Monday, April 26, 2010

Feria and Freedom

Feria, fair in English, is a week long celebration of flamenco-ing and fiesta-ing. It began on Monday, April 19th at midnight and ended on Sunday, April 25th. Because my Italian getaway was cancelled, I was able to make it to 2 days (or nights should I say) of Feria, Friday & Saturday. It was quite the experience. The Spanish love Feria, they live for it. It takes 3 months to build the casetas (tents) and construction is started at the end of January. When it's not Feria time, the Feria lot is vacant, but for that 1 week it's crawling with millions of people. The basic set up of Feria is several aisles of tents. There are public tents, so dirty and hot and packed with gross, creepy people..totally ghetto and there's private tents that are owned by a family or an organization. The private tents are super expensive to maintain and actually have a security guard standing outside them and you have to know someone in order to get in. In both the public and private, there are bathrooms, a bar serving drinks and food, and of course plenty of flamenco action. The flamenco-ing and fiesta-ing goes on until morning...literally, I got home one night at 7:30 AM, and there were people still going strong when I left. In total seriousness, the Monday after the week of Feria is like a holiday called Hungover Monday and people don't have to work. That's crazy! Overall, Feria is just an event for the rich to showcase their wealth and for the poor to hang out in the ghetto public tents. It was a neat and interesting experience for those 2 days, kind of like Semana Santa.. only needed to see it for a little.

Kelly and I went to Matalascanas, it's a beach about an hour away from Sevilla, in order to nurse our Feria hangover. We spent the day tanning in 90 degree weather and swimming in the Atlantic, sounds like a great time, hey? So, in Europe, toplessness on the beach is totally legit, no one gives you dirty looks and there aren't even any prolonged stares by men. There were a handful of women taking advantage of the topless opportunity, so I turn to Kelly and suggest we do the same. I may have still been a little drunk from the night before and feeling a little ballsy. So before I knew it we were tanning topless (no tan lines, duh!) Kelly lasted like 3 minutes and I lasted for like 3 hours?! hahaha. So euro. Topless is totally legit...only when you're tanning, though. I look up and spot a mother who was topless playing a ball and paddle game with her son who was 7 years old who was completely naked. The line needs to be drawn somewhere, that was just super bizarre.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Maltesian Misadventures

An overview of my experiences...

Saturday, April 17th

Because my flight is out of Madrid, I have to endure the 6 hour bus ride from Sevilla to Madrid. I board the bus at 10:00 AM, even though my flight does not leave until 11:00 PM that night. (If you recall my story from Dublin--sprinting through the airport... international jet setters shouldn't have to deal with back sweat) So, I want to make sure I can leisurely make my way to the airport and have time to relax once I get there. So I'm sitting on the bus when a group of 3 Americans girls sits behind me. I, of course, listen to their conversation for awhile, only to discover that one of them had their wallet pick pocketed at the bus station. She's really, very upset. I guess who just took like 300 euro out of the ATM and her debit card. (That really fucking sucks, I hate those assholes) After awhile, once she has calmed down from her post pick pocket freak out, I turn around to make the usual study abroad conversation. YadaYadaYada, they begin to talk about the volcanic ash and how they were suppose to fly from Madrid to London, and then a couple days later, London to Italy, but they had to change their flight so it was just from Madrid to Italy and they weren't sure if that would be cancelled too. So they were all kind of a wreck and the one who got pick pocketed was twice as bad. I made good enough friends with them that they invited me to take the Metro with them to the airport. Score. We brave the Metro together, arrive at the airport, approach the departure screen. Frantically, they're scanning the list of out bound flights until they lay their eyes on... Madrid-Rome CANCELLED. How shitty would that be to get your wallet stolen, take a 6 hour bus to Madrid, find out your whole vacation is cancelled, take another 6 hour bus back to Sevilla, and after all of that no Italian vacation, 12 hours spent on a bus, and to top it all off no money. God, I feel so bad for them, especially that girl. They quickly peace out to try and sort out their cancelled flight.
While checking the departures I realize I'm at the wrong terminal. Good thing I took the 10:00 AM bus, I've got HOURS. Oh hey. I stroll through the airport on my way to the bus that travels between the 2 different terminals. Hop on and then off the bus a quick 3 minutes later and I'm in the correct terminal. It was the terminal Heidi (my roommate) and I first explored together when we had an 8 hour lay over in Madrid on our way to Sevilla for the first time, bringing back the memories, it seems like yesterday! Anyways, I walk inside and am bombarded with people everywhere! Everyone was stuck at the airport because of the volcanic ash. Thank god I didn't have to check any bags. I ROLLED (my parents brought me my cute, rolling Betsey Johnson carry on bag just like I wanted to bring in the beginning but I was over ruled and was forced to carry a bulky, stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb American studying abroad backpack.) As I was saying.. I rolled my bag to security, I was the only person in line. Perfect. Made my way past the security guards with WAY more than the allotted amount of liquids and without taking my shoes off, way to patrol. So, I spent countless hours in the empty airport before going to my gate to wait for my flight. As, I'm sitting waiting to board the plane, I look up and spot a decent looking Spaniard (what I think to be a decent looking Spaniard because I didn't have my glasses on and I couldn't really make out his face, maybe I should look into contacts? hah) Everyone on the flight boards a bus that takes us the plane. Weird, but I went with it. I board the plane sit down and to my amusement, the decent Spaniard is sitting across the aisle from me. Coincidence or destiny? I have the row to myself, but the Spaniard is seated next to a young Maltesian man. They make conversation in entertaining English while I listen in, and quickly become buddies. Next thing I know, the Spaniard turns to me and mutters something in Spanish. Totally thought I was Spanish. Oh hey. With a dumbfounded look on my face, he began to speak in English. After a little small talk, I find out that his name is Javier, he's from Madrid and is studying English in Malta. His little Malestian friend was in Madrid for a business trip and was returning home. He tried to advise as to what I should do for the next couple of days, but I had no clue what the hell he was saying. After the small talk is over and the awkward pauses begin, we each indulge in our own activities for the remainder of the flight. As we approach Malta, we resume small talk. I tell them I'm staying in St. Julian's. Javier says he's staying there too and we should split a taxi. I agree, why not? It's not like it's unsafe to share a taxi with a complete stranger, in a foreign town, at 1:00 AM in the morning, right? I use good judgment, don't worry. The Maltesian cuts in and offers us both a ride via this father's BOAT. Javier agrees, but that is where I draw the line. Sounds like a set up for being kidnapped aboard. I'll stick with public transit. I politely decline the invite and reassure the two that I am fine taking a taxi and advise Javier to do whatever he wants. The Maltesian is really persistent to take us to St. Julian's via boat and proceeds to call his father to see if it would be alright once we get off of the plane. Javier and I are at the taxi stand arranging a taxi when we spot the Maltesian with his father who continues to ask if we would like a ride. We both decline. He seems let down and departs with his father. Javier and I are in the taxi making more small talk. He whips out this his mobile and asks for my number. I proceed to give it to him, what the hell.. I don't know anyone here and he seems decent (the kid is a little nerd, he is decked out in white Nike's, tight jeans, and a Victoria sweatshirt from Canada and won't stop talking--totally harmless) We reach the street that my apartments are on, get out of the taxi and OMG. (are you nervous right now?) haha.
The street is SOOOO packed with people and the music from the discos is bumping! I knew I was staying in the nightlife town, but holy hell, this was crazy. My apartment was literally right above all of the discos. The 7 sign on the top right of the picture is the entrance to my apartment building and that may be a gentleman's club right next door... hah. Sweet, little Jav walks me to my apartment and we make plans to meet up at a later date.
I walk inside of the apartment building and am shown to the apartment by the nice reception lady. (I'll explain how this apartment/hostel works. So there are apartments and you can rent a bed in the apartments. In my apartment there were 2 bedrooms, each with 2 beds and a kitchen/dinning room area, and private bathroom. The apartments weren't anything special, but the way it worked by having your own shared apartment was really nice.) So it's around 1:30 AM, my roommate wasn't there and the other bedroom door was closed. I peak around at my roommates belongings to try and get a feel for what kind of person she is. Oh no.. baggy, over-sized man jeans, short and wide V-neck sweaters, and ugly skater shoes from the 90's. WHO IS THIS PERSON? hahah. I put my belongings in the corner, fall asleep and hope for the best in the morning when I wake up to find out just who this person is.
I'm peacefully dreaming when suddenly the lights are flipped on and I hear two Spaniards chatting up a storm. I half way roll over to look at them, it was awkward. It's a little guy, the kind I could put in my pocket, and a stout, tom-boyish girl. What a pair.. who the hell are these characters? I roll back over and face opposite them. The lights stay on for like 15 minutes. WHAT IS GOING ON? I fall back and asleep.What an exciting day.

