Wednesday, June 23, 2010
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.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
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.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
It makes me smile to see families out for a walk or just sitting down to dinner at 11:30 or midnight. Apparently as the summer nights get warmer the Sevillanos stay out later and later...
Sorry for the abbreviated posts- but exam time is also here and I am definitely feeling the time crunch!!
Monday, May 24, 2010
It was a wonderful and a much needed dose of family :)
We went all around Sevilla including a riverside bar with mojitos and great music, a traditional flamenco performance full of duende, La Catedral, La Giralda, Los Reales Alkasares and then the Costa del Sol.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Before heading to Morocco we went to la Feria dressed in traditional wear to take part in one of Spain's most famous celebrations.
From Ferris wheels, to churros and chocolate...and of course people dressed in their finest trajes de gitana of all colors of the rainbow la feria is a lively family affair full of Spanish pride. I will include some crowd shots and some that can help you see the absolutely huge fair grounds full of striped tents and carnival rides.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Fuimos anoche a la Feria!! It was a blast! The official opening of the festivities was at 12 midnight, the ceremony is called the "Alumbrado". Once inside we saw the casetas and the carnival rides including mini rollercoasters and ferris wheels ;) And there were stands selling everything from chocolate and churros to cotton candy, noisemakers and much much more. As it was the night of 'pescaitos' (fried fish with an andalucian twist) big companies and families held dinners in their casetas to celebrate the begining of la feria.
Each caseta is unique and is decorated with traditional spanish flare. It reminded me of looking at the rooms of a dollhouse: there was wood flooring, wallpaper and real furniture but the only funny thing was that the casetas all are missing one wall so that everyone can hear the music and see the dancing.
Today we are planning to go check out the festivities and wear our trajes de flamenco :) cant wait!!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
So I was in a café this afternoon reading a bit about fonologia and enjoying some cafe con leche ;) descafeinado of course and in came a group of french folks. They sat nearby and I couldnt help but notice the adorable kids who were all decked out for the occasion-the little girl in a ruffly flamenco dress shoes and all and the little brother in a little suite.
The mom went to order leaving the kids to explore and play around- or rather to come over and begin speaking to me in rapid french to which i quickly responded "je ne sais pa" (I dont know) but somehow this assured her that yes in fact i did! lol it was very cute how she asked me questions which i understood at times but could only respond with "oui" or "no"
I wished that I could dig up some more vocabulary words to tell her that I likes the colors of her dress but unfortunately my french is limited to an assortment of ballet frases and tid bits from Madeline...
well mas mañana!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
After the breathing we began the "saludos al sol" :) And let me just say that in whatever language you take Yoga class the chaturanga does not get easier except with practice...ouch!
And then she gave us a talk about protecting the curvature of the spine with proper posture discussing different muscle groups etc...and then came my favorite part....PERRO CARA ABAJO lol I had to remind myself not to giggle...it was just so literal that it made me smile.
Anyways the class was very helpful both for streching and getting focussed. And I am excited for next week!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
The Calle Principal as it is called here actually runs about five minutes from my dorm-which would seem like a great convenience, except that people practically camp out to get a spot on the road to watch the hermandades pass by ...making it impossible to reach our dorm by any direct route. Although a bit frustrating at times, I did manage to learn about 100 other ways to get home ;)
Los Pasos were exciting- especially the ones with music!...the nazarenos (members of the hermandades themselves) are usually are stoic and silent, carrying 1.5 meter tall candles that look more like thick walking sticks.They are dressed in special outfits called an "antifaz" which is the cover worn over the head with a pointed "capriote" inside. These outfits are meant to disguise identity and to emfasize their penitence.
Then come the clergymen dressed in ornate attire remeniscent of early 19th century formalwear...then come the children who most always carry little baskets and bags filled with 'caramelos' (in spain this refers to basically any type of sweet in a little wrapper) and with estampitas (small pictures of the statues in each procession that many people collect) that they hand out to the crowd. Finally comes the paso which is a giant wooden structure featuring a scenes from Jesus' life depicted by large carved statues dressed in velvet cloaks and leather sandals. And all this atop an ancient wooden strucute which is covered also by fresh flowers, roses or violets (as in the pic below) as well as heavy candleabras which are filled with more candles and are made of gold and or silver. (needless to say these things weigh a ton!!)
