Our adventures across Spain continued today. We left the hostel very early. I had never stayed in a hostel before but it was, more or less, an enjoyable experience. That being said, it’s enjoyable for the 25 and under crowd. There was one older Australian fellow who seemed quite out of place. When we booked our room it was the only room that was left — a public six-bed room, meaning if you can’t fill all the beds, they will. We assumed the five of us would enjoy a quiet night, which we did. But the asian girl that stayed with us enjoyed a much earlier morning than she may have expected. Our taxis came at 8:30am. So we began repacking our things at 7:45. The hallway light was motion sensored so we tried to keep that light on instead of turning our room light on (mind you, our room was about eight feet wide). So we kept having to run out into the hallway in order to keep our light. Running to the hallway was difficult, because if we were running there it meant there was no light, and on top of that you had to hurdle four other people and 12 bags. We got to the train station and said adios to Madrid only to begin our voyage to the great city we’d be living in for the next five and a half months.
By the time we arrived at our hotel in Sevilla, we were about as close to delirious as you can get. All I could think about was the video I had to watch for psych last semester where a man tried to stay up for a week straight. Eventually, he suffered lasting mental problems, but I remembered the video saying that after 40 hours of sleeplessness you begin seeing things. At this point I’d slept four hours in the past 48, so when asked if we would enjoy getting tapas at a local restaurant, I went along thinking that if I suffer illusions and pass out, I could possibly be saved by an attractive Spaniard (which this country is full of).
Tapas are a traditional plate of Southern Spain (Andalucia) and they were phenomenal. Between the five of us we ordered seven small plates and ate everything from curried pork to ham that was as thin as notebook paper to salted prawns. And after almost ten years of not eating any seafood, I decided it was only right to have my first seafood experience involve eating a creature that had to have both its head and tail ripped off before I could eat it. I watched as a fellow student, Nate, ripped apart this stringy, white, cold sea creature and put it on my plate. It was both fascinating and made me want to run away screaming bloody murder. But I ate it. Be proud dad.
We then meandered around the city before finding our way back to the hotel. By this time all 40 students had arrived at the hotel. Our program is a conjunction of students from Cornell, U-Penn and Michigan and so we had a little meet and greet. We’ll only stay in the hotel until Thursday when we’re placed with our host families. My roommate, Lyndsay and I have decided to only speak Spanish to one another, so we have had an interesting night throwing the dictionary back and forth as we have long awkward pauses in our conversations. Most times I forget what she had been talking about by the time she finds the word she needed and she has normally moved onto something else before I’m able to put together a cohesive sentence. But it’s moving along. We have learned that there is no translation for the words ‘baller’ and ‘crunk.’ Surprising.
But I rest happily tonight knowing that I have five and a half months to explore this beautiful city that has given me insane taxi drivers, terrifyingly alright seafood and a beautiful rainstorm, all in the first day.