Jeff Harris Travels

Things I’ve Noticed

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Here’s my list of things I’ve noticed about living in Spain, the Spanish people, America, Europe as whole, and other discoveries and observations while away from the states.

Spain (Granada, Valencia, Madrid)
1. Spanish guys have longer arching eyebrows.
2. When it says classes start at 8am, they really start at 8:30/9.
3. They use the “@” in different words and I haven’t been able to find out why, yet. Like in tod@s or chic@s. Maybe it signifies both the letters a and o?
4. It can be difficult to find a barbershop/hair salon open on Saturday afternoons despite there being at least 10 peluquerias (barbershops/hair salons) in a five block radius. Siesta in an inconvenience.
5. Not much is open on Sundays either, definitely to a greater extent than in the U.S.
6. In Spain, the concept of time hasn’t seemed to catch on.
7. There are huge traffic circles every few blocks on the major roads, often not being so pedestrian-friendly.
8. Grocery stores have a lot of the same foods as we do in the U.S. Like Heinz ketchup, for example.
9. Spain’s not radically different than America. But of course there are major differences.
10. Italian girls are loud. At least the ones I live with.
11. Dryers are nonexistent.
12. Just because a class is in English, it doesn’t mean you’ll understand it.
13. Valencianos love their fireworks.
14. I miss carpets/rugs. Just like the dryers, they seem to be nonexistent.
15. The Simpsons cartoon is one of the American TV shows shown in Spain. It seems likely that any American cultural references would be lost on locals. It’s in Spanish though. 
16. I have read enough articles and seen enough videos on CNN.com International to know Al Goodman is CNN’s Madrid Bureau Chief.

Morocco (Marrakech)
1. You are “friends” with all the food vendors in the Jemaa el Fna square (they all say “My friend, my friend, check out the food, my friend!”) (Like John McCain).
2. Sometimes people just start randomly clapping, but usually when there is music.
3. Many people will offer to help you find your hotel/riad (house where you rent a room) when you arrive. They’re not just doing it for the heck of it.
4. Also, sometime people will say the monument/tourist attraction your looking for is closed, follow me, I will show you something better.
5. Mint tea is tasty.
6. French is pretty big here.
7. A lot of people can speak English, French, Arabic. It helps make money I guess.

…More to come

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Written by Jeff

February 20, 2009 at 9:11 am

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