Archive | October, 2010

Salamanca a Noche

30 Oct

I loved Salamanca! As in I loved it so much I maybe want to move there. Yesterday/today has been a very long and very awesome day. I went into work Friday to help with Halloween even though I am usually off. I only worked a half day then went home to nap before the long night ahead. Around 5 p.m., two of my friends and I bused to Salamanca. Our game plan was to party until about 6 a.m. and catch an early bus back to Madrid so we wouldn’t have to pay for a hostel, and that’s exactly what we did!

Salamanca is a beautiful university town. The cathedral (not sure if it was the old or new) was so impressive to drive up to when we got there. Every building looks like it’s part of a castle and is lit up at night, so the whole town has an enchanted feel. I definitely want to do this trip again with a little more day time to see the cathedrals and art museums…and then go out and dance until 6 a.m. again, of course!

 

Theater on the way to Plaza Mayor

 

 

A view from Plaza de las Augustinas

 

 

Plaza Mayor in Salamanca

 

When we got to Salamanca, the first thing we did was eat dinner. We wandered around looking at menus until we found a French/Italian place that was tucked away in a basement. It had great food AND service, which was very refreshing considering the general lack of customer service in Spain. We were at dinner for 3 hours! But drawn out lunch, dinners and coffees are normal here and it’s kind of nice not to feel like the waiter is trying to kick you out.

 

I had a four cheese crepe, Jeta ordered the menu del dia (3 courses) and Siury had four cheese tortellini. Yum!

 

After dinner, we found a bar that was DECKED OUT for Halloween, so we went inside. (We later realized that most of the bars were decked out for Halloween, but it was still really cool.) It was 12:30 a.m. and the place looked like it had just opened, which it had. The bartenderess was awesome and would definitely be our BFF if we lived in Salamanca. She gave us free shots and only charged us for probably less than half of what our drinks actually cost. The music was great (Latin and reggaeton) and the bar was packed within half an hour of us getting there. The next bar had good Latin music and was decorated for Halloween, too. It was also populated with by far the most forward Spanish men I have met since I’ve been in Spain. My friends an I were literally running away from them most of the time, lol. Not that moving away or telling them I had a boyfriend deterred them very much. Over all they were fun and funny. The next bar was a shot bar where we met some more cool people and my friend and I tried Absent for the first, and last, time. (It tasted like licorice and burned on the way down so I had a glass of ice water after it.) The last stop of the night was a discoteca. We hung out until about 6:15 a.m. then headed to the bus station to eat breakfast and catch the 9:30 a.m. bus back to Madrid.

We all agreed on going back in the Spring as soon as we were back in Madrid! Here’s a picture timeline of the night.

XO

 

Siury and Jeta with our awesome bartenderess and new bff.

 

 

 

Spooky entrance that drew us into the first bar.

 

 

Bar #2

 

 

This picture captures our feelings toward the forward Spanish men at Bar #2, ha.

 

 

Fast forward to 7:30 a.m., Siury sleeping in the diner. Time to go home.

 

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Halloween

25 Oct

Halloween is this weekend and the celebration has already started at my school. From elementary to high school I went to private Christian schools, so Halloween was very minimal if really addressed at all. At my school in Mazanares, though, it’s a pretty big deal. The teachers there have been mentioning Halloween to the other assistants and I since almost day one and it looks like the holiday is going to take up about 80% of the week. That is totally fine with me if the rest of the week is like today! In my first period, we started watching The Nightmare Before Christmas, which is definitely one of my favorite childhood movies (and it was even in English!).  Then, another assistant and I brainstormed more crafts and decorations for the week during second period. On Monday I’, always free third period, so I checked my e-mail. Fourth period I hung decorations and he two periods after lunch I did prep work for tomorrow’s crafts. Pretty sweet day! If the rest of the week keeps up like this AND I get to go party in Salamanca AND come back to Madrid for the Halloween parties then it’s going to be a great week!

Fun fact: Halloween is a very new holiday in Spain, maybe a decade or two. November first, though, is All Saints Day and has been celebrated here for ages with family and a feast similar to our Thanksgiving.

XO

Weekend Highlight

24 Oct

 

He is drinking an energy drink and, yes, it is called Pussy.

 

I had to make this picture a little bigger, ha!

XO

We Trust in What?!

24 Oct

I love Saturdays! They are always so much fun.

Yesterday some friends and I went to a Madrid Lions rugby match. We met a couple of guys on the team the first week we were here and have now made friends with most of them. The weather has been awesome here (so far it’s always sunny and warm in the afternoon and cool in the evening) so it was the perfect weekend thing to do. Plus rugby is slightly similar to football, which is one of the things from home I am definitely missing! The Lions won (yay!) and we met up with the team later to go out…which worked out much better than when we were supposed to go out with the basketball players after their game!

 

This picture sums up what mostly goes on during a rugby match. I'm still not sure of all of the rules.

 

Score Clip

After the match, one of my friends and I wanted to go to a free concert we had heard about and grab some dinner before meeting back up with the team to go out. We got to the venue and the band was singing in English, to my surprise, and was kind of bluegrass/rock, also to my surprise. The Europeans were really into the music, and I’m not going to lie, it was pretty good. The band included bongo drums and regular drums, guitar, someone shaking something, a tambourine and a harmonica. The harmonica player was killing it! We were starting to get into it, too, UNTIL…

 

We trust is WHAT?!

