Let me first apologize for the lack of updates. While I haven’t exactly been busy I’ve been persevering in a role that is demanding of my creative and linguistic abilities. I spend my days at a desk reading and writing and am lacking the inspiration to also write in my free time, which is a shame because I’m now also lacking a hobby!
Work has been an interesting journey thus far. Learning the ups and downs of bureaucracy has been a challenge in itself, and there are many hoops to jump through in order for anything to get done. I’ve settled into a routine though and am consistently the first person in my department to arrive each day (even being 15 minutes late on a very regular occurrence), and hope this is to my advantage when they think I am super committed to the position. I am writing two reports for the company on both the Meetings Industry and Shopping industry within tourism and the economic impacts of these within communities, and also as a method of further development. I am happy with the topics as I can think of much more boring things to write about (one colleague is writing a report on water usage), and it means I get to communicate and collaborate with a wide range of interesting people from around the world.
On Tuesday I had a meeting with a big CEO, who looked like a cross between Jack Black and a big fuzzy bear. He was the head of a massive tourism firm in Spain, yet still looked like he’d been recruited from a talent agency, especially with a bright blue blazer. Business situations in Spain are definitely a little different to how things operate back in New Zealand, and I’m a fan of the casualty (although I hope I don’t adopt what I almost view as a few inappropriate business habits… ethnocentrism (?). 
In light of this, Let me tell you I’ve definitely had a few culturally incentive language F#**-ups this week that have had me in stitches. The first came from my inability (laziness) to write ‘ñ’ on my keyboard (I’ve worked it out now). There is a big difference between words with an ‘n’ and words with an ‘ñ’, and I learned this in my Spanish class (thank god). When stating your age you’re supposed to write/say “tengo … años” which literally translates to I have … years. However for the last 4 WEEKS I’ve been saying and writing “tengo … anos” which literally translates to “I have … ANUSES!!!!” Hahahaha. Won’t be making that mistake again!
The other one, which probably had the ability to get me into a lot more trouble was in relation to pasta (or so I thought). Sitting out at a wee restaurant table on the street I was declaring my love for Penne Pasta (why is this never on the menu here?). A family nearby kept giving me sideways glances and glares and I thought THEY were being rude. However I have now learned it’s because I kept saying Penne Penne Penne in conversation, which means PENIS. Whoops!
In other news I made a trip to a place called Segovia with some other interns from work. This ancient city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a result of all the awesomely ancient things it has to look at, and in particular the Aqueduct of Segovia. This feature is obviously by far the most spectacular thing in the city and like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It’s a Roman piece of civil engineering that was applied to over 25,000 blocks of granite, and is 818 meters in length… I have no idea how the heck it works, but it looks cool and that’s all that matters.
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Something out that’s equally cool looking is the Alcázar (castle), which was originally built as a fortress but has also served as a royal palace, a state prison and a military academy.  It’s such a beautiful building that it inspired Walt Disney to design the Cinderella Castle seen in Disneyland from this. 
Regardless of the beauty and excitement of these new discoveries, the heat defeated us and we retreated. Any sightseeing in Spain right now is impossible after 2pm when the temperatures soar into the late 30’s.


One place that has become my regular haunt since arriving in Madrid has been ‘El Tigre’, a tapas bar that has your stomach stuffed to the brim for minimal amounts. This is a place where you sacrifice quality for quantity, but who’s complaining when you’re on a budget? For €3 you can have a caña and a plate of tapas. Bargain? I think so. Especially since I’ve become such a fan of croquettas – which are breadcrumb fried rolls stuffed full of mashed potato, cheese and jamon. Yes, I hear you, my waistline is expanding at a rapid rate. The bar is typically crowded with young (and most obscenely drunk) tourists from 9pm onwards, and provides adequate stomach lining for the ensuing evening.
I also had a visit in the past 2 weeks from two lovely friends from Mt Maunganui. I’ll leave you with the image of our lovely picnic in Retiro Park. It’s still my most favourite place in Madrid (despite the fornicating youngsters), and when one is here, they are never lonely. x

This entry was published on July 28, 2013 at 3:47 pm. It’s filed under Spain and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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