Tag Archives: Córdoba

I owe you pictures

Lots of pictures. Hopefully I still remember what I wanted to say about them.

Without further ado . . .

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check-in and thoughts on an election overseas

First off:
I’m alive, I’m still here, things are fine but these past few days have been a little hectic (which is to say, hectic for Spain, which is comparatively not hectic, but more hectic than not-hectic in Spain. If you followed that). There seems to be only two flavors of homework in Spain: almost none and gobs. It occurred to me on Monday that the amount of things that needed to be done for today fell into the gobs category. If I had been planning ahead, it would not necessarily have been so, but I wasn’t, and it was. Hence, I’ve read a 210 page novel, watched the movie, studied for and taken a midterm, and gone to class and done all in the 46 hours between Monday classtime and class today. Also bought new pens, because I seem to be in the midst of a pen death blight (I don’t usually kill my pens, but I’ve gone through four of them in the past two or three weeks. And while people always give you loads of cheap ballpoint pens, I’m a pen snob and don’t like them).
And it was election day. Did I mention that? Of course, you probably knew that anyway.

I’ve heard it said that that the busiest people are the most on top of things and organized. And from where I am right now, I’m pretty sure that it’s true. When I’m at Smith, fencing three or four days a week, taking four decently hard classes, on the leadership boards for somewhere between four and six clubs, depending on how you count, I am a pretty put-together person. My room isn’t always clean, but I know what needs to be done and I find time to do it without shorting myself on too much sleep, and I look ahead in the syllabi and know when tests are coming up and large books need to be read by, and I still manage to find time to just be myself with my friends somewhere in there. Here, where’s there’s very little work most of the time, I can’t be bothered to remember that every three classes we have to read a literary text, and to remember that this one’s a novel, and have the foresight to figure out that if the last class on that book I didn’t like is a Monday, that means that the first class on the next book/movie will be a Wednesday, which means that I won’t have a weekend in which to do it.

I got it done, of course. But as I said, things have been a little hectic.
And, due to the afore-mentioned preponderance of free time, I’d decided to try to participate in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, which started on Saturday. I should mention that I don’t know how well a 2000-words-a-day goal will mesh with a Spain blog, but I suspect the blog may suffer a bit. I’ll still try to keep posting something once or twice a week, but it may be shorter than usual (shorter than this one is turning out to be).
On the subject of Things Going On In My Life, we’re going to Granada Friday and Saturday. I’m excited.

On watching elections in a foreign country

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Arqueología

I’ve been promising a post about my archeology class for ages. Here it is.

There are pictures. Most of them are of class stuff, but some of them are just of Córdoba.
Under the cut

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The Greatest Show in the Galaxy!

. . . Or perhaps not. It was a rather small circus. But for small circuses, it did pretty well.

In other words, I went to a circus yesterday. On the whole, I thought that the people acts were better than the animal acts (with the exception of the horses, even though I’m not sure that it’s at all healthy for horses to be doing what that pretty chestnut one was doing, and the dogs who “played” fútbol with balloons were pretty amusing). There were certainly a lot of animals. Besides the horses/ponies (who took up three acts and were quite impressive especially if you consider how small the space was; I quite liked the kid who can’t have been more than seven, who directed tiny ponies (not quite Shetlands, but close)), chimpanzees, a bull (I was somewhat puzzled, but I figure that a bull in a small Spanish circus serves the same function that an elephant would in a larger American circus – certainly the tricks were much the same), large placid snakes and equally large but slightly less placid crocodiles and two largish spiders (the crocodiles performed tricks for a given definition of “tricks,” but the snakes and spiders seemed to be there merely for the oh-look-I’m-holding-a-snake/spider effect, and I really doubted that any of them were very, if at all, dangerous), a llama, performing bears, trained dogs, a cute persian cat that walked something akin to a tightrope with a bird on its back . . . and possibly something else that I’ve forgotten.
As I said, though, I liked the people acts better. There were jugglers (moderately good; the one guy did seven rings, but the woman only did four, and they did seven clubs as a pair, and the man only did four clubs . . . they had two drops, and I noticed that they didn’t keep it up as long as The Give and Take would’ve. They did a pretty good “Friendship, sharing,” type routine with the clubs, though, and I liked the fire. I’d never seen anyone juggle fire in the dark before (though I noticed that they did not juggle fire around the small child . . . I can’t really say that I blamed them), and that was impressive. And while I hadn’t seen the frisbee-plate routine before, I can throw a frisbee at the proper angle into the air that it comes back to me (angle other than vertical), and I don’t think that it would be too terribly hard to “juggle” in that fashion; he would’ve needed to have more than two in the air at any one time before I was really impressed. Which is to say, I’ve seen better jugglers. But perhaps I’m hardly a usual audience. There were aerialists, too, which I thought were good (though I’m a less discerning audience for the single rope and the double cloth than I am for jugglers); I particularly liked the use of black lights with the white costume and white cloth, and the use of the fog machines with the spinning was pretty cool. There was a guy who balanced himself on a stack of chairs and held himself in uncomfortable-looking poses while positioned in that manner . . . he would have been more impressive if I hadn’t just seen the summer Olympics, but on the other hand, I don’t know anyone who can do that. The Spiderman (espeedermahn) act was pretty good; though I liked it better when the lighting was low and dramatic enough that I couldn’t see the flaws in the costume. The guy with the snakes also did fire-breathing. There were clowns. It has been decided in the past that I have very little appreciation for the sort of slapstick that usually accompanies clowns, and I was not surprised (I did, however, like the outfit of the woman who accompanied them, and got through that by waiting for her to turn around so that I could analyze all angles of it and determine if it was possible to keep the general form without actually showing one’s bra in front). There may have been something else, but I don’t remember it at the moment.