 

I know it’s a blurry picture and my flash clearly wasn’t on but yes, that sign says “In Hell We Trust”. If I thought the audience was into it before then I don’t know what to call what happened during this song. It started normal, people were dancing and it sounded similar to the other songs. Everyone knew the chorus to this one but I still couldn’t quite catch the words, until they pulled out this sign. I turned to my friend amazed, but she thought they were saying “In God we Trust”. Clearly she had yet to see the sign. The crowd and band went on to fervently chant the chorus for about 4 minutes.

I really wanted to believe that all of these Spanish people just didn’t know what they were saying and maybe the band just did cover songs in English, but they didn’t really get it either. Clearly I knew better, but I wanted to give these people the benefit of the doubt. Then I started to wonder what kind of free concert this was and what was really going on here. After it had officially got weird we left IMMEDIATELY. My friend and I looked at each other and both pointed in the direction of the exit at the same time.

Of course, I whipped out my camera to record some of the concert at one point, I think I managed to not record the song mentioned above, ha. (P.S. these videos open, right?)

XO

WTF Concert Clip

What a Week!

22 Oct

Yesterday morning at about 7:30 a.m. I was sitting in a cafe near Plaza de Castilla, one of maybe two or three cafes open at that early, having coffee and a croissant. I had missed the 7:25 a.m. bus by mere minutes for the second time this week and was completely exhausted BUT couldn’t have been happier to be dipping my croissant into my cafe con leche and listening to “Man, I feel Like a Woman” in the middle of Madrid. This moment- failing at the metro system, or the metro system failing me, drinking lots of coffee, running late, or just running around, and being tired- pretty much sums up my whole week. This was my first week of full work and I couldn’t be happier to have Fridays off and to be doing absolutely nothing right now. Waking up at 6 a.m., commuting, teaching private classes 1-2 hours after work and getting home at 9 p.m.  M-Th…I don’t know how real teachers do it! Luckily, I always have at least a 3-day weekend.

This week definitely had it’s interesting parts, so here are some of the highlights:

  • Dear man on the metro smoking a joint, why are you trying to hide what you’re doing by “discretely” relighting your joint under your seat after every hit? We all see you doing it, smell it and are probably getting a contact high from the smoke that is quickly filling this very small space. After two stops I had to get off and move to a different car.
  • In fourth grade English, the kids are learning about different jobs. Teacher: “What jobs do you know?” Kid: “Singer!” Teacher: “Good, do you know any famous singers?” Multiple Kids: “Micheal Jackson!!!!” Que impromptu dance party.
  • Dear RyanAir, your flights are super cheap, but charging 20 euro to use a Visa, Mastercard or American Express to pay for the flight is not. Am I missing something here?! Everyone raved about cheap flights around Europe!

XO

Baloncesto

16 Oct

However many weeks ago that I went to Kapital (la discoteca) was when two of my friends met a few basketball players. They’ve kept up with them, so the players gave us tickets to their game last night. Before anyone gets too excited about hanging out with famous basketball players, let me clarify that this was not the main international league here, it was the “B” team. But that’s not to say that it wasn’t fun!

The game was Guadalajara vs. Barcelona. (Guadalajara is about an hour away from Madrid by train. It isn’t a very pretty city, unlike the rest of what I’ve seen and heard about Spain so far. I did see one very pretty church, though.) Guadalajara, the team we came for, lost. It was funny to see the old Spanish men get so into the game. Before half time there was a discrepancy with the shot clock and literally our entire side was up arguing and making hand jesters like you see Italians do in the movies. An old man behind us made awesome comments in Spanish about the team being slow and sleepy. Talking smack in Spanish is so much cooler and prettier than in English.

After the game, we were supposed to get pizza and beer with the team, but we ended up not really being in the mood. (Or some of them weren’t, I guess they did lose…) We hung out with a couple of the players for a little bit, which caused us to miss the last train to Madrid. Luckily, one of our new basketball-player friends, who was SO nice, offered to drive us back to Madrid after already having been extremely hospitable the entire night…and he wasn’t even they player who invited us. (I guess there are still some gentlemen left in the world! Ha.)

XO

 

Aguas Vivas stadium in Guadalajara

 

 

Guadalajara (royal blue) vs. Barcelona (highlighter orange)

 

Festival for Many

13 Oct

Yesterday (10/12) was a national holiday in Spain, which is why I had a five-day weekend 🙂 I asked various Spanish people for about a week and a half what the holiday was for and never got a straight answer. People either shrugged and said “I don’t know or said they had “no interest celebrating the day that guy came and killed all my people.” (So sorry for asking!). Naturally, I had to Google to find the answer. It turns out there were several things being celebrated. First, yes, it was Columbus day (sorry again!). Second, it was “Dia de la Fiesta Nacional de España” or Day of the National Feast of Spain. Third, it was the the religious Feast Day of the Virgin of Pilar, and last but not least it was Armed Forces Day.

There was a parade and fly-over to celebrate the Armed Forces Day part of the holiday. Some friends and I tried to find and watch it (we tired a lot of things yesterday) but we barely missed end of it. I did, however, catch some of the fly-over and took some terrible video of it that I thought I would share. (I hope the link works…I had to put it in a powerpoint so let me know if it doesn’t!)

XO

flyover movie