Now that summer has finally decided to make an appearance in the east of Spain I have been trying to balance outside time with study time. The week or two that schools were closed in New Jersey due to extreme temperatures that made the eastern seaboard feel like some species of inferno, Valencia was enjoying equally extreme amounts of rain…extreme by Valencian standards of course. Apparently we have had very odd weather this year because it usually rains in April and not very much and then really starts to heat up in May. We’re supposed to be cooking right about now, but we’re not…I’m not complaining really. I feel like I will roast plenty in Australia in a few months.
Anyway, so now that it’s warm I’ve been going to the beach to read my study materials. A likely story, right? I’ve actually been able to get much more reading done at the beach with my Spanish-English dictionary than sitting in my room with the internet…because whenever I’m supposed to be studying I find other things to do…such as write in my blog…for example. So while at the beach I have decided to enact phase one of operation Surf Board, which is a name that I just made up for my goal to take surfing lessons when I got to Australia. On days when I’m at the beach and don’t have capoeira practice later I’ve taken to going for a swim in the sea. This way I’ll get more used to swimming for long periods of time in water with lots of salt and waves and I will be more comfortable when learning to surf. The Mediterranean is so nice and it’s been a relaxing break from reading about the role ofwomen in Ancient Greek and Roman society in Spanish.
So last weekend I swam on Saturday and on Sunday and got quite a few topics studied, but Friday was the really interesting day. Amytza and I had arranged to go to the Oceanografic on Friday since neither of us had ever been, and we also wanted to go see an IMAX presentation at the Hemisferic as well. These things are part of La ciudad de las artes y las ciencias, or City of Arts and Sciences, that I have mentioned a few times in previous entries. The pictures from last weekend are already in the photo album, so you can go check out all the cool sea life at the Oceanografic which is an aquarium basically. We spent a good five hours walking around looking at all the fish. I don’t know how many people remember my childhood dream of being a marine biologist. I think it was probably in 4th grade when we were studying the ocean and I had to do a report on polar bears…which are, of course, not strictly marine animals, but they affect ocean life a great deal so my teacher decided they counted. I gave up the dream once I realized how much dissecting of fish and other animals would be involved in realizing it, but I’ve always been a little sad because although even in high school I don’t think I would have been happy about dissections, I think I could handle it now. I decided that I would sign up for the Marine science class in Australia that is geared toward people without a science background. I still really like the ocean and all the life in it and since I am going to Australia next, it gives me a great opportunity to study the reef. Besides, the environment in which we live is part of Anthropology too, so it’s not even going off track.
The IMAX presentation on the Nile was not until 8pm, we went back to the dorm to rest for a bit before going back to the theater. IMAX theaters are awesome and we had a blast taking pictures of ourselves in the headsets that are reminiscent of something out of Star Trek…I want to know why the headsets are so unconventional. It’s actually a bad design (check out the pictre) because the speakers are pretty open, so all through the presentation, I was hearing the commentary in different languages all around me. You can change the language on the speakers so everyone in the theater can understand it no matter what language they speak. I listened mostly in Spanish because the English narrator had an annoying voice. But I kept hearing the commentary in French and Valenciano all around me because sometimes the other languages had commentary in places where my commentary was silent. The show was about this team of people who rafted the Nile from the source of the Blue Nile to Alexandria. It was interesting and of course the cinematography was amazing.
After the IMAX no one wanted to go back to the dorm and feel like we should be studying, so we went to the Palau de Musica which is the Palace of Music where they hold lots of excellent concerts…none of which I have ever attended. Out back there is a fountain and they play music while the water bubbles…it’s supposed to be in rhythm…but it’s not. The music was good though. They played a lot of Disney so we sang along. After the fountain show was over we went back to the City of Arts and Sciences to watch an outdoor performance of what turned out to be a portion of Die Walkure by Wagner. The special thing about it was that it was all outside and the actors were only pretending to sing because they were all over the buildings. And when I say all over the buildings, I mean that some of them were abseiling down the Reina Sofia and standing on outside balconies way high up in the air. Then a bunch of people were lifted on cranes…it was pretty incredible. My pictures simply do not do it justice.
This week has been spent going to capoeira, saying goodbye to people who are making their way back home one by one, going to the beach to get a tan, trying to work out how to do all the things I want to do before I leave Valencia, and of course…study. I have all day today, so I’m now going to turn off my computer and go to a different building to get through some material after lunch. I’ll probably write again soon because I’m sure I forgot to put things in.
Now for attempting some productivity.
Oh, P.S. I cut my hair again and it is now chin-length. There aren’t a lot of pictures yet but when I get some they will be posted. 🙂