Posts Tagged ‘Spain’


Mi Familia Espanola

September 1, 2007

I’ve been to so many great places in the past 3 months, and I’ve seen some amazing sites. When it comes down to it all, though, I think the best place I’ve been so far is Alicante. I love the beaches, the palm trees, the lack of urine smell (found mainly in Rota) and the people.

We have family friends here that my dad hasn’t seen in almost 12 years. Still, they invited me into their homes, stopped what they were doing (they all own their own businesses), and have been showing me a great time here. Already, we’ve been to the beach, their personal pool and we toured the city’s beautiful 9th century castle (all in 1 day).

Not to mention, they have 3 of the best kids I’ve ever met. Javier is 4 years old and a handful, but he’s wicked funny and reminds me of myself when I was little. Danya is 6 and an amazingly cute and polite girl. Jorge is 9 and extremely polite, and we teach eachother words in our own languages. (Pretty sad, but at least I know that I have the language competency of a Spanish 9-year old.)

For a while, I was debating between studying abroad in Spain and South America. Now, I have made the decision that if I study anywhere in Spain, I want it to be in Alicante or Elche (a town just north of here.) Either way, I’ll be close to this beautiful city and my Spanish “family” that have done so much for me already.


Aventuras Bolivianas

September 1, 2007

Madrid would not have been the same without David. He stands at a meager 5’5”, with long, greasy curls and a giant potbelly. He smells of stale peanuts and fried cardboard. If you met mi amigo David, you would instantly want him as a pet.

A few nights ago, I decided to go out on the town and see what the Madrileno Night Life is all about. I started off at El Museo de Jamon (translation: Ham Museum). Imagine walking up to a bar and having giant ham legs stare you back in the face.

So, I order some cerveza, start drinking and all of a sudden up pops this little fat weeble in his “Scorpion” hat and starts spitting rapid Spanish at me. Perfect… I can practice my Spanish with him.

We bust out conversation about all the good things George W is doing for the U.S., the U.S. dollar’s leverage in the global exchange, politics, Bolivia, Spain, Gypsies and their rattails and our families. (David works with his wife in Madrid and sends money back to support his 5 children in Bolivia.)

After a good hour and a half of talking and drinking, the conversation took a nose dive into perversion (like any convo between two guys would.) David started talking about pinocha, tetas y chupas. I’ll let you translate that on your own.

Next thing I know, we’re leaving the Ham Museum and headed for David’s favorite bar. Along the way, David takes me on a little detour… La Calle de Monclada. Hookers! Hookers all over the place! Nigerian, Romanian, Spanish, Moroccan… it’s like the ‘It’s a Small World’ Ride in Disney World but with cat calls, boob gropes and lots of syphilis and crabs.

Right away, I could tell David was like a fat kid at an all-you-can-eat buffet. He kept licking his lips every 5 seconds, and I never checked, but I’m sure he was walking half-mast the whole way up the street. He even tried to convince me to buy a hooker named Francese for both of us (…solamente 50 Euros…). My response: “David, no le joderia con tu pene!” (translation: I wouldn’t fuck her with your junk!)

We finished our sweep of Sexo Street, but David still had more tricks up his sleeve. He brought me to one of his favorite hangouts: El Peep Show! I actually never checked one out, and I can say I never will again, but I’ll cross it off my Life To-Do List.

Fast forward to about 10 minutes later… we’re sitting in the Ham Museum again, drinking more cervezas. All of a sudden, in walks this suave, debonair Frenchman, smoking a cigarette in a blue suit. (Yes, the description is necessary because this guy was a major badass. Imagine Antonio Banderas in a 60 year-old French guy’s body… total badass)

David: Hola Felipe. Como Estas?
Felipe: (pauses to take a long drag of his cig) Estoy…. Bien!

This guy was a total baller. We talk, we drink, and soon enough Felipe buys a round and tells me to buy the next. That’s when he asked me how much money I had. If you’ve ever traveled in a foreign country, you know that’s a total Red Flag. (Like my dad continues to tell me: stop being a schmuck and separate your money from your wallet.) I just played dumb and told him I had 10 Euro (more like 50).

A few minutes later, I pull out my wallet to pay for the round, and he grabs my wallet, calling me a liar. Felipe… the French pimp, this amazing badass… was pulling all the money from my wallet. He was actually robbing me in front of my eyes. The best part of all… he’s still smoking his cigarette while he nonchalantly begins to put the money in his pocket like it’s nothing.

I grab the money from his hand, grab my wallet and start yelling: “Who the fuck do you think you are? Get the fuck off my shit you asshole.”

Calmly, without even a twitch, he puffs on his cigarette and says, “You seem upset. You should go see my friend Francese…”


Bittersweet Goodbye

August 19, 2007

This morning my co-workers left for the states. I am already missing some of them, but I can honestly say it was time to move on. I had an interesting 2 and a half months in Rota, but I’m glad I’m gone.

