I just sat for about an hour doing nothing but looking at all the pictures I haven’t posted on Facebook. Is that sad that our picture taking revolves around Facebook? It’s March and I haven’t posted anything since December. There are like 2000 pictures or something but then I suppose when I get around to it I’ll be more selective and just post the ones I know others will want up. One of these days I’m going to take all the pictures that I want to keep for me and put them on my computer…actually I might have heard you can’t do that anymore. Well I hope so! I didn’t go to my volunteer thing today at the Huerta del Rosillo residency because I got up late and I’m on my period and I feel like crap today. I needed this morning to just putter I think. I went for a walk around the shops downtown and up to the Plaza de San Nikolas in the Albaycin—not to be confused with the Mirador de San Nikolas. I wrote a little…worked on Arabic…listened to the broom of the street cleaner, somebody’s guitar, and the nearby fountain while I got spat on by whoever up there can’t decide on what kind of weather we’re having today.
So last weekend in Valencia was just super! I really liked Valencia, not as much as Granada, but it was pretty and bustling and fun. Cara and I met up with our old Spanish tutor/TA Miguel from Central there where he is getting his masters. He’s friends with a lot of foreign Irasmus students and students not from Valencia…for some reason he’s doesn’t really like it there much…or maybe it was the people. We had a ton of fun and took an eight hour bus Thursday night. We got there around 7am and took a shnap…saw some gardens…shopped (ugh I can’t get away!) and we went to some Moroccan chic’s birthday deal at this club/bar called the White House, where some Belgium/German sexy person thought I was Autumn. All I heard was this exaggerated “THAT’s what SHE saaaid!” WTF. It was really funny but I had no idea what was going on. And then he did that Indian call thing….haha that was entertaining and even more so when he realized I look nothing like her. Whatever! Oh it was so funny, there were probably 40 people there for this girl and the doorman was trying to make a reservation for us at this discoteca for us but sometimes the Spanish doormen are assholes and are prejudiced against non-españoles. Gilipoyas! It was a good thing for us that night though because he would only let us put Miguel’s name on it. And we ended up just going with three French guys and a Polish girl—without the birthday girl because she was drunk and running around (hey, it happens!) and wouldn’t leave. So the seven of us had a good time!
Oy. So next day was rough waking up…late hours and all, but Cara and I wanted to go walk around the science center and the aquarium building and whatever else is over there, so up we got! It’s the largest aquarium in Europe or something…and there are fake dinosaurs! Rawr. The buildings look like something out of Star Wars and actually the discoteca we went to the night before was underneath part of the walkway of this place. It was a sweet spot and there were sculptures and everything was covered in mosaic tiles. We also tried Spanish horchata for the first time with Miguel later. I think I like Mexican horchata better. We missed out on Agua de Valencia, which is an alcoholic beverage and supposedly very tasty. That night we went to a house party with all of the Irasmus students again. I haven’t been to a house party in Spain yet, so I can check that off my list now. Yay! I love checking things off lists!
Let’s see…oh and then two weeks ago I went to Toledo and stayed in Madrid. Tyler came to visit that week as well. Toledo was GORGEOUS and they are the reason why we call cigarettes…cigarettes. I think, unless I misheard nuestro guía. It was there before the Romans came to the Iberian Peninsula, and now I also know why we say ‘Holy Toledo’, because it has as many churches as Granada does bars. Ha. Granada actually probably has more bars. But there are eighty churches or something like that and Toledo is not that big. (haha…Holy Toledo!..hahaha I kill myself!)
Madrid, the weekend Jo went to Florida…well, I don’t know how I feel about Madrid. I like it just fine, but the energy of the place does not suit me. But I always seem to be sleep deprived when I’m there, so that could be a factor. I arrived there on three hours, because I went out the night before (I wanted to fall over in Toledo). Then that night and the next we were up at all hours again. I mean, why not! Tyler met us at the hotel on Friday. After Toledo we were allowed to do whatever that evening. We all had the intention of going out to see Madrid’s discoteca life but it didn’t happen for the majority of our group of 50 some. A lot of us stayed in the hotel all night because, well, sometimes one does not make it to the dance club. Sometimes the pre-party becomes ‘the’ party. (That and there was some drama of the nonsensical, drunken sort). We ended up being much safer indoors. We went to Palacio Real Saturday and Sunday we went to Museo del Prado. Both were awesome and I got to see Saturn eating his one of his children. That was probably one of the highlights of the weekend. All sightseeing would have been better with fully rested bodies but everything was super-Corte Ingles worth it. (Corte Ingles is the Wal-Mart of Spain but like a Macy’s department store and more expensive, they use it to exaggerate things and it’s one of my new favorites).