Sunday, April 18th

I wake up at like 10:30 AM, quickly prepare for the day and try to ditch out of that room before I wake the sleeping giant. Damnit...she wakes up, mutters a hello, I introduce myself and ask her her name, to which she replies "Elena". I uncomfortably extend my hand for an awkward handshake. She goes to the bathroom. I run out of the apartment.
That day I took the two story tourist bus around the island. It was a nice, informative ride. AND.....I SAW THE POPE. He was in Malta regarding some little boy scandal, what a surprise, and performing his Pope like duties. Everyone had a boner over the Pope, or as the Spaniards would say El Papa, being there. His picture was hanging from almost every balcony with cheesy garland and other decorations surrounding it.For a dunch/linner, I indulged in a little pizza.The pizza was SO huge and SO cheap--1.75 euro!
So later that day, I go back to the apartment. It's empty. Thank goodness. I decide to utilize the free WiFi, 2o minutes later I hear the door open. Oh no. Who could this be? I peak into the hallway from the end of my bed, it's a Chinese girl. She sees me and approaches my room. I say hello, she replies 你好. This is going to be interesting. She runs into her room and pulls out a Chinese to English translator. After a silent conversation of translation, I find out that her name is Zhang, she's just got to Malta today, she will be here for 3 weeks learning English, she is 29 years old (I honestly thought she was 19), and she has a boyfriend. Midway through our converslation (fusing conversation + translation), someone else walks in the apartment. China jumps up to see who it is and I hear ENGLISH coming from the other person. So relieved. I run out there to find another woman who is China's roommate. Her name is Cristina, she is 30 years old, she is from Madrid, she's been in Malta for a week and is studying English there for 3 weeks. She is very nice and very 90's. Cristina and I have a laugh over our communication difficulties with China. I tell her about my incident last night with Elena and friend. Some 30 minutes later, another woman walks into the apartment followed by a small man. Now, this my roommate and her little friend. I find out that Elena is from a small town in Southern Spain and teaches sailing there. She traveled to Malta alone and was going to be there for like 2 weeks. Her little friend's name is Raul and they had just met a couple of days ago. Soon we all found ourselves collected at the kitchen table conversing in a Spanish/English/translator. It was incredibly entertaining!! Later that night we all went out together minus China because she was chatting with her boyfriend. We stepped outside the apartment and met up with Cristina's man friend who lives in the apartment too and is also studying in Malta for 3 weeks. He was like 50 years old. Not creepy, just old and awkwardly trying to be young. Now picture this please, us 5 going to some bar with a bunch of people in their early 20's. I had to remove myself from the situation to think about just how fucking ridiculous my life is. Imagine this group...Me (the normal one), Cristina (30 year old in 90's get up, awkwardly half dancing to the music), Elena (who I think is a lesbian, dressed in baggy man jeans and tennis shoes), Baby Raul (who I think is gay), and 50 year old (who is old and side stepping back and forth slowly and off beat). It was a scene. I go to bed at 2:00 AM because this is too crazy. What an experience. Wow.

Monday, April 19th
I wake up and decide to walk along the coastline down to Sliemma to explore and shop. I walk for forever, it was nice outside and I enjoyed it. Shopping in Malta is horrible. There were all cheap, ugly clothes. I found a nice restaurant overlooking the water and had lunch. It was a delicious asparagus, butternut squash, lettuce, pine nut, goat cheese salad. I walked all the way back home checked my email and found out that my flight to Italy the next day was cancelled. This sucks. What do I do now? So I had to extend my Malta stay until Thursday because that's when the next, reasonably priced flight was. Later that night I decide to text Javier to see what he's doing because I couldn't handle another night with Odd Squad. After some back and forth texts, he meets me outside my apartment. I open the door and there he is..white Nike's, tight Khaki's this time, and now a London sweatshirt.. hahahhaha. We get a beer and he chats my head off about how he's the best English speaker in his class, how he loves Spain, hates Spanish stereotypes, and is confused as to why on spring break in Cancun people thought he was Mexican just because he was speaking Spanish (he lectured about the different accents (Spanish vs. Mexican) and how Mexicans are brown with black hair and he is white with brown hair--he just didn't understand why American's thought he was Mexican because there's an obvious difference). Throughout our conversation (or should I say the conversation he had with himself?),
I did a lot of smiling and laughing because witty jokes and sarcasm don't translate well. I don't know how much longer I can take this, and then his mother called and he left go to have a 10 minutes conversation with her. During the duration of the call, I thought about getting up and running the 20 yards back to my apartment because this night was going nowhere quickly, that or chugging 3 beers while he was tawking to mommie. I decided that I would probably get caught in the midst of my run and that chugging 3 beers would probably make me sick, so both ideas were ruled out. So after 10 minutes of baby talk with mommie, he reappears and proceeds to tell me that he told his mother that he went out for a drink with me and that his mother was asking if we were together. He quickly mumbled a short conversation between him and his mother about me, I couldn't really understand it (by the way everything is in English, no Spanish), nor did I want to understand what he was saying and got weirded out. We finish our beers, he suggests to check out another bar he likes. We walk past it, nothing much going on. Now we come to my apartment entrance, I make a quick get away by saying, Thanks for the beer, I owe you one. See you later! I run up to my apartment where I recap the strange events of that night to myself. Now this is where the story gets 5 minutes after I bounced from that agonizing, I don't even know what to call it.. meeting?, I receive a text from him..."Do u want to come to sleep with me?" WHAAAAAAAAT? Hold the phone...where the hell did this come from!?!? I, of course, rejected the invitation with a polite, "No thank you." Crazy European men. What an experience. Wow.

Tuesday, April 20th

YAY. I leave for Italy today. Not. So, instead I decide to brave the public transit system. On the plane over, I was warned by Maltesian and Javier that the bus drivers are complete assholes. With that in mind, I say..Bring It On! I walk over to the bus stop which is swarmed with like 50 people and of course guess who is standing there... Javier! I see him, he doesn't see me, I immediately turn around and walk in the other direction. Crazy, just crazy! Eventually, I find a bus stop that is Javier free and wait for a bus to Valletta, the capital. The buses in Malta are absolutely ancient. It's like they're a joke. Bus #45 pulls up to the stop and the doors open, I look up at the bus driver and think here goes nothing! The driver is a burly man whose only form of communication is grunts. The fare for the bus is .47 cents, I place .50 cents in his stubby, troll hand. He hands me a receipt ticket with no change. I quickly find a spot to sit in a rickety, old vinyl seat. The bus is shaking and rattling so bad down the street that I think I'm on an amusement ride, this can't be real. The bus goes to a huge, half circle bus terminal with like 35 other buses. I get off, walk down the pedestrian street and around the town a bit, and decide I want to go to Golden Bay which is a popular, sandy beach in the northern part of the island. Before the ride, I get thirsty and decide to buy something to drink. I spot "Kinnie" a local drink made in Malta and buy it. Board the bus, break the seal of the bottle and take a large sip. GROSS. It tasted like ass. It's suppose to be like orangey tasting, but it has the flavor of burnt ass and an orange twist. 30 minutes later I find myself in Golden Bay. I grab a little something to eat and hit the beach. I'm totally not prepared for the beach though, I'm wearing jeans, flats, with my swimming suit underneath (after I sneaked into a fancy restaurant to change into it), and I don't have a towel. This will be interesting. To my surprise you could pay 5 euro and receive a towel and a chair for the day. Sold. I sat there for awhile, but it was windy. I ventured back to the apartment around 5:00. At this point, I'm kind of pro at taking the bus, no problems. I arrive 'home' safely, take a shower, and stay in for the night updating my blog. Tonight was Elena's last night in Malta before traveling to Gozo for 6 days which is a short ferry ride away. We said our good byes and that was it.

