El pelo mal cortado, a las ocho días igualado
Las lentejas, si quieres las come. Si no quieres, las deja
So this has been our last week in Salamanca and I feel badly cause I haven’t tumbled for a while, but I’ve been really busy trying to jam in all the Salamanca adventures and homework as possible. Plus the internet is unbelievably terrible everywhere, so I’m excited to back in the wi-fi filled USA. In the past few days we’ve seen the final Harry Potter movie premier in Spanish, gone to the pool, gone to the Rastro (an outdoor market), played cards in random restaurants around town, and rented boats along the river. Harry Potter was awesome, but the voice dub over’s were almost too ridiculous to take the movie seriously. Voldemort sounded like a guido and Bellatrix Lestrange sounded like she had sucked in helium. The lines, like “¡Harry Potter está muerto!” followed by a guido laugh and “Solo yo puedo vivir para siempre”, just didn’t have as much impact in Spanish. I was proud we could understand it, but I will definitely be seeing it again in english when I get home.
I’ve been having a fantastic time and the more I realize I’ll be leaving in 5 days the more I appreciate what they’ve got going on here. This is an amazing place and I’m so glad I got to come live here for 9 weeks. I’ve got 2 more days of school and I can honestly say I’m not going to miss that part at all! We’re getting a lot of credits, but they were anything but an easy grab.
In preparation for the return home, I have created a list of foods that I would like to be cooked for me. Just in case mom hasn’t gotten it yet, I will post it again here as a fail-safe, lol
Tyler, Shanananananaon, and I went to tapas two days ago with a group of kids from Sampere. All in all there were about 8 of us: 3 from the U.S., 1 from Canada, 2 from France and 1 from Belgium. It was really cool getting to practice Spanish and meet kids who didn’t speak English but through all of our attempts at Spanish we could understand each other perfectly well! The guy from Canada’s first language was French, and even though he was the only one who knew English, he wasn’t allowed to talk to us in it, so we were forced to use Spanish. I was amazed though at how fast the French kids picked up Spanish… some of them had only been at it for a year or two! I never realized how easy it would be for people who speak one romance language to pick up another. Anyway, at tapas we tried some really odd foods… Shannon ate pig snout, ear and belly as well as octopus before the night was over, lol I too was priviledged to eat a pig nostril and octopus, hahaha both were really chewy. So the night was a lot of fun and culturally rich, lol
Haha some of the lyrics go “… We can travel to Spain where the rain falls mainly on the plain, sounds insane cause it is…”. I thought it was just a joke, but for real, it has only rained twice since we’ve been here… Once in Madrid and once yesterday, but when it rains, it pours! Yesterday, we had hail, just for a second, but lots of it! I took a video…
Plaza mayor is the best hang out spot in Salamanca and it is amazing! It was the scene of the movie Vanage Point, but until you see it in person you just can’t understand. I took a panoramic to try and get the best nighttime view possible… check it out!
Discovering Lego-Bacon-Jesus in Portugal!
This weekend we took a trip to Portugal and it was far from the ideal, problem-free vision of a weekend trip that we had in our minds, but it was awesome nonetheless. Our first troubles happened when we bought the tickets for the bus ride there. We all went as a group to avoid any discrepancy there could be between our tickets if we all bought the separately… Unfortunately that also meant that any mistake was repeated on all 8 of our tickets. We had decided to book the bus out of Salamanca at 2am Saturday morning which meant we would arrive in Oporto at 6am (7am Salamanca time). We bought our tickets and left the station very satisfied and excited.
Around 11pm thursday night, I got a call from Carson saying we needed to check our ticket times immediately. We were chilling at the local McD’s getting some Wi-Fi gratis so I wasn’t concerned, but pulled out my ticket anyway to see to my horror that our bus left in 3 hours! The ticket had been booked for July 1 rather than July 2. Granted we didn’t check the tickets when we got them, we had asked specifically for saturday morning at the bus station, so the lady behind the counter must not have realized that June only has 30 days. We live a 45 minutes walk from the bus station, so we promptly packed up and forfeited any McDonald’s sunday for that night. By the time we got to the bus station, the other members of our group had already found out that the station was closed and so we had no chance of changing our ticket before the bus left. We sulked the 45 minute walk back and decided to take McDonald’s up on that sweet, comforting ice cream, lol.
