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travelgirl2 Sep 9th, 2006 05:00 AM

Day 48 - Salamanca

Another day in Salamanca. Exciting day in class. We start learning past tenses. Yippee. It feels like we are making more progress. I have a lot of homework to do, though.

Today is Friday, so we are having a party in class. The instructor who fines us for speaking English, Carmen, has used the money to purchase candy. She has bought eight gummy bears, eight chewy strawberries, eight gummy coca-cola bottles, eight gummy fake teeth, etc. As she gives us each one, she tells us the words in Spanish. Then, we play a game where we have to get our team to say the name of something by either pantomiming it or describing it or describing it without saying certain other words (like the game “Taboo”). It is a lot of fun. But, I realize that my Spanish vocabulary is very limited.

Tonight we go out for dinner with Connecticut Mom and her family. The kids have a great time together.

travelgirl2 Sep 11th, 2006 10:18 PM

Day 49 – Salamanca

Today is Saturday, so we have no camp or class. We sleep until noon.

The kids need haircuts. I’ve been told that the salons are unisex and that barbers are really for men needing a shave. It is funny to see the kids’ faces as we enter a typical beauty salon on a busy Saturday afternoon. Twenty ladies, 8 hair stylists, discussing boyfriends and husbands. We do briefly see two men, but this is clearly not where the men hang out. Where do they go to get their hair cut?

We communicate as best as we can about what we want. DS1 is fine with his cut. DS2 is unhappy that his is too short. After seeing DS2’s, I decide that I won’t get my hair cut here. But, although they are short, the cuts are fine and the kids look very handsome. (They really needed haircuts!) In our area of the US, long hair is popular now. Here, the cut is short on the sides and top, and long and tapered in the back. The front is very short and slicked back with gel.

Back at the apartment, we read, nap and play computer games all afternoon.

For dinner, we meet Connecticut Mom’s family at 9 pm at the Plaza Mayor. The place is hopping. We sit and people-watch for hours. Among other things, we order a ham board. It is a platter with slices of ham and salami. It is delicious. Jamon (ham) is everywhere here. It is very popular. There are jamon shops, with flanks of meat hanging on hooks. I also try gazpacho. It is a cold tomato soup. They bring a platter of assorted chopped vegetables and you choose what you’d like them to add to the soup. Onions, peppers, cucumbers, bread cubes, etc.

At 12:30 am, we head home from dinner. The streets are still crowded. The outdoor restaurants and cafes are packed with people. Most are having a drink. Some are still eating.

In Spanish class, they have told us that the meals are as follows: breakfast around 8-9 am, snack at 11-12, lunch at 2-3, drinks and tapas at 7-8 and dinner begins at 9 or 10 pm.

I can’t believe so many people are still out, so late at night. It feels perfectly safe to be walking around after midnight.


travelgirl2 Sep 11th, 2006 10:19 PM

Day 50 – Salamanca

Today is Sunday in Salamanca. Everything is closed. We stay in our apartment all day. Reading, doing homework, catching up on Fodors, playing games, eating, sleeping.

We are so glad we didn’t try to go to Portugal. We are exhausted and really need to take it easy this weekend.

At 11 pm, we hear a loud buzzing noise. We are not sure where it is coming from. We think it is our doorbell, but do not want to open the apartment door. It turns out to be the phone which is connected to the front door of the apartment building. Someone is trying to deliver a pizza to us. He has our apartment number. But, we haven’t ordered a pizza, so we tell him so (in Spanish) and don’t buzz him in.

I realize that if there was any problem, we would have no idea who to call. So, I find out that in Spain the number for emergencies is 112 and for police it’s 091.

Then, it’s time for bed, for we have another long week of Spanish class and camp.

sharon1306 Sep 11th, 2006 11:07 PM

I'm really enjoying your trip report as you go along... Looking forward to more posts from you...

travelgirl2 Sep 11th, 2006 11:16 PM

Thanks Sharon. I was wondering if anyone was still reading!

fun4all4 Sep 12th, 2006 03:24 AM

Yes, still reading!!! :-) Keep going - it is great.

Travelbug13 Sep 12th, 2006 04:19 AM

Still reading as well. Look forward to it in the morning with my coffee before I start my day at work.

I am really enjoying it, and love that I have been able to follow you and your family through your wonderful travels.

crefloors Sep 12th, 2006 05:06 AM

yes. still reading!!!!!!!! wanting more!!!!

kristind05 Sep 12th, 2006 05:15 AM

oh yes, i am definitely still reading... every morning when I get to work!

amelie Sep 12th, 2006 06:18 AM

Still reading!!

missypie Sep 12th, 2006 07:11 AM

Is the ham super-salty? My kids once ordered ham at a German restaurant in Paris; it was the ultra-salty kind, and now they're afraid to order it outside of the US.


