|Alright, finally sitting down to write about my past week! I’ve been either out and about, exploring and meeting friends, or taking siestas! I’ve never been much of a nap person, but now I have no trouble taking naps in the middle of the day.
Friday night I went for dinner with some girlfriends. We had wanted to eat at an outdoor restaurant below the Alhambra, but it was very confusing – tables for five restaurants were under one canopy. We couldn’t find the area to sit at for the menu we wanted to choose from, so we left in frustration. As we walked back down the street, I saw a small patio of tables and chairs over a stone bridge, and suggested that we go there. My friend Alicia heard two women speaking English, so she asked how they liked the food. We started a great converstaion with the women, one from Australia, and one from the U.K., so they joined our table after they paid their bill. It was quite lovely listening to their accents!
After dinner, my friends and I got ice cream. Every ice cream place I’ve seen in Andaluica displays each flavor so delectably. It looks as smooth as silk - all whipped up and swirled - and added with flowers, candy, cookies, etc. to add even more appeal. *
Later, Rose, Kristin, and I went to a pub that is owned by two Irish men. Three of their friends were there visiting, so we introduced ourselves and talked for a bit. They were hilarious! When I told them I am from Detroit, one said, "Oh! Eminem's from Detroit. You can rap then?" I explained that it is impossible for me to spit out a ryhme, even though I'm from the same hometown as Eminiem. Another said he knew that Americans love sports, and asked which ones I play. I told him I am a pitcher in softball, so he asked to see my muscles. Therefore, the rest of the night, he asked me to try to hit his friends and him in the arm as hard as I could… But I am a softie when it comes to punching someone who I like. So, he proceeded to tell me that Americans need to relax more; we are too serious. I actually took his statement to heart. I had realized that since I've been here, I have been rather tense when I go out. Since then, I've been continuously reminding myself that although I need to be careful in a foreign city, I can't let it get in the way of enjoying myself.
My roommates and I took a one-hour bus ride to the beach in Salobreña last Saturday. When we got off the bus, we could see the sea, but we had no idea where our hostel was, just the address. So, we first asked a man in a tourist shop how to get the street, La Carretera de Playa. He told us the direction to go towards. Then, we asked a lady in a park nearby and she directed us the rest of the way. I somewhat felt like I was on the Amazing Race, but not nearly as intense. I was proud of us for finding our way to the hostel without a problem!
Salobreña reminded a lot of Venice, Florida. It is a smaller costal city and has a slower pace of life. The hostel we stayed at is halfway up a mountain that looks over the city. It’s clustered with white apartments and hotels. Throughout the city, the colorful flowers pop out against the white apartments and buildings.
At the beach in Salobreña, the sand is like small pebbles. On the bright side, I didn’t have to worry about getting sand in my sack lunch, and my towel wasn’t full of dirty sand at the end of the day. On the downside, my feet were killing me at the end of the day from walking on rocks – as in the sand, and literally, giant rocks. Rose and I swam over to a cliff of boulders during the day and climbed up to jump off the edge. What a thrill!
After spending a good five or six hours at the beach, we were pooped! We took a long nap at the hostel. Then we went to dinner at a cozy outdoor restaurant. Half the seating was under a canopy of vines, leaves, and flowers.
The next day at the beach we met up with some students from our program in Granada. Rose and I took the girls to the cliff we had jumped from. A group of young boys were below us in the water, shouting, “A cabeza! A cabeza!” Dive! Dive! It was scarier to dive than leap off the edge, but I couldn’t disappoint them…
On Monday after class, my friend Alicia and I went shopping at the Moroccan stores in the Albaicín neighborhood. I finally bought a pair of red pants that look like Jasmine’s, the Disney character. They are very popular in Spain and sold mostly in the Moroccan shops.
Alicia studied abroad in Argentina and Chile this summer, so she speaks Spanish very well. All day she and I conversed with the shop owners and made a few friends. ☺ Most of them were from Morocco, but had moved to Granada to study. One guy I met can speak Arabic, Spanish, English, and French! He said he learned English by watching Seinfield.
That night I went out with a group of ISA students to celebrate someone’s birthday. After we had visited three bars, Lisa, a girl named Kate, and I went to an Arabic food stand across the street. A pita with hummus and falafel was just what I needed!
Tuesday night, Rose and I had plans to go to an intercambio party after dinner. An intercambio is for Spainsh and American students to meet and practice speaking both Spanish and English. We walked to the Plaza Romanilla, but could NOT find the restaurant we were supposed to meet at. We asked several waiters from different restaurants where this specific bar was, but none had even heard of it. We ended up getting sangria by ourselves, and practicing Spanish on our own. We first thought it was a joke, but later, Marian told us that the restaurant was new, and was on a street just outside of that plaza. So, we will go again next week. ☺
Wednesday, I FINALLY saw the Alhambra! ISA has been taking groups of students at a time to tour the palace for free. Que magnifico! How magnificent! We first toured the Generalife Gardens, which is about 200 years old. Everything is kept up to look exactly the same as it was years ago. Even the plumbing for the fountains is still the original form. Finally, we saw the Alhambra. The Alhambra palace is a work of art. Every wall of every room is carved in intricate details from floor to ceiling. Even the ceilings and floors are carved, tiled, and painted beautifully. At the top of the towers, there was an alluring view of the city of Granada, and the Albaicín neighborhood.
Later that night, Rose, our friend Kim, and I went to a club called Granadadiez. It is always full of Americans on Wednesdays, so I was a little hesitant to go. I would rather talk in Spanish with locals… But, Rose and I did meet some Spaniards, and we were able to practice speaking Spanish.
Granadadiez used to be a theatre. When you first walk in, you go to an actual ticket booth in the lobby to sign your name and such for a free drink. Like most theatres, four cream grand doors, trimmed in gold, await you in the lobby. Inside, I first noticed the very hight elaborate ceiling, and the fancy balconies that remain at the back of the theatre, giving the club character. The DJ was set up on the small stage, and three bars, an array of couches, and a tiled dance floor took up the rest of the space. If I ever go back, I’ll be sure to take pictures!
As a teacher education student, I’ve been told time after time that young students are like sponges; everyday they soak up new experiences. I can now identify with that saying. Every single day I learn multiple new words or phrases, as well as something about the Spanish culture.
Today, Rose and I are going to Nerja for our day off of class. Today is the festival de la Virgen de la Angustia. We are on the bus now for a two-hour drive, not too bad for seventeen euros. I hear that Nerja is prettier than Salobreña, one of the the nicest beaches in the world. I hope the sand is much finer! We’ll see. ☺