Sunday, 10 October 2010

Salsa and Choir

11th day, Monday 4oct

School - I'm still figuring out my schedule - is starting in baby steps as opposed to school back home (which starts in Ghita Muresan steps). I'm almost ashamed to admit that seminars (practicas) will start in two weeks time in some asignaturas and next week in others. Algoritmica is most certainly interesting and engaging, as the teacher lectures with a velocity of 400 words/second - it's so fast that most words convert into amorph sounds stressed by a hitched breath here and there. That's Andalusian, gentlemen.

Just for the record, Andalusian is the dialect (it is not a dialect strictly speaking though, it's a way of speech specific to the South) spoken here in Granada - it consists in spitting words at amazing rates, not pronounciating the final "s"-es and joining words so that you can't tell when a sentence finishes and another one begins.

Castilian is the literary form of Spanish - the one you hear at the TV - and is fairly musical and clear.

Catalun from Cataluna is a dialect - this one really is and it is spoken in the East of the Spain. It's a mixture of French and Spanish which is an understandable phenomenon for all borderline regions.

Euskara...that's a different animal all together. I suppose you are familiar with ETA - el vasco, la lengua vasca or el euskera is the language of the Basque people that live in the northeastern regions - Spanish people view them as their own but there are many bombs diplomatic tensions as the Basque people require autonomy - I think they already have autonomous government of some sort. The Euskara is the only language in Spain (from what I've been told) that survived the Romanization process. I view it as Etruscan for Italian.

12th day, Tuesday 5oct

School - of course I went back and forth to the faculty only to be announced each time that practicas for a specific asignaturas haven't started yet.

13th day, Wednesday 6oct

This is the day we went to the Comedor or the canteen in the faculty. You have to pay 3 euros and you receive a ticket with which you can receive the day's menu. You can't choose plates - you have an entree, a main course and a salad. Optionally, a glass of red wine. The salad was terrific though - it had a sweet juice, nuts, apple, letuce, tomatoes, onions and so on. We met Alvaro who is somehow in charge of Erasmus students and trips for ETSIIT (Escuela de Telecomunication y Sistemas = our faculty) but all we could get from him (even now, sporadically on messenger) is this [very limited] collection of phrases [csv format follows]: "You don't go drinking at night? You're so boring", "Come to my place, we're having karaoke, me and my buddy, we'll let you go home at 4am", "Let's go drinking", "Let's go to the disco", "You don't know what you're missing".

14th day, Thursday 7oct

I finally got to go to the choir! I picked up a flyer that said the rehearsals were each Thursday, from 5pm till 8pm and all three of us decided to go. It's the choir of the Facultad de Ciencias and it consists of amateurs - pretty much like my choir back home - but I was wondering, why the long rehearsal? Well, it is indeed like my choir - they are pretty experimented, I had to read 5 score sheets (first encounter with the songs) and sing at the same time. The conductor is a young and very enthusiastic person and was really glad that we came. We're already invited to tour with them - and tour we will - on the 16th, 17th and 18th of December. We'll sing in Sevilla too ergo I'll get to see Sevilla and in the same time, keep an upbeat with my voice training so I don't lag behind my choir back home while I'm gone. Perfect!

15th day, Friday 8oct

I only had a lecture, Programacion Declarativa (Prolog) which I find interesting: the sintax is pretty intuitive and it seems that you can do a lot in terms of demonstrations and knowledge representation although I'm not sure if it will be of any use regarding the BA. Nonetheless, I will be familiar with all three main ways of programming - imperative (java, as3, c++ etc.), functional (haskell) and finally declarative (prolog).

This was also the "paying the dues" day - we called Mr. Julio (we always refer to him as "Mos Julio") and paid the rent for October - we nearly paid three rents: one as a guarantee (we'll get these 370 euros back when we leave), for September (well, half of it), and for October. We spent the day shopping - we went shopping with the suitcase. Let me tell you how it works: you take one giant suitcase, buy stuff to last you two weeks (12 cartons of milk, kilos of cereals, potatoes, tomatoes, olives, cheese, cookies, eggplants etc.), put them in the suitcase in an orderly manner, and rip your hands off your torso trying to trudge it to the nearest taxi in a blistering heat.

16th day, Saturday 9oct

It was an interesting day as it rained. I welcomed the rain naturally, and the  wind. It was a quiet day: the girls slept through the afternoon, I started research to implement AES in Qt (I haven't programmed in C++ in a while so it's hard in the beginning) and figured a minimal design, but the Qt part also poses problems (I also haven't used Qt in a while).

It was a quiet day, until 11pm. Then, we went out - sorry George, I know you told me before I left "You'll see, you'll go out dancing salsa at midnight" and I was always like "get behind me Satan". But sadly, you were right. We made a friend here - guess what his name is - Jose (equivalent of Joseph or Iosif in Romanian) who is surprisingly smart (and smart people seem hard to find even at a Computer Science faculty which by definition should be packed with us nerds) and has an English girlfriend, ergo speaks English!

He's really a nice friendly guy and seems to see in us a nice way to practice English. He also slanders his own people a lot. We went dancing - well, I and Oana danced, Anca swayed in a very crisp and restrained manner (I think she was a bit sad about something), only at times being more at ease when she saw us having fun. We were most duly taken home and slept a nice deep sleep. I should not forget to tell you that people here are night miscreants - the streets are empty during the day because most of the people are at work, or simply sleep and have their siesta but they ALL go out during the night. It's like it's a festival every god damned day, only they get out to eat. The town is suffused with kebap and food smells at 12 o'clock in the night and it gets so crowded that you bump into people. Sorry George, you were right.

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