We went to a seven floor, overpriced discoteca on Saturday night. It was someone’s birthday and oh my lord. I am so glad I decided to be a sober person Saturday (Friday had me covered…and Autumn and Tyler). Most of our group was one of those really loud shit shows people always stop and stare at no matter where you are or what language you speak. It was a herd of 20 or 30 drunken American college students running around downtown Madrid for about an hour. Oy. Well, the place we went was fun for us, though I’ve heard we could have made closer, better choices. They had this ginormous smoke machine that shrouded the main dance floor every few songs in big gusts. Without that, I think we would have been drowned in our own sweat like anywhere else. I really wish Granada had an H & M. But it’s probably just as well because I would spend all my money there…I find one whenever I go shopping everywhere else…like Madrid…and Valencia and Milan. As well as Bershka and Strativarious and Pull and Bear and Zara and Pimpkie and Promod and I could just go on. There is always a cluster of these stores. Where you find one, the others are next door. It’s awful.
Hmmm…oh and then there was Carnaval! Cadiz was super bueno Corte Ingles fun. That weekend was great. It makes me want to go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans even more now. I went with Autumn, Carissa, Eva, and Renee. We all went as birds and took a bus for twenty euro that had us there Saturday by 5pm and then the bus went back at 8am. I guess it’s a Spanish thing. You go and party all night until the bus leaves. We should’ve looked for one that left at like 5 or 6 am. 8 am was a rough wait. Anyhooters (no they don’t do that here…) we bought our supplies that morning, waited for the bus until 1pm. We did our makeup on the bus and tried to sleep, but we were too excited! Autumn, Carissa, and I hadn’t really slept the last couple of nights, see, because Miguel had been in town to visit us in Granada and we had to do a real Spanish night out. Without Miguel, we all usually make it back by 6am without going out for breakfast, but we had to do breakfast and stay out til 8:30am just for the hell of it to say that we do it the Spanish way (at least occasionally). They go out at like 12am and then they make it to the discotecas around 3am and then the rest varies. There is no “early morning hours” there is only night and day.
So. Carnaval, a high high high, right before a week of lows, but that’s the point isn’t it? It’s the custom before Ash Wednesday. Carnaval was like a ginormous botellón with costumes in the streets of Cadiz. Botellones are just people drinking in plazas essentially instead of going to the bars before the discotecas. They were made popular by the bad booze that some bars gave out I guess, however many years ago. So people bought their own and went to drink outside because it’s not like most moms are going to be like, “Yes, please bring ALL your drunk ass friends into my house to ruin my floors so the neighbors can call the cops on us. I would love to see you act like an ass!” Ha. Carnaval had a lot of parades and I think I met more native Granada Spanish people there than actual Cadiz people. All we met were people from Granada, all night long! My favorite was probably this group of Where’s Waldo (Donde está Wally) guys all from Granada. They were overwhelming because there were at least 50 of them, no exaggeration. It was easy to tell who the foreigners were too, because they had masks and no clever costumes (like us por ejemplo). There were parades and side shows, carnival foods, vendors, the beach, and just the running around and the talking to people part was super. We must have been on the same ‘track’ if you will as the same people all night because we kept seeing the same costumes and strangers, but we never ran into our friends that we knew were there. It’s so crazy how things in life work out that way because there were thousands of people there and we kept seeing the same people. We did run into some people we knew, but like the ones that we weren’t expecting to see and…it was just weird. Things kept working out and not working out but in ways where everything made sense. The world is just funny; everyone has weird nights like that though I suppose.
There was one point in the night where I was not with the girls but when I rejoined them, Autumn was attached to the arm of this rather muscle-y young man. Apparently she just randomly grabbed him out of the crowd. (This is why we’re friends, her whole ‘hi let’s be friends’ is just so entertaining. It’s different than my ‘hi let’s be friends’) This boy’s name was Adam and he was in the Navy. Now they’ve been talking for the last month, he’s visited, brought his friends, and now we’re going to visit them in Rota at the navy base this weekend for his house warming party since he’s newly stationed in Spain, and maybe stopping there during Semana Santa since it´s next to Sevilla. Woot! Funny coincidences keep showing up about him and his friend that Carissa is seeing now, for her and for Autumn. I had encounters of other sorts, but like I said, Carnaval was an interesting night.