Wednesday, April 21st
I woke up, ate my daily fruit and yogurt from the euro saver menu at McDonalds (I ate like 2 of those everyday) and was off to Mellilha Bay for some more beach time. The forecast today, 70 with no wind, sounds perfect to me. I had a bit of a fiasco getting there, I waited for a bus for like 30 minutes and then got off like 2 stops too early. But I finally made it there and bought a chair on the beach again, this time for 4 euro. Oh hey. I sat in the sun and even went swimming in the Mediterranean! It was wonderful! Hours later at like 5, everyone got kicked off the chairs because they were closing, so I left then. On my way home from the bus stop I picked up a Cisk tall boy, the local Maltesian beer. It was a good beer. At the apartment I enjoyed the WiFi and took a shower. Because there was no outlet in the bathroom, I plugged my curling iron in, in the common area and was going to curl some hairs using my camera on my computer as a mirror. From across the table, China saw me struggling with this task. We played a quick game of charades and by her putting her finger on her nose, pointing to me and then doing a curling action in her hair, I figured out she wanted to curl my hair for me. So I let her of course! What a scene! My Chinese roommate who speaks no English curling my hair in Malta. Randomness at its finest. So that night, me, Cristina, and 50 year old went to dinner and then to the usual bar from the first night. Because it was my last night, I had to bring out my cool outfit, black blazer, casual white crew neck, sequence skirt, black tights, and blue suede heels. I was ballin. Dinner was good, I had ravioli. We hit the bar...same old crowd and me, with the same old (literally) people. haha. We hang out their, I find random people to chat with, it was fun. I bet you all are wondering what my strange friends look like, well we got our picture taken together at the bar...My feet hurt like a bitch because of the blue suede heels and I'm home by 2:00 AM.

Thursday, April 22nd
I leave today! My flight is at 12:30 PM. I get to the airport at 10:45 AM. The night before RyanAir sent an email that said if you only had carry on luggage you could go straight to the gate and wouldn't have to have your boarding pass stamped at the check-in desk. So I bypassed a long line of people and thought wow that sucks to have to stand in that line and made my way to security. From there I was turned away because RyanAir messed up and each passenger needed an actual boarding pass, so I jynxed myself and had to be one of those people standing in the huge line. How annoying. I wait in line for 30 minutes, finally get my boarding pass, go through security, check the departures and Malta to Madrid isn't up yet. I grab something to eat and watch the departure screen from the table. I'm almost finished eating and check the screen again, Malta to Madrid: DELAYED. Seriously?? I wait around for like 45 minutes wandering the terminal to find out that the flight is delayed until 4:30 PM. I spend my extra time writing this blog, it passes quickly, but that just means I won't get back to Sevilla until later. So, 4:30 rolls around I board the plane and somehow make it past the crazy flight attendants with my huge bag and enjoy a 2.5 hour flight back to Spain. On the flight I had a cup of tomato soup, it was really delicious and I bought a scratch off ticket--I didn't win anything. (Check out this story--> I didn't get anything stolen on the Metro in Madrid and didn't get lost. Good. I get to the bus station around 9:00 PM and the next bus to Sevilla is at 11:00 PM. I wait around in the bus station playing Mancala and eating a sandwich from Rodilla. I board the bus and see a group of 3 ladies who had been on the same flight as me from Malta. It was funny. I make it through the 6 hour long bus ride and am finally in bed at Fina's house at 5:30 Am! What a long day!

Yet another experience, thank you Malta!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Lovely Eyjafjallajokull

Thank you Eyjafjallajokull (that is the name of the volcano) for ruining my trip to Italy and stranding me in Malta. You're a biatch.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring Break #2

Yes, it's true... hello Spring Break #2. Unfortunately, we have another week off of school, which really upsets me because I'm here to study not to hang out! Seriously though. Yea Right.

Anyways, I leave tomorrow (Saturday, April 18th) on a 6 hour bus to Madrid. From there, I'm taking a flight to Malta (Google where it is dumbdumb because I'm not going to tell you). I'll be there for 3 nights, and then I'm flying into Milan, Italy to meet up with one of my roommates Kelly. As for Italy, we don't really have plan, which is always the best plan, our only verified travel arrangement: a flight home to Sevilla on Sunday (unfortunately). I'm excited for this adventure! I know it will be incredibly fun!

I went and saw Alicia en el Pais de las Maravillas or should I say Alice in Wonderland. It was good, so good that I fell asleep for the last 30 minutes of it. Just kidding. I did like it. But it's 1:30 Am, and I haven't packed or thought about packing a single thing. I should get on that, hey?
Until next time... peace out.


I went to Barcelona April 8th-11th with 4 (Kelly, my roommate; and 3 other girls that go to Madison Becca, Carrie, and Sara) of my friends from the Institute (The Spanish-American Institute, where I study). I had to take a later plane than them because I had a presentation in one of my classes that I couldn't skip.

Thursday, April 8th
So I got into Barcelona around 12:30/1:00 AM. From the airport I took a cab to meet them at a bar. I get out of the cab and tell Kelly I'm waiting outside the bar. I find myself in a small alley with a mime. Yes a mime, I'm not sure what he was doing there. I swear I'm not making this up. So, I call Kelly and tell her to come meet me outside. I then get shushed by the mime because I'm talking loud. To my dismay Kelly says shes outside, but I'm outside and don't see her. Of course the bar they send me to has two locations in Barcelona and I of course go to the incorrect one. After figuring that out, we just decide to meet at the apartment so they can let me in and I can put my stuff away. I change and we go to this really cool club that was on the beach. That was the exciting event of Thursday.

Friday, April 9th
We were going to get up and go on a bike tour, but we all slept in too late because we were sleeping in dungeons and the windows were closed. Instead, we went to the Picasso Museum, the Christopher Columbus statue, a street called Las Ramblas (main street with a lot of activity), and to the main harbor area.

Saturday, April 10th
I was given the responsibility to wake everyone that morning by Becca to go on the bike tour. I succeeded and we found ourselves on a 4 hour long tour through Barcelona. IT WAS SO FUN! We saw all of the points of interest and got a bit of a workout.

So now are you ready for another crazy story? Don't worry because in the end we were all safe.
That night Barcelona is playing Madrid, HUGEHUGE competitors. So we decide to go watch the game at a bar and then go out afterwards. Let me set the scene. The 5 of us are walking down a decently populated street with several street lights to get to the main street where the majority of the bars are. We're walking single file down the sidewalk, me in front, Sara in the back and the other 3 somewhere inbetween. Suddenly, I hear a scream. I turn around, and I see a man running from our side of the sidewalk to an alley way. It quickly dawns on me that he took something from this girl. And then it dawns on me that, that girl is SARA! (A man came up to her from behind and tried grabbing her wristlet, after she repeated told him to stop and go away he finally pull it off of her wrist, snapping the part that connects to the zipper off and then sprints away.) So, it takes me awhile to realize what happened and then who it happened to. Kelly starts yelling for him to stop and makes an effort to chase him even though shes wearing heels. Me, clad in flats of course, takes off after him. He runs down a smaller side street, I follow while asking on lookers which direction he just went. Finally I lose him when I ask who I think is an innocent on looker (who I think was actually part of the scheme) which direction and he points down a street with a garbage man at the end who said he saw no one come down that way. The 4 girls are seconds behind me. We stand in the alley cursing the man, who actually mugged her because there was no pocket that was picked, when we realize that Sara is BLEEDING! We figured that when he grabbed the wristlet the metal piece that attaches the wrist part to the clutch must have cut her. Suddenly, a nice British lad appears in the doorway of an apartment in the alley and provides us with some comfort. He reassures Sara that her cut is only a surface wound and that she will survive by putting a little pressure on it. Also, he explains to us that the gang of thieves is a group of Moroccan men that are well-known in that area for stealing things. So, after that excitement we made it to a bar (all of them were SO packed) and watched the last 40 minutes of the game. Barcelona won. The streets were SOOOO crazy. We took a cab from the bar to a club and our cab driver was hilarious. He was this old guy from Pakistan who spooks the funniest English. He told us the people were sentimental in the street after the win. Just very amusing to say the least. We went to this funny Arabic themed club. It was aight.

