Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm going to leave kicking and screaming!

The past few weeks have been a blast. Minus 4 midterms, I've really been enjoying myself. I just finished my last one on Wednesday. Let's see here, to start where I left off. Two sundays ago I had a day trip to Aracena. It's a tiny town a few hours Northwest of Sevilla. On our way we stopped at some mines. The adjacent lake has a reddish tint, which is very pretty. The guide was telling us it has something to do with the copper or the other minerals. The area by the mines is used by NASA to simulate Mars. Needless to say, the area was slightly creepy.

The Riotinto

Here you can see the red tint better

Me and some friends. Clockwise from left: Colleen, Allison, Briana, Me, Julie, Danielle and Claire

Guess who?

The pretty Aracena sky

From the mines we headed to Aracena. We had too much free time (considering there's not too much to do there) and then met to see the caves. These caves were much larger than the ones we had seen in Gibraltar the day before. (It was a cave filled weekend...) The tour was about 45 minutes long, to give you an idea of how vast they really are. Sadly, they didn't allow pictures because the caves are living organisms. I guess you'll just have to visit it for yourself.

The week after Aracena was a bit of a stressful one with three of my four midterms. I've already gotten two of the grades back and they didn't go half-bad. The grading system here is very different. Everything is on a scale of ten points. A nine doesn't transfer back as an A-, they give us a bit of extra room so it's something like an 8.75 is an A-. I'm not sure if Spanish students are just lazy or if Spanish Professor grade harder, but the true average grade here is a 5. Even having a 5 average supposedly would get you into a good grad school. In our program handbook it explains that grades are not inflated here, like they are at home. I was talking about it at dinner last night with Antonio and Antonia and they said their kids never get above 8 and that they're good students. I know José Alberto has a scholarship, too. There was an information session for the kids interested in taking university classes and I heard that they told them if they do any work at all they'd be ahead of the Spanish students. That leads me to believe the grades are a combination of laziness and tough grading.

Every week seems to pass by so quickly here. Last weekend I went to MOROCCO! It was absolutely amazing. I had such a great time. We met at 5:45am on Friday at the Toro del Oro (a famous landmark) in Sevilla. From there we drove about 2 hours to a town called Tarifa. There's a boat called the fast ferry that goes between Spain and Morocco. The boat ride there was a breeze. It was super easy to go through customs (I'm starting to think the US is the only country that's crazy.) The night before I left my señora asked if I wanted a bocadillo (sandwich) and I said yes, but that I was concerned about bringing it through customs. Her response was, "Raquel, you're not going to the US." I got a kick out of that. I guess when they went to NY in January they had some minor issues getting through customs. Antonia had packed lunches for everyone and then when they got to Newark and were asked if they had any food Alvaro told them they had a lot. The customs agent also asked how old he was and he said he was in the institute. They called high school here el instituto, which obviously doesn't translate so well. José Alberto then corrected him and explained to that guy that he was actually in high school. It sounded like a funny exchange. I can only imagine how funny some of the things I say must be.

Back to Morocco, getting in was easy. Then we all got on the bus and they asked if anyone needed to exchange euros to dirham. Of course everyone did, so then we all got off the bus to go to the exchange places. It was kind of difficult to have to calculate multiple exchange rates. For instance, 10 dirham=1 euro=$1.30...more or less. I was expecting everything in Morocco to be really cheap, sadly that wasn't the case. The few meals that we had were cheap, but all of the chotzkes I wanted to buy weren't so cheap. So, after getting settled on the bus for a second time we started our journey to Chefchaouen, leaving Tangier. We made a random stop in this town which lined the side of the highway. There were maybe 10 buildings total, most of them restaurants. We wanted to try the food. One guy spoke spanish so we told him we wanted chicken. He said they didn't have a lot of chicken so he would give us beef. We decided it was best to just leave it, so we were served beef.

The carcasses on the side of the road aka lunch

The beef that we ended up with

After lunch we continued the never ending drive to Chefchaouen. The drive was on this tiny two-land highway that went through the mountains. I don't think the actually distance from Tangier to Chefchaouen is that far, but it takes a long time to get there considering it's on a very windy road.

Chefchaouen is an absolutely gorgeous little town. The population is only around 35,000, so it's on the smaller size. All of the buildings are painted blue and white. The blue is to keep the flies away and the white is to keep the house cool. An added benefit is how beautiful it makes the town look. This was our first "labyrinth". They warned us that the town of Chefchaouen doesn't even compare to Fez's labyrinth. We had a local guide who led us around, but we weren't actually there for too long.

