Thursday, April 05, 2007

nueva entrada

new day. new country. new language. The French response to questions are still coming out of my mouth while my 3 years of high school Spanish slowly kick in. Don´t have to worry as much as we have relatives here.

The train was a couple of hours late, but was a delightful ride once we got used to the rhythm and swaying.

In the evening we went to my cousin´s place just off the main area but on a nice quiet street, so we could do some laundry. Madrid is very walkable. Things are much closer than even all the monuments in Paris. Their rail system is better too: cleaner, and more robust. We´re the first family members to visit them here, not counting his family as he is a French national.

You learn very quickly what the Filipinos and much of the previous Spanish empire culturally received from the Spanish: our sense of time, our sense of dark humor, some of the pronounciation of letters. It´s really funny that at one point the Spanish called the Filipinos slow and lazy, as Spain is not the hustle and bustle city either. Perhaps they were simply reflecting themselves in their comments. lol!

We hope to visit a few of the smaller towns around Madrid. Going to see the museums today: Prado, Thyssen, Reine.

Alot of things are cheaper here than in England or France: food, drink, shopping. A tapas dinner for 6 was 40 euro. Spanish service is like French attitude: aloof and nonchalant, but they don´t skimp on the portions for food nor drink. A shot of alcohol was like 3 in the US. Dinner here is not until 10p.

The ham here comes in many varieties and is very good. It´s only just now making its way to SF Bay Area specialty stores. I´d say it´s better than Italian hams. We hope to bring some of the packaged ones home. It´s so worth it!

I´m fighting a bit of a cold with all the weather fluctuation, smoking, and the like. Public smoking laws are slowly spreading across the EU. 2008 it hits France.

We discussed French economy and politics with my cousin´s husband. Many working age French leave for lack of opportunity.

There are numerous US expats here teaching English to the Spanish which is what my cousin does here. American English is popular. They watch many of the American shows here. The funny part is that going to Ireland and Scotland to learn English is popular for the Spanish to do. Which makes you go, "huh?", after listening to the Scottish brogue, but those areas are cheaper than London, plus Guiness has a campaign that has been creating alot of Irish pubs in Madrid.

We met a couple of our cousins friends: a guy from Basque and his girlfriend from Mexico. We would love to visit Basque some day. He said that if we go to San Sebastian, to let him know and his people will take care of us. We gave him the English translation to that statement,"my peeps will hook you up!" lol!

They were into the show Heroes which is only translated up to Episode 11. Their friend loved Frasier. Though many of the websites for the shows are blocked when coming from Europe since they don´t want people to watch the shows until they actually get distributed in Europe. But they get as much black market film stuff here as the rest of the world.


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