Friday, May 6, 2011

Madrid: Day 2

¡Hola! I have now been in Spain for two days and I'm definitely starting to get used to this place and how it works. I was dragging a bit today because I stayed up a little past my bed time talking to people from back home. I miss them so much! Today was a pretty relaxed day, so it all worked out.

My sister had to work this morning, so a couple of her friends volunteered to be our "tour guides" for the day. They took us to the botanical garden and we spent two hours looking at flowers, herbs, bonsai trees, and cats (?). After this wonderful tour, we met up with my sister and had some lunch at this lovely restaurant right next to the Reina Sofía, one of the biggest art museums in Madrid. This restaurant is famous for their fried calamari sandwich, and there is a good reason for that. It was delicious! Then, we went across the street to the Atocha Train Station because they have a "turtle pit." There was a little pond and some trees in the middle of the station and there were hundreds of turtles swimming around and sun-bathing. It was pretty awesome. Then, we came back to the apartment and I got a nice siesta before our evening activity.

During my siesta, the ladies went to a dress shop to look for a wedding dress for my sister, and they found one! This was very exciting! Afterwards, around 8:30, they met up with us guys at a restaurant/bar that had a flamenco show. This was our big night out for the trip, celebrating my sister's engagement. It was really a lot of fun. We ate some tapas (basically appetizers) and watched the flamenco show. Flamenco is a form of music and dance that originated in Andalusia in the 18th century. It is made up of three main parts, the dance, the singing, and the guitar playing. It is a very colorful, exciting dance that involves a lot of stomping for rhythmic effect. I found the guitar player to be the most fascinating part about the show. Being a guitar player myself, I was very interested in his technique. He didn't use a pick, but strummed faster than I can even with a pick, and his chords were very bright and happy-sounding. Toward the end of the show, the female dancer chose me to come on stage and dance to a song. I followed the male dancer and kept up for the most part. It was an exciting evening spent with great company.

We are traveling tomorrow, so it should be another exciting day. I am really enjoying what I am learning about this culture and am finally getting to practice my Spanish. It is fun being able to apply the things I've been learning since I was 6 years old. Well, I hope you all are doing well and enjoying this life that has been given us. Until tomorrow!

Con Amor,

Aden and Jorge

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