random notes from ronda

We have seen many happy, well-cared-for dogs on this trip, dogs of all shapes and sizes, all obviously loved. We have seen no street dogs. There are some feral cats living in the Alhambra. That is always sad to see. But the street dogs that have broken our hearts in Mexico and Peru and elsewhere do not seem to be in Spain, at least not where we have been.

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On the drive from Barcelona to Granada, I realized that we brought no music with us. We never even thought of it. I blipped through radio stations, even though I knew it would be useless. Radio sounds exactly the same, regardless of language. Top-40 hits, classic rock, sports talk, the scourge of "lite FM" - all of it sounds exactly the same. On one station, I heard the words "Yustin Beiber". I looked at Allan. "Did I just hear the name Justin Beiber?" Yes, he heard it, too. There is no escape. (Non-Canadians: you have no idea.)

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Everyone says hola here. That may seem ridiculously obvious, as "hola" means "hello," and we are in Spain. But in Latin America, you rarely hear the word. People say "Buenas dias" in the morning and "Buenas noches" in the evening. Kids say "Que tal", like "hey" or "what's up". Hola, in my experience, is how you answer the phone. But so far in Spain, everyone says "Hola," very brightly and clearly. "Buen dia" - without the s - is used occasionally, but sounds more formal and less friendly.

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The coffee is not very strong here. I don't know how Latin America learned to make such rich and delicious coffee, but it wasn't from Spain. I get a cafe con leche in the morning, and it barely registers on my caffeine scale. I need at least two of them to scratch the surface, but I'm definitely lowering my threshold, getting by with less.

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More Arabic on the highway signs on route from Granada! There is a ferry from Tarifa to Tangier, Morocco, and the highway signs in that direction are in Spanish and Arabic. The Alhambra and upcoming Cordoba have me dreaming of Morocco.

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We hear good things about Tala and Diego. They seem to be having a good time with Essie, and not driving her too crazy. The Red Sox have remembered how to win. Allan's writing partner is doing interviews and keeping him posted. Thanks for reading my blather.


James Redekop said...

My last day in Portugal, at a conference ages ago, I was joined by a random dog as I walked around the town for several hours. He followed me the whole way, quite friendly, then wandered off as I got back to the hotel. He was in fine health, so I don't think he was a street dog, but he had free reign to wander where he pleased.

Apparently Latin America learned how to make coffee thanks to a Frenchman, Gabriel-Mathieu Francois D'ceus de Clieu. But the Europeans got it from the Arabs, so you'd think Spain would do a better job of it. :)

laura k said...

Coffee, go figure. If European coffee is originally Arabic, southern Spain should be particularly good at it. I guess something was lost in the intervening 800 years or so. :)

That dog in Portugal adopted you for the day.