Monday, January 30, 2012

Indie Films, volleyball, and a tiny bull with a scarf.

This weekend I didn't manage to go to the north of Spain due to insufficient planning on my part. I did find other things to do, though. Friday I spent all night studying Spanish in my room. It was kind of exciting. I managed to roughly translate a recipe for cream candy for the cooks at the primary school. It's difficult enough to explain how to make that stuff in English, much less in broken Spanish.

Saturday night I watched three short films made by Teruel natives in one of the old, single-screen cinemas in the city center. They were surprisingly good, as I was expecting much more amateur-level production quality. They were all a bit eccentric and "indie", which I found refreshing compared to the movies I've been watching with my roommate in the cinema. I'm getting better at understanding dialogue (or at least I think I am), but I struggled with one of these films because it was almost entirely dependent on understanding a voice-over by one old mumbling man. The whole experience of leaving the mini film festival was similar to leaving after a church service. Everyone had to greet everyone else with the same meaningless small talk as they slowly dispersed into the streets in search of dinner or their houses. I think there's something meaningful amidst all of the tired greetings, though. There was a sense of community and welcomeness there that even I felt I was becoming a part o f. Teruel can be an inviting place at times. If nothing else, being surrounded by a ton of warm people in the streets while it was snowing was a plus.

Sunday I went to La Copa del Rey (King's Cup), the championship volleyball game between Teruel and another team from Spain. I was strangely excited about volleyball for some reason. It's not the most invigorating thing to watch but it's interesting nonetheless. Teruel won three straight sets and won the big, shiny cup. The crowd shot streamers and glittery paper all over the place in celebration. One of the security guards was covered in shiny paper. It was cute.

There was a post-game celebration in the Plaza del Torico, home of the city's iconic little bull statue. The players showed up to shout a lot about winning. The most entertaining part was one player scaling the statue and dressing Torico in an orange scarf. Here is a play-by-play from my phone to assist your imagination:

Torico was still decked out in his orange scarf this afternoon:

This week at the language school, where I normally work in the evenings, the students are taking their exams. This means I get a week of free evenings to run around Teruel. I decided to go for a long walk around the city and take a few pictures. 

I also bought a nice copy of Don Quijote de la Mancha in one of the local bookstores this evening. I'm not sure if I'll even read it anytime soon (or that I'm even capable of doing so yet), but it is a decent little souvenir to keep from Spain. It came with a free bookmark that serves as an advertisement for another book entitled, "I also had a bisexual girlfriend." I like to think that this was a recommendation from the bookstore owner based on my purchase of the Spanish classic.

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