Today I was sitting in my room, dreading having to travel to Madrid because I had no idea how I was going to get there. Oh, best part of all: I had a plane ticket to get to Madrid with all my coworkers… like the giant asshole I am, I canceled the ticket two weeks ago when extending my trip.

Major travel anxiety kicked in, but I found a way, and now I’m on a high-speed train in 1st class, living the life of rich Spaniards. Pretty sweet ass accommodations, considering my dumb ass had to pay an extra 100 Euro to get there.

I’m glad I’m on my way to Madrid. Today, they have this show featuring 100 percussionists by a lake in El Buen Retiro (a park built by a former king) I’m wicked exicted to go see that and then hit up the tapa bars/discos/wherever else I end up.

My vacation has finally started, and it just set in. AND, I’m friggin excited.



August 3, 2007

I love baseball. I love basketball. I will even sit through golf. I figured I would broaden my horizons and take in a Spanish bullfight. After all, it is one of the Spaniards’ favorite pasttimes, so I figured I would immerse myself in their culture. I was even so lucky to attend a bull fight with 3 of the most famous matadors in Spain… and it was on horseback, and you know what?

I fucking hated it. It was probably one of the most upsetting things I’ve witnessed. Each sword in the bull made me cringe a little more. For anyone reading this thinking, ‘Man, he’s a pussy,’ (1) fuck you very much and (2) you try watching this dehydrated, starved animal being toyed with and slaughtered and tell me how you feel.

The craziest part of it all… the Spanish cheer, they eat, they laugh, they drink, the guy next to me even farted a couple times (I think I caught him enjoying his own scent, too.) They love it. Props to them. For me, it was the first and last time I’ll ever be in attendance. It’s just not my bag.


Sick as a Dog But Loving Life

August 3, 2007

I have really sucked at keeping this thing up. I’m either busy, exhausted or sick. I just got over a badass bug, but I’m feeling better now. I’m still going to take it easy this weekend. Last weekend, I was “volunteered” as the driver, so I drove for a good 8-10 hours of the weekend just trying to find where the hell we were going.

In Spain, they don’t have normal highways, they have roads and rotaries. I hate rotaries (or as some of you assholes call them, roundabouts). If you’ve ever seen National Lampoon’s European Vacation when Chevy Chase drives by Big Ben a hundred times, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I think the Spanish installed roundabouts every 1000 feet to fuck with foreigners’ heads. The best part… they put the directional signs about 50 feet away from the roundabout, so you have to rubberneck to see which turn you should take. Even then, you have to get in the correct lane (I’m still confused if it’s the right lane or the left lane). I used some “Boston Driving” passed down from my father and created my own roundabout rules. Sure, I was honked at a few times and some Spanish had the look of death, but I just smiled and kept driving.

So enough about roundabouts… I have seen some beautiful sites while I’ve been here. Last weekend we visited Ronda, which is a city built around a canyon. The sites were pretty amazing.

Unfortunately, after 3 hours of driving, I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have and neither did my travel mates. After about an hour and a half of walking around the city, we took off for the beach (another 2 and a half hour adventure including shitloads of roundabouts and winding mountain roads)

We got to Tarifa, the southernmost city in continental Europe. Right when we got there, we noticed we were above the clouds, which seemed kind of weird. We pulled over and realized we were looking at a mountain in Africa. It was so close, it was amazing. I can’t really explain the feeling, but to be standing in Europe and look across the Straits of Gibraltar to see Africa is a pretty intense feeling. We snapped some sweet shots and moved on.

We ended up sleeping on the beach in a lifeguard stand. It sounds like it would be fun, but little did I know that Tarifa has 35 mph winds all the time. Needless to say, it was as cold as a witch’s titty, and then some. I was freezing my ass off! I managed about 30 minutes of sleep, but it was a good 30. We ended up just hanging out on the beach for the rest of the day, catching up on sleep and enjoying the view.

Pretty cool weekend overall. I’m pretty sure those shitty winds got me sick, but what can you do? At least I got to see Africa…


Sevilla Parte Dos: Fountain Fornication

July 23, 2007

Sorry it’s been a while, but camp is time consuming and exhausting. I finally found time to get online and update you all on what’s happening so far.

We wake up ecstatic that we have all of our money, passports, personal items and, especially, our kidneys in tact. After calling out Señor Antonio’s name a few times, I figure he’s still working it in his sex palace, so we book it out of the hostel, dropping the keys on the floor as we get out of there like the Devil’s on our heels.