Sunday, April 11th
The 3 girls from Madison had early flights, but Kelly and I had a flight later in the afternoon so we went and lied on some steps by the water all day, it was nice.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


So last week was Semana Santa (Holy Week) and the family came to visit. We went on a week long cruise through the Mediterranean. Here are some pictures...Thursday, March 25th
Kelly and I wandering the streets of Sevilla

Leave it to my dad to make friends with an overly friendly somewhat drunk Spaniard who insisted on buying him a couple of beers and several shrimp sandwiches.
Friday, March 26th
Awaiting our flight to Barcelona in the modest Sevilla airport.
Note: My new miniature computer. So wonderful!

The classic pre-boarding, cheesy picture. For awhile, I couldn't find our picture in the picture area and was certain that someone had bought it because they were creepily in love with us. Unfortunately (fortunately?), that theory failed and I found it.The Costa Concordia, our home for the week!A shot of the main lobby. Check that out.
Kelly's and my room. Kelly brought my cheetah snuggie with her and the maid would lay the snuggie on the bed every night and fold the arms down so they were crossed in the middle and it looked like a cheetah person was laying on the bed. Creepy and funny.I'm not sure if it's very visible but there are little dogs on the toilet paper. So, every time I wiped my butt, I thought of sweet little Mookie. AwwwwWe started the cruise off right with a little BINGO action. Try playing bingo in 7 different languages. It was a task to keep up!After bingo, we hit the slots. Let the addiction begin early.

Friday, March 27th--Marseilles, France

Marseilles, an old fishing town.

We took a trolly ride around Marseilles and saw this character on the side of the road and couldn't help but take a picture. Since I've been here, I've seen the strangest hair dos ever. The mullet is particularly popular, and the long hair in the back often is dreaded. But I think this hair beats the others. One question.. Why do they do this to themselves?We stopped at the Notre Dame Cathdral.And this was the inside of it. WOW!BIG Mookie :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Life by the River

So, it´s hard to update a blog when you don´t have a computer, but one is on it´s way in less than a day! AND SO IS THE FAMILY! WAHOOO.

So we´ve all been hanging out by the river like everyday. People have finally come out of hiding after the weeks of rain, and life on the streets is crazy! Spaniards are everywhere! There´s an ourdoor bar called El Kiosko (Kiosk) 5 minutes from our house that has cool grafiti on it and bumping jams from like 8th grade and disco music. I love it!! We like to hang out there often. Also, we sit by the river and get our tan on. I have a nice face and arm tan going. Sweeeeet. Im going to go hang out outside and wait for the family to come.

peace out

Thursday, March 18, 2010

2 Continents, 1 Week! Part 2--Morocco!

So here's the 2nd half of my adventure..

I make it home on Thursday from Dublin around 7:15 PM, I'm not even able to put my HIKING BACKPACK down when Heidi approaches me asking if I want to take a trip to Africa (Morocco, but it sounds cooler to say Africa) that weekend. I'm totally down, obviously, so I'm home not even 5 minutes and have already made plans to leave the next day to another continent!

Friday, March 12th
Heidi, Kelly, and I set off for Africa that day with a tour group called We Love Spain & only knew each other. We were suppose to meet at 11:00 AM and get on the bus, turns out that around 12:00 PM the group of about 125 students is guided about a 1/4 of a mile from our meeting spot to get on the bus. Cool. We take a 2 hour bus ride to Tarifa and from there we waited an hour to board the ferry. It was about an hour ride from Spain to Africa. Once we crossed the Straight of Gibraltar we were STILL IN SPAIN?!? Yes, Spain has a providence on the Northern tip of Af! Crazy. It´s a little city named Ceuta. From there we took a bus about 45 minutes to the Moroccan boarder. The scariest part of the whole trip was at the boarder. We rolled up in our bus to find homeless looking people with huge bags of who knows what, men dressed in cloaks with pointy hoods, and women all wrapped up in floor length dresses and scarves around their heads. There was a strict no picture policy at the boarder. I wasn´t about to try and sneak any pictures like I did in Aracena, I think it would be a bit different getting in trouble in Morocco by the intimidating guards compared to Aracena by some crazy spanish guide. So, we got our passports stamped and a moroccan guard came on the bus to check our stamps, and then we were off! We stayed the first night in a small fishing villiage in a hotel that was totally decked out from the 80's, it was great! Us three girls luckily got a room that had a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean Sea!High rollerz. We were able to unpack and relax for about 20 minutes and then it was dinner time. We ate a vegetable soup (not bad), FISH (really not bad, what has gotten into me??) , mixed vegetables, and for dessert flan! The fish was even all boney and I ate the majority of it?!? Crazy. After dinnner, we retired to our room and fell asleep early from a long day of traveling and we wanted to awake early to watch the sun rise from our balc.

Saturday, March 13th
We woke up at 6:30 ish and sat outside on the balcony wrapped up in blankets and watched the sunrise, it was wonderful! Saturday was a big day for us, we pretty much did all of our site seeing that day. We hit the road early and made our way to ChefChauen. ChefChauen is a city in Morocco that is all BLUE! It was so cool. All of the walls and doors in the city are painted different variations of blue (many photo opts). We had a guide that showed us around the city who was the size of a peanut and absolutely hilarious. He was a tiny man that I wanted to put in my pocket and bring with my everywhere. He took us to an authentic blanket making shop that was totally over priced. So after the tour we had some free time to shop around in the markets. Here is the BIG DRAMATIC STORY....The plan was to look around and then meet back in the middle of the plaza in 45 minutes. So, 45 minutes pass and everyones starting to congregate in the meeting place. Not everyone is there and Kelly wanted to quickly go back to a shop and buy an authentic, hand-made, silk Mocorrocan blanket (how could you not want one of those?!?) So, she asks me if I wanted to come with her, of course I said yes. On our way to the shop where she spotted her beloved blanket, we saw another shop with more blankets so we decided to pop in there. She finds one she likes and starts to barter with the old, Moroccan man. The two finally settle on a satisfactory price when I spot a blanket that I like and then she spots another blanket! So, the bartering begins again! After a couple back and forths, we negociate a final price for the 2 blankets 33 euro. (which is a good price because Toto (our pint-sized guide) took us to a blanket place that was selling the same blankets for atleast 45 euro. Scam.) Okay, so I have one blanket in hand and Kelly has two. We proceed to the meeting place and are relieved to see a group of students there waiting. We walk up to them only to realize that the person leading them around is Manuel from DISCOVER SEVILLA, a totally different tour group. We start freaking out. WE´RE LOST ALONE IN A MOROCCAN MARKET. All I can think about is the show Locked Up Aboard on Discovery Channel, we´re never making it back home to Sevilla! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! WHAT THE HELL DO WE DO?!?! We run up to Manuel and awkwardly explain to him (because we went with a different tour company) that we lost our group and need to get back on our bus. He consults his Moroccan tour guide (who doesn´t seem half as fun as ours) who tells us to take 1 street straight and it should bring us to the bus. As we´re about to run after our group Manuel asks us if we want his phone number. Absolutely relentless with the flirtation. It´s a joke. (Him and 2 other guys who work for the travel agency that caters to study abroad students (mainly girls) is to schmooze them and be flirtatious. So in our time of panic and need, the advances don´t stop. hahahhah.) Anyways, we take off on our own and begin running down the narrow, packed market walkways. We´re dodging people left and right and people are shouting ¨MANTA! MANTA! MANTA!¨(which means blanket in Spanish. They speak spanish in Morocco, fyi) Suddenly, we´re faced with a fork in the road, RIGHT OR LEFT?!, I look to a store owner who is aware that we are obviously lost and looking for our group and he shouts ¨Derecha, Derecha¨(right, right) and motions us in the correct direction, unless it was some kind of trick, but we took his word for it and trusted him. Finally after a 3 minute sprint down the claustrophobic corridors of the market we arrived to the street to see our bus still parked in the same spot. THANK YOU GOD! As we stepped on the bus, we door shut quickly behind us and we drove away immediately. Whoops. Guess we shouldn´t stray away from the group even if we´re being lured in by mantas. But the reason why we were in such a hurry is because the KING of Morocco was in town and the city closes off the streets for him so we could´ve potentially been stuck in Chefksjflkds forever! AHhhhhhhhh. On our bus ride to Tangier (our lunch stop) we actually saw the KING pass us in a parade of cars! Super crazy! He even waved! WOW. Continuing, we arrive in Tangier for our real Moroccan lunch. We are greeted at the door by a bunch of Moroccan hooligans singing and dancing. It was really fun and funny. Our lunch consisted of a large plate of normal salad ingredients, a chicken kebab (which was partly raw), and a large pot of chicken with lemon (the chicken was on the bone and it was like my first night in Sevilla all over again. Gross), and mint tea (absolutely delicious) & a small actual crumbly cookie. It was all good, but I didn´t really eat that much because the first chicken was raw and I´m not a fan of meat on a bone (although I just ate fish off of bones the night before. Whatever) After lunch we go on a guided tour through the market area in Tangier. We went to a pharmacy/spice shop (not Spice like the porn store on the way to Oshkosh). I bought 3 packages of cinnamon. I´m not sure why?? We were being paraded through the market area like a spectacle, stares all around. It was kind of funny except when we passed Moroccan police (?) who were carrying very large guns... We got to one part of the tour which was more dangerous I guess because we had like 4 tour guides? I never really felt that uncomfortable though. Everything was a bit dirty there. There were people who had fresh fruit and vegetable stands, pastry stands, mismatched/already worn shoe stands, hoarding stands where they just collected shit and tried to sell it? (it was literally just random shit. ie: tape players, old school phones with cords, game boys from the 90´s. hahhahah) All of the pastries had huge bee/fly things landing all over them. So appitizing.

