Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Formentera here I come!

Chicos Chicas, this is where I'm going to be spending the next 5 days! Sun, beach, sangria, seafood and Ibiza is on the agenda. (among other things ofcourse :)

On a separate note: I have a feeling my posts have been very random, inadequate and boringly philosophical lately. Hmmm.

Hope to have some more lively posts once I get back from acquiring a sexy Mediterranean tan!
Hasta luego!
Buñol Tomatina Festival

Yes today was Tomatina. For those who haven't heard about this festival: it is one hour of tomato warfare that takes place in a village called Bunol (38KM from Valencia), every last Wednesday of August.

My flat mates came home totally raped by tomatoes. No clothes or shoes, red eyes and sore bodies. Thank goodness I didn't have the ganas to go! I suppose I would have gone if I wasn't Indian and hadn't played Holi for 10 years of my life. Holi is an Indian festival is played with semi-permanent colour and varnish, by the whole country, ALL DAY, but has some vague yet meaningful significance (which I can't remember at the moment).

Tomatina - has no reason. People throw tomatoes at each other, for no reason at all. HOW SPANISH :)) It is said that people aren't drunk because it is in the morning; but I'm sure people were probably drinking all night to be able to enjoy getting their clothes ripped and being smothered by tomatoes.

It's random cultural things like this that really makes me wonder about the human species sometimes.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

After 4 super days in Madrid, here I am sitting at home, in my balcony with my laptop and the utter realisation that my glorious days in Spain are numbered. I have been in Spain 3 months, with less than 3 left, and no clue what next.

Have been infront of my computer all day, reading, surfing, searching for something that will guide my thoughts. Bumped into an old friend R on msn - someone I haven't spoken to or seen since high school - but he is one of those who always seems to be around for me in some random, virtual, undefinable way. Seems like my vibes of being totally lost were felt over msn and he told me to read this.

It is Steve Jobs's speech to graduates at Stanford University in June 2005. Wonderfully narrated, heart wrenching overwhelmingly inspirational and tremendously encouraging. A must read, especially if you are slightly lost about your life.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My most expensive possessions

Yup. Salsa dancing shoes. 4 in Spain and 3 in Dubai. Thats about 800 Euros flat. Wow. I have paid more for dancing shoes in a year than I have for underwear or bread. But what joy to wear comfortable, somewhat sexy dancing shoes. Have not had the luxury of wearing many brands, but amongst what I have tried - Supadance shoes are beyond comparison. I could run a marathon in them. Ok, not true - but you know what I mean.

Other brands that I recommend:
Solodance - the Spanish shoe company is a good buy. Comfy, distinct style, less expensive (approx.E75)
Portdance - just bought these. The Portugeese company seems to be very much like Supadance. Haven't been dancing yet, but have walked in them. Feels good.
Capezio - BIG NO. I have had them for a year, worn them 3 times - with and without stockings and never have I come home without blisters. Good dancing shoes do not rape your feet like that.

I'm no dance shoe expert - but from the 8 odd pairs I have bought and used so far, there are a few tips I could offer:

- Always buy a size smaller:
They stretch significantly, and when you buy a size smaller after wearing them out once, they kind of fit like a mould to your feet. I personally believe that when they fit like a glove, they help you dance with more stability and traction. But make sure your feet can still breath when you buy them. A good way to judge is by wearing stockings when you try them on. As they are slippery, tighter shoes will seem fit but more comfortable with them on, thats how they will feel once they stretch a bit, so dont worry if when you take the stockings off, you have to squeeze your feet in

- Satin stretches more than leather:
You might want to consider a half size even smaller for satin shoes. I am normally a 5 UK, in satin my 4 has opened significantly, now I wish they were tighter!

- Always buy branded dance shoes:
I am not a brand person, but if there is one thing I will always buy branded - its dancing shoes. Very important - if you are dancing 3 hours a night, you dont want shoes messing up your your tendens, foot muscles, ankles and calves. However, no matter how good the shoes are - your feet will always look a mess after dancing. (My feet look disastrous!) A nice rub in the shower + cream at night does the trick. If anyone knows a better solution for dance-wrecked feet, please share!

-If in doubt, dont:
If you dont like the shoes in the store, or feel you are settling for second best, dont buy them. Believe me, you will not wear them on the dance floor. If you like the gold, but have more silver stuff - but dont like the silver shoes, buy the gold or dont buy either.

- Try different brands:
I think this is a good practice. Your feet need the change too.

- Do you really have to change your shoes once you are off the dance floor?
Ok, I understand that they are dancing shoes meant for dancing, not walking, and are branded and expensive - so you want to take special care of them. But when you are dancing your legs off 4 nights a week, 4 hours a night - how is walking to and from your car in the same shoes going to change their durability or whatever you are trying to preserve? I know wayyyy to many people who do this, I used to - but dont anymore, felt stupid - is there a reason I am totally missing?

Ok its late and I have babbled enough about dancing shoes.

Dance on!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Living the vida locale

I hate tourists. But I am one of them!

After spending the last 3 months in Spain, I am realising how deep the difference is between visiting a place and living in a place. Yes the difference is obvious to every moron, but experiencing it is a whole different story. I am really seeing Spain the way it should be seen.

I feel at home here. I feel like a local. I say to myself ' bloody tourists' when I see them. I don't want to communicate with people from outside Spain. The Carmen is my Barrio. The people here are my friends. I wake up every morning wanting to go to my coffee shop. I pretend I understand everything when I read the local newspaper in Spanish! I want to be able to speak fluently - my Spanish still gives me away.

I didn't like going back to being a tourist even when I went to Barcelona a few weeks ago. And I wonder if I will ever want to be a tourist again? After this, I rather take time off and live in another country than just visit it for a few weeks. It seems a waste to going anywhere for just a few weeks now. Hmmm.

But living like this - hopping countries for extended periods of time, chilling out and just being - is easier said than done. But possible.

In Spain, I feel like I am living. A much needed break. A break that is not yet allowing me to think beyond. Do I really need to think beyond? Can I just go with the flow?
What is it that I want to do with my life? Do I really need to know?

We read a poem in class today, it's by Nadine Stair - something the she thinking when she is 85 years old, lying on her death bed.

Although it's in Spanish, here are some extracts , that I have attempted to translate:

"If I could have a new life...I would not try to be perfect, would relax a bit more. Would be a bit silly and not take things so seriously. I would take more risks, travel alot more, enjoy more sunsets and swim more rivers.

I would eat more ice-cream and less cabbage. I would not waste time worrying about imaginary problems. I wouldn't always carry my thermometre, bottle of water and parachute everywhere I go. I would walk bare foot..."

This poem really hit me when I read it. Put things into perspective. You can find the full poem in Spanish here.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I came back from Barcelona last weekend a bit disappointed. The city is large, ....large....and full of tourists. If it wasn't for the Sagrada de Familia, I could have been in Disneyland. Don't get me wrong, it does have some nice barrios - Barrio Born and Gotic were my favourites - but over all -infiltrated with tourists in their holiday hats and backpacks. I did enjoy watching all the street acts though - Che Guevara was my fave , shockingly real.

Anyway, this extract from an
FT article posted on Gridskipper, couldn't have said it better:

A few hundred metres away, Las Ramblas is full to bursting point. Yet it’s empty of atmosphere. There’s nothing wrong with this tree-lined street with traffic either side, its centre given over to a fluctuating mass of pedestrians. If you like balloon-twisters, portrait-sketchers and living statues (a hooded monk; Christopher Columbus; a painter falling off his ladder) it’s a good place to come. But nothing unique or special has survived the tourist invasion.

Basically...go to Valencia instead :)
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