Welcome to the picturesque town of Chefchaouen

When the ground is painted blue it means that it's a dead end.

This is the public bathhouse. If you look to the right you can see three cathedral ceiling. They each have a different water temperature.

More blue!

This is the community oven. If you want to use it you either need to pay them or bake an extra loaf of bread to give to them.

I want to live here!

Lots of dye!

Perhaps you get the idea by now. I just couldn't stop taking pictures. It was absolutely beautiful.

After leaving Chefchaouen we continued for another 3 plus hours to Fez. Friday we did a lot of driving. Probably the most I've ever done in a day, and I would like to keep it like that. When we got to Fez we were all exhausted so we ate dinner at the hotel and went right to bed. We were warned about several things before going to Morocco. Two of them being be careful with the food and do not under any circumstance drink the water. You even need to use bottled water to brush your teeth!

We were very lucky with the hotel we ended up staying at! We were supposed to stay at another hotel and I had made the mistake of looking it up online. It got terrible reviews so the whole day I was freaking out about it. That hotel was overbooked because the king was in town, so all of us were bumped up to another hotel. It was actually a Ramada, but it was super nice, 5 stars. (Which mind you is not the same rating as the US or even Europe, but still very nice.)

Saturday morning we had to wake up early again to meet to get on the bus at 8:30. Our first stop was the King's Palace. We didn't actually go inside, but it was cool to be there, especially considering that the king was in town. The entire front of the palace is mosaic. It's absolutely gorgeous and it reaffirmed my dream of hiring a Moroccan architecture to build my future house.

The King's Palace

Up close and personal

I believe this was the exact moment I decided I was going to hire a Moroccan architect

From the palace we went to this mountain which has a good view of the entire city, especially the Medina. Medina means city, but it refers to the old part of the city or the labyrinth, which our guide only repeated about 10,000 times. Half a million people live in this small area. There are between 9,000 and 15,000 tiny streets. Cars and motorcycles aren't allowed in, only donkeys are permitted. No joke. They use the donkeys to help transport stuff.

The view of the Medina from the mountain

Since the streets are so small you'll hear "watch out" in either french or arabic and then you need to hug the wall so the donkey loaded with various things can get through. It's really funny. They had warned us that it is imperative to stay together as a group because you can easily get lost. I thought they might be exaggerating a little to make us worry, but they definitely were not. If you get 5 paces behind the group you could easily lose them. It was funny though because the locals would see everyone pass and then point you in the right direction. I can't even explain how cool the medina was. It was full of twists and turns. The streets are lined with vendors. The food all looked so amazing, but I was too afraid to try any of it. Additionally, the swarms of flies on the veggies didn't look all that appealing. The colors were beautiful, though. There were also a ton of other different vendors, from clothing, to chotzkes to fabrics, etc.

Donkey crossing--watch out!

Our first in the Medina was at a University. Our guide claimed it was the oldest in the world. Not quite sure about that, but either way, it is very old. It's a really pretty building and I would be happy to study there. It puts IU in the dust.

Two different views of the University

After the university we wondered around some more and went to a leather tannery. It smelled really bad so they gave us mint leaves to hold to our noses. A gentleman explained the entire process, but I'm afraid I don't remember it. A very vague outline is that they bring the hides straight from the slaughter house and then the first step is to clean them and get all of the blood off. From there they need to sit out and dry and then I think they dye then. I could be making all of that up, but that's what I remember. On the bottom floor of the tannery there was a store where we were all pressured into buying things. It was appealing since we were all told, "for you, special price." I didn't succumb to the pressure, partially because I thought we would have more time to shop. Sadly, we didn't. I guess that just means I'll need to go back!

Looking down on the tannery

Up close of the dyes

The hides air drying

Smelling the mint to escape the nasty smell of the leather

Pretty shoes at the tannery that I'm regretting not purchasing

From the tannery we went to a loom factory. That's not the name, however I can't seem to think of it. There were several men working on looms and then they sold their products there. I couldn't resist and got two scarves. They're absolutely gorgeous and I can even say I saw the place that they were made. They made things as small as scarves to larger items like table cloths. They even showed us how to wear the traditional headscarf. It was definitely a tourist trap, but I still really enjoyed it. The only slightly sketchy thing was that I think our guide got a commission from most of the places he visited. They use bargaining for purchases, so our guide would say, "very, very good price," but I think he was lying. Other than that though, it was great.

