Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Woah that is a lot of sheep

Saturday morning Anna and I took a 4 hour bus ride to Cádiz to celebrate Carnaval.
The ocean has been such a profound part of my life that the smell of it, as I got off the bus, made me immediately homesick. During the day the city was completely deserted and we walked along the coastline stopping for tapas and drinks every so often. The sunlight in Cádiz is incredible; the way it cascades off the ocean and onto the otherwise plain buildings gives the whole city a yellowish gleam.
Around 9:00pm Anna and I were hunting incessantly for a restaurant that was open. Carnaval is a huge event and people come from all over for the weekend. The fact that almost all restaurants close so the employees can enjoy the party is both wonderful and flawing to me considering the economic crisis here. At exactly 10:30pm the streets of Cádiz went from empty to pulsing with hordes of people dressed in all kinds of costumes; screaming, dancing, and carrying around bottles of rum. The narrow streets became impossible to maneuver through and the plazas, physically hazardous. Around every corner was another chorizo or churros stand. The dancing and singing grew exponentially throughout the night as the content of the rum bottles dwindled. Life got rough around 6am. Exhausted and freezing we huddled together on a stoop and played 20 questions to pass the time before our 8am bus arrived to take us home. The bus was of course an hour late which allowed us to witness the sun come up over the ocean. The bus ride back is a blur of Spaniards taking tequila shots and singing and a growing headache. It was impressive to say the least; they must have had more to drink on the bus ride home than I had in the last 12 hours. It was Halloween on hallucinative drugs.

In the midst of chaos I had an interesting conversation with a guy who asked me why I studied South America as my concentration for international studies and not Spain or Europe. He kept telling me that Spain is obviously more important since it is that much older and more developed. He couldn't explain to me what he meant by "more important." Of course my next question was whether or not England is more important that the U.S...he said yes, of course. I am intrigued by how patriotic Spaniards are, but have also been alarmed on many occasion by their racism towards South Americans and Africans. The conversation turned from a discussion to a yelling argument very quickly (mainly because arguing and swearing in Spanish is just so much more fun).

Monday morning I woke up at 6 to catch the train to Ronda. I did not see a single soul on my 25 minute walk to the train station. (cafés don't even open until 9:00, oof.) Ronda is a precious little place with old architecture and buildings built on the edges of cliffs that overlook green fields and mountains. The center of the city was bustling with people but as I walked farther out into the pueblo I found quaint little homes and farms. Birds singing constantly. I've really started to enjoy traveling on my own; roaming until I find something of interest and chatting/singing to myself. Very glad I made the trip, Ronda is a lovely place.

Lisbon on Thursday!

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