Saturday, July 7, 2018

Hot days and random parades

Slept fairly well last night. In a concession to the local culture, I now seem to be sleeping from 11pm to 7am instead of 10pm to 6am.

I ran along the river/canal again today. There were boat races going on:
Seems like most of the rowers were kids. There were lots of parents and coaches on bikes riding up and down the course cheering and giving advice. Very busy. Runners really have to be on their toes.

Mario looked into how we finish up our visa paperwork now that we're in country. He found the forms, learned what we needed to provide and even took the liberty of making an appointment for us at the appropriate government office. We have to get passport photos done somewhere, but other than that, we just fill out the forms and show up to our appointment on July 19th. More on that when the time comes.

We learned all of this as we met with Mario and Palma over "second breakfast" at 11:15am at Café y Tapas around the corner from our flat. I had ham on bread and black tea. Pretty tasty second breakfast (again, I keep thinking of hobbits). Protip: when ordering ham (or any pork) look for the "Iberian" label, it's superior according to both Palma and Mario. These tapas were "iberian jamon", and hence high quality.

It's hard to overemphasize how generous Mario and Palma have been with their time and assistance.

Other than that, we had a relatively low-key day. Pork seems to be a thing here based on our conversations with Mario and Palma and the proliferation of cured pork shanks in every store:

We saw these on an afternoon excursion to a different grocery store. With the hot sun and temperatures in the high 90's, most people were indoors. Being from Walla Walla, I guess we're used to it, though, I think I'd have preferred to stay indoors too.

This patio forms the courtyard of our building. It's common space for everyone in the building, but seems mostly to be used by plants:
 Just now, as I took some recyclables to the garbage area, there was a parade staging. It seems to be religious (read Roman Catholic) in nature:
 There was even a marching band (actually several queued up in a row). The marchers seemed to be school-aged:
I have no idea what the occasion is.

I have the world cup Russia v. Croatia match on TV right now with Spanish commentary. When Croatia scored, there was a significant cheer from one of the other flats. When Russia tied, there was nothing. I guess I have some idea of the what some of the local football tendencies are.