13 October 2008

SALAMANCA!!!

I think that title sums it up pretty well.
Eight a.m. Saturday morning, we (and by we I mean some of my friends from IES) met at one of the all-boys dorms on the UCM campus, in a common area where some of the students were waiting for the cafeteria to open after staying up all night. They were trying to tell us about American shows that they like, like Heroes (they kept repeating, "Save the cheerleader, save the world") and Lost.
Whoever was supposed to organize us was late, and we ended up waiting for a half hour. During this time I realized that there were only 7 IES students going, all girls, and almost 15 UCM boys. It looked like it was going to be an interesting day.
The bus ride to Salamanca was two and a half hours, and it was drizzling when we arrived. That was unfortunate, because Salamanca is known as the Golden City- its sandstone buildings seem to glow in the sunlight.
First we visited the Old and New Cathedrals. They were so incredible, and the tour that we took gave us access to some pretty amazing areas- the rooftop and the upper ambulatory, for instance. I took so many pictures, and have added just a few of my favorites.
Then we checked out a little of the U of S campus, and saw a big library, and la Casa de las Conchas (rumor has it that there is a treasure hidden within one of the shells that decorates the house). By then it was around 1 or 1:30. The leader of the group took us to the Plaza Mayor, where we would commence our one activity for the rest of the day- a 'tour' of Salamanca's finest bars. (At this point I was like, "Um. . . I don't remember this being on the itinerary. . .")
The boys turned out to be really nice and really funny. By the time 8'o'clock rolled around, though, we were all ready to go. We loaded back onto the bus, but had to wait a while, because some of the guys had gone straight to the bars when we'd arrived and hadn't made their way back yet. When they did eventually find us, the guy who was maybe supposed to be one of the leaders took the bus microphone and made a speech in Spanish. At the end, he started talking in English: "American ladies. . . we hope you have good time today, even though the dwarf, and the rain. . ." (one of the Complutense boys was shorter than me, but he totally owned it).
We didn't get back to Madrid until 11, but the bus driver was nice enough to drop us IES chicas off at the bus/Metro stop nearest the UCM so that we wouldn't have to walk through the park.
Here is where my night began. One of my girls here had an invite from a Spanish boy she knows here (let's call him Spanish Boy) to a private party at a really popular club. He would be there with all his friends, and encouraged her to bring hers. That would be me. We were supposed to meet up with them at one, so we rushed home to get ready.
I know I've been over this before, but time is just different here. There were elderly women, women older than either of my grandmothers, passing me as I walked from the bus stop to my home, and it was after 11 at night. Some parties don't even start til after midnight.
We were late meeting up with each other, of course. There were four of us, all riding the Metro together. When we got to the station, we were dismayed to find that it was pouring. Thankfully, Madrid is big on awnings, so we were able to dash to the sides of the buildings and walk along relatively unbothered by the rain.
So we were late to the club, but this guy was even later. He told us he would be at the club at 2 instead, but ended up getting there at a time when we had left to hang out somewhere warmer, and then when we went back to try and get in, the bouncer would have none of it, even when the guy came out to try and persuade him. We would have to wait.
Two of the girls left- it was just my friend and me, huddling under an umbrella next to a bunch of trashy madrileƱas. I wrapped my wet scarf around my shoulders in a vain attempt to keep warm.
Finally the bouncer let us in, grumbling about our passport copies, and we found Spanish Boy. We all danced for a while, and I met so many people that I started to get sick of air kisses. One guy started talking to me about US politics. He was Irish and Spanish and had donated 50 euros to Hillary Clinton's campaign and he was very drunk.
The club closed earlier than we'd expected- 4:30. The Metro wouldn't be open til 6, so Spanish Boy told us we could wait at his apartment nearby. That seemed totally reasonable, because it was both my friend and myself and Spanish Boy has been really nice. As we were walking there, I discovered that my cheap scarf had bled blue dye in pale streaks on my arms and shoulders and totally stained my hands. First order of business upon arriving at the apartment was to scrub that off.
This is the part where things got weird. Spanish Boy's roommate had arrived home and, long story short, started 'helping' me wash my hands and pretty much ambushed me. Let's call this guy Would-Be Latin Lover.
This led to some very awkward moments while we waited for 6 to roll around. It got more awkward when the boys told us that their Metro station is very small and doesn't open til 7. Mentirosos. Finally we made it out of there, and I slept until the afternoon.
I've got to say, nothing improves your Spanish vocabulary like social and awkward settings. People were complimenting my accent all day.

2 comments:

Dave Lundgren said...

"This is the part where things got weird"? Really? At 5:00 AM? You waited a long time to slip that line into your story. Also, FYI, parents (and aunts & uncles) just love hearing that phrase from their daughter (or niece).

Just kidding. Have fun and behave.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are having tons of adventures! Good for you! But be careful - I'm glad you have someone with you when you go out. Love the photos!!! :-) Nita