Some of the pretty table cloths!

Getting some help with the head scarf tied

The final product :)

All of the girls. Clockwise from the left: Jen, Briana, Allison, Kelly, Andrea, Kathleen and Me.

An example of the busy medina streets

Getting geared up with some soft drinks

Right after I took this picture one of the men was getting ready to kill a chicken. Needless to say, I ran screaming.

After the scarf shop we went back to the hotel for lunch. After lunch we had the option of going on a tour of the ceramic and mosaic school and to the mosque or free time. Another warning we received prior to arriving was to spend as little time as possible away from the group. Needless to say, we went on the tour. The ceramic and mosaic school was really cool. They showed us all of the different steps and then of course there was a store. We saw two guys building stuff on the pottery wheels and I thought it was really interesting that it was completely manual. All of the wheels I've ever used have been electric and I've still had a hard time keeping the same speed. It's important to keep the same speed so that your work will be even on all side. These guys were controlling it just with the force of their feet. This time I caved into the pressure and bought a few souvenirs in the shop.

Example of the manually controlled wheel

Ceramics at the store

Our next stop was one of the mosques. Our guide told us that this is the only one that allows non-muslims to come inside, but that it can't be turning pray time. It was a pretty building, but there wasn't really too much to it. It's just kind of a large, open room.

The Mosque

Pretty mosaic. (Ps when I got home I told Antonio that I had taken a ton of pictures of tiles and mosaics to show to him. Have I mentioned he owns a ceramic store? I can't tell you if this is true, but he said the best ceramics are made in Sevilla and that people come here from all over to purchase it because the ceramics made in Morocco aren't durable. Please see note in previous blog about me not being able to believe what he says...)

After our tour of the mosque we headed back to the main gate of the medina. My friends and I decided we wanted to stay, while the rest of the group took the bus back to the hotel. Prior to splitting with the group we asked our guide where we could get some henna. He led us to the most obscure place. We only made a few turns, but we were all slightly worried about finding our way out. The first floor of this place looked like a house. We all commented that we felt that this was against our better judgement. The second floor was a rug store and then the third floor was like an apothecary. It was quite bizarre. Our guide set things up with the people working there and told them that we wanted henna. Right before he left we realized that the 7 of us there just spoke english and spanish and that the guys working there probably only spoke french and arabic. We all had minor panic attacks, but the one of the guys started speaking english, so we were relieved. They were all really nice and we couldn't stop laughing the entire time we were there. The henna was a really cool design, but sadly it never got really dark. It was really nice and one the guys walked us back to the main gate so we could catch cabs back to the hotel. My friend Andrea and I were trying to explain facebook to him. He only spoke a little english. He gave us his blog, but seeing that I don't know french, I'm unable to read it. We wrote down the link to facebook, but I don't know if he understood what we were trying to say, nor have I received a friend request yet.

Me and my new friend who's name is written on my hand and means hearts. What a souvenir!

When we got back to the hotel my friend described the day perfectly by saying, "my heart is smiling." I couldn't have agreed with her more. There was just something magical about Fez. That night we were on our own for dinner. We asked at the front desk if it would be safe for a group of 6 of us (all girls) to go out and they said yes. After the sun goes down you do not see women on the street. It was really weird. We walked around the corner to a japanese/moroccan/some other ethnicity that I'm forgetting restaurant. Our table was outside all of these people kept coming up to us trying to sell things. The waiter had to come out a few times to shoe them away. The menu was in french, so it was fun trying to decipher what we were ordering. There was a lot of charades going on. After dinner we went straight back to the hotel to sleep.

We woke up early again on Sunday morning. After we ate breakfast we started our trek back to the coast. Luckily, the drive wasn't so bad this time because we took a real highway and it didn't go through the mountains. On our way there we stopped in a small town called Asilah. It's know as the pearl of the ocean. Frankly, I'm not quite sure how it got that name. I guess it was pretty, but I wouldn't say it was jaw dropping...especially after spending time in Fez. We didn't actually do too much there, just walked around and got a quick tour from the guide. Then we got back on the bus to head to Tangier. On the way there the guide made a comment about the winds and that we were unlucky. I thought he was implying something, but at the time I didn't think too much about it. On the way to Tangier we stopped literally on the side of the highway so people could ride some camels. I opted out of it because they camels looked like they were in so much pain. Every time they stood up and got down they would cry out in pain. It was hard to watch. I figure I'll go on a camel ride somewhere else, and hopefully it won't be quite as much of a spectacle/tourist trap. Besides, I've been on them at fairs and stuff. Also, when I said camel ride, I meant walking in a 5-foot circle, not extremely appealing.

