stops wondering, learning, discovering and improving her way of life, thus her philosophical interest in other cultures as well as love of birds and cooking are currently the bases for future books. Louise, her husband and bird family divide their time between Spain and Greece.
The town of Almuñécar is located in Granada province which is part of the Autonomous Community of Andalucia in southern Spain.
This town is at the center of the Costa Tropical, a picturesque shoreline area on the Mediterranean that incorporates numerous beaches, quaint villages; the Costa Tropical extends from the town of Nerja (Malaga province) on the Western end to Albuñol on the Eastern end. It is the only area where you can ski in the Sierra Nevada mountains (45 minutes away) and bathe in the Mediterranean on the same day – the best of both worlds.
Almuñécar includes the village of La Herradura to its West with the exclusive Marina del Este port between them. The vistas to the North are mountainous and lush in which are nestled many small typically Andalucian “white villages.” Almuñécar/ La Herradura house many historical monuments and 2 castles, thanks to its rich Phoenician history and Ottoman occupancy. This is the land of “tapa bars”, Flamenco, and “sol y playa” = sun and beach – good reasons why so many foreigners have come for visits and ended up living here full-time. The people are hospitable, friendly and most of all, living a relaxed lifestyle is what it’s all about.
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