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Old 08-01-2007, 05:18 PM   #1
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Izulde in Granada: RL Dynasty

At Icy's excellent suggestion, I've decided to start a dynasty about my semester abroad in Granada.

I've been keeping a few journal entries already, so I'll just go ahead and post those here as part of the prelude.

25 May, 2007
To me, the first question to ask someone when they're studying abroad is to ask them why they chose the place they did.

I chose Spain because I fell in love with the country's history after taking Prof. Sinclair's class on the History of Spain my first semester at UW-La Crosse. The multicultural aspect, the conflicts during the Middle Ages and Reconquista, the age of Spanish glory during the Age of Exploration, the sorrow of the Spanish Civil War, they all appealed to me in a way the history of no other country has.

I also like the warm weather and the fact that Spain is still a kingdom, complete with monarch, as I'm an admitted Monarchist and strong believer in a constitutional monarchy system of government.

Yet, I also considered a lot of other countries. Ireland and Italy were my favourite countries the last time I was in Europe and I adore French girls, film, and literature. I also gave pretty strong consideration to Korea and Japan, for those countries have fascinating histories in their own right, along with great music and pretty girls.

Ultimately though, I decided Japan and Korea were best left to a later trip in life. Ireland has become one of the richest countries in Europe and so it'd be too expensive to study abroad there. I quite reluctantly set France aside, as my study abroad options didn't include any cities that strongly called to me.

So it was down to Florence, Italy, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, and Granada, Spain, whose history I was very much intrigued by and who has an excellent nightlife, perfect for the night owl like me.

I talked to a lot of friends of mine who live in Europe and they were split in opinion, but ultimately it was a friend of mine in Toledo, Spain, who sang the praises of Granada so well that I chose to go there.

It helped, too, that I've never been to Spain, that Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn (even though it's a Romance language and I only speak English and have proficiency in German, which are both Germanic languages), and that Granada is close to Morocco, which would allow me to scratch Africa off my continents list as well.

There was a lot of red tape I had to cut through. Originally I was slated to go next spring, but because of graduation complications which would affect graduate school, I changed over to this fall.

In the process, I'm giving up my fraternity chapter's 40th anniversary reunion, my fraternity's national convention (which takes place once every other year), and my high school graduating class's 10 year reunion.

But it's all worth it in the end and I'm greatly looking forward to it

5 June 2007

I haven't received my housing assignment and won't until two weeks before I go, but I'm hoping to get into a residencia, which is like an American dorm. It'd allow me to meet Spanish students and includes a meal plan so I wouldn't have to worry about trying to make food myself. My second choice was a homestay, which I'm a little leery about because of my nocturnal schedule and tendency to be finicky when it comes to food, but I'd have no problem with that, as they ask a lot of questions on the housing application to ensure you get in a good place. I shouldn't have any difficulty getting first or second choice, though.

With regards to classes, I'm automatically signed up for two Spanish language classes. For my English language electives, I chose Spanish Literature, Islamic Culture in Spain, and Spanish Culture and Civilization, with the alternate options of Political Systems in Spain and the EU and History of Spain. Classes need to have at least 15 students to run, so I'm hoping all three of my top choices are able to go.

I haven't been able to find Washington Irving's Tales of the Alhambra yet, so I may have to pick that up in Granada. I'd really prefer to have it to read beforehand, though.

In other news, I'm headed down to Chicago to the Spanish Consulate tomorrow to formally apply for my student visa. I hope everything goes okay!

23 June 2007

Yep, that's right... I booked my flight today. I leave on August 28th and fly back December 21st in Malaga, which I discovered last night after somebody asked where it was, is right on the Mediterranean... whoot! And of course, Malaga's famous for its wine

Just got done watching Joan the Mad, which those silly American advertisers have translated as Mad Love, since it's based on Queen Juana la Loca's obsession with her husband, Phillip the Fair, that Flemish bastard.

The script had some nice dialogue and I thought the actor who played Phillip did well of providing some depth to the character... It was also pleasing eye candy in parts (And no, not -that- kind of eye candy :P There was some of that, but it wasn't as sensational as the blurb led you to believe)...

...But... the story wasn't really that cohesive. Yes, things followed a linear progression, but it felt very much disjointed and kind of hither and dither. There were a few nice touches here and there in terms of scenes, but ultimately even the climatic, tense scenes (or what should have been), were underwhelming.

The movie had a lot of potential.. it really did. The story's a fascinating one, and even the film as presented had a chance, but it was just sort of ho-hum in the end. Granada did get mentioned a few times though

19 July 2007

I have my student visa!

Amusing thing happened in the Spanish Consulate, too.

A few other students were there when I went to pick up my visa, only they were all just applying.

I found out the one guy is going to Granada this fall too, and that he'd been to Mexico and Peru already. He also missed his first appointment to apply for a visa because he had a dental appointment the same day and he went to the dentist instead.

Oh and he also goes to UW-Madison. All of this info I found out from his mother, who was quite snobby of the fact that he goes to Madison and I go to UW-L.

Making things even more amusing: I introduced myself to the guy but he had zero interest in talking to me. He was drooling over this blonde girl who's going to Madrid and I mean that almost literally.

So he tried like hell to chat her up, even though -her- mother had said to me, "She's got a boyfriend!" when I asked the girl where she was going and found out Madrid.

Now, I will say this girl was cute, but drool-worthy? No. So I just laughed my ass off to myself while he's futilely trying to chat her up.

Even more hilarious was the fact that the guy's mother said, "We know it's late applying (which is true, as he leaves in 5 weeks, same as me), but he's the son of a Congressman, so the Congressman can push it along so the application gets through faster."

I damn near lost it with laughter and had to bite my cheek. Does this woman not know -anything- about how the diplomatic corps work? A Spanish consular officer over in Madrid isn't going to give a shit what some Wisconsin congressman has to say about anything and if anything, being pressured will make him delay it just for the fun of it.

Honestly, those were two very insecure, hyperactive mothers and the dude was hilarious in the desperate doggie kind of way.

I hope every day in Spain will provide some hilarious stories like these.

5 weeks to go!

1 August 2007

The month of departure is here!!!! Picked up some euros from the bank this afternoon and found myself disappointed in the paper euros. Too small and not nearly as pretty as the old European currencies I had back in 1994 when I was abroad or even the rubles I had in Russia last summer.

I still need to start putting in some work on the Spanish language CDs I got back in May. I'll be able to do that this weekend on my laptop when I go up north to visit my grandmother.

It's funny, it really does only seem like a short time ago that I was figuring out where to go. It's been a movies, Spain and Alexandre Dumas summer, one of the best I've had in years.

And the greatest autumn of my life is forthcoming.
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Last edited by Izulde : 08-01-2007 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:19 AM   #2
Icy
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Location: Toledo - Spain
Great! i'll be reading for sure and writing related stuff if it's is fine for you.

I love Granada, i have talked it a few times with my wife and if we ever decide to move away from Toledo (that i doubt) the chosen city would be Granada. We both have been there plenty of times and even my bachelors party was a full weekend there with 20 friends.

Granada has it all imho.

- Perfect location, 1 hour drive to the beach, 1 hour drive to the mountains and the best Sky station in Spain.

- An incredible old town for people who loves history as you do, full of medieval monuments including the amazing Alhambra, the cathedral, the Generalife gardens, etc with a nice mix of different cultures, you will notice it in the people, food etc.

- Great nightlife, Granada is a famous student's city, and of course it means that there are tons of bars, discos, pubs etc to party until the morning, also Spain has way more relaxed laws about alcohol and night parties than USA. You will probably attend to gypsy/flamenco dancing and singing spectacles, i'm not into that at all, but it's the typical from the south of Spain so you should at least watch one to see if you like it.