After our amussing tour through the Tangier market, we hopped back on the bus to our final destination for the day, Tetuan. We arrived in Tetuan around 9:00 and had 45 minutes to unpack and get ready for dinner. Our room looked like an insane asylum. Everything was the same color, the floor, the walls, the bedding, it was all an off white/tan-ish color. And best of all, there were dead ants all over the ground. YUM. We freaked out temporarily, but thought hey we´re in Africa. Heidi took the first shower. She said it was the worse shower of her life. The shower head was one of those ropey ones you would find at a hair salon, but it had no holder on the way so you had to physically hold it above your head, oh yeah... the water was wukelarm. I went next (I probably should´ve just stayed dirty), it was bad. And there was no blow dryer. Hello Mom hair. We went to dinner with wet hair. Before leaving for dinner we went to the front desk and brought attention to our bug infested room. The front desk sent a little old lady to come sweep up the dead ants and spary some big killer, which was very toxic smelling. We were forbidden to enter our room for a couple of hours. Before our feast we went to a show. Sounds cool right? It was three guys on horses galloping back and forth on the grass in front of us shooting guns? One strange thing. We sat down for dinner feasted on several Moroccan dishes, vegetabley soup, meatballs with eggs (tasted like taco meat), and couscous. It was all really good! During dinner we were entertained with various acts, acrobatic children, belly dancers, and men doing tricks. After dinner we talked to the front desk again about our deathe chamber of a room. After some resistance the front desk attendent finally gave us another room. We carefully entered room and grabbed our belongings, hoping we wouldn´t pass out from the fumes. We went up to our new room. It was a 3 room suite with balcony! No wonder there was some hesitation. There were 2 living room areas that were decorated with an awkwardly small amount of furniture and 2 queen beds. The balcony overlooked some run down bulidings next door, but noneless we weren´t sleeping with dead ants, or so we hoped.

Sunday, March 14th
We woke up the next morning and had breakfast downstairs. I ATE CEREAL. How do they have cereal in Morocco but not in Spain?!? Anyways, I was really happy! We had time that day to do a little shopping. Kelly and I found a watch place and bargined with the guy until we received 2 watches for 5 euro, what a joke. Funny thing is, the joke was on us.. my fake Lacoste watch stopped working 36 hours later. hahaha. Oh well. Sunday was a day of traveling back to Sevilla. We made it back home around 5:30 which was nice because we had exams that upcoming week.

Overall, it was a great experience! I had no idea what to expect going there, but I´m glad I went. Although, I think once was enough for me! The fact that for every 50 men we saw, we saw 1 completely covered woman, it was good to leave and be back to what I have come to know as `civilization´Spain. ChefChauen was definitely the coolest part, but everything overall was neat! I´m thankful I don´t live there!!!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

2 Continents, 1 Week! Part 1--Ireland

Wahooo. It's been a CRAZY week!

Let's start from the beginning.

Friday, March 5thA group of us from school went to Ronda, Spain. It was about a 2 hour drive in a miniature bus that held 19 people. Funny. Anyways, Ronda is a super old town that was built on two cliffs and is connected by a beautiful, old bridge. It was incredibly gorgeous. Perhaps the prettiest place I seen so far! The pictures definitely don't do it justice! So we hung out there for the day and toured the city. A group of us had coffee outside at a restaurant that sat on the edge of the cliff overlooking the ravine. It was breathtaking!
Saturday, March 6thWe never made it to Gibraltar. Kelly, Heidi, and I were too exhausted.

