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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Alborada, telenovela recap, fifth installment

Why am I recapping Alborada? This is the best Spanish-comprehension practice I get all day; Fernando Colunga is cute, even if he isn't much of an actor; and almost half the people who come to my blog now are coming for these recaps!

I don't know how many more weeks there will be, but I will try to post a recap every Wednesday and Saturday. And as always, if for some inconceivable reason you are NOT watching this show, which airs on Univision at 9 pm Monday through Friday, just pass on by. Thanks for your forbearance.

From now on I will be posting links to all the recaps in the sidebar on the right - just above the elephant. See them?

Monday: Perla goads Martin as he sulks about Hipólita: "Aren't you a man? Steal her!"

Hipólita walks by a lake with Don Luis, at the site where, during a big party, Luis's "aunt and uncle" [actually his mother and father] died with many others in a terrible fire. "Were you and your mother (Doña Juana) there?" "No, we were back at the farm, in mourning for my father ... he died two months before I was born."

Only a genealogist can follow this. Doña Juana was sister of the Count de Guevara who died in the fire, Don Carlos. At the time of the fire, Juana's own husband (Doña Isabel's brother) had been dead for five months and she was seven months pregnant with Diego. Her brother and her sister-in-law, Luis's actual parents, died in this fire when Luis was a newborn. So Luis is two months older than Juana's actual son Diego. We still don't know when/how Juana switched those babies.

After their nice ride in the country, Hipólita and Luis are greeted at the neighbor's farm by a superannuated peasant who says, "Hello, Don Carlos!" and tries to kiss Luis's hem. "No, no, Don Carlos was my uncle." We learn that during the fire Don Carlos, Count of Guevara, thrust his newborn son into the arms of this old dude who carried him (baby Luis except Luis thinks it was his cousin Diego) off to safety.

Meanwhile, at the Guevara estate: the brutal Francisco arrives to ask Doña Juana to find a wife for his not-so-smart son Andres (who smothered a guy with a pillow and is now the wine-tasting servant of Count Diego). Francisco says with a smirk: find my son a widow with a lot of property.

My favorite character, the whiskey-voiced Aunt Isabel, and her innocent young charge, Marina, pass Count Diego and his minions in the hall. Diego drools over Marina and commands, with a lascivious sneer: "I like her - get her for me."

At the farm: Luis is surprised to hear his "mother" Doña Juana has known for a long time that Rafael, Hipólita's three-year-old, is Luis's son. This makes him furrow his brow and go throw stones in the pond while he tries to figure out his "mother's" game.

On the road: Cristóbal and Felipe (Team Luis) have ridden off to get the maid and the boy Rafael. But they are left in the dust by Gasco and his minions, riding much faster, sent by Diego to steal that same Rafael.

At the farm: Martin and Luis have each told Hipólita they're crazy for her, and each has offered to give his last name to her son Rafael.

While Luis is throwing stones in the water, Martin tries to get Hipólita to accept a proposal of marriage. She demurs and admits she now prefers Luis's help. Martin gnashes his teeth. He's not a graceful loser.

At the estate: Juana forces Diego to admit there's been a collapse at the silver mine. He's angry that the "cowardly" miners are refusing to go in and carry out the dead bodies. It may be a month or two before income resumes. Diego, unlike Luis, has no head for business. Juana berates him: "I've been telling you those tunnels needed to be strengthened." Sullen shouting: "Ma, you think Luis is so smart and perfect - you wish I were him." Ma: "Have you at least been paid by that businessman to whom we sold [cochinilla - is that really a suckling pig as it says in my dictionary???) I couldn't follow the next part except: Diego has been adulterating some unspecified product and is being sued for fraud.

UPDATE: Commenter Sylvia says "I think the cochinilla to which Juana refers are the insects from a cactus, dried and boiled, from which dye is extracted and used for culinary purposes and for dying textiles. It's usually on sale here around the holidays...yum, crushed bug cookies."

At the farm: Luis exposits to Hipólita that he and Diego are in business together, in both the silver mine and an export business. "So you have been to Panama?" Well, uh, yes.

Las Tunas - hacienda of the brutal Francisco and his wimpy wife Asuncion and also, now, Adalgisa the maid and Rafael the cleanest quietest three-year-old in the universe - Gasco arrives and tells Francisco he's taking the kid, but leaving the maid. Francisco worries, what if Juana doesn't want this? and Gasco says: she'll be with her "Señor" up in the heavens soon, so Diego butters your bread.

In exchange for a promise that his occupance of Las Tunas will extend through the lifetime of his son Andrés, Francisco says Gasco can take the kid.

But just then Felipe and Cristóbal ride up! Gasco tells Francisco to get rid of them.

Blah blah, minions drag the maid (Adalgisa) off and hide her in a granary I think, then get hold of the kid and drag him off. Then Francisco lies to the new arrivals saying Adalgisa left with the boy two days ago. Felipe notices, though, that Gasco's horse is in the stable! And the laundress tells: Adalgisa was dragged off just a few minutes ago! Everybody goes at it with swords!

On Tuesday our hero Don Luis spent a lot of time wooing Hipólita - he got a few tender kisses even. He also tried to make excuses for, and soften her detestation of, the man who had, back in Panama three years ago, entered her bedroom in the dark and gotten her pregnant with Rafael. That man was, as we know, Don Luis himself. In this spin campaign Luis is meeting with no success at all.

