Spanish beginnings

The second installment of my abandoned Granadino memoir, Flawed Abroad: Useless editorializing from an ignorant, close-minded American on his semester overseas. (If you missed the first one, check out the entry just prior to this one and then come on back now, ya hear?)

10 Enero (January) 2005, 9:10 p.m. Spanish Time (as such until otherwise noted)

Compared to the streets of Granada, the layout of de Gaulle now seems borderline sane. Seriously, the city looks like it was designed by M.C. Escher during a coughing fit. While he was tripping on LSD. And suffering from a severe case of explosive diarrhea. Every third street is one-way and rarely wider across than your average sumo wrestler. The street signs—rather than being located on the streets themselves—are affixed to the corners of buildings instead. This in itself isn’t a problem, except that half of them didn’t even appear on the map we’d been given. Complementing the many labeled-but-not-mapped streets are various unlabeled alleyways, which our student guide, Justin, gleefully led us through during our “Welcome to the City” tour, promising that they would shave at least 10 minutes off our travel time wherever we went. He didn’t seem to care that those extra 10 minutes wouldn’t do me much good if I ended up in Africa and had to eat my own feces to survive.[1]

Designed via Etch-a-Sketch? Only Dios may know.

Actually, I don’t really mind the walking all that much; at the very least it should prove beneficial to my health, seeing as how I am a self-acknowledged fatty at heart.[2] Speaking of which, food continues to be an adventure, though I’ve suffered no irreparable damage as of yet. When I woke up this morning, my señora had three pieces of toast and a steaming mug of cocoa—Cola Cao, to be precise—waiting for me, along with these wicked sweet wafer/cookie/cracker/heroin things, which I proceeded to dunk in said cocoa. For dinner I had a home-fried chicken sandwich topped with tomato and lettuce, the latter of which I ate by itself and the former of which I tastefully set aside, explaining how “allergic” I am to them. (I get the feeling that my allergies will be undergoing quite a revival this semester.)

Communicating with my señora remains hit or miss. I can usually figure out the gist of what she’s saying to me by tuning into a few key words, and questions are easy to pick out thanks to her rising inflection when she asks them. However, I don’t always pick up on the actual content of the question, so my default answer is usually a clueless—though enthusiastic—“¡Sí sí!.” This works fine when she asks me if I’ve always wanted to study in España or if she wants me to say an English language synonym for “ocean” out loud, but backfires when she asks if I’m a big fan of scheise porn.[3]

Moving on, I should also mention that I finally figured out how to hook into the unsecured wireless connection. I only get the tail end of it, but that’s good enough to check my e-mail, search the web ever so slowly and, yes, the lowest of the low, sign on to AIM (but only for a few minutes at a time, I swear!). Hey, I figure if Spain didn’t want me to have wireless internet, it wouldn’t have put me in the only apartment close enough to a hub to pick up its signal. Qué será será.

While we’re not on the subject, allow me to now regale you with two insightful social observations and/or massively unfair cultural generalizations: 1) Contrary to popular belief, the mullet never really went out of style; it simply immigrated to Granada, where I assure you it is flourishing in great and varied numbers. 2) Americans make pizza. Granadinos make “pizza.” That is to say, it has most of the same key components, but it doesn’t quite cut the mustard (which, incidentally, I wouldn’t put it past them to use as a topping, either). One interesting note about the ristorante de Pizza we patronized today is the fact that it served a free appetizer course of melted cheese and bread sticks prior to the actual pizza course. This struck me as somewhat redundant, although if you are the type who prefers not to defecate on a regular basis, by all means drop me a line and I will direct you to this fine establishment.

[Present-day editorial: Perhaps that last sardonic remark was somewhat unfair, considering how many times I’ve eaten cheesy bread as a precursor to eating pizza. Then again, Spanish people are weird, so screw it.]

[1] Not that I don’t anyway. But at least this time there’d be a reason for it.
[2] Though not in body, if I’m being obnoxious. In addition to my father’s not insubstantial schnoz and unfortunate sense of humor, I also inherited his high metabolism…and maybe his heart condition if I play my tapas right.
[3] HA! Three poop jokes in three paragraphs. Top that Faulkner!

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1 Response to Spanish beginnings

  1. Todd Ehlers says:

    Jeez, this is fun. The M.C. Escher line caused a burst of laughter; footnote 1, ditto; the mullet observation, trillo (three-o?).

    Suggestion: write “emigrated” instead of “immigrated.” Unless, as I suspect, this is a part of your iconoclastic plans.

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