Wednesday, March 24, 2010
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.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
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
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. Baby BlueAdditional Information: performed solo by Dave Matthewsperformed solo by Dave Matthews Play Video
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
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 news...my computer doesn´t work. And we saw a chipmunk in a pet store.