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I FINALLY found the freaking Mercadona! For some reason grocery stores in Spanish cities are always a stealth operation. Even with Google Maps, the only way to really find one is to stalk a little old lady with her cloth market buggy as she totters down the street, stops and chats with all her friends, contemplates the fur coats in the windows, and eventually leads you to the damn grocery store. I was tailing one last night but got thwarted at a cross-walk. In desperation I went to the Corte Ingles (a department store which always hides its groceries in the sub-street level but after wandering hungrily through the aisles, I got rejected at the register because the machine wouldn't accept my 5E bill. I'm not sure it that was because it's fake or just really old. I didn't happen to have any other cash on me, so I just went home and ate cliff bars for dinner. Mighty useful those cliff bars.

Everyone here keeps asking me if I am cold. I'm not sure if this is because a) something about my outfit is overdressed, b) I look cold (?) or c) they are cold. Valencia has been experiencing record lows, along with the rest of the country. They have been getting a little snow even, which the hostel owner tells me has never happened to him (and he ain't young). For a city with palm trees that sits right on the Mediterranean, I guess Valencians are a little freaked out. The cleaning lady put, like, four extra blankets on my bed today. I just hope it doesn't mess up my flights home--conditions in London haven't been that great either.

The cold weather makes exploring less fun. I've been to Valencia a couple times before, but it's a big city and this is my longest visit. However, the rain makes me think spending money on an electric tea kettle and staying under the covers is a better idea. There is a museum exhibit I'm interested in, and a Lope de Vega play (Spain's answer to Christopher Marlowe, a contemporary of Cervantes). I'm near a couple movie theaters, and of course there's always shopping. Spain (or at least Valencia) has finally come to its senses about shoes, and no longer has those freaky witch-toe shoes. Instead everything has practical toes and is woefully cute. And apparently January is a traditional sale month (I guess Epiphany is kinda like Black Friday for them??)

Mostly I've been spending my time in the Museo Nacional de Ceramica (y artes sunctuarias)'s library, slogging through books and theses in catalan and Spanish. The director came in and chatted with me some more today, but tragically, he's one of those Spaniards I just can't bloody understand. It's pretty embarrassing and I dearly hope I'll get better as I listen to him more. It doesn't help that Spaniards have a very involved vocabulary for ceramics. One word for glazes, another for glazes with lead, another for clear glazes, another for glazes with organics. In english we just have glaze. Slip. Pigment. Then tack on words as needed. Lead glaze. Lead-tin glaze. Clear glaze. Opaque glaze. Argh.

I quite like walking to the museum in the mornings. It is the most ridiculously barroque building ever. EVER. It puts the cathedral next to it to shame. Talk about built for intimidation, the doors are these giant 6 inch thick carved things with enormous knobs right in the middle, and there's this marble facade framing the entry that's...woah. Monsters and lions and what I think is a fig tree and draped men and lightening...it's hilarious and hideous.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 8th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you're having fun, take me with you, next time!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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