Monday, March 8th
I went to Spanish class that morning which ended at 9:45, came home around 10:30 after printing off my boarding pass and such, made some last minute phone calls in case I got locked up abroad in Ireland and never made it back home (Spain), and boarded my 6 hour long bus to Madrid around 1:00 pm. (Here they run on military time, but if the clock reads 14:30, it's said 2:30, I had no idea!) Anyways, the bus to Madrid was long & boring, but I had a seat to myself and read Water for Elephants/slept the whole time. Approaching Madrid I had a decision to make. Do I take the Metro from the the bus station to the airport or do I play it safe and hop in a taxi? I had a little less than 2 hours to get to the Ryan Air desk to check in once I arrived in Madrid. As I was getting my clunky hikers backpack (that totally clashed with my cute outfit) out from under to bus, I made a decision and decided to brave the Metro! I thought it was a necessary learning experience and didn't want to depend on anyone else but myself. (How inspirational. Gag) The Metro has a stop at the bus station so there was no problem finding it. I purchased my 1 euro ticket, asked for a map, and made my way to the train! In order to get from the bus station to the airport, you have change trains 3 times. I boarded the first train, took a seat, pulled out my map and checked perhaps a million times that I was going in the correct direction. (I forgot to mention. I totally wore my security, necklace pouch thing just to make sure no hoodlums got at muh plastic, muh dolla billz ((actually euros)), or muh passport. You would be proud Mom & Grandma). Anyways, I totally on schedule hoppin' trains and hanging out like a Spaniard on the Metro. I'm about to make my last hop onto the train that takes me to the airport when it all goes down the drain... I get off the 2nd train and suddenly there's a huge rush of people in the direction I am going. I'm not sure what's going on, but I go with it. Pues duh. Everyone's boarding the train with the same route I want, so I hop on also. About a stop down the route I realized I'm on the correct line but in the WRONG direction! Oh god, how the hell did I mess this up?? I checked and rechecked that damn map atleast 100 times! It was the rush of people, I got flusstered and went with the flow, even though it was wrong! I immediately get off at the next stop. I have my map out, I'm pacing back and forth looking for a sign to point me in the correct direction. I'm palms are clamy and my beginning to develop neck sweat from my huge neck brace of a scarf. I take a deep breath to settle down, look at my watch and almost pee in pants because I realize I only have 20 minutes to check into the flight! I some how compose myself and figure out I need to get to the other side of the tracks and that train will take me to the airport. I board it. Make it to the airport. Get off the train and have to pay 2 euro to get out of the Metro. What theeee! Now, I'm in the airport and I'm trying to pull out my boarding pass from under my coat, neck brace scarf, and sweater. I was getting weird looks. Did I mention I was run walking at a very fast pace? So I finally make it to the Ryan Air check with approximately 2 minutes or so to spare. I so not over exaggerating this either. After having my passport checked and my boarding pass revceive a stamp on run walking again to the terminal. I have 30 minutes to get to the terminal. Of course the plane is departing from the 1st and fatherest away terminal. Right now it's probably 9:00 pm. There is barely anyone in the airport (kind of creepy), but nice because no one was able to point and laugh at my struggling along. So I'm on my way to the terminal running down the escalator sidewalks which made me feel like I was sprinting (totally cool). Find myself approaching security and see a huge crowd a people. Oh shit! I'm totally going to miss this flight!! Now I'm regretting braving the Metro. As I walk up to the line I realize they're all saying goodbye and aren't actually in line. My dreams of Dave Matthews are still in reach, not all hope has been lost. There's actually no one in line and I breeze through. I collect my belonings from the conveyor belt and shimmy on over to have my passport checked and stamped by security. 3 strides from the check point I look down at my wrist to see how much longer I have until I'll be in tears because I will have missed my flight and realized MI RELOJ NO ESTA ALLI (my watch is not there). I jog my memory as to the last time I had it and 2 seconds later (because I'm really sharp) it hits me that I had to take it off when going through security. Great! I turn to one of the police/security guard men and tell them in panicked Spanglish that I forgot my watch. He lets me pass. I go back to the conveyor belt I was at and see my watch posted up on the desk. THANK GOD. I love that thing. I ask him for it. He asks me the brand. I say I don't know. (Very convincing that it's mine, I know). He senses my panicked rush and hands it to me. THAKS GOD again. I zoom past the passport check again and got the head nod from the man. I'm totally legit. So, now after that craziness, I check my watch to see that I have about 15 minutes to get to terminal 1. Again the run/walk starts up again which is turned into a sprint on the sidewalk escalator. I nearing terminal 1, it's finally in sight and so is a HUGE mob of people. What the hell is going on here? Oh look Ryan Air to Dublin is the first plane departing from terminal 1. Lucky. I hope in line. I'm probably in the front of the last third of people. Not bad. And I hear ENGLISH all around me. Heaven. I board the plane realize I don't have an assigned seat number on my boarding pass & prepare myself for the worst before I ask a nice flight attendent what the sitch (situation) is. I am then delighted to hear that Ryan Air doesn't do assigned seats. Get there early, sit where ever you want. Budget air fare. It was a smooth, 2 hour 20 minute flight to Dublin.

Well uh, the plane landed and when I came out
There was a dude who looked like a leprechaun standing there with my name out
I ain't trying to get arrested yet.
I just got here!
I sprang with the quickness, like lightening disappeared

I whistled for a cab and when it came near
The license plate said GOLD and it had 2 pots in the mirror
If anything I can say is that this cab was a marvel
But I thought 'Man forget it' - 'Yo home to Jacob's Inn Hostel'

Creativity at it's best. Thank you very much. Anyways, I made it to the hostel that night around 11:15, checked in, found my way to room which was a 12 bed (6 bunkbeds) mixed sex room at the sweet price of 12 euro a night. Score. There were 2 Spanish girls (they were weird) and 2 girls from Hungary, both sets were there before and after I left. The 4 girls were around my age, early twenties. Besides us there were some random 1 night, never seen except for sprawled out on their beds sleeping visitors. The bed seems clean and so did the room. People were hanging out downstairs were the WIFI was, very college-esque. I fell asleep right away. It was a very stressful day.

Tuesday, March 9th
I wake up around 8:30, hop on down to the free breakfast and feast. I had 2 pieces of toast and ate 1 with strawberry jam and decided to rep Sevilla by using Sevillan Orange jam. The Sevilla jam was disgusting, I tried to mask it with honey--even worse & then I spilled honey on my shirt. Great. On the flip side there was CEREAL, real, crunchy flakes of corn with MILK. Can you say HEAVEN? First bowl in 2 months. How have I survived without my sweet love? Anyways, after breakfast I grabbed my stuff and bounced to the mean streets of Dub. Wandered around a bit with no destination and after awhile thought I should see some of the major Dublin sights, a reasonable tourist thought. I jumped on an embarrassing double decker bus and sat on the top floor and listened to the sweet sounds of tourism while being paraded through the city. Glorious. Among the nearly 1 million stops, I can recall St. Patricks's cathedral, the Guinness Factory, Phoenix Park, the Ha' Penny Bridge, and Trinity College.

Guinness Factory--I toured it the next day. It was full of interesting information and neat things. The coolest part was obviously the Gravity Bar at the very of the touring facility! It had a panoramic view of the city along with a free pint of Guinness. I choked down the dark ale and gazed upon the city. It was great.

Pheonix Park--I just stayed on the bus and let it take me around the park. It's absolutely huge. It's the largest urban park in all of Europe and fit 3 Hyde Parks inside of it. Crazy. Also, the US ambassador lives there along with the President of Ireland. Side note: the prez lives in a house that looks almost identical to the white house. The white house was indeed designed by the same Irish architect who designed the Irish president's house. Crazy. Another side note: There is the Dublin Zoo housed in the park as well. Its one of the oldest zoos in Ireland. Additionally, from the zoo came the lion who makes the roar in the beginning of movies! Wahooo. I've learned so much!

Ha' Penny Bridge--1 of the many bridges in Dublin, but particularly special because it's a pedestrian only bridge. The story goes that back in the day, people were charged 1/2 a penny (idk how you make half a penny?)/penny to cross the bridge. One day 2 clever men approached the toll bridge and asked if there was a charge of baggage when crossing the river. The toll person replied no. One man jumped on the others back and they paid only 1 penny for the two to cross the bridge. Oh good one!

Trinity College--I was confused at first as to how to get inside, the college is like fortified. Finally after meandering along tall walls and being really confused, I found a little door with plenty of foot traffic. I hopped in line and soon enough it opened up into a huge courtyard with buildings and students all around. Super cool! I walked around for a bit and decided to check out the inside of one of the buildings. I opened the door and it was like just at home. Student lounging around in between classes, eating food, and sitting behinds booths for different organizations. So I played it cool and started walking around, made it to another door, tried to open it, but a special key card was needed so when I tried to open it, I created a miniature scene and thought it best to just walk away like nothing happened. As I was a sufficient distance away from humiliation and my face was now only a soft pink, I was approached by a young man asking for directions so I must have looked like I had some idea what was going on. Thank goodness.

Later that night was the DAVE MATTHEWS BAND concert! WAHOO. I took a tram that ran from near the hostel to the O2 where the concert was being played. I picked up my ticket at the box office and to my surprise, the standing room which was the cheapest ticket was right on the ground floor in front of the stage! WHAAAAAAT!?! It was absolutely crazy! and There really weren't that many people there!! Set list:

1. Bartender Play Video
2. Stay or Leave Play Video
3. Funny The Way It Is Play Video
4. Squirm Play Video
5. Shake Me Like a Monkey Play Video
6. Lying In the Hands of God Play Video
7. Gravedigger Play Video
8. Anyone Seen The BridgeAdditional Information: song segued directly into the following onesong segued directly into the following one Play Video
9. Ants MarchingAdditional Information: with Too Much "fake" introwith Too Much "fake" intro Play Video
10. #27 Play Video
11. Seven Play Video
12. The Stone Play Video
13. Crash Into Me Play Video
14. Crush Play Video
15. Where Are You Going Play Video
16. Why I Am Play Video
17. You & Me Play Video
18. You Might Die Trying Play Video
19. All Along The WatchtowerAdditional Information: introduced by Stefan Lessard bass solointroduced by Stefan Lessard bass solo (Bob Dylan cover) Play Video
20. Encore
20. Baby BlueAdditional Information: performed solo by Dave Matthewsperformed solo by Dave Matthews Play Video
21. Cornbread

Pretty good setlist. Shake me like a Monkey, Ants Marching, Crash into me, Why I am, and Cornbeard were the best. Many of them were new/slow songs, not my fav, but overall it was AMAZZZZZZZZING! Nothing like seeing DMB live, pure bliss. Love ya Dave!
Came back home after the concert that night and got a bag of popcorn from the vending machine. Another thing I haven't eaten in 2 months.

