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Accommodations, Everyday Life, Food and Drink, Spain

Las cosas que encontré en España y/o Asturias: A Continuing Series

¡Hola, chicos! Time is just flying by. In only two weeks, I’ll be volando home. I didn’t think that a month would feel so short, but it does. Still, I’ve been trying my best to absorb the culture as much as I can. Here are the little things I’ve become to pick up on. I learn new things every day so I’ll add on every once in awhile.

  1.  Poco sol, mucha illuvia
Prof. Schlig warned us the norte of Spain, i.e., Asturias, is noticeably cooler and wetter than the rest  of the país, but I naively thought that necessitated an umbrella sometimes and maybe a cotton jacket if it got nippy. Instead, I got almost two straight weeks of skies looking like this. 

Yup, this is mucho del tiempo.

It’s finally gotten warmer, brighter, and drier, but after days of bounding out of the casa in shorts and sundresses only to run back  to grab a sweater and/or umbrella, I’m not holding my breath.

Sweaters all day, every day, in junio? Thanks, montañas.

2.  No tipping?

In the United States, restaurants can pay waiters and waitresses less than minimum wage because they make up the difference in tips. In España, that’s not the case, so tipping is miniscule or nonexistent. You can leave only small change or a euro or two at full restaurantes and nothing at all at cafés. The one time I tried to give a tip to a taxista, he stared at the extra coin and handed it back to me, shaking his head.

This is in a plaza down the street from my house. Cada fin de semana, for some reason, EVERYONE clusters in this spot to pre-game before bar-hopping. You have to seriously elbow your way through.

3.  ¿Espacio personal? What’s that?

I should have expected that of a country where people of both genders greet and say goodbye to each other with kisses to both cheeks (beso beso), but personal space is practically nonexistent here. People cut each other off on the streets, crowd really close together, and feel free to touch you.

4.  No washcloths? 

My hotel in Madrid didn’t provide washcloths. I thought that it was a little odd but didn’t make much of it and dried my face with a towel. Then, I went to live with Laura and Malena and still no washcloths. Mis amigas en el grupo say it’s the same in their casas. When some people sought them out in stores, they had to use the ones used for dishes. A little extraño, no?

5.  As for meals. . .

Since my life, if not structured by school, tends to be planned around meals, it really threw me off when mi almuerzo was at two or even four in the afternoon, and mi cena was often not served until nine or ten at night. These two meals are also huge; lunch, especially, is much bigger than I’m used to. Not to mention, desayuno is totally different in España.

“¡Al revés!” cried Laura when she discovered that I ate eggs and jamón for breakfast sometimes back in los E.E.U.U. In España, eggs are for lunch or dinner or tapas, in a good tortilla española, for instance.

Desayuno, then, consists of a café or chocolate with un pedazo de pan most of the time. Since it’s so small, and I get hungry quickly, that necessitated a pincho (a snack, usually pan) at around eleven or twelve.

You can think of Spanish mealtimes like this:

  • Desayuno
  • Pincho
  • Almuerzo
  • Merienda (afternoon snack)
  • Tapas (pre-dinner nibbles)
  • Cena

This isn’t hard and fast, but meals tend to be frequent and long and leisurely. I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve easily spent more than una hora at lunch and dinner and have seen españoles dawdle for hours in a café sipping café, nibbling postres, and smoking.

Still, when Laura serves almuerzos and cenas like this. . .

Ensalada, pan, platano y fabada asturiana para almuerzo. Oh, yeah. . .

Who the hell am I to complain?

About Anna Cabe

I'm your average over-stressed Asian-American overachiever, your typical moderately talented wannabe writer, your everyday nerd with subpar social skills. I'm pretty boring really.


3 thoughts on “Las cosas que encontré en España y/o Asturias: A Continuing Series

  1. But what about Second-breakfastses? 😉

    Posted by Flyingthaiguy | June 19, 2011, 11:17 pm


  1. Pingback: ¡La Espicha!: What do you mean I can drink (legally) in Spain? « Anna Adventures Abroad - June 24, 2011

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June 2011
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