I´ve turned it into a game.
I happen to be on the strip a lot. So instead of just walking impassively down hallways filled with expensive shops and restaurants I can´t afford to eat in, I make a point to go into the most rediculous tourist stores.
The way people sell their city is a good insight on culture (and how some preexisting stereotypes blossom). It´s also fun to find glitter and sparkles on post cards in Las Vegas for a price half of plain postcards in Switzerland. This is the kind of stuff that excites me.
After a casual stroll through Excalibur, Mandalay Bay, and the Luxor with my dad, I am now the proud owner of two oversized, glittered-to-death postcards. I mean, these things are gaudy. 75 cents each---¡¡score!!
Back in my lavish apartment, a place where you can also find glitter, flowers, and pink everywhere, I´ve established myself as a hermit. I come out to cook and eat, then worm my way into my room to continue with flashcard making or Rosetta Stone.
Just the other day, I made a colorful and oh-so-tasty Salade Niçoise. Grape tomatoes, sweet mustard, anchovies, black olives, potatoes, green beans, a splash of pepper, egg, a roasted red pepper, all over spinach. Put it on a toasted baguette and it turns into a phenomenal post-run lunch.
My mom drove 40 miles roundtrip to bring me the ingredients (and so much more) the other day. The grocery store around here isn´t anything special, so I´m not particularly gung-ho about going to the store anymore...and it´s not like I really see anything new anymore. (And if I do see something new, well, chances are it´ll be in English so no surprises, uh). I guess this is why I´ve taken to cooking some of my favorite European classics. And once it gets really hot out, you bet I´ll be making Bulgarian Tarator Soup!