. I ran into some LSU students on my plane so we navigated the airport together thank goodness. I would probably still be in the airport without them. We met up with our group at an Internet café and sat around until 1:30 pm when everyone had arrived. We had a 5-hour bus ride to Granada from Madrid. Of course I fell asleep for the first half. We stopped at this really strange bakery/ store. It wasn't like a gas station, but it served food and had a bar. A huge group of families arrived who must have been coming from a soccer tournament. The town was something out of an old scary movie. After we left the landscape became beautiful. There were mountains everywhere. I tried to take some pictures from the bus. After the long bus ride, our families awaited us and we walked to their respective apartments. My apartment is above a travel agency, restaurant, and a Tommy Hilfiger. Its on the fourth floor and has a balcony that looks out at la Calle Alhamar. My roommate, Emily, is great!!! We get along so well. Unfortunately we don’t have any classes together, but we both siesta for almost 4 hours each day (or maybe that’s still just jet lag?). The family is a mom, dad, and 25-year-old son. The 26-year-old daughter lives with her fiancée. We live in a 4-bedroom apartment, and my roommate and I share a room. There is a kitchen, a dining room, 1 full bathroom, ½ bathroom, and a TV room. Emily and I lucked out with our family. All of the vegetables and fruits we eat come from the family’s garden.
They want to take us there soon. I can’t wait!! Both of the parents work at a real estate office. It’s interesting because they can tell us how much real estate costs her. An apartment in the big shopping area of town costs 12.000 euros a month. That’s almost $19,000 a month. The apartments up higher on the mountain that look down on the city and at the Alhambra cost upwards of $3 million dollars! The food here is really interesting to say the least. It’s all strange combinations. The first night we arrived, our family took us out to dinner to meet their foreign exchange student from last year and her parents. They came back to visit. So that definitely reinforces that I have a good family. We went to a tapas bar. The tapas weren’t that good. They eat a lot of bread here, but the drinks were delicious. Vino tinto de verano is a summer drink here and its red wine with either seltzer or sprite. Basically poor man sangria. The next day we went out to lunch with the family. By this point we didn’t think the mom cooked, but boy were we wrong. Every meal has bread with it, but after eating an entire plate of rice or pasta you are sick of the carbs!! One interesting dish she made was tuna, olives, oranges, sunflower seeds, onions, balsamic vinegar, and raspberry vinegar. It was really good, but how would you ever think to put those together? For dessert one night she cored apples and put a cinnamon stick and baked them in the oven. They were to die for. Enough about food! On Wednesday, our group went to Sacromonte. We went in a monastery, an old church, and catacombs. There were two rocks in the catacombs that were found a long time ago. Legend has it: if you touch the black rock you will find your soul mate in a year. If you touch the white rock you will be divorced in a year or your partner will die. Of course all of the girls touched the black rock. We went up to a plaza after to see a view of the whole city of Granada. It was beautiful
. Granada is in the mountains, but about thirty minutes or an hour from the coast. Gypsies used to live in caves in the mountains. This part of Granada up high on the mountain is the tourist area. There are many flamenco restaurants and caves. Also many Arabs and Moroccans sell things. Hopefully later this week we can go back. Tomorrow we are going to Sevilla. It’s a 3-hour bus ride, but it should be a blast! My classes are going well. I’m taking Spanish for Business Professionals and another Spanish that reviews grammar and is writing intensive. The Spanish for Business is more of a business class than a Spanish class. Even when the teacher gives us the English translation, we still don’t know what he is talking. Also the final is worth 80% of my final grade. Last night we went out to an Irish pub. We arrived around midnight, but most of the places here don’t really get going until 2 am. We had class the next morning, so we left around 3:15. People were still out in the streets. It was bizarre. I guess after taking a siesta you can’t go to bed. Here between 2 and 5 everything closes. The stores in the tourist parts of town don’t close, but by my apartments nothing is open. Restaurants are obviously open, but if you need to run an errand you are out of luck. Everyone goes home and rests. Places stay open till 8:30 and later though. It’s taking some getting used to, but the siestas help with the jet lag.
Now for some funny stories!
1. One of the boys in the program lives in a huge apartment. It is 3 floors!! They have all the Spanish cable stations, Internet; live in a nice part of town, etc. The mom is divorced, but I know at least one of the sons named Jesus lives there. Well he has a marijuana plant growing outside. Each day he checks on it by moving it in and out of the sun and watering it. The other day he was talking to his mom about the plant saying that he thinks its ready. We think they are drug dealers.
2. A girl in the program lives with a super strict mom. She informed them on how they must take showers. Rinse your hair. Turn off the water, shampoo, turn on water to rinse out, etc. They don’t have a shower curtain. You can’t catch the water in the bath because baths are for relaxing and they don’t need to relax. One night she made pizza and then gave the girls each 3 hot dogs. Obviously the girls didn’t finish their hot dogs and the mother gave them the hot dogs for breakfast!! Sick!!!
Ps. There is a gay pride marathon/ half marathon/ race in Madrid when we are there. We might do it!! Haha!!
Hola! I figured that the best way to let everyone know about my trip is by posting in a blog (Sorry to copy you MP. It was just such a great idea!!). I arrived in Spain on Sunday. The flight was easy thanks to the meds I took after dinner. Everyone on the plane spoke Spanish. When they came around with newspapers you had the choice of Spanish or English. When boarding the plane, the rows were announced in Spanish. I originally had an aisle seat, but a man asked me to switch so he could be close to his wife. Therefore I sat in the middle. After dinner I took a pill and turned on Justin Beiber "Never Say Never." I slept extremely well given the conditions. I woke up to breakfast and we landed in Madrid around 10 am local time. That is 3 am central time and 4 am Eastern Time. I wish the flight had been longer than 7 hours that way I could have slept some more. When we arrived the airport was extremely confusing. We had to get off the plane, get baggage, show passports, and then pass through customs. Customs waved us straight through