The coastline of Asilah

After the camels we drove to the port where we had some free time for lunch. Unfortunately there weren't a lot of dining options. We stopped at a few places and the most normal sandwich they had was shark, which meant I grabbed a piece of bread and some potato chips at a C-store. I believe it was listed as the lunch of champions. After lunch we traded our money back to euros and went through customs. Again, one of the most lax things I've ever seen. The fast ferry was supposed to leave at 4pm. We kept looking at our watches and couldn't figure out why we weren't leaving and it was after 4:30. As soon as the boat started to move we realized why our departure was later than planned, and also why our guide said we were unlucky. Within moments after we started to move a voice came over the loud speaker telling everyone to stay in their seats due to the rough seas. They also warned us about the sea-sickness bags in the seat pocket in front of us. It didn't take me long to realize that the conditions we were experiencing were not normal. The fast ferry was a pretty large boat, I would say it could hold about 800 passengers. We were literally doing nose dives into the waves. At one point in time if I looked to the right I could only see water and then only see sky if I looked to the left. We continued to rock back and forth. Unfortunately, these conditions were making everyone sick. It was disgusting. I'll spare you the details and just tell you that I had my fingers in my ears and was humming to myself with my eyes closed. What tipped me off about the conditions being worse than normal was the fact that the staff didn't look used to it. Additionally, the snack bar wasn't equipped for waves of this size. Huge coffee machines were flying all over the place. They needed to close everything up because it was falling off the shelves. It was really scary and I was really happy when I got off the boat.

Let's see here, I'm just trying to think of some other things to report. Last week I finally met with an intercambio (speaking partner). Her name is Carmen and she's also 20-years-old. I think we're going to try and meet again next week. Funny enough, the day after I met her I got a text message from intercambio number 4! I think I might try and meet up with her too. The more the merrier.

From Monday to Thursday morning we had 2 french boys staying here. They were 14 and 15-years-old and didn't really speak Spanish. I would talk to them in English (which was also a struggle for them) and my señora would talk to them in French. Let's just say I couldn't keep a straight face during dinner. We couldn't even figure out what town they're from. I think we have 2 more Frenchies next week. At first I was really upset about it, but it wasn't bad. They were only here for dinner and I didn't even have to share my bathroom. (I do feel a little guilty about that...)

The other night after dinner we played a game to see who needed to wash the dishes. It was me, Antonia and Antonio. It was Antonio's idea since he's always the one to wash them. Each person gets 3 coins. You put an undisclosed number in one hand and place your closed fist on the table. Then you have to guess how many coins you think there are all together. There's a maximum of 9 and a minimum of 0. The first one to guess right 5 times wins and then it continues with the 2 remaining people. They were saying that this game is typically played at bars between friends to see who is going to pay for everyone's beer. Antonia was the first to win so the final, intense, sweat-dripping round was between me and Antonio. I won so he needed to wash the dishes. We got a lot of laughs out of the game.

There's not too much else to report. I'm about to go out for the night to celebrate a friend's birthday!

Hasta luego,

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bypassing Winter!

I have successfully bypassed winter. I was reminded of this while I was laying out in my bathing suit by the river yesterday. It was glorious. However, I am feeling a little burnt. After sitting outside for about half an hour 2 days this week after class and then yesterday by the river I'm already as tan as I get during the entire summer in the States. At the rate I'm going I might be black by the time I get back.

Lots of updates since my last post! Two weekends ago we took a day trip to Córdoba. I had been wanting to see La Mezquita (Mosque) there for years, so I'm glad I finally made it. On the way there we stopped in a small town called Montillo to visit a winery. I didn't sample any of the wine, but I heard it was quite tasty! It was cool to have a tour of the place nonetheless.

The wine is stored in these barrels. The oldest wine is on the bottom and they refill it from the top. Unfortunately, I don't remember any more details than that.

We had some free time when we got to Córdoba, so we sat in the Plaza of the Mezquita to eat our bocadillos (sandwiches) and then we toured around a bit. The weather wasn't exactly beautiful, so that put a bit of a damper (no pun intended) on the trip.

The Mezquita is really great. In the middle of it there's a giant chapel. During the Christian empire they tore a huge part out of the mosque to build the chapel. Both are beautiful, but I still found it slightly unsettling.

