Bom dit a tot!
Okay, that's all the Catalan I know. If you were wondering, Catalan is about as closely related to Castellano as Portuguese is. It kinda *sounds* like what you learned in Spanish class, and I can understand it if it's spoken slowly (Ha! like that ever happens), but it's pretty different. But everyone *can* speak Castellano here. It's kind of like Texas decided that it really should be it's own country, and failing that, rewrote the State Constitution to start off, "Naow y'all lissen up, y'hear?" as a symbol of national pride.
Thanks everyone who wrote me. I know I'm the world's biggest geek for writing back en masse, but I'm paying 800 pesetas an hour to do this, so it's just gotta be this way until I get access at work.
Well, the big news this week was the trip to Valencia. Valencia is the third biggest city in Spain, still part of Catalunya, except that instead of Catalan, the speak (you guessed it) Valenciana. Which is kind of like Colorado wanted to pretend it wasn't owned by Texans so they stopped using the word "y'all". Anyway, I packed up my stuff and worked out an Itinerary to take me all the way down the east coast of Spain, down to Morroco, and finally to Lisbon. I took off last Friday.
Valencia was breathtaking. Pretty in a very different way from Barcelona, only three hours north. Everything is, well, really really old, like built before the "nail" was introduced in the USA. Oh, get this, Valencians *invented* paella (saffron rice with shrimp and mollusks and a whole lotta chutspa). They had a beach that rivalled Miami or even Beau Vallon in Seychelles. My second night there I met some Danish folks and partied until 6am. The next morning was, well, horrible, but in a very beautiful place. It occurred to me that night that sleep must have been invented in the first 24 hours that people were on earth. Like, Ug and Zug were sitting around, banging rocks, and Ug says to Zug, "Man, this is hectic. There's rocks to bang together and dinosaurs to run away from. To top it off, I think I must be getting sick... I can't concentrate, and I try to bang the rocks together but I miss." And Zug says, "No, hey man, that happened to me too, but Fug showed be a trick. Watch." And Zug goes off to sleep. Ug sees that Zug has become still and quiet and worries that maybe Zug's died (death being one of the first things invented on the first day when Pug tried to invent flight)...
Anyway, I sat down and looked at my checkbook and my itinerary on Sunday, and decided that my money would hold out, but that I wouldn't. I realized that I actually missed working. Crazy. I'm going to save this email and read it again when I really hate working again. So I called my boss back in Barcelona and told him I was ready to get started, and we slid that date back to the 1st of June.
So I hopped a train back to Barcelona. Cool. I'm pretty dang bored, so I checked with Medicos sin Fronteras and Cruz Roja and found out that they need some help with their computers, so I'm going to go see about doing that tomorrow. Tell you how it turns out.
BTW, someone asked if I was planning on writing the guide for Consultants Working in Spain. Maybe. There sure is a helluva lot to know. But it's been worth it in droves so far. I really love what I'm doing, and I haven't done a lick of work yet, so we'll see what that's like. The Danish guy I talked to who was working as a Steel Engineer in Valencia seemed to think he'd died and gone to Engineer's Heaven (what would that be like?), and he was being paid as an intern (read: not much).
Well, the meter's about to click over. I'll write back in a few days. Take care everybody, and contact me especially if you plan on getting to this part of the world, everybody's welcome to come stay, I live in a cool place with a neat church (Sagrada Familia) on the corner and a spare bedroom. Cuidateis. Love, Tim
Wednesday, May 19, 1999
Bom dit a tot!