When Luis comes upon Hipólita crying over baby clothes he tells her he is collecting Rafael and the maid Adalgisa from Las Tunas and taking them to Cristóbal's palace.

Meanwhile, folks tell the sulking Martin his love for Hipólita is a lost cause and that he's an imbecile to persist. (She herself gently said so.) But thinking only with his "little brain" he is lost to reason. He stamps and shouts.

Somehow Team Luis (Felipe and Cristóbal) wrested the preternaturally clean and silent young Rafael from the hands of Gasco's minions and install him and Adalgisa in Cristóbal's luxurious palace. Aunt Isabel and the Rafael's grandmother, Asuncion, come to visit and coo.

So Diego's kidnapping attempt failed! And Juana finds out about it. Furious, she rushes to his bedroom and drives out his whore and hits him with her stick and shouts "You have flies in your head!"

She screams "You are obsessed with Don Luis!" and he agrees: "I'm living a false life, I'm constantly in danger, every day I'm more worried, I want to run, I think even the maids know my secret." [Yes, maids know everything.] He falls to the ground, crying hysterically and embracing his mother's knees. She cries a bit too.

After drying his eyes, Diego goes to town and cancels the brutal Francisco's rental contract on Las Tunas (to punish him for the failed kidnapping).

Juana goes to the regidor and, I think, reminds him that she and Diego don't particularly want to get Luis pardoned, but (I liked this passive construction): "One is a mother and shouldn't appear indifferent."

Right afterwards, Cristóbal goes in and tells the regidor that he himself was witness to the murder and that Luis is innocent! The official is stunned: "You, a religious man, were involved in that fracas?? Oy gevalt, if I let you testify, the church will ream me - but if I let Luis off without your testimony, people will think I am in powerful people's pockets!"

Lastly, Doña Juana orders Gasco to say it was she, not Diego, who ordered the kidnapping. I think it's her maid who, in explaining Gasco's villainy, actually says "it figures, cause Diego is Ladino." Did it really say that? I.e. he's so evil because he's a Jew?

One of Diego's whores has born him a daughter (he has at least two previous ones). The usually silent Modesta (the maid you see with Juana in the picture on the sidebar just above the elephant) points out to Juana that Hipólita's little Rafael is the only Guevara "varon" (male heir) to appear so far - "He's your brother's grandson!"

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At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good morning, melinama. My dictionary gives ladino a first meaning of shrewd, cunning, wily. I love this novela and find your recaps really amusing. I too am watching for the espanol practice. I didn't think they could top Amor Real, but so far so good. But, hey!!, be careful with those cracks about Fernando's acting. He can do no wrong in my book. (Actually I just rented the abbreviated version of Abrazame Muy Fuerte made in 2000 and I can see big improvement in his development as an actor...)

At 1:06 PM, Blogger RamblinRoz said...

Right! Fernando Colunga IS "El Rey de las Telenovelas"!! Also, didn't he garner the award for Best Actor of the Telenovelas for his work in "Amor Real"??

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Jean said...

I believe Cochinilla is what is known in English as cochineal, a red dye made from crushed insects. I don't know about using it in food. Here is a Spanish web page on same:

At 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so hooked on this soap, it's not funny. My question is:
How is Doña Isabel related to Doña Juana? I thought she was her sister-in-law.

At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Love Fernando Colunga - he plays a very different character here than in Amor Real. Anyway, "cochinilla" can also refer to a disgusting act, as in really doing someone dirty. I don't remember in what context it was used in Alborada.

At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fernando Colunga is his name not Frederic! Gosh at least get the main character actor's name right! And he is a very good actor.

At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction: Doña Juana's husband was Doña Isabel brother's. In your notes you said she was in love with him, that's not correct she is his sister. She's the real aunt of Diego.

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey... ive been watching Alborada and you are way behind. update please:

Martin, Esperanza, they die
Cristobal was almost kill in a fight with Diego...... keep watching!

At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where I can find some nice pics of the actor who plays Cristobal?

At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Profound observation: wimpy husband Antonio has much nicer hair than Luis. Antonio's has is shiny and clean looking, Luis' looks dull, kinky and slightly slimy.

At 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Antonio's hair has to be a wig. His hair was thinning noticably, back in 2001, when he played Carlos Alberto in the telenovela, La Intrusa. There is no way that's his own hair. Check this link: or

Luis is sporting his own hair. I don't know if he grew it long, or if those are extensions. Check out pics on the official home page for Alborada.

I disagree with the comment that his hair looks oily and unkept.

At 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

His name is Gasca, not Gasco. :)

At 10:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the blogger looking for pics of the actor who plays Don Cristóbal. Official site for Ernesto Laguardia is
Click on the GALLERY link at the top of the page for lots of pics.

Have fun!

At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link to Cristobal's site. He is such a sweetheart in Alborada. He has the kindest face.

At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in Colombia, Alborada came to its dramatic conclusion last Monday,3rd April. I won't spoil it for those of you still in suspenders. I want to thank you for enabling me to pick up the series part way through, because of your thorough summaries.


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