Sunday, September 5, 2010
¡Me siento vivo!
Hola a todos. I don’t think that I am going to have a problem with anyone telling me that it looks like I’ve gained weight, because I am exercising like I have never exercised before. Last night, Teresa took us on a walking tour of Albaicín, the oldest and most historical Arabic neighborhood in Granada. I am completely aware of the fact of how ridiculous the next phrase is, but I have to admit that I was expecting Aladdin to pop out of nowhere. The neighborhood is up in one of the mountains and most of the walk was uphill (hence the exercise), and when we finally reached the mountaintop the view was breathtaking. You could see all of the Alhambra and a good portion of the city. I think that Teresa has realized that if anyone will do any of the crazy things that she asks us to do… I will. While we were looking out over a via point on top of the mountain, she had me stand on top of a pole to take a picture of the group and of the Alhambra. Love you Peter!
The streets in Granada are like those in Boston in the respect that they have not necessarily been constructed with any plan in mind- they just added more when and where they needed them. There are streets that cars and mopeds (which are literally everywhere and will run over anything or anyone) cannot fit down and are only for walking. Also, there are streets that one would think are not made for cars and mopeds, but they go down them anyway! It’s almost humorous watching these people try to maneuver cars down roads that are difficult to even walk down.
I love my baby brother! Our day today was completely full of exercise as well. We met the group at 8:15am and began our hike up a different mountain. When I say hike, I mean hike. It wasn’t long before my heart was beating incredibly fast. There is a sort of nature sanctuary on top of this particular mountain and there are not many people that live there. In another example of Teresa volunteering me to do things, we walked past a fig bush and Teresa explained a little about the fruit and then said, “Here Lacie, try it!” So I did. I’ve never had wild figs before; in fact, I think that I’ve only ever eaten fig in Fig Newtons. The hike was long, difficult, but completely worth it. At one point we had to walk down this trail that had a very steep incline and was quite treacherous, but all that I could say when I had finished was, “¡Me siento vivo!” which roughly means, “I feel alive!” Not only was the view spectacular and the feeling that I had accomplished something very satisfying, but we went to Los Baños Arabes (The Arabic Baths) afterwards.
The Arabic Baths are a reconstruction of the ancient spas that the Arabic Granadiños would go to to relax. When you enter the building, the woman at the desk offers you a smile, a number, and a towel. Next you are directed into a changing room where you are to put on a bathing suit and take a quick rinsing shower. Then, you proceed into the next room where there is hot, mint tea to drink. Upon finishing your beverage, you move on to the next room which is quite damp, smells of mint, has dimmed lights, and has a small pool of very cold water. Pam joked that she felt like she was at home swimming in the water of New Hampshire. Quickly deciding that the water is not quite warm enough, the individual moves on to the next room where there is another pool that is very hot. It feels fantastically like a hot tub. Once you realize that the hot water is making your blood pressure rise a little too much, you move onto the next room where there is a pool of a nice, comfortable medium temperature. If you so desire, you may also enter into the sauna that is in the same room. They pump this nice minty smell into the sauna room too, so it really makes your lungs feel fantastic. Eventually, the masseuse calls your number and you proceed into a back room where they give you back and leg massage. Oh man. I was so relaxed afterwards; it was difficult to walk home.
During our walk home, we saw Ana walking ahead of us so we called out to her. She was on her way to the recycling bin (there are recycling bins set up all over the city) and then to pick up a rotisserie chicken and French fries at a local restaurant for lunch. Walking with her as she went about her activities was very nice because we got to talk to her one on one without three happy, screaming children. After lunch, Pam and I worked on our homework and then we went to mass at 8:00 pm in the small sanctuary of the cathedral with Anita and her friend Maria. I don’t know if you, oh devoted reader of mine (mom), have ever been to mass in a cathedral, but I think that it is difficult to understand what the priest is saying in English. In Spanish, it was impossible. Hopefully, after this semester, I will get used to it!
Dinner was purchased by Anita and Maria with money given to her by her mother. Barely any restaurants are open in Granada on a Sunday night, so we went to Burger King. That’s right. Burger King. However, Ana still put the food on nice plates and managed to make it look pretty. After dinner, we had a dance party with the kids and I discovered that I can moonwalk (it’s probably because I was wearing shoes that I bought here). Love ya bro!
We also discussed the word that Pam and I learned at the airport in Madrid. Remember the “paja” or “straw” story? Apparently, the Spanish don’t use the word “paja” for straw, but “pajita” (so don’t believe everything your Spanish-English dictionary tells you!). The word “paja” is used to describe something to do with horses- I’m not completely sure what- which means that when Pam thought that she was asking for a straw, she wasn’t. Oops.
PS Love you mommy, daddy, and PJ! And you, yes you in your pajamas, and you in your business suit, and even you- in your birthday suit!
PPS Mom- You don't have to send me an eyeliner sharpener- I found mine!