I am back in Spain for another year. I will continue to do updates like I did all last year.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tarazona es muy bonita!

This will also be a long post so get comfortable.....

At the end of my last post I was not sure if on Sunday I would try to go to Tarazona or stay in Zaragoza, where I knew a safe hostel and that my surroundings were safe.  In the end, I chose to stay in Zaragoza until I caught the bus to Tarazona today.  A few more words on Zaragoza....
It is a very beautiful city with almost 1 million inhabitants, I am glad I am so close so that I am able to visit as often as I want, to site-see and just experience the city life.  With that being said, if you ever come to visit do NOT make any days you visit a Sunday.  Why you ask? The easy answer is that NOTHING is OPEN! On Saturday night the city was full of life with some sort of festival going on, because while we ate dinner in the plaza we saw no less than 8 married couples walk past with the men in tuxedos and the women in beautiful wedding dresses.  The next morning I got up and went out and the only things open were the churches and the Chinese bazaars.  Don't get me wrong, the churches are beautiful and I love the Chinese bazaars because you can always find odds and ends that you need at really great prices.  But, if you come on a short visit make sure to avoid having one of the days be a Sunday because the churches and bazaars are open everyday of the week!

Okay, onto my big adventure today.  Last night I had planned to wake up at 5 a.m. and walk to the bus station with my bags to catch the 7 a.m. bus to Tarazona.  At the last minute before I went to sleep I wanted to check what time the ticket counter opened at the bus station just to cover all of my bases.  I am glad that I did because it is so typical of the Spanish to have a 7 a.m. bus when the ticket counter does not open until 7:30!  I would have been steamed to arrive there then have to wait 3 hours till the 10 o'clock bus.  Oh and for those of you wondering why I would walk to the bus station with my bags instead of just taking a taxi, it is because I hate taking taxis!  Since I have been here 90% of the money I have spent has been on taxi fare, the reason I have been taking taxis is because I have two rolling bags one of which weighs 54 lbs., a backpacking backpack and a great shoulder bag (thanks to my cousin Margie).  It is too many bags to safely walk through the metro or even the streets because we were warned that the criminals here target non-natives (which is something I already knew since it is obviously common sense).  The only time I am scared to travel here in Spain is when I have to deal with my bags, overall I find that if you make the attempt to blend in and aren't outlandishly American (i.e. wearing white sneakers and an American flag somewhere on your body) people will assume you are a local and treat you as such.  But, in my case I can't really help that I have an outrageous amount of baggage because I will be here for 8 months straight.  I got a little off the topic but gave all of you reading this some good info if you want to come to Spain!

I was able to take the 10 a.m. bus and on the way saw beautiful scenery as well as hundreds of windmills!  My blog background of a windmill with a field of flowers is not a coincidence.  Spain has had a long and comical history with the windmill since the 1500s, those of you who have read Don Quixote already know to what I am referring.  I thought it was a tribute that fit the whole theme of my travel here, a fantastical adventure through Spain.  We arrived in Tarazona around 11:15 and I got to the Escuela de las idiomas just before noon.  They helped me put up fliers that said I am looking to share an apartment with someone who can help me improve my Spanish while I teach them English.  They also helped me get to the only hostel in town which is more like a hotel, I have my own room with a bathroom, needless to say the price reflects the great accommodations!  I also learned that tomorrow is the feast day of the patron saint of the town, San Atilano, so I have off tomorrow and the whole town is having a party!  I rested for a bit this afternoon and went back to the school for 3:30 to get more information about my schedule and meet more of the English professors I will be working with.  The school where I will be teaching is not required learning by the Spanish education system, the students have to pay for classes, so they are extremely motivated to be there.  All the students are 16+, many of them are adults in their 40s, 50s and 60s.  The hours of the school are 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. to accommodate the students who have full-time jobs during the day.  The hours allow me to site-see and have a siesta all before going to work!  All of the teachers at the school could not have been nicer, they are extremely helpful and very patient with me.  After today my anxiety has practically disappeared.

As always, ask questions in the comment section or just comment.

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