|Thursday March 27 2008|
This is why I don't attempt to speak other languages.
It's rather silly of me to try, because sometimes I know just enough Spanish words to make it sound like I'm fluent in the language. When the person answers me with a barrage of Spanish though, I'm left looking vacuous, the rest of my Spanish having rapidly fled my head in a panic. I'm lost after the second word.
Steph and I noticed that all the Spaniards we've encountered so far have been extraordinarily friendly. I think I've discovered why. It might be my version of Spanish that makes them smile so broadly. For example: today when the hotel man retrieved our luggage, I meant to say, "Mi maleta es pesado" (heavy), but it came out "Mi maleta es pescado." My suitcase is fish.
Which was a silly thing to say anyway, because he was the one trying to lift it. I did get another big grin.
Mal (badly) mangled Spanish aside, we had an uneventful day. It started out with a long deep catch-up sleep - I made it up out of bed at 9:30 AM and managed to go down to the cafe twice for cappuchinos before Steph got up at noon. The lady at reception scolded us for missing checkout.
We successfully shopped for a libro (book) on Andalucia, the region of Spain Steph will be riding a horse through, and a SIM card for my phone, the instructions for which I successfully translated from Spanish. We caught a taxi to Dos Hermanas (and successfully chitchatted with the driver about the temperate - 22*C - windy spring weather), and moved into our new hotel room at the 4-star TRH Motilla Hotel, where we will be for the next two nights. Not much to sight-see in the immediate vicinity - just a nice quiet little neighborhood with a mall and a Burger King across the street. The Raven and I went out for a short stroll, where we found a tiny park, and the Raven found an olive tree to frolic in.
Tomorrow registration begins for riders at 9 AM, and vet inspections for horses begins at 11 AM at the Gran Hipodromo de Andalucia in Dos Hermanas. At 4:30 PM commences the first stage of Tierras de Al-Andalus, a 10-km "calentamiento," or warm-up ride. This will apparently take place on the racecourse. The offical website of the ride, www.tierrasdeal-andalus.com, says it best: "Our intention is to make run all of the horses... The idea is to create a big squad of more than 70 horses running around the 2000 meters grass
Very attractive for the spectators and photographers, and very exciting for the riders, I am sure. Hang onto your helmets, the 3rd annual Tierras De Al-Andalus, a 10-day, 500-km horse trek across Andalucia is about to begin.