The next day I explained the situation to our Padres, Pepa and Fernando. They were determined to make this right, so Fernando volunteered to drive us down to the bus station and talk to the lady for us since he can actually speak spanish. By the end of the day and one more trip to the bus station with Fernando, we had our tickets changed and we were good to go! It was so noce of Fernando to be willing to help us like that and I have no doubt that they wouldn’t have been as accommodating if we had tried to explain the situation to them in Spanish.
Saturday morning, we were off to Portugal! The bus left a good 15 minutes early, so we were very grateful to all have gotten there 30 minutes ahead of time. This bus was a nightmare! It was hardly lit at all, so the only option was to sleep, but I guarantee you our bus driver was a member of an underground bus racing club, because the ride felt like a combination of crazy taxi and the night bus from Harry Potter. We arrived in Portugal 2 hours early (due to the incredible speed at which we hurtled, unsleeping, through the night) at 5 am. Unfortunately for us, Portugal was freezing and since it was 5 in the morning, not a single place was open, lol. As we wandered to our hotel, we consulted our spanish list of directions, passing many early morning partiers and dank, dirty allies. At one point, we came to our next turn, which was a tiny ally chock-full of hobo-ish drunkards. The ally smelled terrible and there was trash everywhere. This also reminded us of a Harry Potter reference (Nocturne Ally) but this didn’t make our desire to avoid the street any lesser. After reluctant declarations, such as “Is this obligatory” and “This can’t be the right street” we barreled through it and continued on to the hotel, weary but triumphant.
When we arrived, we attempted to talk to the man behind the counter. Unfortunately, he didn’t speak any language at all, just a sort of weird grunting and maybe soe Portuguese, idk. Eventually, we figured out that we couldn’t check in till 12 that day, but we were welcome to leave our backpacks in a safe room if we wanted to lighten our loads. So we dropped off the non-essentials and made to explore the city.
Oporto was really cool! The city is the oldest in Portugal and looked like something out of a movie.
We walked all across town, crossing the Duero river, saw a flea market, ate some delicious pastries, and encountered Lego-Bacon-Jesus. He was standing in an alcove that would typically have a fancy and elaborate statue in it, but instead of a work of art, we found a miracle! There was literally a life-sized, lego-shaped, jesus-lookalike wearing a suit made of what I’m sure was high grade bacon.
I have no doubt that this unique miracle is why Oporto is so famous. We also got to see the library where Draco Malfoy slips Tom Riddle’s journal in Ginny’s book bag in the second Harry Potter movie. (This picture is highly coveted because pictures were strictly forbidden… Luckily, I’m a boss, so nbd)
Fun fact: J.K. Rowling lived in Oporto for a while and that is where she first had the concept of Harry Potter. So technically, we visited the birth place of Harry Potter! After a full day of touring, we took a much needed nap and then went out for dinner and to see Oporto at night. We had a great time, but were very tired and called it a night early.
The next day we rode the devil bus back to Salamanca and had successfully survived our weekend trip to Portugal! Pictures to come soon, I just can’t upload them at the library, so I gotta go to McDonald’s and upload them. Were doing well in Salamanca and did America proud last night for 4th of July! Haha,
Tour of Andalusia pt. 2
Good cliff hanger right?! Haha, the next morning, we packed up and headed on over to Gibraltar to see Africa and some monkeys! Gibraltar is a British possession right on the tip of the Iberian Peninsula that is so close to Africa you can see it from the shore.
Because of this cultural confusion, many people speak the most intense Spanglish you can imagine, except they don’t call it Spanglish, they call it Gibberish! Its easy to get by knowing either Spanish or English, but most people will switch between the two without even thinking. Gibraltar has a gigantic rock on it that is made of limestone and served as a cannon mount for British forces against the Spaniards that tried to take it back.
We got to tour these man-made caves as well as the natural caves made in the limestone by water. The rock is home to hundreds of tailless monkeys that are far from afraid of humans. They will jump on your shoulder without a second thought and climb all over looking for food. Lots of the kids in the group, including me, had a monkey jump on their shoulder and feel quite at home there.
After, touring the giant rock, we flashed our passports again and headed out of Gibraltar towards Torremolinos. By this time, its halfway through the week and we’ve gone 100 mph the whole time and a break is much needed. So Torremolinos was the relaxation part of the tour of Andalusia. Torremolinos is a beach town that thrives off tourism, and almost everyone here spoke English. We spent 2 nights there and had one day to chill on he beach. It was a little overcast, but that was welcome because it cooled off a little and allowed us not to sunburn as quickly. We relaxed, played cards and enjoyed the beach all day and got ready to head to Granada the next day.