Welcome to Spain! After a long respite from this blog where I concentrated on other things in my life, De La Boca De Bekka is back and coming to you live from España! I’ve been here for a week and a half and in that time have taken note of 5 observations I would like to share with you.
Observation 1: The numbers on the houses here, unlike the United States, are not evens on one side and odds on the opposite. They are quite the contrary. I was staying with a wonderful, kind and generous family in the outskirts of Madrid which in turn took me about 45 minutes to first take the bus, then the metro to get to El Parque Retiro, my favorite park in Madrid. This was where I usually stopped first for a little amble around the trees shedding their green and donning their orange and yellows. The smell reminded me of autumn in upstate New York. The first day I took the bus and actually paid attention to where exactly my host’s house was and what number. I noticed something I have never seen before in my 31 years of life. As aforementioned, the numbers of the houses start at 1 and increase on one side to the top of the cul-de-sac and then continue down to the other end. So 1 is on your right and 56 is on your left. I think this is most interesting and something I have wondered in the past when in the motherland why they don’t do the same. It’s not specific to Spain, mind you, one of my oldest friends lived in London for many years and she has informed me it’s like that there too.
Observation 2: There is exercise equipment at many parks. I’m not talking about crazy, intricate things that work your abs, inner thighs, thumbs and neck muscles promising you the perfect bod which will in turn get you all the lovers you could ever ask for. I’m talking simple things like a bench with pedals built into the ground so as you sit sedentary you can move your legs a little. Perhaps read the newspaper with a coffee you bought at the corner cafe. In the park near the house where I stayed, there was something akin to the StairMaster, something that resembled skis where I suppose you ski in place, and a few other objects built to surround the playground for youngsters. I feel that because obesity is an epidemic in the United States, someone needs to follow suit over there with this brilliant idea.
Observation 3: The Spanish eat every few hours. I LOVE this. I suffer from what is medically known as a case of hangry. When I am extremely hungry, I get very angry. I am not enjoyable to be around and I cannot be held accountable for how I act when this occurs. It’s as if the generally nice disposition I try to display has completely flown the coop and in its stead is the devil incarnate. So when I am hungry and angry, I am hangry. I will apologize profusely after I’ve eaten as to how I behaved before towards the unfortunate person who had the unpleasant experience of dealing with me. But in Spain, they love to eat and drink! I typically eat a large breakfast in the morning, have a snack around noon, and then find a funky restaurant to partake in the menú del día mid-afternoon. I love this concept. It’s usually a three course meal including coffee or dessert and one drink for around 10 euros give or take. For someone who loves to eat, this is three courses of heaven in the middle of the afternoon. The most notable one I had to date was miso soup, salad with apples and walnuts, and octopus with cilantro pesto all accompanied with a delicious glass of albariño (a type of Spanish white wine that is delicious with seafood).
Observation 4: The Spanish language is waaaay easier to understand in Latin America than in Spain. I came here specifically for this reason. I worked my little tush off to be able to speak Spanish while I was traveling in Central America and I still wasn’t where I wanted to be. Then I spent 10 months back in the states where my use of Spanish was limited to pretty much watching every Pedro Almodóvar film that exists, anything with Gael García Bernal as well as every b grade Spanish language film on Netflix. If you care to take my suggestions, watch Volver and También La Lluvia. They are both wonderful. But I digress, I long to have an engaging conversation in Spanish, one in where I don’t have to stutter over my words, say the word in English because I don’t know it in Spanish, where I’m not constantly asking the other person to clarify. It’s annoying. For both parties. One day I will be fluent. Mark my words, amigos!
Observation 5: Man purses aka Murses. These are prevalent. Spanish men rock these and more power to them because of this. Need I say more?