14 September 2008

Not so bajo weekend!

Even though I've spent the majority of the weekend in the apartment, I am still exhausted from all the things I did do.
Yesterday I was missing home a little. I decided I needed some sunlight, so I went out to get tomatoes and juice, just a couple of things that I had been needing. I walked all the way down to the fruit shop of the Hnos. Delgado (Delgado Bros.?) because that was really the only fruit place that I'd been to and was pretty sure of the location. Forget that it's all the way down in Moncloa, a twenty or thirty minute walk from the apartment.
I love the little fruit markets around here- except for the fact that you have to wear gloves to select your produce. I consider myself a pretty great selecter of fruits and vegetables, and wearing gloves kind of crimps my style. But I still managed to find some peaches (they are massive here, like softball sized), a half watermelon, a lot of tomatoes, and a jar of honey all to my liking. What's great about the Delgado brothers is that if you spend 10 euro on their produce, they will give you a half dozen eggs free! (Actually I think a lot of fruit markets do something like that, but it still makes me feel special.)
I had a nice little convo with the cashier (I'm pretty sure he was not one of the brothers Delgado) because he noticed that I was having a little trouble with my Spanish. It gets confusing when you are trying to get used to Spanish Spanish, and then this guy throws an Ecuadorian accent your way.
After that, I walked back to the apartment, stopping to grab my juice on the way. If you have never tried Zumosol, and I'm sure most of you have not, you don't even know what you are missing. I probably drink close to a liter of their peach juice every single day, and it is kind of starting to become an expensive habit. But it is so good!
Then I laid low in the apartment til I heard the fireworks signaling the start of La Noche en Blanco, the White Night. It's a tradition in several of the European cities that are jealous of the northern cities on whom the sun does not set around the summer solstice, or something like that. Basically, the city partied all night. There were concerts, and movies shown, the museums stayed open, and the subways ran later than normal.
The first subway we tried to get on, going almost directly towards the city center in the south, was so full that we waited three trains before deciding to change plans and head north to switch trains. This worked better, but because we got on the subway near where the line started, we were nearly smushed like sardines by the time we made it to our destination. [Oh, by the way, while we were waiting in the station, I saw this ad which I liked and thought my dad would enjoy as well. It asks, "Do you have a monstrous cell phone?" and then "You" and "Your cell phone."]
There were people everywhere in the Plaza Mayor! So many people! We went down one street, and then another, and we saw a band playing swing music, and another playing Pachelbel's Canon in D, and then we ended up near the Plaza de España, where the theatre district is. We wanted to go on an exlusive backstage tour of Beauty and the Beast, but there were only a total of 80 tickets available for four tours, so we didn't like our odds.
The Plaza de España was where it was at. They'd set up a giant moon on the side of a building, because it was supposed to be light all night in the city. I took this cheesy picture in front of it.
La Noche en Blanco is an all-night thing, but we weren't up to that. At about 1 we dragged ourselves back onto the subway and returned to the apartment.
And today we went to El Rastro! It was absolutely huge! I thought I had seen all of it, but then I found another alleyway, which opened up onto another square, and that lead to another street. . . There wasn't as much variety as I'd hoped for, though. There were a lot of scarves, like so many scarves, because everyone is wearing them right now, and there were a lot of belts and leather things, and some swords and then there were antiques, which I liked best, because they were so much more unexpected. I mean, you'll see the same patterns and colors in the scarves all season, but who knows if you'll ever see something like this old painting, or this ancient book? I did buy a couple of scarves, and also a pair of old photographs- portraits of women in mantillas. I don't know if they were wedding portraits or what, but I felt like they were the sort of thing I would never be able to find in the U.S.
I spent a lot of time playing photographer myself, trying to take candid shots of people in the Rastro. I don't think I got anything great, but it's all pretty interesting.
Looking down the street. I don't think this truly conveys how many people were there.

She was playing some instrument- I'm not sure what it was.

Didgeridoo player!He packed up whatever it was he was selling and took off.
Tomorrow I basically have free because our daily languages classes don't start until Tuesday, and that would be the only class I have on Mondays. What will I do with all my free time?
Oh, and just an update: Haven't seen the RA in approximately 34 hours. . .

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