- The best place in Spain for "tapas". Soon you will learn the best areas where to eat tons of different tapas for free, you pay the drinks and the tapas are free. When i went there for my bachelors party, we went to a bar that offered a different free tapa with every drink. I can tell you that we drank a good amount of beers those days and never received the same tapa. For that weekend, we didn't expend anything on food, just on drinks and ate the free and great tapas. If you haven't tasted it yet, you will love the Spanish "Jamon Serrano" (country ham?) and the "gazpacho" (kind of cold tomato soup). At the tea shops, you can drink and taste Islamic food, like iced mint tea and all kind of exotic cakes made of almonds and honey.

Btw, get ready for 106F at the end of August, it's being a hot summer here in Spain.

Ask if you have any question about the city or the Spanish popular culture, etiquete, etc etc as i know it's something really different fom one country to another and could lead to fun or embarrassing situations.

For example, something that i have seen embarrassing other foreign students the first time they come to Spain is the way you salute a person from a different gender. When you are introduced to women, it's typical to kiss twice, once on each side of the face, not a big kiss, just like touching her face with yours (unless if it's an old person, in that case only hand shaking is used). That double kissing is used every time you meet a friend (women). Between men, a handshake is the usual. Spanish people is more used to physical contact than other Europeans or North Americans.

I'll be reading with high interest, fell free to ask anything you want to know

Here you got some pics:

Alhambra:


Generalife:
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Old 08-02-2007, 11:51 AM   #3
MikeVic
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Very good start! I think this will be my most anticipated (although it's already on-going) dynasty.

Izulde has started with his stories, and Icy has already provided some cool info. Nice!
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Old 08-02-2007, 12:26 PM   #4
Izulde
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Icy: Do certainly feel free to chime in with any commentary or advice you'd like to offer. It's extremely helpful, believe me and if I can think of any specific questions, I'll be sure to let you know.

I have a feeling I'll like Spanish food myself and I've heard about the more physical contact thing, but wasn't sure if the double kiss thing applied or not. Good to know that it does. Greatly looking forward to Islamic food, too actually and I'm not normally a food person.

Ah, one question that springs to mind. Since I don't know enough Spanish to be able to read books or watch movies in the native language, are there bookstores with English language texts or films, either voiced or subtitled in Granada? Granted, I intend to speak as little English there as possible, but I love books and movies and hope to read and see as much there that I can't in the US as possible.

I know summers in Andalusia are hot, but how are the fall and winter, say September, October, November and December? I'm trying to figure out what to pack for clothes and I've heard that darker, more conservative clothing is the norm, but I don't know if that applies to the younger generation as well or not.

MikeVic: Glad to have you aboard! This is going to be a -really- fun dynasty to write.
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Old 08-02-2007, 12:53 PM   #5
Icy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
Ah, one question that springs to mind. Since I don't know enough Spanish to be able to read books or watch movies in the native language, are there bookstores with English language texts or films, either voiced or subtitled in Granada? Granted, I intend to speak as little English there as possible, but I love books and movies and hope to read and see as much there that I can't in the US as possible.

Not so good news, everything is translated here to Spanish and no English subtitles are used. For example at he cinema, all the movies are translated to Spanish, same in TV.

The only way to watch English or subtitled stuff is if you buy/rent DVD's, as all them come with at least voices and subtitles in English, German, French and Spanish (most releases are common for all the European countries). Also if the place where you will live has satellite TV, you can watch some English channels, like BBC, CNN and Eurosports. Another thing, USA movies DVD's are released here 1 or 2 months later than in USA.

About books, the small shops only have Spanish ones or English tourists guides, but as Granada is a student's and tourists city, there must have been for sure some bigger book shops with English books apart from tourism guides. You have always also the option to buy online, Amazon UK ships to Spain (i have purchased English books there).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
I know summers in Andalusia are hot, but how are the fall and winter, say September, October, November and December? I'm trying to figure out what to pack for clothes and I've heard that darker, more conservative clothing is the norm, but I don't know if that applies to the younger generation as well or not.

Andalusia is warm the whole year, but Granada is the exception as one of the higher mountains in Spain is close, so the temperature variation is extreme between Winter and Summer, from up to 106F on Summer to down to 30F on Winter. Its the same where i live in Toledo, we say that we only have summer or winter here, no spring/fall. Raining is very rare, it's always sunny.

About the dark conservative clothes... I would say the opposite for Granada. Have on mind it's a multicultural city, with big influences from the Islam and the huge amount of tourist, and you know how colorful they dress. Also as an students city, full of young people, it has a big mix of casual urban fashion. You will see a lot of grunge/hippie dressing people there between the students.
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Old 08-05-2007, 11:36 PM   #6
Izulde
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Thanks for the helpful advice, Icy. When does it generally get down to the 30s? I'm staying there until December 21st, so I'm hoping I avoid the worst of the winter weather.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:36 AM   #7
Icy
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Thanks for the helpful advice, Icy. When does it generally get down to the 30s? I'm staying there until December 21st, so I'm hoping I avoid the worst of the winter weather.

Dec/Jan/Feb are the coldest months, so you might avoid the lowest temperatures if you leave mid Dec.
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Old 08-07-2007, 02:11 PM   #8
Izulde
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Good to know

7 August 2007

Got an email detailing more specifically the itinerary and oh the places we'll go.

The Albaycin and the Arab Baths are confirmed group tours, as well as a Flamenco dance, so I'll get to see flamence for sure after all The baths sound really awesome from the pictures I've seen of them in a few guidebooks and I love baths anyway, especially after relaxing in one in Budapest last summer. Oh, there's a tapas night scheduled too, so it seems like they're hitting the Granada highlights.

A couple day trips are scheduled too, to Nerja and Alpujarras, neither name of which rings a bell admittedly.

Our two weekend trips are Sevilla and Gibraltar/Ronda, both of which I'm extremely hyped about, as they're places I definitely wanted to see.
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:59 PM   #9
Izulde
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18 August, 2007

Horror descended upon the household earlier in the week we realized that all my pants are 4 hours away in a storage space. This prompted an emergency Banana Republic run down to Kenosha to get some pants. Still need to get jeans, but that'll come next week.

More consternation tonight as I'm going through preliminary packing and realizing that almost nothing coordinates as well as it should. Furthermore, I have way too much brown and green clothing, with a little white and black thrown in for good measure. Nothing's exceptionally bright, either. So I may have to yet more clothes shopping, as I'm feeling a major fashion crisis going on.

The clothes difficulty was further augmented with a camera mishap. More specifically, last night I found my computer cord for my digital camera. Only problem? Battery's dead and I can't find the charger. No problem, I order one online that'll be here in time. Then my mother gets the bright idea to use a charger that "fits the battery perfectly." I said "....No. Sony's real proprietary about their products. Just wait a few days till my charger comes in." She didn't listen, insisting that it'd work.

5 minutes later, melted battery, stinking living room.

So it'll be off to Batteries Plus to get a new battery. Thankfully I do have a backup battery, but it's my rule of thumb never to travel with just one battery.

Third crisis: I have absolutely -no- idea what small gift item to bring to my host senora and/or Spanish friends I might happen to meet, other than one. Icy, do you have any clues as to what would be good to bring? Something that's American only that's small that'd go over big with a senora I know nothing about?

A little over a week left and in that time, I have four dental appointments, two long shift work days, a family reunion, two parties and a haircut, not to mention all the remaining packing and shopping I have to do.

