Gina in Granada

Conquering Europe One Step at a Time

Uphill Downhill

After another grueling week of intensive Spanish, I was ready for the weekend. Or so I thought…

Friday night was low key, and I was not complaining. Knowing we had to be up early for another tour was a great incentive to take a break from the clubs and bars for an evening. A few of the girls and I went back to our newfound obsession-Shawarma King, an amazing tea house about a ten minute walk away. One of the waiters is an large arab man who loves taunting Americans. He knows minimal English (just like the rest of the population here) and loves mocking us by repeatedly saying “oh my G-d” or saying Spanish greetings in an American accent. The locals get a kick out of this and laugh at us, not with us. I suppose he’s funny, but I can only imagine how fast I’d be arrested and charged with harassment if I mocked a person who spoke Spanish in America. Do I ever say “hola, como estas?!” or “ay dios mio”? Didn’t think so. Nonetheless I ordered my Pakistani tea and relaxed as we chatted away until almost 2 A.M.

best tea in the world

I could barely peel myself out of bed on Saturday, but I knew a great day was in store. The whole group headed up to the Albaicin neighborhood, the oldest district in Granada. The Albaicín is perched on a hill that faces the Alhambra. Makes sense, right? The old Moorish village to match the old Moorish place of worship. The narrow, cobblestone streets integrated small apartments, with historic places of worship and newly modernized cafes and markets. Being so secluded from the rest of the city makes every day tasks a bit more daunting. The residents of the the Albaicín don’t really have the luxury of frequent grocery shopping, or heading into the center of the city to grab dinner and a movie. Instead they anticipate the Saturday morning markets and donkeys to transport goods. We ate our packed lunches on the edge of an overlook onto the Alhambra. Even though it was almost siesta time, the weather was too nice to head back home. Eight or so of us ventured back into the tiny uphill village to get another look. We came across a handmade crafts store that had a whole bunch of neat stuff that I would never hang in my house or my ears. I’ve come to terms with the fact that me and the natives of Granada, and primarily the Albaicín, will never have the same taste in jewlery. They did, however, have lots and lots of tea! I was never a tea lover until I found Shawarma King, and this place had packages of the Pakistani flavor I love so much. Granted I have no means of making tea that doesn’t come in a tea bag, but at least it smells nice.

It’s sad to admit, but I think the highlight of my day was after the tour, when we decided to pick up a few things at a grocery store. Brace yourself for this: I got 4 individual bottles of diet coke, 5 bananas, a box of cereal, a box of granola bars, and a ginormous package of cookies for 10 euros. From now on I’ll just do my grocery shopping in Spain. I figure the amount I’ll save on the food will cover my airfare.

there was no hiding my excitement

If you’ve made it this far, you’re in luck. Here’s the part of the post where you get to laugh at my misfortune and say “that would happen to her.” So here goes nothin’. We’re at a club, which mind you I didn’t want to be at to begin with, but we we’re there so I decided to make the most of it. This place was unlike anywhere I had ever been. It was absolutely gigantic and came fully equipped with fire eating men, circus aerialists, half naked dancers, and a man playing a saxophone. Quite the combo. We spent hours dancing like sardines and watching the various performers. At around 3 A.M. I attempted to make my way to the bar which was 15 feet away. It took five minutes, just to give you a visual of how packed it was. Little did I know I was about to encounter the world’s biggest douchebag who refused to let me or my friends get close enough to order. He stood there smirking and shaking his head to let us know we weren’t getting our drinks. This meant war.

After 10 minutes of insisting he move away, the bartender realized we were waiting and managed to get our order. Luckily this drink was part of the cover charge because what happened next would have made me even more livid, had I paid additional money. I had taken maybe 4 sips, when this creature decided to stick his fingers in my glass and lick the remains from his disgusting un-manicured hands. I felt my teeth clench down as I shoved my glass full force into his chest and let him take it from me. He smiled and began drinking MY drink, so I did the only thing I could at that moment-I sucker punched him in the nuts. I yelled things at this guy that G-d might not forgive me for, and made my way back through the crowd. I was in awe for about 20 minutes and just wanted to go home. A little while later I made eye contact with him and mouthed the words “come here and I’ll knock your teeth out” while using hand gestures to signal him over. I then spent the next two hours pouting and hoping that someone would offer to leave with me, which unfortunately didn’t happen.

I think this is the closest I’ve come (and may ever come) to being a Spaniard. The club scene is just not for me. Get me some boxed wine and a game of scrabble, and I’m all set. I’m trying to not let this experience ruin all of the great things I did this week, including watching the Barcelona vs. Madrid soccer game at a local tapas bar, buying new boots, and casually making plans for a trip to Switzerland. I guess what they say is true; You win some, you lose some.

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