Monday, September 14, 2009

Meeting the Locals

Today I bought some stuff at El Corte Ingles to make a 'picnic' lunch and I took my book and went and sat in La Plaza de La Reina (the plaza of the Queen).  This is the view from my bench 

The cathedral is from the 13th century and built over a former mosque (the Spanish pushed the muslims out of places, but being a practical people they used what the muslims had left and built on top of or inside of existing structures, the one in Cordoba is the best). I kept changing benches until I had the best shade that looked like it would last the longest.  Which, put me close to the bus stop.  So, an older gentleman (turns out he's 79 until November) asked if he could share my shade, I said of course.  He sat down and just started talking to me.  I had forgotten this.  When this would happen to me when I was in Valladolid in college it would freak me out because I didn't actually speak Spanish and I would feel rude for not responding appropriately and I never really understood what was being said to me.  Well, for all of you who were wondering, it turns out I actually DO speak Spanish now, so I really did understand most of what he said to me.  Nice to know I actually speak the language huh?  He recognized that I did not know Spanish from here but it turns out he LOVES Texas and watches Walker, Texas Ranger every night (at 8:00 PM on channel 1 if you were wondering).  Another thing that used to freak me out when Spaniards would talk to me is that, unlike Americans, they happily talk about politics and religion all the time.  So, once this man learned I'm from the US he told me how much he hated Yankees and that all republicans are fascists and that he likes Obama but thinks it's ridiculous that people don't have access to healthcare in the US.  I used to take these types of comments as attacks on me, because I just didn't understand the culture.  Anyway, the most interesting part is that this man was 7 when the Spanish civil war started and his older brother fought for the republican army (against Franco).  He told me some pretty gory stuff about bayonet fighting.  He does not have a very high opinion of Franco or of the Catholic church and he's a communist.  He showed me pictures of his granddaughters and told me his son speaks very good English and his daughter is independent and doesn't need any help from a man.  It was a fun afternoon and an interesting history lesson.  Then I got a ice cream cone and walked back to my room.


  1. What a fantastic day!! I love Spaniards!!!

  2. Uh, yeah. I'll say you know Spanish DURN well if you could understand all of that! I didn't know you were blogging. So glad I can keep up with you now!

  3. I'm here! I added your blog to my Google reader.

    I enjoyed the open discussions of politics and religion when I was in France - lots of interesting debates but no ruffled feathers afterwards. I found it quite the breath of fresh air.

    Glad you made it there okay! I'm looking forward to keeping up with your adventures. :D


  4. What a wonderful conversation!! I am very exited for you :)