Oh yeah, fourth misadventure... I go looking for Eastpak backpack. Naturally they're not around Wisconsin anymore. I call my best friend in San Diego, asking her to look for it, as California usually has that kind of stuff. She spends all day today hunting, finding every brand under the sun except... you guessed it, Eastpak!

So I'll have to order one online. I absolutely refuse to use any backpack brand but Eastpak and I've been that way since freshman year in high school. They're durable, they're stylish, and they're roomy as hell, not to mention an absolutely fantastic warranty. The one time a backpack of mine did get busted (Broken zipper), they sent me a brand new one completely free of charge. Only they're not in stores anymore and I don't know why. Everyone I know who's ever gotten an Eastpak backpack has turned into an Eastpak diehard for life.

Oh well.

Calamity #5. I haven't received my financial aid award yet, so I called the financial aid office at school Monday. "Oh, we haven't processed it yet. When do you leave again?" "...August 28th." "One moment..." *3 minutes later* "We'll process it in the next batch. You should get an email by next Friday."

In brighter news, roommate and housing assignment lists came out early this last week. My roommate and I have done a little introductory e-mailing back and forth and I think we'll hit off pretty well. We've a room on or at Angel Barrios.... you familiar with that at all, Icy?

Also, I have about 6 or 7 snail mail addresses that I'll be handwriting letters to. One in particular I was extremely happy to get. It's a lost art form, the handwritten letter, but I intend to revive it.

Okay, enough writing. Eastpak hunting I go.
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Old 08-19-2007, 07:12 AM   #10
Icy
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About Nerja: It's a nice coastal city with tons of history. You will see ruins from the old roman empire there and also from the muslims. It's famous also for the caves around the city, that seems to form a huge network inside the mountains, with tons of miles still unexplored.

About Alpujarras: It's the area of mountains and valleys surrounding Granada. It's a beautiful natural area crossed by tons of small rivers (some mineral water factories are found in the area). There is a small village there named Trévelez that is worldwide famous because the quallity of their Jamón Serrano (dry and salty ham). I have been there and it's curious to see all the buildings with drilled walls and full of ham inside. The drilled walls allow the fresh mountains air to dry the ham for months before it can be eaten. Probably they will show you that village or similar ones to taste the ham.

About the gift... for young people, usa brands t-shirts or caps are usually a good idea as are cheap there and expensive and trendy here. When i went to USA, i bought back surf/skate t-shirts for my friends and they loved them. For example Quicksilver, Billabong, O'Neill, Rip Curl, Dickies etc cost me there around $15 when the price here is around $50.

For the host señora... not sure what is typical in USA, post samples here and i'll tell you if could fit well.

Another thing that is always welcome could be chocolate. Of course we have all kind of chocolates here too, but with USA brands and English language in the envelop could be fun apart from tasty.

Related to USA food, you are going to notice a big difference in something as standard as Coke (named Coca Cola in Spain). The standard Coke in America is way more sweet than in Spain. I noticed a big difference in my trips to Miami and Mexico. Also we don't have as many flavors here. We have only standard, light and zero, not cherry or vanilla etc.

Where are you going to live finally? with a family? in a student's building? if so, only with other Americans? you said the place is named Angel Barrios but... there are tons of places named that way in Granada as he was a famous classic musician If you know the address or more details, i can research about it.

About the clothes, don't worry a lot, clothes are cheap here in franchise shops like Zara, Pull & Bear, Springfield, H&M etc.

Looking forward to read your experiences here, i'm curious about how an American sees my country. Also as you are going to expend a few months here and you CAN'T MISS my city Toledo, we should try to schedulle a meet once you are stabilized in Granada and can plan your schedule and trips. I would love to visit Granada again as i haven't visited it since my bachelors party 3 years ago, but as my wife pregnancy is due in early November, we can't travel a lot now so if we meet will need to be here in Toledo.
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Last edited by Icy : 08-19-2007 at 07:22 AM.
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:29 AM   #11
Izulde
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Thanks, Icy

C/ Angel Barrios 3, 1oF
18004 Granada

is the address that's listed. I'm assuming the 1 F is the room number?

I certainly do plan on getting up to Toledo to meet you and go sword shopping, as nothing beats Toledo swordsmithing.

Alpujarras I read has the white villages, which I'm guessing is the towns that you're talking about, so that should be fun and I'll quite enjoy Nerja and hopefully be able to compare the caves there to the Sac.. I forgot the exact spelling, but the gypsy caves in Granada.
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:54 PM   #12
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So what kind of housing is this?

Do you speak Spanish at all?
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Old 08-20-2007, 01:18 AM   #13
Izulde
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So what kind of housing is this?

Do you speak Spanish at all?

It's a homestay with a senora. I have a roommate as well. Now whether that entails an actual house or some kind of dorm-style apartment I don't know for certain until I get there. Maybe Icy can tell us more now that I gave the address.

No, no Spanish except for a few phrases here and there, so this is going to be an interesting challenge. Luckily, I should be able to pick it up fairly quickly, as #1, Spanish is purportedly the easiest foreign language for native English speakers to pick up and #2, I've already got considerable speaking proficiency in German and language acquisition gets easier after you've already more or less picked up a second one.
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Old 08-20-2007, 10:14 AM   #14
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How the heck do you take Spanish-language classes then?
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:27 AM   #15
Izulde
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How the heck do you take Spanish-language classes then?

Same way you take language courses here when you're new to a language... Start off with introductory courses and go from there.

All my other courses at University of Granada will be taught in English, btw.
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Old 08-20-2007, 12:00 PM   #16
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Ohhhh... I thought that you'd have to take 2 "regular" college classes that are taught in Spanish. But it's just two Spanish classes... seems reasonable enough.
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:55 PM   #17
Izulde
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Ohhhh... I thought that you'd have to take 2 "regular" college classes that are taught in Spanish. But it's just two Spanish classes... seems reasonable enough.

Haha yeah, two Spanish language courses and then 3 English language electives is what I'll be taking. Most people only take the required two language courses and two electives, but I want to get the most bang for my buck as it were.

Oh! That reminds me...

Icy, do you know of any fencing academies in Granada? I can't find -anyone- to fence sabre here in the Midwest US and it pisses me off... I was hoping to find someplace I could fence sabre and improve my game in Granada, maybe even get a few competitions in.
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Old 08-23-2007, 04:03 AM   #18
Icy
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Icy, do you know of any fencing academies in Granada? I can't find -anyone- to fence sabre here in the Midwest US and it pisses me off... I was hoping to find someplace I could fence sabre and improve my game in Granada, maybe even get a few competitions in.

I googled a bit and found the official Granada's fencing club.
Here is a resume from their website info (that is in Spanish).
I guess you can try to email them in English to see if they can speak it, else i can write a Spanish email for you asking for more details.
First Spanish lesson: Fencing = Esgrima

Club Esgrima Granada (Granada's fencing club)

Phone numbers: 958.41.17.15 - 689.77.06.90
Website: www.esgrimagranada.org
email: [email protected] or [email protected]

Address:
Polideportivo Municipal "AYNADAMAR"
Ctra. antigua de Murcia s/n (Albaicín) Granada
Map: http://www.esgrimagranada.org/imagen...iones/mapa.jpg

You can take the Bus #7 or F to go there.
Bus routes map: http://www.esgrimagranada.org/imagen...rarioBuses.jpg

Practice time:
Monday & Wednesday from 21:30 to 22:30
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Old 08-23-2007, 04:18 AM   #19
Icy
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I have searched about the dorm, but can't find info about it. Probably it's a house that rents rooms to students (The door next to it is a hotel so maybe they are related).

