Thursday, May 3, 2012

El Primero Dia de Espana.

Hola amigos! Estamos en Seville, España! Pienso que esta loco porque, nunca creí yo estaría aquí.

Enough with the showing off. I've finally traversed the Atlantic via a 10 hour flight and reached beautiful Seville, Spain! Boy, were my expectations met and exceeded. The place is amazing. I've only been here 4 hours or so and I've already learned so much!

The flight was everything I expected and then some. My mom and I got seated behind and eccentric man of Mexican decent (or so he kept insisting to the lady beside him). I tried to catch up on my sleep, as I had been advised to do, but I found myself having to deal with sinuses-gone-wild, uncomfortably small spaces for an international flight, and the side show I was seated near. 

At one point in the flight, I was happily situated with my head resting on a makeshift pillow positioned precariously on the fold out desk infront of me. As I drifted between the harsh reality of a forever flight and the wild fantasies of escapades through Spain with a ruggedly handsome Spaniard, I realized that my head was being knocked around due to the side show bouncing around in his seat repeatedly like a kid waiting for his favorite cartoon show to come on. Two Advil and what felt like 40 minutes later, I ended up raming my head into the back of his seat and jolting him forward. He didn't move anymore after that. 

We were picked up from the Aeropuerto de Seville by a man waving around a little paper sign that said 'Gleason' in big serif font (how many of you can claim that one?).

"Hola! Como están?" is what he said.
"Holcomostan" however, is what I heard.

This is where I learned Lesson 1: Spaniards do not sound like my college spanish professor.
 Now, I wasn't naive coming into this thinking they would, but I thought things would be a bit easier to understand. I thought with my college level experience I would at least know how to say things like "Where is the bathroom?", "Can you take our picture?", and "Hey! That's my butt you're touching!"; but, every time I'm placed in a situation where I can show of my novice level speaking skills to my attractive waiter, I seize up like a six-year-old suffering from stage fright. My confidant bubbling personality is reduced to a wimpy deer-in-headlights stare followed by a clueless smile and series of short nods.

"Ha terminado?"
(smile, nod, nod, nod)
"Sí, sí."

This brings my to my second lesson: Tapas are not like beef empanadas.... in the slightest.

We were sheparded into our little transportation vehicle accompanied by my suggestions that maybe we weren't really being transported to the Hotel Becquer, but rather a slaughter house for American tourists. My mom rolled her eyes, calming my unnecessary fears, and we were off, through the rolling hills of Seville.

Our little travel man suggested we eat at a restaurante called Azarápas. He kept referring to it as 'The besth thapas bar in the town'.

Mom: "What's a 'tapa'?"
Dad: "It's like a beef empanada"
(looking at my dad like he's a lost puppy)
Man: "Not exacthly. We haveth many thypes of thapas."

We decided we'd try it out after we checked into our hotel.

{Side note: By hotel, I mean our little room the size of my living room with two full sized beds jammed together in the middle of the room, taking up about 3/4th of the space. Where they lack in the bedroom, they decided to make up for in the bathroom which, I'm pretty sure is bigger than my bedroom back home.}

When we got there, everyone in the open patio restaurant was staring at us... as if it was extremely obvious we were foreigners or something. We were seated by a cute 20something and began to sort our way through the menu with little to no help from my dad, Mr. Know-it-all. Being wrongly misguided, my mom kept asking him 'where the beef empanadas were' because that's all she wanted. I ignored them, choosing to navigate on my own, and finding What looked like cooked zucchini with garlic sauce and a lamb lasagna; however when the guide asked what I wanted, I had a hard time explaining it  to him (see lesson 1).

"I sthpeaka englisth."
"Oh do you!?"

He handed me an english menu after that. Turns out I had been right about what I had wanted being lamb and some type of zucchini. My dad kept asking where the 'beef tapas' were to satisfy my mom's cravings. This is what they brought out to her after they ordered:

Not exactly an equivalent to an empanada, eh? Turns out a 'tapa' is a type of snack or appetizer and they had just ordered some cousin to cold tomato soup. As they gaged over their order , I enjoyed both of my tapas. Now wherever my dad goes, he makes this joke about never ordering tapas again.

To spite him, I bought a book of tapa recipes.


Lesson 3: We have topped Europe in comfort.

What's the one thing you think of when flying 10+ hours in a single day? For me it's 'What's the most comfortable thing I can wear?'. I showed up to the airport in shots and a T-shirt, thinking 'Oh, this should be easy to move around in, and it's a vacation, so I'll throw caution to the wind'. Wrong.

Turns out, going to the airport in Madrid is equivalent to a five-star event. There were women walking around in heels I only dare wear once a week to church, if even then. Tight pants and blazers litter the place. It's like a 24/7 fashion runway over here, and all I packed was pants and T-shirts. Needless to say, I will definitely be shopping while I'm over here.

That's about all of the events from today. Tomorrow (the 3rd) my parents and I are taking a 'Half-day Majestic Tour' of Seville. No kidding, it's called a 'majestic' tour.