We left slightly before the end, but I was, at that point, tired of clowns and my behind was beginning to hurt (I found another set of narrow twisty stairs, and, of course, climbed them. (More on that later.) Yesterday my legs were informing me exactly what they thought of silly tourists who climb things just because they’re there, and then go play fútbol for two hours . . . yes, there was another fútbol game yesterday. I had fun. That’s all that there really is to say on that topic.

And I have photos!
Málaga and more Córdoba

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Have Library Card, Will Travel, and other rambling

My library card arrived on Friday. I think I mentioned that in my last entry. Because I was in Málaga, and because Monday was a holiday (or rather, Sunday was a holiday, and here in Spain if a holiday falls on a weekend, they extend it to a weekday, too), I didn’t get a chance to use it until yesterday. And I successfully acquired a copy of Terry Pratchett’s Mascarada and an anthology of Spanish sci-fi. And I did it all by myself (besides asking where the library was). Well, that’s not entirely true. I did ask for help several times, but I asked Strangers, rather than people who are paid to interact with me – which, if you think about it, a lot of the people who I deal with are. Of course, if you really want to split hairs, the library staff are paid to interact with the library patrons, of which I technically am one, but we’re going to ignore that for the purposes of this argument. And unlike the time I tried to get a local library card at school, I did not need to go home at any point and get more identification; my passport was sufficient (though, mind you, I had about six other pieces if that wasn’t enough). And it was successfully delivered to my residence (when I applied, they asked for my domicilio. I have two addresses, the one where I receive mail and the one where I live, and since there were only two lines, and my receive-mail address is a lot longer than that, I gave them my where-I-live address. I later learned that they would send me the card through mail; if this had occurred to me I would probably have tried to fit my receive-mail address onto the two lines, because my name isn’t on the apartment mailbox, and I wasn’t actually sure that it would arrive. But it did. And I figured how to take out books (there is no browsing room for adult novels; you have to look them up on the online catalog and request them from the room behind the library desk with slips of paper. I would really have preferred a system where I could look at the books before taking them out, but a public library is a lot cheaper than bookstores here, so I won’t complain), and successfully managed to get the right two books (the librarian originally fetched me a sci-fi collection and La Mascara de la Revolucion, or something similar, which, while it looked somewhat interesting, was also giant; about three inches thick, and not actually the book I wanted). I’m still a little bit confused about the children’s section; there seemed to be a notice that only youth under 14 can take out books, but I only saw that after I gave the librarian a request for a book with an asignatura for a children’s book, and she told me that I could go upstairs and get it myself. But I didn’t see any books by that author at all. I’ll figure that out next time. Maybe I was accidentally searching the wrong part of the catalog.
As far as reading, the going is a bit slow, and I have the distinct impression that I’m not picking up on stuff, but I’m hopeful that this will get better.

And other stories

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A Quick Check-in

I’m doing well and having a good time.
Today I discovered exactly how pricey it is to send things to the states (five euros for a large letter and my absentee ballot and some postcards stuck in the same envelope!).