Search in maps.google.com for: C/ Angel Barrios 3 granada, then select the satellite view and zoom in. You will see that your house/dorm is close to a nice park (Garcia Lorca Park). Good if you like to walk, running, etc. It's also close to the center of the city (old town).
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Old 08-23-2007, 07:30 AM   #20
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Thanks for everything, Icy.

I emailed them the maestro inquiring about sabre with sadly Babelfished Spanish and then English... so hopefully the message will get through in any case. *hangs head in shame for having used Babelfish*
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:23 PM   #21
Izulde
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27 August, 2007

I leave tomorrow. In fact, 24 hours from now, I'll be in the car, headed down to Chicago.

A flurry of appointments and last-minute details today. Had a haircut this morning, got my new hearing aid molds installed shortly thereafter, went and got a black strap for my new watch, which had a gorgeous face but an ugly brown strap and said goodbye to the girls at work, who will all miss me. I'll miss them, too. The pay may be for shit at Victoria's Secret, but my co-workers are the best I've ever had.

Dentist appointment in 45 minutes. Deep cleaning for the gums. I may ask them to put a temporary in where they pulled my molar, as there's been nothing but pain and irritation there since they yanked it... and it's making both sides of my jaw hurt, in addition to this pain in my ears I've had the last few days. I suspect a dry pocket and if that's the case, it will suck, as that means medicated pads that I'll have to carry and maintain.

In any case, the extraction site is supposed to be partly healed by the end of this week, but not fully healed for about a month. That means 1/4th of my time in Granada I'll be dealing with the bloody thing. ARGH!

Said goodbye to Dreams Saturday night at the annual Victoria's Secret Summer Bash. It was nice to see her again and she's still as amazing as ever, maybe even more so in some respects. Too bad she went off and got married.

My two local buddies oddly haven't tried to contact me to say goodbye or hang out tonight, my last night in the US for 4 months. My two best friends in the fraternity, who live in Waukesha and Dekalb, respectively, wanted to meet up over the summer and see me before I left, but there just wasn't time... though I may see if they're interested in a last-minute get-together.

As far as non-FOFC online friends go, I've said goodbye to most of them. One in particular I specifically requested they clear tonight. That one I hope to see as my final person before I make futile attempt at sleep.

Still some last-minute packing and fiddling around on my laptop to do, as well as some addresses to add to my book, as demands for postcards and/or other handwritten correspondence have risen dramatically the last few days.

I still can't quite believe I'm actually going. I've wanted to study abroad since my junior year in high school and then after the academic struggles I had during my Minnesota and Parkside years, I thought I'd never be able to achieve the dream.

But it's here and it's happening.
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Old 08-27-2007, 05:20 PM   #22
Icy
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Nice, looking forward to read your first post from Spain. Btw, do you know if you have internet in your dorm?
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Old 08-28-2007, 11:45 AM   #23
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Didn't know you wore hearing aids. Good luck and have a safe trip!
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Old 08-29-2007, 12:03 PM   #24
Izulde
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I hate plane rides. I really do. Chicago to London was as a pain in the butt as I figured it'd be, though I discovered these filters for the ears called Earplanes that cut down a lot on the ear hell I get from flying. Didn't eliminate it completely, but cut it down enough till it was manageable.

Both Heathrow and Malaga airport are undergoing heavyduty renovation which amused me for some reason, though I can't say for sure why.

As for Malaga itself, I noticed the following things:

1) Construction
2) Graffiti
3) Car rental places and dealerships

And that was just on the bus ride to the hotel.

After we got all checked in, we had and still have free time until 8:30 pm, when dinner starts. Of couse, everyone is way freaking tired, including me, but we press on. I in particular wanted to see the Alcazaba, as I have a serious thing for castles.

This meant negotiating the Malaga bus system, I who know no Spanish and who, during an earlier walk with my hotel roommate to the beach, discovered that street signs in Malaga are a foreign invention.

Fortunately, I found the bus stop across from the hotel easily enough, after getting some assistance from the front desk and had a general idea of where to get off, particularly with the occasional signs that popped up.

Got off at the Malaga city centre and wandered in the general direction that I knew my destination to be in until I eventually stumbled upon it.

According to the information I got, there's supposed to be a Roman ruin of sorts at the foot of the hill, but I didn't really see it too well, unless it was the wide, sloping steps leading up to the entrance that could've passed for ampitheatre aisles, I suppose.

1,95 euros later and I was officially in the Alcazaba, with an extremely lightweight English-language brochure, which I patently just ignored as it didn't really tell me anything and instead just wandered the castle, taking pictures.

After about the first ten minutes, I came to the following realization:

Taking a picture of yourself, or attempting to, when sightseeing, is a real bitch. Try as I might, I just couldn't get a good photo of myself. On top of it, I dropped my camera and the top cracked, though thankfully not as bad as t did in the Parliament Building in Budapest. It still takes pictures, but I don't know how good they are now. I'll be uploading them and e-mailing them to my mom and she can take a look.

Despite my self-photography troubles, I did enjoy the Alcabaza. I have a real affinity for long, sloping steps, beautiful arches, long hallways and exquisitely designed gardens and fountains. This palace-fortress had everything but the long hallways (at least relative to other hallways I've seen). There were lots of little nooks and crannies to explore too, so that it was a good hour and a half before I finally left.

On my way back to the bus stop, which I figured the location of by deductive reasoning (i.e. it must be opposite of where I was dropped off), I strolled through an open-air mall that had pedestrian only zones. (I love those types of malls). Lot of international names there, mostly clothing and other speciality stores.

It was in that mall that I made my first authentic purchase in Spain. Since I was thirsty, I decided to order a mango drink. I didn't speak Spanish, the girl didn't speak English, so we did a two and a half minute me-pointing, she-guesing game until she got the bottle.

And then I realized the bottle was half-full and what I thought was a mango juice bottle was actually a little bit of mango juice in a lot of shaved ice, which she proceeded to mix together.

Then came payment time. I got the dos part right for 2 euros, but thought she meant 5 for the cents part and since I just happened to have 2 euros, 5 cents, I slid it over.

Nope.

She repeated the cents part and held up four fingers. Okay, apparently 2,40. So I just gave her a 10 euro bill to get some change.

Good mango shaved ice, by the by.

Then I hopped on the bus and got off at the SuperCor, which is my landmark for the hotel... only I didn't see my hotel. I'm starting to panic now, thinking I'm totally lost, but then my feet start walking without me and three minutes later, I'm in front of my hotel.

So yeah, in a lot of ways this is reminding me of last time in Europe, where I relied only minimally on maps and I have this weird ability to just find stuff by stumbling around.

I've an hour and a half to kill, so I'll probably go to the SuperCor supermarket and see what's what.

Overall, my initial impression of Malaga is that it's considerably overrated as a tourist destination. Its beaches, at least the one I saw, was pretty dirty and while it's a bustling city, I'm not really feeling any soul to this place, if you get what I mean.

I will say though, I'm definitely starting to grow fond of Moorish architecture. I love the arch styles and the geometric gardens are curiously peace-inducing.
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Old 08-29-2007, 12:22 PM   #25
Icy
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Good start!

Agree about Malaga, the beaches are not great at all. Anyway, most of the tourists are in Marbella that is another coastal city in the Malaga province.

You must know that Spain is divided in provinces, and each provice has a capital city. The province and the capital city have the same name, so when it's said that Malaga is a tourists place, it's more said about the whole province (and specially Marbella city) than about the Marbella capital city itself, where you are now. I hope this made sense to you

I don't Marbella it either as it's so crowded both by people and hotels/buildings. The main interest of tourists in Marbella are mainly the tons of golf courses placed there and the night parties. The richest Spanish and foreign people go to Marbella, but unless you are rich or you love golf (and are rich), there are much better beaches to go in Spain.

