Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 4: Success! And a herd of awkward turtles: You can have the rest of this if this?

We now begin our day of tourism. After waking up a much more reasonable time, we proceed to breakfast like total hotel experts. They don’t even ask for our room number. Success! Having outed Google Maps as a lying liar who lies, we skipped that step this time around and proceeded straight to the concierge. We liked this one way better, since he did not assume we were lost, even though we had a map out. With some very useful bus instructions, like how to read the schedule (sorta), and all of the really cool stuff circled on our map, we proceeded in to Center City. Success!

We got off the bus in front of some pretty sweet gardens – easy to remember when we had to leave later that day. Also, the giant bridge would have helped, had we noticed it. Alas. We spotted some Roman art – India’s art history professor sent her on a most magical quest for it – and ran across the street to take pictures of it. Then we went to the Plaza de España, where some government buildings are, and it was awesome and totally put all American government buildings to shame. We took a million pictures, and some Spanish soul mate of India’s had scribbled an Oscar Wilde quote in one of the towers. A true literary love connection! Having explored, we moved on to the Plaza de las Americas, which was basically a porch and some palm trees. Pretty lame. We left. We resisted petting all of the dogs running around. It was hard.

We then wandered in to the center of the city, stopping along the way for some delicious (except for poor Jen, who doesn’t like tuna – we’ve never been served more tuna in our lives!) tapas. We also figured out that a bodilla is not a generic bottle of something. It is, in fact, a bottle of beer. Way to help us out staying hydrated, Spain.

This was good, though, because everywhere we go, including on buildings in giant neon lights, there are Cruzcampo advertisements. And of course, this means we have to try it – c’mon, guys, everyone is doing it! So we tried it. It wasn’t a very good beer.

We were accosted by some Gypsies, but managed to escape at the very last minute. India felt lame because everything the Gypsy forced her to listen to about her palm, she already knew. Lame? Lame.

Then, we got and awesome six euro discount on the Catedral de Seville tour – two euro! Sweet. Stirling Cambria (who we later found out was Italian…wtf) was pretty jealous. India had a total, total fangirl freak-out in this cathedral and took a million pictures and then made Jen take a million more pictures, interspersed with excited sputtering about medieval art and Shoaftor. It was very exciting. If she had gone to Rome instead, she probably would have passed out. We got to go up into the tower – it was a 37 ramp (maybe around 20 stories? More?) climb that was traditionally done via donkey. Alas, they were out of donkeys. But it was so worth it, because the view of Seville was unparalleled. We took another million pictures. And almost died because a bell (a real bell, unlike Ursinus’s mix cd!) rang right above our heads.

We dodged the Gypsies on the way out – look, we’re learning! The map said there were Roman columns! Awesome! Gotta see those. We proceeded to wander into one of the most labyrinthine areas of Seville that we’ve seen, and we mostly didn’t even get lost, although we did almost get hit by about eight cars. Whoops. When we finally, finally found these columns, approximately twenty minutes later, they were the lamest thing ever. Three undecorated columns shoved into someone’s backyard. Yeah, that was worth the walk. Not. We took a couple of pictures to justify the experience.

We also got more ice cream.

We spent a while just wandering around, and eventually found our way to a shop that sold t-shirts. With bulls on them! Obviously our black, touristy hearts could not resist this temptation. Perhaps more importantly, we conducted this entire shopping experience in Spanish (with a few gestures) – this included shirt sizes and trying them on. Success!

We happened upon the bull ring! Which we sort of snuck into? We’re not sure. But the tour guide yelled at this relatively innocent couple instead of us, so we snuck out again. Hopefully the picture turns out.

Since it was getting towards dinner time and we needed to shower before the banquet, we wandered back to the bus stop and proceeded to conquer the Spanish public transportation system for the third time. Take that!

Ah, the banquet. Look at those awkward turtles rolling in. When the bus finally got there, because once again, they bus us there, but not back, it was an hour after dinner was supposed to start. But this is okay! Because we were ready for total abandonment this time. Mostly. This late thing is driving us crazy. It was a really nice restaurant, but the wine was terrible, and the champagne was not much better. Oh, well.

We sat at a table and kind of hoped that no one would sit with us, but of course, Stirling Cambria, now of Italy (which explained a lot of our sketch vibes), sat right down with us. The table of course filled with Spaniards, and it was so incredibly awkward. It was also a three hour long meal. Talk about a marathon of talking to ourselves and intermittently to Stirling who got progressively drunker and more awkward as the night wore on. However, the Other Awkward Spanish Guy Who Won an Award (for his paper) tried really hard to talk to us, too. But since he was an awkward person and we are, as we’ve so thoroughly established, also awkward, it met with limited success.

This was also the conversation we had about eighty times:

Spanish Person: “Where are you from?”

Jendia: “The United States. Around Philadelphia.”

Spanish Person: “You don’t speak Spanish? Why are you even here?”

Stirling seemed to enjoy this conversation, as it seemed that he kept introducing us to people just so he could hear it again and laugh. Jerkface.

We bailed early – at midnight.

Thankfully, just as Jen was saying, “This road looks deserted!”, two cabs whipped around the corner. This cab was a lot cheaper than the one from the airport. We are now suspicious…

Successful return to the hotel, sorta unsuccessful dinner?

The bar Rick-Rolled us, and the bar did not play David Bowie. India was not pleased. Neither was Jen.

But the day was still a success.

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