Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The days go by

I'm now starting to settle into a small daily routine, which is pleasant after 4 months of meandering: walk Bondi, breakfast, classes 9-12:30, email until 1:30, 2:30 lunch with host family, then homework/siesta until later afternoon, and then errands/exploration.

Tomorrow is a national holiday, with an evening festival. The Hispano/Ibero-American summit in Salamanca follows, with guests including Castro Chavez and Kofi Annan. Police are already starting to fill the streets, and we have to carry passports and avoid large bags (inconvenient when toting textbooks and laptop!).

I just got a Vodafone Spanish SIMM card for my phone (to add to my Oz and UK SIMMs) as making any sort of international call while roaming from here is prohibitively expensive. A 5 minute call to Australia this week cost nearly £20 !! The telecommunications infrastructure in Spain seems to be lagging other parts of Western Europe: I'll still have to use a calling card to call out from my Spanish SIMM.

Personal observations, and conversations with both locals and foreign students indicate that people of Salamanca/Castille are still quite staid in their daily lives. The cosmopolitan sheen over Salamanca from its architecture and universities is really quite superficial, and while the new government has been quite progressive, the mass of people are following distantly.

I'm trading bits of languages with the many students in the class. While learning adjectives for personal description e.g. guapo/a (handsome/pretty) , I proposed fugly as a translation of its antonym feo/a. A Swedish girl suggested snygg for handsome ... I said I'd bought something called that at IKEA. I'm also reminded of a T-shirt seen in London: "A dog is forever, not just Friday night".

Finished reading Gore Vidal. Now onto Mark Gatiss' The Vesuvius Club.

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