When are you going to Granada? I'm sure you will fall in love with the city.

Btw, good to see you manage well to find places by yourelf and that you already managed to "comunicate" with other Spanish. Get used to it, English is not spoken by most of the people here besides people who wants to study it or who work at tourist places/offices.
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Old 08-29-2007, 07:06 PM   #26
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We leave for Granada tomorrow morning.

Not much more to write about concerning the rest of the day. Bought some German dark chocolate and my usual European standby of orange Fanta on a lark at the supermarket. Supper consisted of a buffet at which I ate this pasta with a curious green tint and sauce and a surprisingly good flavour and a sort of pasta salad with raisins that was good in its own right, along with a bottled water I'll have to try and remember the brand of. Oh yes, a pear, too.

After that, went out with a bunch of my fellow students to a bar and I must admit, got bored very quickly. It was just like being in a bar in the US, but I'm sure that'll change in Granada. We probably went to the wrong place for a more interesting experience as well.

So yes, overall I'd say Malaga was something of a letdown, but that should make Granada all the sweeter when it comes tomorrow.

Oh yes, that reminds me.

I forgot to mention in my first update that it took me several minutes to figure out that in order to keep the lights on, you have to keep your hotel card in the slot in the room, or the lights go out after 5 minutes.

I find it to be a brilliant concept for two reasons: 1) It saves on electricity in case someone forgets to turn the lights off and 2) It cuts down on lost key-cards, because you'll always know it's in the slot giving you power.

What a smart idea!

2:00 am here and I'm not feeling the jet lag. I'm honestly not even all that tired anymore.... Well, actually I am. Too tired to update any of my dynasties, not tired enough to sleep.

I'll probably play something on my DS to help me drop off.

I am, so -so- looking forward to Granada tomorrow!
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Old 08-30-2007, 11:00 AM   #27
MikeVic
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Good reading. Will you be posting pictures of places you see?

When I went to Europe after junior high (more than 9 years ago), I loved orange Fanta.
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Old 08-30-2007, 11:12 AM   #28
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If you have a thing for castles, I guess I should have told you about how we weren't able to get anyone to understand us when we asked where the Alcazar was -- it took us a while to figure out that everyone pronounced it "Alcathar."

Good reading so far!
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Old 08-30-2007, 11:19 AM   #29
Icy
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Good reading. Will you be posting pictures of places you see?

When I went to Europe after junior high (more than 9 years ago), I loved orange Fanta.

Don't you have Fanta in USA? I thought it was a worldwide product as it's made by the Coke company.
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Old 08-30-2007, 04:45 PM   #30
Izulde
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There is Fanta in the US but it's not as widely popular as in Europe and so to me it's acquired a European meaning.

Arrived in Granada about 1 pm. Didn't really see much of the city as I was busy listening to the group leader explain stuff about our itinerary for the next few days.

We met with our senora, my roommate and I, at the meeting point and she walked us to our homestay, which turns out to be in an apartment with her and her 21 year old son. We each have our own tiny room, which I love.

I took pictures of the room and whatnot.

It turns out that the senora speaks no English and I speak no Spanish. My roommate speaks a little Spanish, but not enough to make for fluent translations, so there's been some hilarious UIC so far, none of which I can remember right now, since I'm in a cybercafe which charges 1,80 Euro/hour and everything's flown out of my mind.

After that, we did a quick non-stopping tour of Granada. Beautiful city, though the graffiti makes me angry... thankfully it's less than in Malaga at least. The view from by the Alhambra is incredible and unfortunately I left my camera back in my room, so I didn't get any pictures of that.

When the group leader mentioned we wouldn't be going to the Alhambra today, but during classes, one guy quipped as we passed by it, "Oh, so this is like foreplay?" Mass hilarity ensued.

Came back and had supper at the house. Senora made omelets, which I had to bypass on because I despise eggs. So I had a tomato, cheese, and meat sandwich.

She fed us some kind of bean and vegetable thing, along with fruit and yogurt for lunch. My stomach still has to get used to Spanish food, but Immodium AD is my friend in that regard.

After dinner, my roommate and I walked to the Internet cafe nearest the house to see where it was, then went to meet up with someone. We waited, waited some more and finally left to continue our search for cigarettes which had been fruitless to that point. Roommate finally discovered a bar and braved the crowd to get us a pack.

Smoked our Lucky Strikes, found them better than the US version and came to Internet Cafe.

There's a lot more that went on today obviously, but my brain's a little scattershot right now, so I'm having trouble forming a logic flow.

I'd planned to start a series called Lyrical Notes, which is a punny name to me, where I ramble poetic occasionally on certain things. I wrote my first one on the road to Granada, but unfortunately I left my notebook back at the house.

I'll write more coherent thought later.

And yes, I'll be posting pics.
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Old 08-31-2007, 04:45 PM   #31
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Quick run-in to post pics.


The Alcabaza in Malaga and me


One of my fave of umpteen pics I took of the Alcabaza. The water running on the bottom fascinated me to no end.


Women's Secret. I assume a Victoria's Secret knock-off. In Malaga, though I've seen them here in Granada too.


[i]I've complained about graffiti but this is beautiful! Taken at night on one of the doors of a shop here in Granada. The shopowners are on vacation until 1st week in September.
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Old 08-31-2007, 04:58 PM   #32
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Don't you have Fanta in USA? I thought it was a worldwide product as it's made by the Coke company.

I was having the same kind of thought, as we have Fanta here in Georgia...it's not really easy to find, but all the big convenience stores like RaceTrac and QuikTrip carry them.

Izulde, have a wonderful trip - it sounds like you are really embracing this experience! I can't wait to read more and see some pictures...
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Old 09-01-2007, 09:20 AM   #33
Izulde
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I was having the same kind of thought, as we have Fanta here in Georgia...it's not really easy to find, but all the big convenience stores like RaceTrac and QuikTrip carry them.

Izulde, have a wonderful trip - it sounds like you are really embracing this experience! I can't wait to read more and see some pictures...

Thanks

I'll try and write more and upload more pics, though it's going to be hit and miss since I don't get internet in my homestay.
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Old 09-01-2007, 09:35 AM   #34
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The last few days have blurred together, the days filled with orientation, walking, eating and napping, the nights with walking and talking.

There's a park by our homestay that's one of the most beautiful I've ever been in, a mixture of brightly colored flowers, all manner of greenery from short shrubs to towering, slender trees that resemble thin pines. Fountains, too, which I love, as I may have said before.

My roomate, the girl he's been talking to a lot, and I hung out in the park for about an hour yesterday, walking around, chatting and yes, playing with the equipment that's there. Roommate took a picture of me one of the pieces, so when he uploads it, I'll grab it and put it up here.

At night, the three of us went to Hanigan and Sons, a grossly over-priced Irish bar that also had the dubious distinction of being extremely noisy and crowded with Americans. I can't hear in bar situations, so I simply sat and watched the Sevillia-Milan Super Cup final for the third time that day, occasionally sipping from a beer that the girl bought as the first round.

I say sipping because I hate beer. Needless to say, I was the last to finish, so I bought them each another beer. 7 euros for the two. I get the distinct feeling I'm not going to drink much here.

Hopefully we'll be going to the beach tomorrow. There's been some speculation among the group at large that we'll all go do that, which I'd like to do. Malaga's beach was a horror and I long for a respectable beach.