Wednesday, March 10th
Woke up around 9:30 went to a little cafe for breakfast. I had scrambled eggs with bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, a piece of toast, a cappuccino, and an apple juice. Wow. That day I hopped back on the tourist bus and went to Guinness and took the tour again. Went shopping. Great shopping in Dublin. Walked around, took in the city, and enjoyed life. Later that night I voyaged over to the Arlington which is a hotel/bar with live Irish dancing and singing everynight! I had a huge 2 course dinner there, a delicious potato soup & some kind of beanie, mushroomie, artichoke baked in flakey crust with a white sauce. It was great! Not my fav, but I eat so many strange kinds of food here I would never consider eating back at home. I love it! I enjoyed my dinner while watching the traditional two steps of the dancers! It was really neat! I'm glad I ventured there even though I was alone and felt like a bit of a creep eating alone. Oh well. I had a fun!!

Thursday, March 11th
Woke up super early in order to catch my 7:25 am flight back to Madrid. I took a bus from one of the main roads to the airport, just navigating the city using public transit. Very economical. No crazy stories like my way getting to Dublin, I'm a pro airporter now. What's up? Departed for Madrid, made it there 2 hours later, hopped on the Metro again, made it to the bus station without a hitch, hopped on the bus, made it to Sevilla in 6 hours, and was home by 7:15.

Overall Ireland was a great city! It was different from Sevilla and provided me with a nice little get away for a couple of days! The concert was absolutely incredible and completely worth missing a week of school. I'd do it all over again in a second! Cheers to having a great life! Thank you God!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Weekend Plans

Friday, March 5th--Day trip to Ronda, Spain
Saturday, March 6th--Gibraltar to play with the MONKEYS
Monday, March 8th to Thursday, March 11th--IRELAND to see DAVE MATTHEWS BAND!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


So... it´s been awhile, but I have been doing exciting things!

Two Tuesdays ago, Me, Kelly, and a group of girls from Mizzou had dinner with Spainish men at their apartment. They made us little pizzas with hotdogs (they called them sausages), tuna, bacon, and cheese. The pizzas were interesting. It was a fun time. Their apartment was even nicer than our senoras. It was a Spanish looking apartment (complete with roof top terrace) but with dirty college boys living in it. hahahah.

That week Kelly´s friend Brendan had some friends visit from London and we hung out with them a lot. We went to Cadiz one day during the weekend but it was an epic fail. It wasn´t hot, there was no one on the beach, and there was sandstorm that killed my ankles. ouch! I wore my Lucky pink, bedazzled cowboy boots to the beach. That was a bad idea. I am referred to as a gypsy. hahahah.

Last Monday (we had off of school because it was a Spanish holiday, Adulucian independence) we met 4 Italian boys while dining one afternoon and made plans with them to go to La Carbonería (a really authentic flamenco bar) later that night. It was a good show! They were really funny and spoke funny broken english. We taught them to say "Let´s peace out, bitches" hahahahha. All my idea. Of course.

I think this weekend we´re going to Gibraltar to play with the monkeys. That will be fun. Next weekend or something we´re going to Barcelona! Waho.

In other computer doesn´t work. And we saw a chipmunk in a pet store.

Monday, February 22, 2010


A recap of my week: 4 exams. I finished my last exam around 2:00 pm, made it home by 2:20 pm, threw a bunch of stuff in my super nerdy (handy) backpack grabbed my bag of bocadillos (sandwiches on good loaves of bread) and headed to the bus station across the street from our house for our 4:00 pm, 6 hour bus ride to Madrid. (Side note: Fina made us 3 HUGE bocadillos, gave us 4 good books ((the kind with chocolate in the middle)), a pesar, a banana, and a juicebox. I guess she´s off and on about the rationing.)
Once on the bus, Kelly and I got to sit shotgun with a convenient little table in front of us. The other 10 people were scattered throughout the bus without leg room or little tables. Suckers. After the 6 hour bus ride, with a 20 minute stop half way through, we arrived in Madrid around 10:30 pm. We grabbed our bags from beneath the bus, jumped into 4 taxis, and after a 20 euro taxi ride, we finally arrived at our humble abode for the weekend, a spacious (hah) 5 bedroom apartment complete with kitchen the size of a closet, 2 bathrooms, cozy living room stocked with thousands (i mean THOUSANDS) of trinkets, and a large rooftop terrace furnished with outdoor shower and table & chairs.

Me, Kelly, Heidi, Lauren, and Megan claimed the cool sunroom converted into sleeping quarters that was off of the terrace. It was like summer camp all over again, even though my parents never let me go to summer and it was winter outside. It was like winter camp. Once settled into our rooms and our bocadillos eaten up, we started to pop bottles. We left the apartment and went to some random little bar down the street named Moby Dick Club (no it´s not a gay bar, I asked). We played it cas (casual) and made it an early night, arriving home around 3:30 am. Then went straight to bed because we had many touristy things to do the next day!

(that's Megan and me)

We were woken up around 10:30 pm (just kidding it was am), to a delicious breakfast consisting of a toasted piece of bread, a fried egg, and a piece of tomato. I´ll take it. Probably 20 hours later (because it´s hard to coordinate 12 people ) we left the apartment, jumped on the metro and were ready to hit up some some sights. Our first stop was at the Puerta del Sol which is like the center of Madrid, a huge plaza. It was neat. Next, we trekked on over to the Palacio Real (Royal Palace), which is where the King and Queen used to live, but have since moved and it is now used occasionally for functions. We were able to tour 25 out of the 3,000 rooms. Everything was incredibly intricate and elaborate. It was royaly cool. Ha. We made a stop in the gardens that were off of the palace and snapped some shots. Then, decided it was time to head to Plaza Mayor. On the way, Heidi and I spotted a candy store in this huge all glass market called Mercado de San Miguel. Because we have an addiction to cookies, we had to make a quick stop, little did we know it would turn into the coolest stop EVA. Once, inside we ooh´d and ahh´d like it was nothing we had seen before, because it wasn´t like anything we had seen before. The lame pictures I took don´t do it justice. The building was scattered with booth upon booth, each selling something different. Every direction something new to try. There were duelces (sweets), olivey type things, quesos (cheeses), frutas (fruits), mermeladas (marmelade), pescados (fishes), caviar, pastas, croquetas, jamones. I would go back to Madrid just for that market. That´s a strong statement, but totes (totally) true. After an hour everyone left, but me, Heidi, and Kelly stayed for more or less another another 2 hours. That´s how cool it was. A combination of the welcoming atmosphere, the spanish crowd, and the amazing food is what kept us there for that long.
A list of things that we comsumed:
1. Galletas
2. Sangria
3. Queso
4. Pizza
5. Empanada
6. Sangria
7. Mermeladas
8. Frutas
9. Caviar
10. Sangria
11. Croqueta
12. Chocolate musse
...And we spent around 25 euro...each. All worth it. No doubt.
We finally were able to pull ourselves away from what we considered heaven to go eat dinner. We weren´t hungry at all though. The group sat down for dinner around 10:00 pm and feasted on a spaghetti type dish with potatas. After dinner, we readied ourselves for what was a crazy night at Kapital, the supa (super) hip, must go to discoteca in Madrid. Arriving at Kapital around midnight, the lined stretched down the street and around the building. The line went fast and so did our money, having to pay an 18 euro cover charge, although it did include 1 free drink. All 7 stories, yes I said 7, of the club were packed! After exploring some of the floors we nestled in on the first & coolest floor. On stage, there were 3 dancers (male & female) covered in what seemed to be olive oil, wearing skimpy outfits, and dancing awkwardly slowly and off beat to the raging techno music. Also, on the first floor you´d be dancing and suddenly you´d hear a low rumble every 20 minutes... it was the cold air cannon about to blast everyone. It was like the moment was frozen in time and everything went hazy and you were pounded with freezing air (which actually was really refreshing). That was our DTF (Down To Fiesta) night which ended early the next morning with a nocilla & galleta binge.

