Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sabado en Sandalias

Today´s word of the day is ¨barkatu¨: sorry

Today I ambled around Bilbao with the goal of getting a feel for the city and finding some toilet paper. A river runs through Bilbao, so I followed the board walk North as I knew I would eventually run into the Guggenheim. Snapshots from my explorations:

1. Team kayakers who chanted ¨E-T-A¨ followed by something in Basque. Terrorist kayakers? Hmm.
2. A man playing a gaite . . . the Basque bagpipe. I don´t know whether it was him or just the way it sounds, but it sounds more like a duck than a bagpipe.
3. It´s just plain disorienting to hear English music here. There was a man playing ¨Amazing Grace¨ on a trumpet outside the Guggenheim. Likewise, I heard non-descript 80s music, Simon and Garfunkel, Santana, and Lady Gaga while shopping.
4. I love Spanish children. I saw several over the course of the day and they are somehow universal in their kid-dom and thus less intimidating than adults. I walked behind this little boy who was making ¨vroom-vroom¨ noises as he glided a tin-foil car along the side of a building and it made me smile.
5. I´d be an okay gumshoe. I was sitting on a bench eating a snack when I saw one person and then another walk by with an ¨El Corte Ingles¨ bag. So, I went in the opposite direction. Then I saw another person with a bag so I imagined where they had come from and worked my way to ¨Gran Via¨ or Broadway. Jackpot: Zara and ¨El Corte Ingles.¨
6. The quest for toilet paper is an awkward one. I found the bookstore version of ¨El Corte Ingles¨ and while in the restroom I suddenly realized that I should just take some toilet paper incase I coudn´t find any. I was very proud of myself. I also figured the big ¨El Corte Ingles¨ had to be near . . . and sure enough it was a few blocks down. Once in the store, however, I didn´t see it in the pharmacy area and then realized I didn´t know what it was even called. I settled for asking for paper towels . . . I figured that would be in the same area, but that only led me to tissues in the¨perfumaria¨ section. I finally found the grocery store on the 6th floor and almost did a little skip when I found the aisle. I was down right giddy.
7. Packaging in Spain has a cartoonish character. Especially the candy.
8. Mr. Clean is ¨Don Limpio¨ . .. and you better believe I bought it.
9. I am intimidated by restaurants, especially the neighborhood-looking ones. I haven´t eaten at one yet. I´ll make this a goal for tomorrow.
10. Without people to talk to, my interior voice has become very loud.


  1. i think i saw some terrorist kayakers on the float trip i went on last summer...they had bombs...JAGER bombs!!! bahahahahahaha. :o)

  2. p.s.

    that was amy schaag. i made a google account a while back for some unknown reason, and apparently i chose that for my user name.

  3. any light bulb moments yet? miss you already

  4. #3....def can identify. you are surrounded by people who obviously think youre nutso because you are the only non-basque/spanish/arabic native speaker in the vicinity yet youre hearing all these songs and your brain is like "what the hell?!" yeah, i understand. and they can repeat the lyrics verbatim without any understading of what they mean. i had a 8 year old sing me all the songs from high school musical in italy. and she was doing it perfectly. craziness.
    wow, this is fast turning into more of an email than a comment, so ill shut up. very very glad you found tp and hope you find someone to talk to so you dont explode. maybe you can sing along to the radio while you shop. look for a restauant with lots of old people. theyre always nice to sit next to and wont snicker.

  5. I miss you
    4 - adorable. it's nice how universal kid-hood is.

    10 - i'm sorry.. I know how that is (mostly from elementary/middle school). if you haven't started narrating your life yet, you're still doing well.

  6. Um, you know your title is Saturday in Watermelons, right? Sandals are "sandalias" or "chanclas," I suppose. Grammar fascist rides again!! Bwa ha ha!