I’m going to Málaga, and will be there for the next four days, visiting Pepi’s family. I’m not bringing my laptop. So you’ll just have to imagine me hanging out on the beach and having fun.

I got my library card today. I’ll try it on Tuesday.

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A check-in

To catch people up on computer issues, while I have a working computer, we couldn’t recover my data. So I’ve lost a month of pictures and have no music anymore. That’s pretty much the worst of it. And Pandora apparently does not work in Spain. Which is really too bad (any suggestions for free, not-illegal music sources? I like classical and folk and musicals and gospel and hymns and traditional ethnic and it doesn’t have to be in English or even have words).

I haven’t been doing enough interesting things lately to give a play-by-play recap, so I’ll just ramble about stuff as it occurs to me.

My host mother had decided that I don’t like sweets. I don’t know how to tell her than no, I have a huge sweet tooth, I’m just a whole lot pickier about sweets than about regular food. (I guess that it makes sense that I have higher standards for something that I’m eating specifically because I like it rather than something I’m eating because I’m hungry and need nurishment.) I did sort-of try to explain that it’s not that I don’t like chocolate, but rather that I don’t unilaterally like chocolate; this chocolate may have too much sugar in it, or I may not like the flavor of that one . . . but I think that that only reinforced her impression that I’m not a big fan of sugar. And while I can think of another way to try to explain it, telling her that I only like chocolate that I consider to be good seems very rude, since it implies that the chocolate she’s tried to feed me is bad chocolate. She also doesn’t seem to understand that in my house, a croissant is a dulce. And while I did try to tell her that it’s not that I don’t like sugar, it’s just that sugar is a food which has a high potential for me to dislike it if it’s not to suit my exacting standards, I don’t think that I’m explaining very well in English, so I don’t see why she would understand in Spanish.
Of course, the fact that I don’t like several of the options for sweet food is probably a good thing; it means that I’m not going to eat any of it. I don’t like the cordoveses because they have too much confectioner’s sugar and not enough flavor, and I don’t really like the stuff that’s like filo dough with crema inside because of what I guess is a texture thing; it sticks to the roof of my mouth in a funny way that’s unpleasant enough to make the so-so flavor entirely not worth the trouble. And hey, the croissants continue to be quite good to excellent.
Perhaps another factor is milk. I’m accustomed to eating my sweets with milk, and while I don’t dislike the milk here so much that I won’t drink it, it just doesn’t taste right. I have yet to decide if sweets without milk or sweets with odd milk are preferable. (And I can’t get over the fact that it doesn’t need to be refrigerated! It’s just weird to me that milk can sit out of the fridge like cans of fruit juice before it’s opened. Of course, they seem to be more lax about refrigeration here – or maybe it’s just Pepi. At any rate, she’ll make my lunch in the morning before she goes to work and then leave it sitting out on the counter all day. I usually stick it in the fridge when I get up, and then microwave it thoroughly. I have yet to figure out how this behavior can be compatible with the amount of mayonnaise that’s used here. Maybe the mayonnaise is different, too. Luckily Pepi seems to have decided that I don’t like mayonnaise, either. While this isn’t actually true, I do feel that mayonnaise is a condiment – to be used sparingly on a limited number of foods – rather than an ingredient to be applied with the same enthusiasm that Isaac uses for ketchup.

We played fútbol (and a bit of ultimate frisbee) on Friday night and had lots of fun. While I can’t even remember the last time I touched a soccer ball, most of the other participants seemed to have a similar level of skill. I, at least, had the advantage of four years of field hockey, which utilizes a similar set of team skills, if not ball skills (which while usually useful, also meant that I occasionally found myself in exactly the right place and still unable to actually perform the required action). It sounded like we may continue to have similar games; if that’s the case I will perhaps look into acquiring a cheap pair of sneakers.

Let’s see . . . we went out for ice cream yesterday. Instead of paying for overpriced ice cream in a cone, a bunch of us got two cheap containers of ice cream. While the ice cream wasn’t as good as it would have been from one of the artisan places, it was cheaper, and it was a nice group-excursion thing. You definitely feel closer to people when sharing communal ice cream than when each person has her own cone.

I’ve done a lot of walking of late. But I got plenty of sleep last night, and didn’t wake up with sore feet or feeling tense all over (my analysis: only-barely enough sleep coupled with computer worry and lots of walking/soccer). So that’s a good thing.

I should get around to doing homework at some point today. Also to downloading TeX or OpenOffice so that I can write papers when it’s next required of me.

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