LCBoniti Sep 12th, 2006 08:30 AM

I am also still reading, travelgirl. I'm sure your schedule is hectic, getting back to reality, but please continue as you are able. Your adventures are unique and I am really enjoying sharing them with you.

Linda

Italybound07 Sep 12th, 2006 09:02 AM

Still reading-the first place I check every time I log on...

I spent a month in Madrid in high school. I remember Botin's and the Plaza Mayor and eating so late-I loved it!

tower Sep 12th, 2006 09:17 AM

TG2...

you keep on writing..we keep on reading...this will go down as the classic trip report of all times!

(... but,hey, I've noticed that there are very few ...if any! other males responding to your trip report)

I wonder why that is??? Anyone?

Stu T.

Liz2005 Sep 12th, 2006 09:35 AM

I'm still reading and enjoying too!

Just wondering how your boys liked this dining schedule - when they came back to reality did they have trouble adjusting to a US schedule again?

LoveItaly Sep 12th, 2006 10:41 AM

I am still reading also travelgirl! BTW, did you ever find out what the pizza deliver was about? Since you didn't order one that was smart not to let that person into the building.


Pilates Sep 12th, 2006 10:55 AM

Definitely still reading.

Stu said,

(... but,hey, I've noticed that there are very few ...if any! other males responding to your trip report)

I wonder why that is??? Anyone?

I think it boils down to attention span, or lack thereof. It's the same reason why a woman can be next to a remote control and not touch it for an hour. A feat quite impossible for the North American man. :-)

jonalex Sep 12th, 2006 12:15 PM

I'm reading with as much awe and enthusiasm as the ladies. This is better than Lost. I keeping on refreshing this site hoping to get Travelgirl's update. My wife thinks I'm crazy, but I love this stuff. We are leaving for Budapest, Prague and Vienna in less than two weeks and all I can do is read about other people's vacations! I need to get back to planning my own!

travelgirl2 Sep 12th, 2006 02:16 PM

jonalex - I know exactly what you mean! I am just back, still working on the trip report and already I am reading everyone's Fodor's postings. Also planning our next trip. It will have to be very inexpensive. Probably a family bicycling trip in the US.

The ham was a little salty. But, not too much. In fact, I think the food in general in Spain is a little saltier than I am used to. But, we were here about 15 years ago and I remember thinking the food was too salty to eat at times, so I think it has improved since then.

The kids loved the schedule in Spain. The only problem was that there wasn't really enough time to sleep. Midnight until 7:00 or 7:30 am. We are all used to more sleep than that, especially with all the exercise we are getting.

We never did find out what the pizza delivery thing was about. The next night, I actually wanted to order a pizza from Duomo's again, but I was afraid they would think it was a prank, so we didn't.

Stu T. - Are you back from vacation? Where did you go?

travelgirl2 Sep 12th, 2006 02:28 PM

Day 51 – Salamanca

During class, I ask my classmates about the drinking situation in Salamanca. They tell me they think the drinking age is 16, but you could probably get into the bars pretty easily at a younger age.

The kids at camp who are of a certain age (15 or 16, I think) are allowed to go off-campus during “permission nights”, if they have their parent’s permission. DS1 and DS2 tell me there is a lot of talk of which bar they went to and what kind of drinks they like. It is such a contrast to the US, where the drinking age is 21.

DS1 and DS2 continue to love camp. When Connecticut Mom and I arrive to pick them up at 11 pm, no one is answering their phones. They keep the doors to the college/convent locked at night, for security purposes. So, when I arrive, I either call Jose or one of the kids. I am so glad that I purchased international cell phones for this trip. I got three and two would have been enough…

(I got the phones from Telestial. It was convenient, but very expensive. They arrived the day after I ordered them, which was great. I have not been happy with their customer service, though. It is not open 24 hours, so I’ve left 3 messages at various times. Once I received a call a day later. Twice, I never received a callback. The customer service number is not toll-free, so the calls cost me $6+ and $2+. One of the phones will not send text messages. Next time, I would research phones more thoroughly…)

I thought the phones might be an extravagance, but they turn out to be a necessity. Also, I’ve asked the kids to call me in advance if they decide they’d like to stay until 11 pm, instead of 8 pm. That saves me an extra hour of walking back and forth to get them.

Eventually, one of the kids answers their phone. There is so much yelling and screaming in the background that I can hardly hear them. They tell me that they are in the middle of a scavenger hunt and ask if I mind waiting for a while. At 11:30 pm, they come to the door with someone whose face is painted completely black. It turns out to be Jose. They are all laughing and having a good time.

Camp is held at Colegio Calasanz. It is such a great place for a camp. I think it used to be a convent. It is a school during the rest of the year. The buildings are very old. It is in the shape of a U, with a huge courtyard in the middle. There is a big theater, where the kids watch movies. There is a small cafeteria, where they take their meals. The setting is very atmospheric, so it must be great to have a scavenger hunt at night.


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