Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spain. Or, notes from "civilization"

I am going to live in Andalusia someday. Just to get that out of the way.

Today, for lunch, I had sushi and a Whopper. Some itches you just have to scratch. I really missed sushi. I would have preferred a Double Cheeseburger from McDonalds, but oh well.

So I flew to the southern coast of Spain to meet up with my family for a week, minus 2 siblings. We've been seeing stuff in southern Spain, like Gibraltar and Granada. Its been really fun. I like the wine. And the food. But its been really weird in some other ways.

The day I left Lome, I walked to the marche at about 12 pm. it was something like 50 degrees out. When I got off the plane in Paris, they said it was like 6 degrees out. I seriously didn't stop shivering for 8 hours. I never realized how used to the heat I became.

When I got off the plane in Paris, I marveled at the differences in the way people travel. Africans dress up and bring piles of overstuffed suitcases. Americans dress like they are going to a slumber party and bring piles of overstuffed bags. The difference being that west Africans are bringing presents for whomever they are visiting.

I was hungry, so I bought a smoked salmon bagel sandwich. I paid with my credit card. . . and stared at the offered receipt and pen for a good long time before I remembered that I had to sign something. Has it always been like that? The sandwich was amazing.

At the Malaga airport, I got a taxi to the condo. I was the only passenger in the car. I felt naked.

I've been eating a lot of cheese. Now I can't eat cheese anymore.

When I got to the condo/resort, and after the talking, I realized that I didn't have any clean clothes to change into. So I went to the bathroom, filled up the sink (running water! sparkling bathroom!), got a bar of soap, started scrubbing . . . and my dad comes in and is like 'there's a washing machine in the kitchen.' . . . oh.

I can't begin to describe the wonder of a washing machine. Dryers are useless, but washers are amazing.

We've been taking tours places. With guides. And buses. And someone to tell me where to stand to take a picture. Tourists are like well-trained sheep. They even bleat on cue. If you like tours, do not be offended. If you read this blog, I doubt you clap and cheer when the tour guide gives you the right cue.

I think of myself as a neo-tourist. I like to wander and linger. I found the office of the Social Democrats of Gibraltar. One of my favorite parts of the trip was drinking Malaga sweet wine with my brother and sister in this little sidewalk cafe in the shadow of a cathedral.

Concerning the Christian 'reconquista' of Spain, I think my brother summed it up best in Al-Hambra palace when he was like "the moors built all kinds of pretty "stuff" then the christians came and covered it up with ugly "stuff."'

I feel fundamentally out of place. I can't figure out why. Its not the language barrier. I am used to that. I really enjoy the food. I missed my family a lot. I love seeing new places. The scenery here is amazing. But I'm surrounded by excess when I came from not enough. Its really weird.

I am sitting in reception, surrounded by people on iPads, or smartphones. I am embarrassed to even take my phone out of my pocket here.

When I got to Europe, I didn't stop shivering until I took a hot shower. My first one since I left the States (unless you count the lukewarm showers at this one hotel in Lome). I really love it if I don't think about how much water I am using . . .

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