I got a cell phone yesterday as well. A basic Apelcom-affiliated Vodaphone with a sweetheart pricing deal, as it's an agreement between CEA and Apelcom that gives us lower rates because it's a group affair.

Today will be a lazy day, I believe. I woke up around 1:30 pm, showered and had lunch and then went with my roommate to the cyber-cafe, where we are. After we leave here, my roommate intends on a nap and I'll play either FOF2K7 or CK on my laptop... probably not a dynasty, though, as I'm still in the mode of adjusting to life in Granada.

One thing I've noticed: I'm starting to pick up some Spanish... if not the actual words (which I'm still limited on), then a general understanding of some of the language. For example, I was able to understand most of the conversation my roommate and our senora had about the book he lost in his room. (They found it a few days later).

Monday we have the second half of orientation and placement tests to determine what level class we'll be in for the intensive language class for the first 3 weeks before the semester proper starts. Needless to say, I'll be in Inicial A (Beginning A )
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Old 09-01-2007, 09:42 AM   #35
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Me on a swing
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Old 09-02-2007, 09:51 AM   #36
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Last night, the usual three wandered around the city. Went to Hanigan and Sons again, drank another beer. This time, I was just about to be in second, and just as I took the last swallow, the gag reflex I normally get with beer hit and I vomited back in the glass.

Second round involved beers for them, Bacardi & Sprite for me. 4,75 euros, but oh so delicious, a tall half-glass of Bacardi and a bottle of Sprite. I drank it in quick order and roommate and girl both stared at me in amazement, to which I casually answered, "Oh, I forgot to mention... this stuff is like water to me."

So then we left and walked some more. Roommate gave girl a lesson in salsa dancing in the middle of the cobblestone street, which led to applause and cheering from the patrons of the cafe nearby as they danced together. Something like that I don't imagine happening in the US, at least not in that convergence of cobblestone, cafe, night, narrow street, cheering crowd, etc.

We kept on walking and kept on talking, until we decided we were thirsty for another drink. This led to our asking two different groups of people where to find a bar still open (this was about 3:00 am). Neither group gave us directions we wholly understood.

Of the two, the first group was the most amusing. One of the guys had bummed a smoke and light from us, whereas another guy, all blinged out, was drunk off his ass and started cheering and talking about how great America and Americans were.

So finally, we went to a hotel to ask there. Roommate and girl debated over who should ask, so finally I, who knows no Spanish, said "Yo quiero taberna." This confused the clerk, as my pronounciation of it apparently indicated a specific place in Malaga. So then I pantomimed chugging back a shot and he understood. Thus, we finally got clear directions.

We arrived and discovered that there was a bar inside the bullfighting ring, but was unfortunately closed (it was shortly after 4 am). So we watched and commented on the drunk people staggering around in the small playground nearby, laughing like mad when we saw a guy humping a blowup doll and another guy on top of him pantomiming the same action. Naturally, another guy took a picture of this and the three of us looked at one another and said, "That's so going to get facebooked."

Returned home and slept. Woke up, ate lunch, watched TV that was infuriatingly the same exact stuff as yesterday. Walked to the Centre for Modern Languages at the University of Granada to know for sure where to go tomorrow and how to get there.

Wandered some more and ended up in the tourist alley by this massive, gorgeous, church, and that's when trouble struck.

Two old gypsy women grabbed the hands of my roommates and I and started going into a fortune-telling routine. I'm thinking, "Damn it! Damn it damn it damn it!!!" because I -know- what's coming.

Sure enough, they request money. I go to give my gypsy coins, she says no, paper. At this point I just want to get out of here, so I hand her 5 euros. She demands another 5 euros, and stupidly, I gave it to her.

So that's 10 euros gone and I'm still fuming about it, because I've traveled abroad extensively before. I -know- better than this and yet, I allowed myself to get hit. Oh well. I got a fragrant piece of greenery out of it, probably stolen from some public bush.

There's a Granada CF game tonight, but I don't know if I'll have time to find the bus I have to get to and get out to the stadium.

Icy, do you know where I could get tickets or what the schedule is? Or what bus I take to get to the stadium? I'm probably going to miss tonight's game, but I want to catch one before I have to go home.

Ah yes, that reminds me. I brought my notebook today.

Lyrical Notes #1 (30/08/07)

Malaga is a souless city, a conglomeration of construction, congestion, cars and tall buildings that dominate the skyline. Its beaches are small, cigarette butt-littered affairs with gritty sand. No Hawaiian luxury on these shorelines.

The countryside surrounding Malaga is another matter entirely. Multi-level hills and mountains dip and slope, rise and fall in an astonishing variety of humps and curves. The vegetation is plentiful but sparse at the same time, with spindly black trees supporting wooly heads of dark green leaves and the kind of stout grass and brush that reminds me of Wyoming.

Now and again a proud, lonely white house with red tile roof, that ubiqutous Spanish symbol, can be spotted in the hills. An occasional spike of an electric or communications tower, too.

The effect of all this is a sense of serenity. It is not, I think, a traditional beauty to be found on the road from Malaga to Granada, but rather a rugged, wild, tough loveliness. There's a sense of time's flow as well, for I can imagine, even in antiquity, the Romans and Phoenecians who settled this area marveling at the shifting, entrancing landscape.
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Old 09-03-2007, 04:00 AM   #37
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Placement exam today. I just wrote yo no hable y escrite espanol on both the essay and grammar parts... They told me after the break that I didn´t need to do the oral exam so I´ve gone wandering and am now in a Morrocan internet cafe. Good music playing and the incense smells nice.

International keyboard is a bit of a pain, though.

I´m headed back to the CLM shortly to see if my roommate´s done with his oral exam yet.
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Old 09-03-2007, 04:51 PM   #38
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3 has become 2 and 1.

I've been getting the sense lately that the two of them would prefer to hang out together and not have me along and that was confirmed today when they skeaddled off during the "tour", leaving me stranded after the large group broke up to go home.

To say I was pissed would be something of an understatement. Here I was, stuck on a side of Granada I wasn't familiar with and I was completely alone. Fortunately, my feet knew where to go and took me right back to my place, which was both something of a small miracle and the sort of thing that happens to me when I go abroad.

My roommate also neglected to tell me that breakfast was being served this morning, even though I was awake, just in my room getting stuff ready for the placement test. Needless to say, I missed out on breakfast, as he didn't tell me I missed it until halfway to the CLM when I grumbled about not being served breakfast.

So yeah, not too happy about that right now, though it's really for the better. I was getting seriously sick of being a third wheel anyway. That happens to me enough in the US; I don't need it here.

This was not the only set of mishaps during the day, but more on that later.

So we get to the testing center, get the instructions entirely in Spanish and the orientation of the CLM, also entirely in Spanish (anyone sensing irony here yet?). Fortunately, I was able to understand a good deal of it through context and cognates.

The first two parts of the test were essay and grammar. On both sections, I wrote "Yo no hable y escrite Espanol." (FOFC guys, I know I posted that before, but it's for the other groups I x-post to.) which means, in very bad Spanish that "I don't speak or write Spanish."

During the break after the grammar section, they told me the oral exam wasn't necessary, so I took a small tour of the neighborhood and got more familiar with the area surrounding it, which is where I found a Moroccan internet cafe that was a lot cheaper than this place, with great smelling incense and fantastically soothing incense

Since I didn't get breakfast, I bought two bananas and a water at the corner store I'm growing to really like. One of my favorite things about the place is the owner, who's a nice old guy very understanding of my lack of Spanish. Cool thing today was, I went to get a water out of the cooler, but it was warm, so then I turned around and he's handing me a cold water. Now that was awesome.

