Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas in Coimbra

You know that locks are on upside down in Portugal? After three hostels, this can't be an accident, but a cultural phenomenon. (What I mean is that when you put a key in the door, the flat side goes down and the ridges go up. This is considered "upside down" in the US right?)

I landed in Lisboa from Funchal, Madeira and stayed the night in the same hostel as before, Traveler's House. This morning, December 24th, I spent two and a half suprisingly smooth hours between a metro and train. And I'm just happy that the ticket for both means of transportation came out to only 20.25 euro. #TravelingInDepressedEconomy

Although it was a pleasant walk to the hostel, I kept on getting lost (lugging around a computer bag and a huge backpack isn't easy, even without the big suitcase which I left at Traveler's House).

Last year for Christmas, I was lucky. I was staying at a friend's house in Valencia. I was traveling from their place the day before, making a quick circle through Andalucia and Murcia, and was invited to Christmas dinner with a dear Murcian family. From 19:00 until 2:00, we feasted. That could have been the most memorable meal of my 20 years.

This year, not so lucky. (A lady in Madeira and her daughter invited me for their Christmas dinner but I unfortunately left too early...). I really shouldn't say that I'm not lucky, though. I'm still here, in this clean hostel, safe, fed. I went to the grocery store today; even though I won't be eating anona for Christmas dinner, I will still have a hearty vegetable stir-fry, topped with an avacado, and a mango with some traditional Coimbran Christmas fruit cake I bought at a pastry shoppe for dessert.

My family was never big on Christmas (or Thanksgiving or Easter or New Years...) but family does give you someone to talk to. I don't feel like I'm missing out on not being with family at all. In fact, the best Christmas season I ever had was last year ! (Dinner with friendly strangers and two exceptional weeks with Valencian friends, salsa dancing like crazy, without my parents).

I love parents, we're just not big Christmas people. Such is life. I want to be in Valencia salsa dancing. I am starved for human interaction with people I already know. Traveling alone can be fun, but to a certain extent. There's nothing that keeps me going sometimes. Why do I travel? Well, it doesn't matter because it will almost always be more fun with a friend. I do like my personal space, but it's not like I get that at a hostel...

You know, where there are hispanics and Spanish, there is fun. My mom was right. They have how many form of dance (salsa, merengue, flamenco, sevillanas, bachata, cumbia, tango, reggeaton, mas) in comparison to the rest of Europe/world (club dancing doesn't count, everyone can do that...). People everywhere learn salsa (proof in salsa clubs on Malta), but how many people learn square-dancing or irish step dance in comparison? hmmm???

--interjection: the girl in the bed underneath me has been fixing her hair since I arrived three hours ago

--there's a bridge I can see from my bed that has been sparkling with lights since the sun went down. It reminds me of the Eiffel Tower on a warm summer night!

So there's my reasoning, why hispanics/Spanish have more fun than the rest of the world. Even though their economies and governments never last the test of time, that's okay, they just dance it off. No pasa nada jejeje

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