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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hasta Luego Sevilla...

So my time here in Sevilla has come to an end... and as I began packing, deciding what to keep and what to throw struck me that even little ticket stubs and notes scrawled in my notebook suddenly seem like things I can't part with.

Much of the experiences here in Sevilla challenged me and at times the cultural learning curve seemed imposibly steep, but after looking through and reflecting on my notes and drawings I am realizing that this place and the people who live here have really impacted and inspired me.

Once I had finished packing I dropped by the chino- the corner zippy mart where I bought super glue, oranges and other random necessities- to say "tsai chen" (goodbye in chinese). Its funny how you can adapt albeit reluctantly at times and make a whole new life in completely different city across the globe- It makes me appreciate imigrants who leave everything familiar behind in search of a better future or freedom or opportunity...they come sometimes with no support and have to build their communities from scratch- and this really impresses me because I feel blessed to have a supportive and loving family which makes it possible for me to branch way out without fear of falling. But being away from that net of support really pushed me to test the waters and also to appreciate what I have.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Great Gaudi

I visited my friend Dasha in Barcelona and she took me on a grand tour of the city to see Gaudi's masterpieces including El Parque Guell, La Sagrada Familia y otros edificios como la pedrera.

His unique style is highlighted even among the many impressive buildings in Barcelona. It is amazing that his work continues to stand out and is immediately recognizable, from its organic shapes, brightly colored tiles, and whimsical curves. 

Monkey see monkey steal!

Ok so in my experience wild animals tend to have a healthy fear of humans at least so I thought... but the monkey's in Gibraltar act more like we are in fact the ones who should fear. Check out the oversized primate next to me and you can see that he was certainly less than thrilled to have us encroaching on his territory.

The Barbary apes of Gibraltar are entertaining and amazingly smart- while eating lunch (inside a protected enclosure) we spotted one of them scurrying of with a pack of principe cookies...a few minutes later we caught him dextrously unwrapping the food and pulling out one cookie examining it and then eating it in small bites as though he knew the proper procedure- it looked like a furry oversized todler who had finally gotten into the cookie jar- and DID NOT want to share the spoils :)

We took a cable car to the top of the rock and the views were amazing! It was funny to hear and see english everywhere and I was impressed by the ease with which the sales clerks and tour guides flowed from english to spanish flawlessly.

It is quite a unique place and I am glad to have been able to visit it. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dinner and Dancing

So last night we went out for a girls night :)

The plan was to try out a new Moroccan Restaurant nearby....

The interior was decorated to the nines and genuinely felt like we were sitting at a fancy restaurant in Marakesh, with tiny candles, glass lamps, handmade tasheens, and traditional music filling the warm colorful space.

We had a lovely 2 hour meal with hummus, olives, various tasheens, moroccan mint tea and dulces arabes... 

We were just begining to try our tea when all of a sudden the music got louder and out came a bellydancer! She performed for a few songs and then went back to change costumes. We discussed her style and wondered where she might be from, and then out she came again, this time with a more traditional outfit. Before we knew it she had come up to our table and invited the 3 of us to come and dance with her. :) We had a blast trading moves, dancing around and laughing together. 

Once we had sat back down she came over motioning to the veins in her forearm "Viene de la sangre, no?" I smiled nodding and then she asked "where are you from?" I explained that I was Lebanese and that when I hear the music I cannon help but dance. She complimented our dancing and for joining her on the floor and we thanked her for a great performance. 

After dinner we took a walk around Sevilla just taking it all in... it is crazy that in less than a week I will be leaving this amazing city.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Feelin HOT HOT HOT-45 degrees to be exact!!

SO we decided to go to the Reales Alkasares to draw on the hottest day we have experienced so far here in Sevilla.

11am and temperatures had already reached 45!!! (thats like over 100 degrees farenheight)

But we chose a place in the shade and drew one of the many beautiful fuentes in the extensive gardens behind the Alkasares. After several hours baking in the sun- i mean sketching, we walked around to see if we could spot the famoso pavo real!! And after about haf an hour we were just about to give up when we practically stepped on the thing as we rounded a corner.  It was just sitting calmly in a pile of leaves enjoying the shade.

Needless to say we took loads of pictures and we were amazed at how close we were able to get to the beautiful bird ...perhaps he is used to the paparazzi -i mean after all his feathers really are exquisite.

The only funny thing was that compared to the female, the macho was much more beautiful and she looked extremely plain.  But the grounds keeper was saying that the reason for the colorful feathers was merely to show off for the female and the rest of the time he had to drag the heavy load behind him lol its amazing what some creatures do to attract a mate.

Mas manana!!