I also got my user name and password for the free wireless internet at the University, but it apparently won't be activated until tomorrow, as I tried it this afternoon.

Following the placement tests, we had the aforementioned crappy tour in which we were shown the medical clinic and the sport complex. It was also extraordinarily hot today, as in so hot, even -I- was feeling it.

So by the time I get back for lunch, I'm in a seriously ticked off mood and dying to get my hands on a sabre and fence. It didn't help that lunch was a bean and vegetable soup, because I don't like beans and I'm positively sick of vegetables, cold meat slices, hard bread and water at every damned meal. Our senora's a decent cook, but her lack of variety is driving me crazy.

I found out the location of the bus to take me to the Albaycin, where the fencing academy is, earlier in the day at the CLM, so I hop the bus, get off at the stop and start searching.

I asked at a pharmacy (thankfully the druggist spoke English) where the sport building was where fencing was held. I was trying to ask "Yo quiero Deportivo", but that just drew a blank look. Anyway, he tells me that it's down on the street I passed and to take a right and it'll be in the middle.

Okay, no problem. I'll just walk till I find it.

...An hour and a half later, I'm cursing out the fencing academy, the Albaycin, Granada, CEA and myself. It's nowhere to be found and I've spent the last hour and a half walking the same five blocks. I've asked some old men at a religious retirement home (from what I can tell) and some old women hanging out by the just-closed pharmacy and nobody can help me.

You see, nobody else in the whole flipping district speaks English.

The real killer was when this incredibly gorgeous girl said, when I asked her and her friend or sister or whatever "Hable tu ingles?", "Yes, I can." I cheered and said, "Thank you!", proceeding to inquire after my destination.

She smirked, laughed and said, "I have no English."

I blinked, replied, "Oh... gracias", and walked off.

Immediately I heard a storm of feminine giggles behind me, followed by the rapid-fire, high-pitched, hilarity-edged Spanish that indicates two girls are busy laughing at the poor, dumb American.

Finally, at 9:35, I gave up and trudged back to the bus stop, whereupon I start panicking as there's no sign of the bus in either direction after 7 minutes, so I asked a group of women sitting on the benches nearby, "Bus no *holds up 7 fingers and points to watch*"

They replied that it would be 10 minutes with a mixture of Spanish and the same fingered language I'd used.

So back on the bus I go, feeling utterly defeated. Appropriately enough, I'm the only one on.

But then, as the bus rumbles down the winding hill, away from the Albaycin and back to the city centre, I notice something.

The nighttime view of Granada from the Albaycin is absolutely breathtaking and the sunset I saw earlier was the most beautiful one I'd seen since a midsummer's night in Venice 13 years ago.

I reminded myself that failures and mistakes will happen during my time here and even the bad things will become amusing memories as I become more acclimated to the city and to the language.

I got off at my stop and started walking back home, telling myself that I did well to brave the Albaycin at night and survive it with virtually no Spanish. I bought two scoops of mango and passion fruit ice cream at a gelato shop as a reward for myself and as I ate and walked, I remembered the mango ice cream I had a few days ago and how I'm falling in love with the flavor, a taste that will forever be linked with this city.

The city centre is starting to feel like home now, especially after the Albaycin adventure. I'm becoming gradually more and more accustomed to Granada and tomorrow, I not only finally get free internet (hopefully), but I start the 3 week intensive Spanish course. 4 hours a day, from 4-8. I love that I have an evening class.

I also realized while walking home that I couldn't have fenced even if I had found the place. I didn't bring my shoes and I can't fence in sandals.

So Wednesday, I'll bring the address and my shoes and I -will- find my way to the academy this time.

Oh yeah, one more thing.

After I got home, I grabbed my laptop and was just about to head to the cafe here when the senora stopped me and asked if I wanted to eat supper. I was really hungry, so I said yes, dreading yet another vegetable, meat slice and bread concoction.

She serves some really tasty multi-coloured pasta with bits of fish and this awesome ham with bright red edges (I'm assuming a spice of some kind.) It was the single best meal I've had since I've been in Spain.

So the day started poorly, but it ended fantastically.

Here's to hoping tomorrow is all good.
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Old 09-03-2007, 05:40 PM   #39
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Hehe i can imagine how was your day in the Albaicin not knowing a bit of Spanish. It's the oldest part of the city and probably the last place where to find English speakers. I'm glad you liked the night city view from there, i agree it's amazing.

I didn't answer before as i have been away the weekend, relaxing in a house in the mountains and without internet. So i couldn't answer in time about the soccer game.

About finding your way in the city, i highly recommend looking, studding and printing the Granada center map that you can find in google maps. You can also set there your señora's house and then find in google maps the full route to your destination as i gave you the fencing academy address. If you need to ask around, don't ask about fencing as that sports center is not only about fencing, ask for the "polideportivo" that means something like "multi sports center".

About the pork you ate, i guess it was "lomo adobado" that is the part of the pork at both sides of the spine (don't know the name in English) and the red stuff at the edges is the spice named "pimenton" that is made with dried red peppers. It's typical Spanish food (that i love too).

About the gypsy women close to the cathedral or churches, i forgot to warn you. They are so disturbing and always trying to rip off the foreigners. The 10€ you gave her is a big amount of money, most of Spanish don't give them anything, and in case we do, is 1€ max. Next time just ignore them, not even look at them no matter how much they shout at you, they are not going to do you any harm besides shouting (unless you believe in gypsy damns as that is what they will shout you ). Last time i went there, they tried to read my wife's hand, i told them to fuck off and they started to shout at us that we would die the following day and stupid things like that.

Always ignore gypsies, both women and men as they are always trying to rip you off or to look for troubles, not even look at them and they will forget about you and will look for another one to disturb. I might sound racist with that comments, but only who has seen them in action as you have now, can understand why i say that. They are just society parasites that do nothing than to live from the other's work.

Anyway I'm sure things will improve soon once you start with your Spanish lessons, the language barrier is hard in every country but way worse in the ones like Spain where most of people don't speak English at all.
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Old 09-04-2007, 08:42 AM   #40
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Yeah I kept saying Deportivo, trying to say the sports building but it didn't exactly work, though a few of them did say "Futbol?" as I was trying to explain what I was asking about.

But next time I'll have my map and shoes.

First class is in 20 minutes and I'm greatly looking forward to it.

Any idea on how to find out when the next Granada CF home game is and what bus to take to get to the stadium?

I need to buy one of those multi-pack of bus tickets too, as it'll be cheaper in the long run.

Hope you enjoyed the mountains! I know I'll be there at some point this semester, albeit probably a different area than yours.
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:25 AM   #41
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Re: the roomate. What he did seems pretty annoying. But try to forget about it and maybe just try to cut back from doing everything with him, to doing a few things a week. It'd be good to have a friend there and cutting back should make you guys get less sick of each other.
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:50 AM   #42
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Sucks about your roommate just ditching you like that, but the rest of the posts in the thread seem like a good, adventurous time so far! Cold meats and bread seems to be prevalent in a few European cultures. My dad is Croatian and my mom is Polish, and we have cold meats a lot (even here in Canada, but every day at least one meal in Europe was at least partly cold meats). I like cold meats though, so it was alright.

I was under the impression that there would be a lot of seafood in Spanish dishes?

About the Fanta... I first saw and tried it in Europe, so it is something I associate with Europe, and don't drink it here at all. I do see it in stores, but for some reason it doesn't appeal to me here.
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:09 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by RPI-Fan View Post
Re: the roomate. What he did seems pretty annoying. But try to forget about it and maybe just try to cut back from doing everything with him, to doing a few things a week. It'd be good to have a friend there and cutting back should make you guys get less sick of each other.