We make it across the 6 lane road and walk into a park, where we’re greeted by a beautiful statue dedicated to Columbus. I start snapping shots and then I see something in the corner of my screen… I drop my camera by my side and find myself looking at a young, feisty couple doing it on the fountain. That’s right… 8 am, Saturday morning, a beautiful park in downtown Sevilla, and they’re screwing their brains out in my pictures. That’s definitely a Kodak moment.

Next we get to the Cathedral. I appreciate the architecture of Cathedrals, but I’m not amazingly turned on by them for pretty obvious reason (hint: I had a Bar Mitzvah) So we walk through the Cathedral, taking pictures of all the cool stuff and come upon a service. Now, I’ve been known to be an asshole, but usually it’s a conscious effort. This time I wasn’t even thinking about how I was wearing my wifebeater (A-shirt, Guido-T, or whatever else you may call it) throughout my tour of the Cathedral. It only dawned on me just recently when I was looking at the pictures. I apologize to all my non-Jewish friends (which is almost all of you) but if you know me, you wouldn’t expect any less.

I mentioned how the night before, I encountered a good amount of bitching for whatever reasons. Why would I think that this day would be any different? (Or as my dad would say, “Manish Tanah?” in Hebrew) Examples given:

Complaint 1: “It’s so fucking hot out. I am getting sweaty.”
Bryan’s Think-but-don’t-say 1: We’re in Spain, you putz. Swamp-ass, mud-butt and batwings are not only expected but welcomed by all.

Complaint 2: (Scene: 3 girls sitting at table in middle of the café. 1 server is walking around while 20 people are standing by the bar.)
Girl: “This place sucks. Where’s the fucking service? We’ve been sitting here forever, and that waitress won’t even look at us.”
Me: “We ordered up at the bar, and we’re just getting our food. You should all come up here.”
Girl: “No, that doesn’t make sense. That woman needs to come to us.”
(5 minutes later, as Marco and I are eating our food, the girls pull their heads out of their asses and walk up to the bar.)
Bryan’s T-b-d-s 2: My dad always said he hoped my brother and I grow up to be rich someday because we are such schmucks that we can’t figure out simple situations. I wonder what he’d say about these girls.

After breakfast, we toured around Sevilla and took in the city: the bull ring, the Royal Palace and the Plaza de Espana. All of them were interesting and beautiful in their own ways, but I definitely decided that Sevilla is not the place for me to study.

We caught the 6 pm bus back and passed out on the hour and a half ride. We had an amazing experience, from Simon Birch to Antonio’s Sex Shack to the Fornication Fountain to beautiful landmarks, but we were definitely ready for the comforts of our small, shit-smelling community we call Rota.


Sevilla Parte Uno: El Hostal

July 1, 2007

Ever since 6th grade when I started taking Spanish, I remember hearing about Sevilla, its beauty, its sites and its University. All those years of preparation finally came to fruition on Friday night.

We took a bus out of the Rota bus station at 9 pm. After an hour and half, and a semi-drunken nap, we got to Sevilla. And now a scene straight out of Eurotrip/Hostel/National Lampoon’s Family Vacation…

It starts when we are approached by a man with half his shirt unbuttoned and a giant infection/bruise on his leg, “Quieres un hotel?”

I’m thinking this is too good to be true, but what ignorant, lazy asshole American wouldn’t bask in this convenient opportunity? Of course, I reply, “Si, necesitamos un hotel economico.”

With those words, I started one of the best overnight trips I’ve ever taken. (On a side note, I always laughed when we would take a taxi to the airport and my dad would have to sit in front with the driver, forced to talk to him for the entire ride. Now I know how it feels, and I am so sorry Dad.) After an extremely long 5 minute walk, where I was forced to speak Spanish with this guy (or more like forced to smell his coffee and raw meat breath) we arrived at a doorway. Notice, I don’t say hostel entrance… that’s because there was no sign advertising the hostel. I picked up on it right away, but I decided to keep it to myself since I was appointed group navigator and felt the weight on my shoulder to make decisions for everyone.

We walk up not one, but two flights of stairs and are introduced to Antonio. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of this magnificent man, but hopefully my description can provide you with an image: Antonio stands at lengthy 5’6″, he is balding with a horseshoe hair design hanging down past his ears. He has a pink shirt on, which is also unbuttoned to the extent that I can see half of a nipple. He is drenched in sweat… especially with little beads on top of his freshly waxed head. If I could compare him to anyone in a movie, he most resembles the “Mi Scuzzi” guy from the train ride in Eurotrip that keeps feeling up the guy in the rail car but older and sleazier.