Though whatever ‘spell’ was going on Saturday was broken when I learned later, that that night Adam also had his car crash. Or maybe it was more like a dance. You know in movies where they show parallel events happening and the music escalates and then shit happens? I felt like that’s kind of what it was. I had dreamt about Mike all week too, and the dreams had subsided in the last few months before that. That was such a sad week. Then Unc’ died on Ash Wednesday, two days after they cut Adam’s life support. Well, I don’t remember who said it to me, but deaths and whatever else, usually come in threes. Lance in February, and then Adam, and Unc’ in March. So I shouldn’t have to miss any more family reunions (ha, at the very least).
One of my favorite smells in the world is incense trapped in wood and cloth. I associate it with card readings, cigarette smoke, and coffee rings…dark lipstick and warmth…nights with guitars, cassettes, booze, and laughter. When I was about 14, a group of my friends and I were celebrating Halloween. I was either in eight or ninth grade, which would have made me an evil fairy or pirate, but I’m not sure. I’m leaning toward eight grade. I went trick or treating that year—don’t judge! I went this past year too actually….From what I remember, either way, there were parties with food and parental supervision (oy…it really wasn’t that long ago), we had trips planned to the local haunted places, and Mike, one of the planners of our group, a future best friend, had a neighbor, Val, that was going to read our palms. I am still unclear as to how deep she looks into things like that, like if she just dabbled, or otherwise.
The memory I have of this night is extremely vague. I remember feelings of anticipation and I think it was warm in the house. There were probably around fifteen of us. We were shoved into her house which wasn’t huge and we all had to wait our turn of course, on top of each other on the couches, costumes and all (I wish I could remember). The lights were dim and we kept ourselves occupied gossiping and with her pet iguana that Mike had to babysit on occasion. The neighbor was dressed in scarves and skirts that suited her role for the night and there was also appropriate music.
I do remember clearly from the readings, that my Ethereal Juice Lurve is an old soul, and that I’m a young soul (Ha! I feel like a young soul…), and then something about the chains in my love line. What else is new! I swear I‘ve had the same fucking ups and downs ever since my first butterflies about boys when I could barely talk(…I watched enough Disney to figure shit out). There were people with supposed twins, success in love or work, among other things (blahhh). The most curious reading of the night though, was Adam’s. He and Mike were best friends since the beginning of their lives and about as opposite as friends can get, though they played off each other well.
The details of the readings are gone but we all tried to laugh the main thing off. Val predicted that by the end of high school Adam would essentially be a big fucking partier and that if he didn’t slow his roll he’d die early…maybe around eighteen and most likely by car accident. Well wasn’t that just a fucking joke. How cliché—that’s one the biggest causes of teenage deaths, and besides, none of us partied. We were the middle group. The group that got decent grades, knew a little bit of everybody, and threw decently sized get togethers with our parents lurking in the background.
It was a little eerie and I don’t think Adam liked it. None of us did. If that was him, where would we be? In the car? Not friends at all? We did our early teen freak out of ‘what if’ and how we could barely think that far ahead. But c’mon we were fourteen. The scariest thing of the moment was social humiliation. Talk about it was barely hot and only long enough for the atmosphere of Halloween to fade into Thanksgiving. I don’t know. Maybe that was Val trying to scare us into being good little teenagers, most adults will say anything to kids to get them to behave. Maybe it was a Halloween show for her. Who knows, because the thing is, our group, though it never ‘fell apart’, it shifted. He really did start doing all she said, and it went as she predicted.
This turned into a rather somber post, but I forgot I hadn´t written about anything in a few weeks until after I was already writing. Two months left here, more or less. So much has happened and is happening, or maybe I´m just in a spot where I´m more aware of events outside the U.S. Probably both. I decided I´m going back to Morocco before I go home. The protests never got super serious there and I have a friend now to stay with. Ha. I remember when we went with the program that some parents were freaking out about Egypt. Yes, because they´re so close together! (Not, in case the sarcasm was missed.) Then the protests really did spread and then some other trips after us did get cancelled…huh. Well, hopefully nothing awful happens while I´m there. Whatever though, I´m excited for tomorrow just because tomorrow is tomorrow and why the fuck not!