Completely Random Observations

I know, I was about to write Part 2 of our Ribera excursion, but I’ve been mulling on a handful of totally random thoughts so I thought I’d write them down. Completely random and disconnected, some that I’ve sat on for a while, and some new. Here goes.

Carrefour is in desperate need of organization. Carrefour is sort of like our version of Walmart, with a great big grocery store. I love the store, especially at like 2pm on a weekday when it isn’t a total zoo. I spent an hour and a half there the other day just roaming around.  But seriously, I was passing by an area on a shelf that looked like it was Mexican food related, but right in the middle was a box of Swedish chocolates. Not just like one box that someone left there, but all of the boxes. Like that was their place. I reJOICED the other day because I stumbled across Quinoa. I should have bought three because there is absolutely no chance in hell I will ever come across it again. No wonder people have to spend so much time there.

Spaniards love to linger. This is a lingering society. They linger after meals for hours (you must ask for the bill, it does not just show up), they linger in the street after events, no one seems to mind if something starts late (which, let’s face it, it always does here) because it gives them more time to linger. Sometimes they are in active conversation, and sometimes they are just literally standing around. Saying nothing. And when someone finally mentions something about leaving, it is an hour before anyone does anything about it. (Except for me…hahahahaha…when I say I’m leaving, it’s like 2.2 seconds till I’m out the door!)

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. There is always a fiesta SOMEwhere. Every town has fiesta for their town’s patron saint, plus there’s the all-Spain fiestas, plus the regional days. I can’t keep track. They just pop up, everything closes, and you hear what sounds like cannons going off all day and into the night. It still boggles my mind.

Service here is, uh, different. Service like customer service. Sometimes you walk into a store, and someone snaps right up and is at your side making suggestions and helping you in any way (today in a sunglass shop). But then other times, it’s like they forget. We were out the other night at one of our frequented bars, and of course we know the bartender/owner. He had just gotten back from vacation and was VERY excited to tell us all about it and show us pictures. He talked for like 30 minutes, never stopping to see if we had actually come to the bar to get a drink, but rather maybe we just went to hear about his vacation. It made me giggle. If it had been a bar in, say, DC…well, I’ll stop there, that just wouldn’t have happened. Some poor customer would have literally busted a gasket and then blasted out the bar on facebook.

Sheep like the shade. (I said this was random, right?) There’s a field right next to the train station that I pass by often, that dips down in the middle – so the edges of the field are up a hill and lined by a metal fence next to the sidewalk. One day I was walking back, and I looked down and only saw one sheep in the middle and I thought “how odd, where are the rest?” And that’s when suddenly I realized they were right next to me, all lined up against this fence for the weeedle teeny bit of shade it provided. I laughed out loud.

Pardon the Blackberry quality photo, it was all I had with me. 

If you see a “trisca,” RUN.  “Trisca” is a GREAT word. It is what they call a person who, when you run into them, will latch on to you and talk incessantly about anything and everything but nothing of any significance without you ever saying a word or being able to make a graceful escape. I don’t even know what we call that in English. But the thing is, everyone knows who they are. People avoid eye contact, or hustle past them quickly, or suddenly become overwhelmingly involved in a conversation with someone else. Because if they latch on, they Don’t. Go. Away. And if somehow they end up buying you a drink? Well, you better have a seat and get comfortable because you’re not goin anywhere.

Sometimes I just think to myself, “Huh?” The other night we went to see a film about bears in Cantabria, the brown bear specifically. There is a guy in Corrales who is a photographer by hobby, and has a calendar out of really pretty wildlife pictures, and he had put together some of his videos of the bears into an hour long film.  He had set the film to music, some classical, some Spanish, all enjoyable (even if I started getting a bit tired of watching bear videos, I was still digging the music), when suddenly “Lady in Red” comes on. Everything else made sense until then. So I spent the next 15 minutes trying to understand how that might have made it as a selection to accompany bear videos. Like, maybe they were sort of reddish? Maybe he’d never forget “the way she looked tonight?” It certainly wasn’t the dancing cheek to cheek thing.

A tintoreria is a dry cleaners, and a a tanatorio is a morgue. The words are not really that close, but at least now I know the difference. I had the opportunity to go to a tanatorio the other day, our friend’s father passed away (he had been very sick for a while, so although sad, really a blessing). Death is an interesting thing here. I had gone to a funeral last year – not anyone I knew, but someone’s cousin’s friend’s parent or something like that. They actually post papers on little bulletin boards (and lightposts) around town announcing someone’s funeral. I see people stopped to read them all the time – so when the funeral happens, it’s like the whole town goes. I suppose that could be a function of living in a small town, really everyone probably knows the person or the person’s family and that’s why they all show up. But death is like daily news, everyone talks about it. And what I went to the other night was a wake, similar to wakes that I’ve been to in the states, the body is in a casket for viewing – but it was inside, and the people who were close to the deceased – family and very close friends – go to see the body, everyone else stayed outside and just went to show support for their friend. A much preferred approach IMHO, as I am not a fan of wakes but I appreciate the ability to show a friend support by going. Interesting.

ANYhoo. C has been gone for a few days, helping to find an apartment for his niece at the school she’ll attend outside of Zaragoza. CLEARLY I have been myself for a few days.

And in the words of one of my favorite people…End Rant. 🙂

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