So Antonio starts showing me around. We cover that I need two rooms for 5 people, so he shows me his two “best” rooms. As we tour around, I’m realizing this is no ordinary hostel, but I don’t want to ruin the upcoming surprise for you… So he shows us how the water works (actually turning the sink on and off), he shows us the “air conditioning” which are two 15-year-old floor fans and he shows us the third mattress for our 5th person (a twin mattress probably teaming with bodily function stains). Oh, I can’t forget… my room had a refrigerator… which Antonio emphasized, “See… refrigerador… uh-fridge-ah… Es cool, no?” He sold me with that little sales pitch.

Marco excited about the refrigerator in our room.

So, we decide to rent the two rooms (it was a steal at 15 Euro, so we had to.) Right after we pay and provide false identification information, the complaining begins from all sides:

“This place is gross.”
“Did you see this bed? It’s gross! I’m definitely sleeping in my clothes.”
“Is he going to steal our shit? I don’t trust him.”
“Bryan, if our shit is stolen, I’m going to kill you.”

So, my quasi-hold on the Spanish language landed me in a tight spot. I assured everyone we’d be fine, but I was freaking out because I had no idea what tricks Antonio had up his sleeve.

We take a few minutes to get settled, leave our stuff in our rooms and double check the door locks. Meanwhile, preparing for the worst, I’m carrying my wallet, passport, iPod, headphones, translator and an extra pair of boxers (I love cargo shorts).

We walk outside, and I have this urge to ask the bar manager next door if this hostel is safe.
“Señor, esta seguro el hotel al lado?” (Is the hostel next door safe, sir?)
“No digo nada!” (I’m not saying anything!)

HOLY SHIT! So now I’ve confirmed that my money and stuff is tied up in a shady hostel. I’m freaking out, but I keep my cool and tell the group the guy won’t say anything, but that doesn’t mean it’s negative… he may just not know that much about it. (Yeah right!)

We go out on the town and run into Simon Birch (Spanish Version). Yeah, I’m an a-hole, but you’d agree with the resemblance if you could have seen him. He had a beautiful, tall, slender blonde girlfriend (total mismatch), but it all made sense when we saw her pick her nose…. and eat it, too. I thought I took a really good sneaky video of it, too, but it was too dark to catch her digging for gold.

After one drink, we walk back to the hostel because we want to be with our stuff. We get upstairs, look into our rooms and realize the sheets still have not been laid on the bed. I yell for Antonio… who comes downstairs sweating even moreso now and buttoning up his shirt. He goes and gets sheets for us, and has me help him put them on. He also holds up a flat sheet and shows us both sides, saying “Limpio! Yes? Limpio!” to prove that there are no piss, blood or shit stains on it. Then he lays it right on our one body pillow. That’s right, my roommate and I got to share one elongated pillow the entire night… no head to foot going on in this hostel. Oh, and we discovered upon opening our fridge, that it was actually an oven in disguise. We almost burnt our fingers inside the freezer… figure that one out.

Marco and I are getting ready for our overnight bonding experience when Antonio comes back in with a dustpan and broom. Like a good host, he sweeps out the shower stall and then washes it with the shower head. We laughed as we saw black water draining into the corner of the stall. He leaves, I try to fall asleep with my roommate a foot away from my face, my wallet in one pocket and my passport in the other.

Still haven’t figured out how to rotate the pics with this program, but that’s Marco making sure the shower was clean and sterilized!

Asleep, dreaming about the movie Hostel and wondering how much I would be sold for, I’m woken up suddenly…

– – – – repeat for about 10 minutes – – – –

I tap Marco to wake him up because I’m thinking this is hilarious. He turns his face into the pillow, and I laugh for the next couple of minutes. By minute 3, the novelty wears off, and I really want to go back to bed. Finally, minute 10 arrives, and I hear absolute silence. I’m falling asleep, and all of a sudden we hear…

EEEEEE-URRRRRR EEEEEEE-URRRRRRR EEEEEEE-URRRRRR E-UR E-UR E-UR EEEEE-URRRRR E-UR E-UR E-UR E-UR (in case you can’t figure that out, it’s the bed squeaking)

I’m thinking, ‘Great, I’m screwed. This is going to go on for hours.’ A minute later, silence! Thank God for minute men!

We wake up the next morning, check to make sure we have both our kidneys, our money, our passports. Surprise… everything is there! Antonio wasn’t such a bad guy after all… he’s just the slimy owner of a sex shack in Sevilla, Spain…. everyone has their vices.

Before we left, we got a chance to see our neighbors through a crack in their door. The picture came out blurry, and I wish I could have done better, but let’s just say these two should have been on exhibit in the Jerez Zoo. The guy was wearing boy shorts that highlighted the forest of hair running from his asshole to his neck. The woman or what resembled a woman looked like a guest straight off the Jerry Springer show. Nicest way to put it, she was extremely fugly, and that’s being generous.

Look closely, and you can see the forest of hair on his back. Absolutely disgusting.

Stay tuned… there’s much more where this came from. Adios.