Hola a todos!!! Well it's been a while since I have written because I haven't really had a chance lately. This weekend is finally going to be a relaxing one for me; the past few weeks have flown by, so I am going to try and catch up on rest this weekend. We have a three day weekend this weekend so a lot of people are traveling, but I decided to hang out in Cadiz because I will be traveling quite a bit the rest of October. I am hoping to take a bus to Southern Portugal next weekend, we have an group excursion to Granada and Cordoba the following weekend, and the weekend after that I am going to Milan, Italy!
Well the past few weeks have been a blast-I have been here for a month and week-I can't believe that my trip is almost half-way over. It's kind of scary! I know my Spanish has improved a lot, but I still feel like I have a lot to learn. Rita (our director) told me that you don't realize just how much you have learned until you go back to the U.S. because here you are constantly surrounded by people who speak the language perfectly.
The last three weeks I have been to a flamenco performance, traveled to Ronda and Arcos de la Frontera (both in Spain), been to the beach (of course), gone to Sevilla and Morroco!!!
Our entire group went on an excursion to Ronda for a day trip. It was a really cool trip and we were able to explore the city on our own. Ronda is famous for it's huge bridge that connects the new part of the city to the old part. We also visited an exhibition of the Martyrdom of Saints. It is a place that has all of the ruins of the tools that the Romans used to torture and kill Christians in Spain. It was really gross and sad, but also pretty interesting.
Last weekend a group of us went to Morocco (Marruecos in Spanish). It was so much fun. We had a blast and went without any set plans. It probably wasn't a very good idea for our first trip to Africa! It was a fun adventure, but a little scary at times. We took a ferry from Tarifa, Spain (about a 2 hr. bus ride from Cadiz) to Tangier, Morocco. We arrived in Morocco at about 8 pm. and as we got off the ferry we were immediately approached by 3 guys who wanted us to take their taxi. We told him we needed to get to the bus station so that we could go to Chefchauoen (2 hours away from Tangier). They proceeded to tell us that there were no more buses that night and that they would take us for 140 Euros total. I was totally against going with them, but we ended up doing it anyway! It was hard to come to one decision when there were 7 different people with different opinions... 15 minutes later our group of 7 was split into two cars. It was dark and we were riding with people who spoke no English and hardly any Spanish. Mike had food poisoning from his lunch that day, so we had to stop the taxi 5 times, making the trip even longer! It was quite the adventure. Not to mention that the taxistas drove about 40-50 km. above the speed limit (sorry if you are reading this Mom), and they passed each other any chance that they could. By the time we made it to Chefchaouen 2 and a half hours later, my stomach was in knots from the unkown, the smell of gas from the car and Mike throwing up! They ended up dropping us off at Hotel Sevilla, which was an awesome place! It cost us 7 Euros each per night and we had 3 rooms in the corner of a hallway. In Morocco the currency is in Durhams (11 Durhams is equal to 1 Euro). Driving through the city was a little intimidating because everyone stared at us in the taxis. The women were all wearing their veils and the men were wearing their dresses with the pointed hoods. We ended up staying in the hotel the first night, joked about the taxi ride and thanked God that we made it there alive.
We all woke up early on Saturday (besides Mike who was sick the entire time) to explore the city. We met a boy named Mohammed, who came up to us and introduced himself. He walked with us for a while and we took pictures with him. He was so sweet and cute, but ended up asking us for a durham before he left. We gave him candy instead... It's common for people to do this and it's also common for someone to charge you for taking your picture. We shopped and bartered with various people..we also made a couple of people mad! One guy was so angry with us because he thought that we said we were going to buy 4 items from him, but what we had asked is if we could buy 4 for the price of 3. He didn't understand and ended up getting really mad! I got some great deals in Morocco-everything is handmade and beautiful. It was a beautiful city with gorgeous mountains all around. Chefchauoen means "look at the peaks" in Arabic. Every house/building in Chefchaouen was a different shade of blue. It was really cool to walk through. We were also there during Ramadan, a 30 day period where the Islamic people don't eat until dusk. They also said prayers over a microphone 5 times a day; this ocurred in the middle of the night as well. It was definitely a different cultural experience, but interesting to see.
We went to an awesome restaurant Saturday night, El Aladin (Aladdin). It had 4 different levels, each with its own atmosphere. We sat outside and ordered 4 complete meals, each with an appetizer, main course and dessert. It was amazing! We had different types of tortillas (omelets), cous-cous with pollo, roast beef with veggies, crepes con chocolate, flan and mousse con chocolate. We returned to Cadiz on Sunday from Morocco and I have not done a lot since then! Morocco was definitely a successful trip.
Well I will try to keep up on my travel blog-I am sure that I will have a lot to update after the next few weeks! If you get a chance, e-mail me at Embem33@aol.com to update me about everything going on at home. I miss and love you all!!!