The famous arches of La Mezquita

Our guide was telling us that instead of evening out the floor/ground they just made adjustments with the column height. Look at the bottom of the columns. The bases differ and in some cases there isn't even a base.

There are three important arches in the Mezquita. Our guide was telling us that the men that worked on that famous dome in Istanbul were brought over to construct the arches. Another thing I found interesting was that the workmen would "sign" all of the columns they constructed. That way at the end of the month the head honcho could count up the number of columns and pay them accordingly.

Me and the arches

Here's an example of one of the workmen's signatures.

Here's the strong contrast I was talking about between the Muslim and Christian architecture.

This is the chapel that replaced part of the original Mosque.

After the Mezquita we walked around La Judería, the Jewish neighborhood. Basically, it just confirmed my belief that there are no jews in all of Spain. Thank you Isabel and Ferdinand. Unfortunately, the synagogue was closed the day we were there. Supposedly it's the oldest in all of Spain.

(Random side note: Antonio and Antonia are getting ready to go out with some friends and they look so cute! Antonio's even wearing a suit!)

I can't think of anything too fun and exciting that happened between Córdoba and my next trip to Málaga. My friend Julie and I went to Málaga last weekend. It was kind of a last minute idea. All of our friends were traveling to other locations so we decided to go somewhere too.

(Update: Loud crash coming from the living room. Antonio knocked over a romanesque sculpture and it one of the arms fell off. Antonia started yelling at him. To try and solve the situation Antonio said it looked more realistic/authentic missing an arm. He is so funny. Everyday is he has at least one new fact for me. I'd like to check his sources because they don't sound all that credible.)

Julie and I randomly found a hostel on and decided to go for it. We really didn't know what Málaga had to offer, but we were interested in traveling to another Spanish city. When we got there our first stop after the hostel was churros. I've decided it's very important to test them in every city. After that very important stop we walked over to the Picasso Museum. He was actually born and then lived in Málaga for awhile, so you could say he has a strong presence there. I can't say I'm a huge art person, so the museum was only ok. Funny enough there were randomly archeological ruins in the basement of the museum (which used to be a palace, fyi) The ruins might have been the highlight of the museum.

After the museum we relaxed in the park basking in the sun. From there we walked to the Alcazaba, an old muslim palace/fortress. It was really neat. We spent a long time walking around there. Adjacent, so we thought, to the Alcazaba is another fortress called Gibralfaro. The guy at the Alcazaba told it would be a 10-15 minute walk so we decided to walk instead of waiting for the bus. He neglected to tell us that you had to walk all of the way up the mountain. I think this was one of the steepest paths I've ever climbed. At one point in time we needed to take a pausita (short pause) to take a breather. During our pausita we saw an elderly couple walking up the mountain at a rapid pace. That told us we needed to get off our butts. We weren't going to allow them to beat us.

Me with the Alcazaba in the background

Goofing off a bit. :)

Look at that water! It was absolutely beautiful.

A nice view of Málaga

When we finally got up to the top Julie said, "Wow, I've never been so happy to see a sign that says entrada [entrace] before!" The Gibralfaro was nice, but it wasn't as cool as the Alcazaba. We had seen enough and decided to start looking for the exit. We had arrived relatively close to when it was supposed to close so we were starting to get worried that we would be locked in for the night. Luckily, after about half an hour of searching we found the exit. That was when I said, "Ah! I've never been so happy to see a sign that says salida [exit] before." Perhaps it's one of those things you needed to be there for, but at the time it was quite funny. After leaving the Gibralfaro we laid down on these benches for what seemed like a long time. After all of our walking we were exhausted so we decided to take the bus down the hill.

After doing some shopping we got back to the hostel to get ready for dinner. The hostel was actually very nice. We figured out that it's typically used for more of a long term stay for students studying in Málaga, but it worked out perfectly for us. We asked some guys where they recommended for dinner. They recommended a tapas bar called Pepa y Pepe, so we headed over there. On the menu the food came in three different sizes: tapa, 1/2 portion and full portion. We weren't sure what size to get of everything so we just told the waiter what we wanted and asked him to figure out the size. It worked out relatively well. We ordered fried shrimp and it came with the shell and everything. We weren't quite sure how to eat it so we unsuccessfully tried to remove the shell. Everyone in the restaurant was looking at us. When I got home I asked my señora about it. She said that when it's fried you can eat the shell. Woops. I guess we'll know for next time.