Each paso is a sight to see with decorative carvings covering every inch...and some were originally built in the 15th century. And as they have been for centuries, each paso is manually carried through Sevilla upon the heads of 50+ men who stand 5 across and more than 10 deep shoulder to shoulder !
(All the crowd can hope to see of these costaleros however is perhaps a tiny glimpses of their feet as they march in perfect rhythm along with the drums of the band behind them...
Being surrounded literally with spaniards of all ages waiting sometimes more than 3 hours just to see the paso is a great albeit tiring experience...The waiting time is filled with card games talking and getting to know the people around you so that by the time the paso gets within eye distance or sometimes ear distance (the drums are quite dramatic) you are ready!
Monday, March 22, 2010
How many Virgen Mary's are included in the Semana Santa processions?
How can you get a seat in the city center to watch the processions?
What time/day do the processions depart form their 'home churches'?
What is the name of the traditional dessert made during semana santa?
bueno como siempre más mañana!!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
So yesterday I attended a few new classes at the university...and first off lemme just say that I love my Arabic teacher! We learned all about Iraqi culture and how their dialect is very tied to their history and cultural values. haha apparently if you breed palomas people do not trust you because sometimes after you let them out to fly around you end up with other people's palomas asi que your word is not the most trustworthy or so society thinks. I imagine it’s a similar phenomenon con any language...take español por ejemplo: in Spain there are a million expressions that have to do with bulls and bullfighting.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Hopefully this new roommate will be Española...vamos a ver!
Tomorrow we are going to Mallorca for the long weekend and are hoping for nice weather...
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Today it occurred to me that I am beginning to "go native" as the ethnographers say, well not quite as drastic as that but I do feel like I am blending in here. I finally have a basic routine: going to school and to certain shops/kiosks and even having regular meeting places to go grab a cafe etc. Its funny how you can adapt to a new environments without even realizing you are...that is until one day you notice that you unconsciously get from your dorm to school without being offered any rosemary or "free" palm reading. :)
ITS A SIGN THAT YOU ARE NO LONGER A TOURIST...and well on your way to becoming a native ;)
I was marveling the other day at the normalcy of waking up and walking to school, with everything I needed for the day...here in Sevilla unless u want to end up with blisters from redundantly retracing your steps, I have learned to do as the Sevillanos do: PREPARE FOR EVERYTHING! lol That is you have to be sure to bring a paraguas, your books, and of course some kind of entertainment with you as you leave for work/school in the morning.
Well, more observaciones mañana...
But for now thank for reading and please feel free to ask questions and suggest a topic that you would be interested in me writing about (food, people, classes, museos...etc)
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Arte del natural (figure drawing) es bueniiiiisima :)
Estoy en una clase con 60 estudiantes! Tenemos dos modelos un hombre y una mujer y la aula esta dividida en el medio con un modelo a cada lado.
The class is great because it is a mixture of ages with people from all walks of life...for example I met one girl who is a young mother and who wants to do art restauration, and another middle aged lady who always wanted to study art and who is finally able to do it, and tons of students around my age who are taking the course as a prerequisite before picking ‘una especialidad’-the first few years of study are comun for all those in the same facultad/dept. then you specialize for the last 2 years:)
The teacher is very professional and he really helps you draw with a plan. That is not to say that he expects you to begin systematically attacking the paper as though it was a military operation...but rather in a more strategic sense he asks us to employ different techniques and methods in the creative process. He challenges us to be more like students of the martial arts by interacting dynamically with our drawing, just as they engage an opponent bringing all skills sets to the table, readily available and for use when necessary.
The creation of art is a process, whereby the artist, the subject and the materials remain in constant dialogue, negotiating and maneuvering until one conversation is resolved and a new one begins…
Bueno tengo que irme a leer un poco del Don Quixote de la Mancha.....más mañana!!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I think everyone here has a cold these days, and apparently there is also a stomach virus running around Sevilla which unfortunately caught up with you know who. Good news is that my roommate was wonderful and helped me get through quite a rough night of literally expelling all the contents of my stomach.
