Tuesday, January 31, 2006
The Inner Harbour by Barry Pellett
Give Up by The Postal Service
Due to extreme procrastination, I have neither developed my pictures or blogged about my 9 days in a country that worships jamón serrano as its personal lord and savior; however, since today's thesis-writing efforts seem to be completely in vain, it is time to write about Spain.
In all fairness to Spaniards, Catalans, and Basques everywhere (contrary to popular belief, they are not all in the same country... or they are, but don't want to be...), I didn't really see the whole country. The majority of days were spent in Madrid (pronounced Mah-dri, because they can't not be difficult), but I did get to El Escorial and Toledo. The picture of me was taken by Nacho (Local Wood-Chopping Expert) in front of Toledo's cathedral. This cathedral likely has a long and impressive Spanish (or Castellano, which is the same thing but not) name, but I cannot remember it. I'm sure it's written down somewhere.
The day to day happenings of my few days in Spain (or Espain) would be of interest to no one, save those poor souls who were there; therefore, I shall discuss the differences I found between Canada and Spain.
1) Spaniards eat more seafood than every other country in the world combined. And meat. I think I saw one potato the whole time I was there. It's ridiculous. Shrimp, fish, caviar, and octopus (which I couldn't bring myself to eat, having had a pet octopus as a child) showed up in almost every meal. Plates of jamón serrano (which were inhaled by mi compañero before it hit the table), cheese (which was fantastic), and cold ham were everywhere. But here's the kicker - they are skinny wrenches. The whole country! Not an once of fat on any of these people. Do they have tapeworm? Is that the secret?
2) Everyone smokes everywhere all the time. There are only two sacred spaces: the subway and the theatre. Other than that, it's fair game. There are signs on the ground in La Vanguada that said "No fumando", but it was basically covered with cigarette butts.
3) Spaniards have a wicked sense of humour. Or maybe it's just the friends of mi compañero. Apparently "metalugy" only exists in.. erm.. English.
4) They have very interesting figures of speech. Everyone is either tío or tía, and every sentence ends with ¡hombre! "Pero bueno" is used to change the conversation, and "en fin" is supposed to indicate that the conversation is ending, it's 5am and we want to go home to sleep. I learned numerous other new words, such as coño, cabrón, gilipollas, and joé. ¡Qué educación!
5) Spanish logic defies... well, logic. For example, Catalonia wants to become more independent, like Quebec in Canada. Now, when Quebec had their last referendum, a bunch of Canadians went to Montreal and had a big rally. There was even a rally in Nanaimo, on the other side of the country. The point was to show Quebec how much they meant to Canada. The Spanish way of dealing with possible seperation is to boycott all goods from Catalonia. And at Christmas, this means no drinking the really nice and fancy Catalonian champagne. By doing this, the Spaniards believe that Catalonia will realise they want to stay, that they need Spain's money, and that they didn't really mean to take the car out without asking.
6) The Canadian idea of going out for coffee is a joke. Half an hour? An hour, tops? The average coffee in Spain lasts at least 3 hours and 2 cigarettes. What's more, their coffee is better.
There were more differences, more culture shocks, but the above were the ones I felt worth mentioning. After all, everyone knows that Europeans drive as though the laws of physics don't apply to them.
The trip was fantastic, save the airplane part. Oh, I could rant on the airplane part... but that's another blog for another day.