Thursday, August 9, 2018

Costco Run

Laura and I decided to test the bus system here and head out to the Costco on the edge of town. It's about 6km from the flat and a bit out of range of the bike share system, so it's the bus. We haven't used the bus system here yet, but today was the day to figure it out.

Mario left us a rechargeable bus card. Laura put some funds on it a couple of days ago using the public transit web site. To use it, just tap the card on a sensor when you get on the bus and your account is automatically debited. Furthermore, you can tap multiple times if traveling with multiple people. For us, two people, two taps.

To avoid a transfer, we walked/rode bikes a bit to get to the bus stop. Once there, we hopped on and in about 15-20 mins we were near the Costco. A bit of a walk at that end and we were at our destination:
Costco here is very similar to those in the US. Also, our US membership works here. We walked around just to see what kinds of things we could find here that are hard to find in the stores near our flat. We knew we couldn't go for a lot of stuff or really bulky stuff since we had to carry it all back home. After a thorough walk through we came away with some spaghetti sauce, salsa, almonds, peanut butter, dishwasher detergent and a small flat of raspberries.

By the time we got through, it was getting late and I was hungry. I didn't want to wait until we got back home to get something. Plus, there was a McDonald's adjacent to the Costco (and not much else). After a bit of waffling, we went to the McD's figuring we could find a salad if nothing else. Indeed, salads were available. I grabbed a chicken Caesar salad. Interestingly, the dressing was a small packet of olive oil and a small packet of vinegar:
They even have little McDonald's M's on them. The salad with dressing was good. We headed back to the bus stop:
Sadly, we waited on this little corner because we thought we saw the bus stop here as we approached. We missed that bus though and waited for the next one. The next one did pull through after about 15 mins, but the driver wouldn't let us on because this wasn't actually a bus stop. It was just a place the bus stopped briefly as it negotiated a sharp left turn on its route. The driver motioned us to walk down the street behind him, so we did. We found a clearly marked bus stop about 100M down the street, ugh. After another 15 mins, yet another bus appeared, stopped, and picked us up. Yay!

The return route has a stop that's closer to our flat so we were able to walk home pretty quickly with our load of groceries. Laura's class time was immanent, so we unpacked the groceries and she hurried off to class.

I worked on some math. I also did a little housework. The flat here and lovely marble/granite tile floors. I noticed a few of the high traffic areas were getting a bit dirty, so I vacuumed and mopped the whole place. We've been here about a month. I'm thinking I should do that at least once a month based on how dirty the mop bucket water was, haha.

Didn't get enough sleep last night because of the concert, so I'm hitting the sack early tonight. Plus, gotta run tomorrow morning, so... good night!

Mozart Heroes

Progress on the painting of the building directly across from ours continues:
It goes kind of fast when there are 3 people working simultaneously. It's looking good. They knock off around 2:30pm to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Laura has Spanish class every day from 4-7:30pm. I usually walk her to class over on the Sevilla side. It's interesting to walk the same route every day and look for new details. This time I noticed that many of the balconies on upper floors of buildings have palm front adornments. On the way home, I took pictures of a a variety of them and created this montage:
It seems natural that this is a common adornment. After all, there are a lot of palm trees here and you gotta do something with the dropped fronds. Also, being a predominantly Roman Catholic country, maybe these are palms from Palm Sunday. I know from my own Catholic upbringing that some folks save the palms from Palm Sunday service and hang them somewhere until the following Easter season. Some places even burn the dried palms from the previous year to create ashes for Ash Wednesday services.

I did some math on the research side today and developed an interesting idea. I did not do any machine learning. My job here is to do my own research and to develop an introductory machine learning course for the Whitman curriculum. Some days I do a little of both, some days I just do one or the other.

Laura is really good about finding things for us to do here in Sevilla. Last night she got us tickets to a two-man musical act from Switzerland called Mozart Heroes. One was billed as a rock guitarist, the other was a classical cellist. They mixed and merged their respective disciplines into a fun and enjoyable set. They have some lovely classical arrangements of Mozart, Vivaldi, and Bach for guitar and cello. Most of the classical pieces at some point would break or transition to pop and rock pieces including Metallica, AC/DC, Guns & Roses to name a few.

The crowd was into it and the performers clearly prepped for their tour through Spain. They played a Spanish pop tune that pretty much everyone in the audience sang along to (these guys didn't singe at all, just instrumentalists). It definitely killed though if I were advising them, I'd have them end the concert with that piece in future Spain shows.

The venue was the terrace of that Auditorio RocĂ­o Jurado. This auditorium is up in the somewhat abandoned Expo '92 area. You can kind of see that that a lot of the grounds are not really maintained. The white building on the left is the auditorium proper. The grassy area is the channel of a canal that flowed through this area during the Expo but is now dry and overgrown:
A look in the other direction shows other unused buildings, some futuristic old exhibit buildings along with a mock-up of a European Space Agency rocket. I think an Ariane class:
You can also see the continuation of the overgrown canal between the building and the rocket.
The "terrace" is a small stage outside of this building with facilities and a bar:
It was well-attended:
Here's a bit of a sample of what we saw/heard. It starts classical and transitions to the Ghostbusters theme:

The obligatory band selfie (from their fb page):
We're in there somewhere, haha.