Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Georgraphy lesson!

This is Galicia, a province of Spain that is next to Portugal in the northwest of the country. If you look at the lower left hand side of the province, you'll see a little pink dot and that is Tui, the little town the DC Hot Commondities visited. We liked Tui a lot - it's a very small town but beautiful, very gothic and european looking, and just across the river is Portugal! That was pretty cool. It helped that we also had a very sweet apartment to stay in with gorgeous views and we had many adventures. For perspective, here is a map of Spain:

You can see where Madrid is, in the middle of the country in blue, and then Galicia is that green area up in the northwest. It was a rather pretty drive but with some pretty crazy mountains that were hard to go through at night in the sleet. They speak a different language in Galicia - Galego, which is the closest to Spanish/Castellano of the different languages spoken in Spain - the other main ones being Basque/Euskara and Catalan. It also has a lot of similarities with Portuguese, and apparently there is some controversy about whether or not it is a separate language from Portuguese. Speaking of Portuguese, since were so close and you can cross the border without a passport, we took a day trip to Portugal, and ended up going all the way to Oporto/Porto, a large city in northern Portugal. It was really beautiful, had an excellent radio station that we enjoyed very much, and we even found black eyed peas in an immigrant market there! That was good because we were afraid of not having good luck in the new year, although we did eat our grapes.

That's Oporto. Mothersheister said she thought "the black people are more free here." It was raining most of the time in Oporto so we didn't get to enjoy it as much as we would have liked. Here's a pic from Tui, of the church/fortress:

Although you wouldn't know it by the language, which is not connected to the Celtic ones, bent had always learned that Galicia was connected to Brittany, Cornwall, Ireland, Wales, Isle of Man and Scotland as a Celtic area. But aside from some old myths we didn't find a whole lot of evidence of this. Galicia is really green and coastal, kind of like Ireland, and its rainy and warmer than you expect it to be, also like Ireland. There are even palm trees! And they have bagpipes! But we also called it the "Maine of Spain" because it's pretty rural, "it's beautiful" and far away from everything, on the Atlantic coast.

In addition to our Portugal visit and our meanderings around Tui, we also went to the beach at Baiona, a small town on the ocean that is super picturesque and has a big castle fort which is neat. The waves were really amazing and we got to watch the sunset over the Atlantic - a first for most of us!

Tui was a really fun place to spend new years eve and the first few days of 2009.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Some things we miss about Spain, some things we are glad to have back in D.C.

so there were a lot of great things about spain, despite all the drama. we really liked all the graffiti everywhere:

we also miss some of the food, which is so tasty.

we miss drinking in public, damn that is so great.

we miss the lackadaisical pace at which each day passed, including eating dinner at like 10pm.

we miss walking around tui in galicia, acting like zombies, and we miss the hot commodities!

we miss the metro in madrid, the longest wait we ever had was 4 minutes! what's wrong wmata?

we miss the good, strong wine, and olives.

we miss portugal, even tho it's not spain, where they had great music on the radio, black eyed peas, and beautiful city of oporto:

not so much missing stepping over dog-doo everywhere. or the rudeness. or in mothersheister's case potatoes at every meal (wait to we go to ireland!). we certainly don't miss spanish thieves. or expensive prices, in euros no less.

we love to be able to eat tofu again!

and our lovely beds are the best ever. we're happy to see friends again, and happy to eat other tasty treats like black beans, burritos, and bacon.

but mostly we hold very fond memories of a great time in espana.

So happy!

it seems best if mothersheister gives a first hand account of her perspective of the process of going through spanish border and u.s. border, but in the meantime, here is a very cute picture of us, so happy to be on the plane after we got through the spanish side. the u.s. hurdle was still ahead (which included some uncertainty for dj "i love edward cullen") but we were not yet worried, only euphoric that all three of us were on the plane and no kenyan was left behind. if you would like a version of this photo that reveals our top-secret identities, please let us know, b/c it is wicked cute, and if you have security clearance we will email it to you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Safe and sound back at home.

This is a mini-post just to say happy new year to all and we are back in DC! We are feeling so happy to have made it successfully through the borders with dj mothersheister and dj "i love edward cullen". More of everything that you love to come soon.