Saturday, June 28, 2008

3:21 a.m.?!?!

It´s 3:21 a.m. as I sit here at Oasis Backpackers´Hostel here in Sevilla. I´m awake!?!?

Today was quite the day. Woke to a "breakfast" of a brown toast called wheat and a warm, slightly sweet drink called milk. Hey, it was free, so who´s complaining?

Hooked up with one of my dormmates, Mary the ballet teacher from Calgary, Alberta, Canada...and we headed off to wander the streets of Sevilla, with the ultimate goal of seeing the Alcazar. The Alcazar is a fortress/palace/gardens of impressive proportions, influenced by a mixture of Muslim and Christian periods of rule here in Southern Spain.

It was AMAZINGLY hot here today...41 degrees Celsius...and as we wandered semi-lost through the Barrio de Santa Cruz looking for the Alcazar, it quickly proved that our brown bread and warm milk breakfast was not going to give us the stamina to make it through the next hour. We stopped at a little cafe and ordered salads. You see, everything so far has been fried carbohydrates so all we were craving was something NATURAL. You can imagine my disappointment when my seafood salad with the dressing on the side was a plate of pasta slathered in garlic mayonnaise with a thin slice of tomato and three kernels of corn as garnish, topped with four sticks of a very fishy "krab"-like nature. Yikes. But, I was starving...

The Alcazar was astoundingly beautiful, and the reward for our efforts was.....the rooftop pool at the hostel!! It couldn´t have come sooner. After the pool we rendezvous´d with another Canadian gal and walked over to the supermercado to buy some real food. I came home and absolutely gorged myself on a banana, a peach, and apple, and enough turkey breast-gouda "sandwiches" to go through the entire package of turkey (no bread). PROTEIN!!! YES!!!

After spending some talking with a few random people about hostelling around Spain, I decided to reserve a bed in a Barcelona hostel for next week since it´s getting to be the busy season and I wanted to make sure I got a decent room in a part of town close to all the cool stuff to see. I worked that out online and then a group of about 15 of us headed off to look for a rumored free flamenco show.

As we stood in a group outside of the hostel and everyone was asking everyone else if they knew how to get where we were going, no one was able to convincingly state that they knew anything about our destination or what route to take. Someone had to step up. Given a map of the spider-like network of Sevilla streets, I leapt up and took control. With an anxious group of folks all wanting to see their first flamenco show, which happened to start in only 15 minutes, I felt the pressure mounting. I knew I´d be a hero if I got us there on time, and that I´d be completely ostracized if I failed to find our location quickly...somehow I rallied all that directional instinct and map-reading prowess that I store deep inside...and we walked in at the moment it started.

This show was quite a find. Not only did it turn out to truly be free, it also turned out to be in a non-smoking venue, with great live music/dancing, in a tiny unmarked club on a tiny street, with mostly locals in attendance. It was a gorgeous performance and it was nice to see it in such a small venue, without amplification for the singer or the guitar player. The passion and intensity were astounding, as was the sweat dripping off of the dancer!

This show ended at 12:30 a.m., but in this town and this country, that is just when things are beginning. I was up for whatever...going home, going out...and since the majority of the group wanted to go out, we did. We walked about a half hour to a club that was supposedly a great place to dance your ass off. When we got in line, everyone quickly realized that most of us were severly underdressed for such a club, given the attire of the other folks we could see waiting to get in. Here it´s still 90 degrees and everyone is in full slacks, shirts, dress shoes, evening dresses, etc., compared to our flip flops, cargo shorts, tshirts, and halter tops. I knew that was likely to happen, drawing on my experience from other travels in which I was denied admittance to a club because I looked like a dirty traveler (looked like!?). As it turned out, one of our group knew a local girl and she met us in the line, which happened to be out the door and continuing about 200 yards up the street. She took one look at us and told us it wasn´t going to happen and that we were wasting our time waiting in line. We then found out it was a 30 Euro cover charge to just get in the door....that´s about $46 and change I think based on today´s exchange rate. Um, no. Dirty, POOR travelers don´t pay that to go dance in a nightclub. We walked on and found another place that was suggested to us, but they denied us because an invitation was required to be admitted. Of course, a couple of our women smiled really nicely and all of a sudden an invitation appeared out of nowhere. After a couple of hours and a couple of beers, the better dressed in the group headed off to then go dancing at what was now 3:00 a.m., while others of us hopped in a cab and headed home. Yes, I just said that they left to GO dancing at 3:00 a.m. Like I said, this country doesn´t even eat dinner until 10 or 11 p.m., let alone go out. Anyway, I am not dancing and, hence, here I sit at now 4:03, stone cold sober and somehow still strangely awake, writing until my wrists hurt.

If I can rouse my ass out of bed in 4 hours, I will head to the local market with a group of folks. I love going to "the market" in other see such a great part of the culture at such markets. Other than that, I plan to see the cathedral tomorrow, relax in the hot mid-day sun either in the pool or in some little air-conditioned pub, and then head out for the finals of the European Football Championships in which Spain meets the mighty Germany to decide this year´s winner. This country is already buzzing since Spain even made the final, as they apparently are always good but perenially underachieve. If they win, I may have to be prepared to walk home through rioting in the streets. If they lose....I wonder.... :)

Buenas noches, people. I´m having fun, but I´m still thinking aboutcha.


Christine said...

Hey at least you're traveling, and seeing the world! Sounds like you are having a blast!

Meggan said...

Hi Dennis! Sounds like a good time so far. Are you going to visit the land of Conan the Barbarian too? Hah. It was filmed in the Tabernes Desert near Almería (I guess that's east of you). Arnold may be in California but the legend lives on..!

Fritz said...

Hey Dennis. Andrea told us to check out your blog and we're enjoying it. We arrive in Barcelona on the 7th of July. If you are still there, we would love to meet up. Drop us an email and let us know - fritzandjenny "at" gmail-dot-com

Fritz and Jenny

The G Family said...

Wish we were there. Sounds like you need a fashion consultant! I can't wait to see pictures. Take care, be safe.

Jen & Justin said...

all sounds great! and 41 Celsius...uh can you spell that one out in Farenheit for us Americans. actually, don't worry i just pulled out my handy dandy homemade C vs F "chart" that i'll be carrying with me when we go to Europe. ha! i've grown into a weather freak and not knowing the hell Celsius really means will drive me insane. have fun!