We got up a bit later that day, due to the late night. For breakfast we were treated with pancakes, potatas, y strawberries. We ate outside on the terrace because it was a beautiful day, exchanged stories about the night before and reminisced about the 7 story playground (Kapital). It was muy bien. Right after breakfast, Kelly and I peaced out and got a head start on that day´s sightseeing. We took the metro to Banco del Espana where the BUSIEST INTERSECTION IN MADRID IS LOCATED. It was o u t o f c o n t r o l. (Side Note: There were rusted metal warrior statues and a boat located in Plaza Nueva in Sevilla that symbolized people from Africa coming into Spain illegally or something? I´m not sure. But one day they magically disappeared and no one had any idea where they had gone.) So, we were walking around by the intersection and stumbled upon THE SAME METAL STATUES. They moved to Madrid! Crazy. Anyways, Kelly and I kept walking and went to el Parque del Retiro. It´s this HUGE park with mazey kind of gardens, a lake, and bunch of cafes and street performers surrounding a quaint, little lake with row boaters. We bought some gummies and were enjoying the scenery by the lake when a creepy old man approached us. He had a combover that started from the very back of his head up to the front and it was super gelled down, mismatched buttons on his shirt, and a strange limp. He started talking to us and I pretended like I didn´t understand what he was saying so he´d leave, but he didn´t. We chatted it up with him for awhile, but were then saved by some American boys who are stuyding in Madrid who watched the whole thing go down. They cut in and took over the conversation. Thank goooooodness. It was funny. We then met up with the whole group and went to el museo de Reína Sofía. There are two glass elevators and this is a picture looking up from the bottom. It was a must see contemporary art museum. The main attraction is the "Guernica" by Picasso. Floors 2-4 were neat, but I really like the first floor. The group left to make dinner while Kelly and I explored the 1st floor. It was super obscure contemporary art. The kind that when you look at it you second guess yourself and look for the actual piece of art because those pieces of wood thrown in the corner could never be the exhibit until you look at the sign next to it and it´s entitled "Wood Pile". No lie. Among the strangest things I saw there were exhibts entitled "Storage" which consisted of wood painted different colors stacked in a corner, "Wall" which was a white wall, and "Circualtion" which was a network of plastic piping linked together with water being pumped through it (I´m positive it was an actual exhibit not just plumbing work being done). Also we had the pleasure of watching a "film" called Sprial Jetty by Robert Smithson. S t r a n g e. It was several 1 minute clips put together of the most bizaare things like, dinosaur skeletons at a museum in black/red light, water dripping, the view from the back of a car as it was driving down a road. Think of the most random thing and it was in there. So Kelly and I sat and watched that film for awhile.. I´m not certain why, but it was intriguing, until we got kicked out because the museum was closing. As we proceeded to exit the museum we saw IT. A 2 story white trailer parked out with bumping music and a plethora of people. We had to go check it out, how could you pass it up? This sign was outside of the trailor.. I think it explains how obscure this place was...By the way it was like a temporary/moving art exhibit, not just some creepy trailer we walked into. So we go inside and it´s super comtemporary inside with clean lines, stacked selves with uniform books, and bright lights. We weren´t actually sure what it was at first and were completeley confused. I spotted a staircase and suggested we take a gander at the 2nd floor. Because the staircase was the size of a baby, only 1 person could use it at a time. After waiting for a crowd of 20 to pass (i was so confused as to how that many people fit up there), we took the stairs, which didn´t have a railing (omg), and arrived to the top. Here, there were long desks that stretched the length of the trailer with large hardcover books that were filled with blank pages that people were writing on, the walls were decked out with the most random pictures ever of people and objects. We then spotted the balconies and went outside. After a couple of pictures and exchanges of confusion we decided it had been enough contemporary for 1 night, so we went back downstairs. Once there, we were greeted by a hipster woman carrying a wooden board with 4 drinks on it, she offered 1 to each of us, so we took them! Sipped our gin & tonics, perused the unsualalities (i just made up that word) and peaced out. It was the strangest/coolest thing ever, truly a ball. I´m so happy we stayed when everyone left. Later, we walked around and ventured into a little spanish bar and ordered a glass of wine and ate a piece of cheese on bread. Yum. We then went home, got ready, ate dinner around 12:00 am (as in MIDNIGHT, hahaa), and tried to decide what we wanted to do that night. The majority of the group wanted to go to Joy which was a discoteca similar to Kapital, but not as cool. I most def didn´t want to do that. Everyone knows I can´t keep a beat and I have no rhythm therefore, I hate dancing. Kelly found a popular Pijo (a name given to the preppy Spaniards who wear pastel Ralph Lauren sweaters with striped button ups underneath, you get the point) Bar and she was told by her friend who studied there last semester that the gay neighborhood bars are always a good time. So we mapped out our stops for the pijo and gay bars and thought we´d be on our way. Well on our way out the door, Lauren (one of the girls we were with) and I realized we didn´t have our IDs so we ran back upstairs and got them while Megan and Nick waited for us. We ended up missing the metro so we took a taxi to Joy to meet up with everyone else. The 4 of us got there way before everyone so we stopped at a near by bar to use the bathroom. As soon as we walked in, some young locals immediately said "Giddies están aquí, Giddies están aquí" (a giddy is the name given to americans who are studying abroad in spain). It was really funny. Anyways, we left that bar, met everyone outside of Joy, but weren´t sure if we wanted to go. We (me, Kelly, Megan, and Nick) took a taxi to the Gay Barrio (neighborhood), but at that point it was like 2:30 am and all of the bars were closing so we took a taxi back home. It was a bit of a bust, but oh well.

We woke up around 10:00 am in our cozy sunroom-bedroom to the sun shining in and the pitter patter of rain on our shafty roof. It was soothing. We had to be out of the apartment later that day at 12:30, so we had to quickly clean up, make breakfast, and come up with a game plan for the day (we were taking the 4:00 bus back to Sevilla). We had a tastey french toast breakfast with eggs. It was still raining a bit and we had to carry our huge backpacks around the city, very inconvenient. We made plans to go to the world famous Museo del Prado. Google it. It was really old, classical paintings, but one of those things you have to go to, to say you´ve been there, ya knoow? Anyways we ventured through the network of metros and finally made it to the Prado and had to wait in line for like 20 minutes in the rain with our heavy bags in order to get inside. Once there, we checked our bags and did a quick run through of the museum, only hitting up the really famous paintings. After seeing the boring (just kidding, it was cool) paintings in the Prado we hopped on the Metro and started our journey back to the bus station. Everything was going smoothly until the last stop. Right after we got off of the metro an older woman approached my roommate, Kelly, and was pointing at her purse saying watch your bag, and then pointed to some men speed walking away from us and said those men are dangerous. We all couldn´t make sense of what was happening until Kelly checked her purse and realized that her buckle was undone and a zipper was open. She immediately threw down her luggage and sprinted after the 3 guys. I quickly yelled for 2 of the boys who were with us to go help her. Then, I grabbed her luggage and my friend Lauren and I go to follow them. We make it up an escalator and are faced with 3 different possible ways they may have gone. We choose the way up to the street. Once at the top, we still don´t see anyone. Oh yea.. keep mind that it´s 3:45 and we have a 4:00 bus ticket. We have no idea where they went so we go back down the escalator. My heart was racing, neither of us had minutes on our phones so we couldn´t call either of the 3. The craziest scenerios were playing out in my head. Finally, after a couple of minutes, they appear at the top of the escalator. Their faces show disappointment. We come to find out that they chased the guy out of the Metro and onto the street where they lost him in the crowd! So, he got away with her wallet, but good news that she didn´t have any money in it, only 2 credit cards which she immediately cancelled and 3 forms of indentification. She still had her passport and camera. Lesson learned. And we made it to the bus in time, too. Crazy, crazy, crazy! We finally got home that night around 10:00 pm. We were soooo exhausted from the weekend and immediately went to sleep!

Overall, Madrid was great!! I had a really good time!! Well worth it!