I agree, though the way he's situated with regard to his level class, he's about half a class behind everyone else relative to where he tested, so he's going to be spending his entire time studying and occasionally hanging out with the girl.

Which I rather like, to be honest. I've been a lot happier since I've been exploring the city and so on, on my own. Sure it'd be nice to have someone to chill with, but I'm perfectly fine myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeVic[/b
Sucks about your roommate just ditching you like that, but the rest of the posts in the thread seem like a good, adventurous time so far! Cold meats and bread seems to be prevalent in a few European cultures. My dad is Croatian and my mom is Polish, and we have cold meats a lot (even here in Canada, but every day at least one meal in Europe was at least partly cold meats). I like cold meats though, so it was alright.

I was under the impression that there would be a lot of seafood in Spanish dishes?

About the Fanta... I first saw and tried it in Europe, so it is something I associate with Europe, and don't drink it here at all. I do see it in stores, but for some reason it doesn't appeal to me here.

Cold meats I can take or leave, but if I'm going to have them, I'd really prefer that they be in a sandwich.

I figured there'd be more seafood, too, but I guess our senora isn't all about the seafood. My guess is that the restaurants are more typical.

Fanta is definitely a Europe association for me as the first time I drank it was when I toured Europe 13 years ago. It got to be so that I drank it religiously, in fact. I haven't had it too often here, simply because my teeth are still healing from a barrage of dental work in the week before I left and soda murders my teeth.

Mostly what I've had is warm water at the homestay. I had pineapple juice a couple times, which was great, but the one time she gave us milk, it was whole milk and I only drink skim (unless it's low-fat chocolate or strawberry). Needless to say, I haven't had milk since then.

First language class yesterday wasn't too bad, even though the two professors (we had one for the first half, another for the second half) used exceedingly little English, so it's real immersion. If I hadn't had German for a number of years and had a basic understanding of grammatical structures in foreign languages though, I'd be absolute toast.

I didn't do much last night... Came home, caught a few more Pokemon in Pearl, discovered that the voltage isn't right for the DS, so I'd need a voltage adapter if I want to recharge my DS, ate supper, went out for mango and passion fruit ice cream, came home again and went to bed early.

I got up around 11:30 this morning, showered, studied the map until I found the address for the bigger of the two bookstores where we could find our textbook... and was ecstatic to see that it's like three blocks from my homestay. So I went there, bought the textbook, the workbook, and Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving, with mood music to play while you read. Grand total: 41 euros, which made me VAT is a real pain.

I'm going to save my receipts though, because I remember reading somewhere that you can get the VAT on stuff back if you're not an EU citizen.

Lunch was vegetable soup again, though this time it had some kind of cheesy noodles to it which I was kinda eh, it's all right, on the taste of, but they really helped to spice up the soup.

Tonight I'm going to try the Albaicin again. This time I have the address with me and I noticed when I looked on the map that it doesn't appear to be on the Calle Ayandamar, but rather Callejon de Tallacarne, which would explain why I couldn't find it last time. Darn Aynadamar threw me off last time.
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Old 09-05-2007, 09:00 AM   #44
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41 euros for ONE textbook would be a giant bargain for me.
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Old 09-05-2007, 04:13 PM   #45
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Reading this dynasty made me feel very old for a second, because I paid several thousand dollars this summer so my oldest step-daughter could do a study-abroad thing in Florence, Italy.

But then when I read you're missing out on your 10-year high school reunion I felt better, because you're only five years younger than me.

And then I felt depressed because you're only five years younger than me and you're hanging out in fucking Spain getting to hit on college girls while I'm driving my wife's minivan to take the kids to get haircuts.

I guess that's a long way of saying have fun and enjoy yourself... you're a lucky guy getting to do this!
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Old 09-06-2007, 07:46 AM   #46
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41 euros for ONE textbook would be a giant bargain for me.

It depends on what subject area you're in English majors in the US, our books aren't that expensive separately... it's that we have 50 million books that adds the cost up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CamEdwards
Reading this dynasty made me feel very old for a second, because I paid several thousand dollars this summer so my oldest step-daughter could do a study-abroad thing in Florence, Italy.

But then when I read you're missing out on your 10-year high school reunion I felt better, because you're only five years younger than me.

And then I felt depressed because you're only five years younger than me and you're hanging out in fucking Spain getting to hit on college girls while I'm driving my wife's minivan to take the kids to get haircuts.

I guess that's a long way of saying have fun and enjoy yourself... you're a lucky guy getting to do this!

Thanks! I have to say, that post made me laugh for a good 10 minutes.

How did your step-daughter like Florence? It was the other finalist in my choices for going abroad.
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Old 09-06-2007, 08:50 AM   #47
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It depends on what subject area you're in English majors in the US, our books aren't that expensive separately... it's that we have 50 million books that adds the cost up.



Thanks! I have to say, that post made me laugh for a good 10 minutes.

How did your step-daughter like Florence? It was the other finalist in my choices for going abroad.

Just think, if the timing was different and you picked Florence, you could be with CamEdwards' daughter.
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Old 09-06-2007, 01:59 PM   #48
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Just think, if the timing was different and you picked Florence, you could be with CamEdwards' daughter.

This is true!
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Old 09-07-2007, 07:59 AM   #49
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It's funny, most of the native Spainairds who have hazarded a guess at my nationality thus far think I'm French. Just why this is, I have no idea, but I find it absolutely fascinating.

I've seen two accidents so far in my time here. The first one, there was a police motorcyle roaring along at breakneck speed and he slammed into the side of a girl's car as she was trying to pull over to get out of the way. The cop put a huge dent in the side of her car and she was furious.

The window worked okay, but that dent was a big-time one and I couldn't help but think that it was terribly ironic that she should get into an accident because of the police of all people.

The other accident, I didn't see personally, just the aftermath of it. Two delivery trucks, who with their short, squat white shapes reminded me of albino pigs for some strange reason, had run head-on into each other and the drivers and police were discussing it in a group. There wasn't too much damage fortunately, though I don't know if it's because they weren't going that fast when they hit or if it's because the trucks are made of pig iron or some other strong material.

I'll probably go out clubbing tonight. One of the guys in my class found out about a couple places worth checking out, so we're planning on investigating them.

Tomorrow I plan on hitting the beach. I haven't gone once since I've been in Spain, other than walked down to Malaga's crummy beaches and I really want to go swimming in the Mediterranean. Last time I went, I was 14... which was... oh wait, 14 years ago, not 13. My bad.

I remember it being enjoyable waters to swim in, but we'll see how it goes this time. I was also on the French Riveria then, whereas this time I'll be somewhere on the Spanish coast. I'll probably go to the beach where the bus fare is cheaper to get to and it's a shorter ride.

I'm still pondering what to do with my 10 days off after the intensive language course ends. Everyone in the group is hot on Amsterdam for obvious reasons, but I'm real meh. Wasn't terribly fond of the city last time I was in it, to say the least.

I'm considering the possiblity of going to a few different cities where I know people from FOFC and the Paradox forums, if you guys would be interested in meeting up. I know Toledo for sure is a destination, but beyond that I'm pretty open.
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Old 09-07-2007, 09:41 AM   #50
Icy
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As you asked, here is the info about the next Granada soccer games at home in the Los Carmenes Stadium:

23rd September: Granada vs Cartagena
30th September: Granada vs Merida

Notice that we in Spain write first the home team and then the visitor, unlike in USA where visitor @ home is used.
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