When you are not feeling well and are far from home it really means a lot when people do little things to help you out. My friend from Elon came and visited and he brought Aquarius and water for me. The medico had told me to have only liquids for a few days and to take it real easy, and this friend went out of his way to help me do just that. Needless to say I depended a great deal on my roommates and friends during this past week in particular.
Although I also must say a very big thank you to you guys back home for calling and emailing to check on me: THANK YOU!!! :)
A funny consequence of getting sick was that my roommate and I really bonded lol and now I have met several of her other French friends-one of them actually grew up in Senegal!
But all that said things are looking up, as the weather gets better and classes are starting on Monday!! -They certainly do take there time here ;) and thank goodness.
Random aside- I met a new friend from Croatia and we are planning to take Flamenco and Belly dancing together :)
Thursday, February 11, 2010
It was a strange experience being in a trilingual environment and attempting to make out the items on the menu which were written in Japanese characters, Spanish descriptions with a few english transliterations thrown in.
As we poured over the menu in utter confusion someone figured out how to order a sort of "plato combinado" serving an appetizer, main course and soup or salad for under 9 euros :) so that decided we merely had to communicate this to our waitress who was at her wits end trying to attend far too many tables during the dinner rush. She graciously waited as we tried at times in vain to describe what we would like in japanese/spanish. My favorite was when our friend proclaimed that she would be having the Teriaki Pollo, because to my ears this was an absurd combination, however along with un poco de Sake and una sopa miso we were in good language melding company.
The meal turned out wonderfully and we rather liked taking advantage of the Spanish custom of longer meals and much conversation. Although I must say at the end once we were all full conversation lulled as everyone dreamt of being tucked into their beds. :)
Monday, February 8, 2010
I have no clue how people here do not constantly break ankles and stumble over the less than flat stonewalls. For me each time I go out is an adventure, because along with figuring out my way I have to keep one eye on the pavement, or rather the lack there of to make sure that I make it to my destination in one piece.
But after almost a month here I have become accostomed to the area where I live and I don't mind the walking as much (this could also have to do with the fact that I am loosing my way much less often) and infact I rather like the walk to school and to the cafe.
It was pretty amazing that they were able to fit a toilet, a sink and a "shower” inside such a small area. However, I have come to find out that it is just so Spanish to use the small space available and squeeze in all the necessities. :)
There is a bar that we often go to in the afternoons and one day I needed to use the aseos, but the place is pretty tiny as it is so I figured they probably didn’t have a restroom. But I asked anyway and the owner pointed me toward what I had thought was a coat closet. To my surprise I opened the door and stared in confusion as I saw that somehow by a feat of plumbing worthy of recognition that there was a toilet with a pull flush as well as a sink and mirror in a space that would have been more appropriate to store winter furs. But as stunned as I was, nature was calling so I hopped inside did my business and found that the closet bathroom was in fact a marvelous invention.
Needless to say that after such compact restrooms the fact of having a full sized tub and mirror in my new room was a joy, and although I share with 3 girls it is big enough to accommodate all of us.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Yesterday after class we went looking for a place to grab a cup of cafe or tea.
We stumbled upon a traditional arab tetería and decided to try it out.
The atmosphere was quite tranquilo and there were small groupings of carpets and small chairs, and little nooks setup with lamps and cushions to sit on while you tried some wonderfully spiced tea and arabic sweets.
None of the girls had ever tasted baklava before so I asked the server "andaka baklawa" (do you have baklava?) and he responded in araby!! "Na'am"
I was so escited to be able to practice my arabic and so I asked where he was from...etc. I ended ur ordering and paying using arabic as well and as we left I thanked him "shookran" and said "Ma'selema!"
It was so cool that such a diverse little group: american, cuban, mexican, guatemalan, lebanese, and honduran could all go into this tiny tea house and share a new cultural experience together.
It was great and I definitely plan on going back very soon.