Sorry about the large gap between posts, but we haven’t had internet at our house since Friday… something with the telephone company. Luckily it’s all been solved and without too much inconvenience.
So last Saturday (August 30th) we took a trip with our program to Rhonda. I first heard of Rhonda about a year ago (before I had any idea that I wanted to come to Spain) through my favorite Facebook page, Places to See Before You Die. Now of course all of the photos on this page make me have an absurd desire to travel the world, but I remember bookmarking Rhonda in particular as something I absolutely had to see. I’m very glad that I did! Being in the town is like being in the photographs, only better because you’re actually walking the streets and seeing the views in person. One side of the ravine is the “old city” and the other side is the “new city.” Now this can be slightly misleading as both sides date back to the 13th century. The cobblestones that make up the streets are so worn down by time and use that I had to be extra careful not to slip and fall, not an easy task for me considering I’m quite clumsy to begin with. But it was humbling to think of all of the people who had walked on those streets before me and all the people who will in the future.
Got to see part of the Vuelta España, it was very fast, but cool to see a sporting event that is really popular here… other than soccer.
Life in Granada is pretty busy right now as we started ‘Intensivo’ last week. We have 4 hours of class every morning split between two professors. Then we walk back and eat lunch and on Mondays and Wednesdays I have my Spanish culture class. We’ve begun delving into the history of Spain, starting with the Iberians and Celts and working our way through the rise and fall of the Roman empire, the visigodos, the rise of Islam in Spain (Al Andalus), and finally ending with the reconquest of Spain by the Christian Monarchy. In our ‘Intensivo’ we’ve been focusing a lot on the differences in language here as compared with latin american Spanish, which I’ve come to learn are numerous.
So for a little fun last week our professor suggested we check out a Music festival, El Festival Zaidín Rock, that happens every year in Granada at the beginning of September when most of the students start returning to the city. It was a mix of Spanish rock and reggae bands, none of which were too famous, but all of which were quite enjoyable. So naturally we took her up on her suggestion and headed to the festival on Thursday night. I went with three other students in my group and we decided to take a cab since it was on the opposite side of the city. When we got there the cab driver told us “en el otro lado” (on the other side) which we all casually brushed off figuring we would have no trouble finding the concert. We couldn’t have been more wrong. The festival was divided into two parts, on one side of the street was a music festival in a large open field, on the other side (where we were) there were a bunch of carnival rides and music for a slightly older crowd (50s/60s). We asked several people if we were in the right place and they all said the music was on the other side. We proceeded to walk all the way around the soccer stadium without any success. Now if anyone had informed us that it was on the other side of the street, perhaps we wouldn’t have spent so much time wondering why our professor had sent us to a family/senior festival. In the end we found our way there, after about 90 minutes of confusion, and were pleasantly surprised by the young crowd and good music.
2 of the Bands we Heard
La Kinky Beat (I would like to clarify also that Kinky does not have the same meaning in Spanish, but it means to steal stealthily, like pick pocket)
Finally, this weekend I decided I wanted to head down to the beach and dip my feet in the mediterranean. I’d heard from several people that Salobreña was a good beach about an hour away so a friend and I purchased bus passes and headed down on Saturday. We had been told to expect the buses to be late here, but we were very confused when we were denied entry to our bus. There was a mechanical issue and so we waited for about twenty minutes with the other passengers and then were redirected to another bus. In another turn of events, when the bus arrived in Salobreña, rather than stopping at a bus stop and waiting for the passengers to get off, the driver simply opened the door at a stop sign for a couple of seconds and asked a woman outside a question. Then he closed the door and began driving. Everyone on the bus assumed we were headed to the bus stop, but we were wrong. As we started to leave Salobreña, someone on the bus with better Spanish skills than my own asked the driver if we had missed the stop. He told us we had. Fifteen minutes later we arrived in Almuñecar. My friend and I didn’t mind as it was another beach town and we spent the day exploring the town, swimming in the Mediterranean, and laying on the beach. Despite the rough start I would say it was an overall successful day and I’m sure that Almuñecar provided us as good an experience as Salobreña would have if not better.