After dinner we walked around a bit and then went back to the hostel to get ready for Málaga nightlife. Getting ready consisted of me getting into my pajamas, getting in bed and telling Julie that I didn't think I was going to make it out. Luckily she agreed, so we just went to bed. On Sunday we went to the Botanical Gardens in the morning and then the beach in the afternoon. Unfortunately, when we got to the beach the weather turned and we had to don our fleeces. It was still nice to be sitting on a beach. After the beach it was time to head back to the hostel to pick up our bags and go to the train station. Ah, I forgot to mention what happened when we checked out of the hostel. We had been told check out was 12:00pm. We wanted to make sure we made that deadline, so we left the room at 11:50-ish. We went to the reception and it was closed. We knocked on that door and the adjacent door because the light was on. Then we headed downstairs to the dining room. It was also locked. We went back upstairs to try calling. We could hear the phone ringing inside the reception room, but still no answer. Finally we decided to ring the doorbell! That was the trick. A cleaning lady answered. I guess she was the only staff member on duty. It was kind of funny and we were glad when we finally got things settled/figured out!

Outside of the gardens

La Malagueta is the name of the beach. (I'm sitting on top of the G)

Today I went to Gibraltar! It was really neat. When we got there we had about 3 hours of free time. Sadly, the cable cars were closed for repair, so we weren't able to get to the top. I was really bummed about that! I guess I'll just have to go back. During our free time we ate our sandwiches and walked around a bit. We passed some cemetery, but I'm afraid I've forgotten its significance. We walked through the botanical gardens and past the church where John Lennon and Yoko Ono got married. After our break the guided bus tour began. Most people who live in Gibraltar speak British English and Spanish and it often comes out as spanglish. It was funny to hear them switch between the two. Our driver spoke English. It was a slight relief to hear it and I came out of the tour with the lot more than I do when they're in Spanish!

Our first stop on the bus was just a good photo-op. From Gibraltar you can see Africa, so we needed to stop and take a look!

From the left: Allison, Briana, Me and Julie (the same girls I went to Madrid with.) If you click on the picture to enlarge it you might be able to see the faint outline of Africa. It's really weird to think I'm so close! I'm actually going to Morocco next weekend and I cannot wait! I'm soo excited for it!

A nice view of Gibraltar, with Spain in the background, from the bus.

Our next stop was St. Michael's Caves. I don't think I've ever seen anything like this before. It was so neat. The opening was huge and there were several stairwells so you really got to see a lot of it. There's also a concert theater inside! Perhaps this is a question for an acoustical engineer...we couldn't figure out if the cave would make the acoustics better or worse.

This is what the cave looked like, but the picture doesn't do it justice.

After the cave we went to my favorite stop of the day. Scroll down to see who we met!


We got really close up to them. My hands were less than an inch away! There are 6 different groups on the island. I think 5 of the 6 of them pretty much keep to themselves, but this group comes down to the tourists. They're very used to all of the attention, so they just sit there. Our guide warned us not to bring any food out of the bus and that they'll try and steal it. They were so cute. There were even two babies! I think I would go back to Gibraltar just for the monkeys!

Aren't they cute?!

This one jumped on the bus when were we leaving. It was sitting on the windshield and then on the side mirror while we were driving off. (ps. can you say National Geographic? :P)

Tomorrow I'm headed off to a small Spanish town called Aracena. I'm not quite sure what we're doing there, but I do know it involves a stop at some more caves. Unfortunately, you aren't allowed to take pictures in these.

Other random anecdotes: So as I mentioned earlier Antonio always has facts to share. Everyday he drinks either beer or wine with lunch and dinner. Yesterday at lunch we were out of beer. Antonia always yells at him anyway and tells him he should drink water. So yesterday he said that he heard that it's very important that both men and women drink several glasses of beer a day. Wait, here's the kicker...he said it's good for your bones. Antonia asked him if he got that information from a beer distributor and he said he heard it from doctors. I wonder if he has selective hearing...?

I guess I never gave this much consideration, but recently I've been thinking about it a lot. I would have thought that exclamations like ow, oops, etc would carry over between all languages. They certainly do not. Both ow and opps translate to ayyy. Additionally, an exasperated sigh is like a oui (pronounced like yes in french) sound. These exclamations are so second nature that it has been hard to switch over. Sometimes I'm not exactly sure how to translate it either. Well, I just thought that was interesting.

Hasta luego,