when in spain..

Travelling, sometimes you can’t help but notice something and think.. hmm, well that wouldn’t fly back home.

In Peru, for example, it seems to still be a ‘thing’ to use pay phones. In the states, we would be like “Girrrrrrl, where yo’ cell phone at?” Ain’t nobody got time to call collect.

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Kidding, we would probably be like, “Ma’am, can you please keep your alpaca off the sidewalk?”

*I am not an idiot, nor completely insensitive to the economic differences between Peru and the United States that are probably why this woman isn’t using a personal mobile device, so if for some reason you’re offended, stop it.

We might also bat an eye or twelve if we saw this back in good old California.

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Just kidding, thats a really cool outfit Dad.

Seriously though, in California this would be met with all kinds of police intervention. (Unless you’re in SF Mission district after a Giants win, in which case they would make an attempt to control it and then probably give up after being hit in the head with a beer bottle. Or they might just decide to ghost ride the police whip <– way better idea)

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Bonfires and fireworks in the streets, not a regulation or fire extinguisher to be found. Just another New Year’s celebration in Quito, Ecuador. This was a residential neighborhood, for the record.

Over the last few months in Spain, I’ve definitely noticed some differences in what is culturally acceptable here versus back in California, and have gathered my well- researched data here for you to peruse. (by well researched I mean not researched and by data I mean I saw it and went, “huh!” and then typed it into the notes section on my phone… I am very scientific)

  • Want to eat breakfast in a bar on a Tuesday morning? Go for it. You will not be considered an alcoholic and shunned by your family (I was going to say peers, but if they’re your peers they might be alcoholics too). Many bars in Spain open for breakfast an serve coffee, pastries, sandwiches and juice without a side of judgment. It is completely normal to suggest breakfast at the same bar you had 12 Estrellas at the night before.
  • Sidewalks are not just for walking, people. They are also great places to park your motorcycle. I distinctly remember a friend of mine in San Francisco either having his moped towed or ticketed because it was found on the sidewalk. In Spain, the sidewalk basically exists as a parking lot for mopeds, scooters and motorcycles. Sure, we have some signposted spaces on the street, but it is SO much more convenient (and fun!) to chase people out of the way in order to park, reminiscent of Schwarzenegger in Eraser, gunning it on a crotchrocket down the middle of a crowded sidewalk.
  • Apartment buildings are pretty misleading. When I moved here, I was technically living on what was called the “3rd floor”… which was actually 5 floors up. Now, I am living in what is called the “altell” apartment, and I literally have no clue what that means. It should be the first floor, but in between me and the actual first floor we have “Principal” (main)  and “Entresuelo” (literally, between floors). I tried to walk up to the roof the other day, under the misconception that my whole building has 5 floors (as indicated by the mailboxes AND the buzzers at the front door)… FALSE MY FRIENDS. Eight floors up, I finally found the door to heaven. It’s populated by a Shit-Tzu that really likes to let you know he’s here to stay and is not shutting up about it.
  • Spanish culture is very much a culture of the night. Dinner is eaten anywhere between 9pm and 11 pm, and if you want a cup of coffee in this city at 7 am, that literally might not be a possibility. Even grocery stores don’t open until 9 am. On weekends, you might head to the clubs at 3 am, and I attended a concert the other night at which the doors didn’t even open until after 1. I shared the Californian bar/club opening hours and alcohol restrictions with someone from Spain the other day and they almost didn’t believe me…. I mean, how are we supposed to be drinking at the bars at 10 pm if thats still right in the middle of dinner time?
  • One of my personal favorite differences between California and Spain is that its very common here to refer to people as “guapo” (boys) or “guapa” (girls), a word that means either pretty or handsome, depending on who it’s directed at. Especially on days when I’m not feeling so hot, it feels really good when the olive lady tells me I’m pretty, even if she probably doesn’t mean it like that. It does get a little confusing though when people that are theoretically within the realms of sexual possibility use it though.. DO YOU ACTUALLY THINK I’M PRETTY OR ARE YOU JUST BEING POLITE? (and this is why girls get crazy).
  • Personal space is also a little less well-defined in Spain. Literally, the first thing you do when you meet a new person is kiss them, and the ‘casual touch’ is actually just a casual touch (sometimes a touch is just a touch guys). This is not a complaint in any way, for the record, but for us expats its a little strange to be sitting on a bench with plenty of space around you and have someone you’ve never seen before come up and literally sit right next to you or walk so close that they actually touch your body. Honestly, though, its actually super weird when someone tries to shake my hand these days.. like, ew, I could get Ebola from touching that. Now kiss me, goddammit!

Now, I am sure that someone might read this and take offense, but I’m totally cool with that. I actually hope someone trolls me. If I am offensive enough to have haters, that must mean I’m doing something right. The fact is, I am not sharing any of these observations because I have any issue with them… although it would be awesome to be able to have a killer night out AND be in bed by 3 am. In the meantime, I’ll just be here basking in the afterglow of my latest interaction with the olive lady… she’s started to use superlatives (today I was guapisima!)

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funny shit frrrr….sunday.

I really really really wanted to say Friday again.. but it would have been a boldfaced lie. I think at this point there is nowhere in the world where it is actually Friday right now. And if there’s one thing I refuse to be.. its a liar. Anyways, enough about me. Scroll down. Laugh. Leave me a comment about how funny I am (or not). Happy Sunday!

IMG_5824This gem was found on the door of the women’s bathroom at the second hostel I stayed at in Lisbon, Portugal. It wasn’t until the second morning of my stay when my grumpy morning squinty eye face finally realized what was welcoming me to my first pee of the day.. In case I wasn’t sure what lady bits I needed in order to use the facilities, here was a lovely illustration to clear things up.

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I DONT GET IT. That is a lot of misdirected anger. I can’t imagine a situation in which unicorns would do something to deserve such a public call out.  Or maybe Unicorns is a person? Unicorns the person needs to stop giving unicorns the mythical beast such a bad name.

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Seems like a waste of the rest of the week, but I guess if you are going to announce it like this your Sundays are probably pretty busy. Is this like a ‘filling up the gas tank’ for the week to come, so to speak? (OMG SO MANY PUNS NOT INTENDED)

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I know there has been some dispute over Obama’s heritage, but I was not aware that he was also a supporter of British colonization in Africa, not to mention a restaurateur. WHAT ELSE ARE YOU HIDING FROM US OBAMA, IF THAT IS EVEN YOUR REAL NAME?
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If anyone knows a young strapping doctor named Robert Tessler, will you please let him know that his doppelgänger has a budding music career as well as a vested interest in dressing like Luke Wilson from “The Royal Tenenbaums”?

Many of you may know I have a strong affinity for all that is humorous in life, and I hope to keep these posts coming more (rather than less) regularly. As a totally unqualified medical professional, my prescription for your life is a dose of hilarity as often as possible. If you come across any photos you would like me to try and caption, send them my way! Tag me on Instagram @gbennett or email to bitesizepiece@gmail.com 

funny shit friday

ok so I came up with this idea on a Saturday, am sitting down to write it on a Sunday, and, just because I like to be difficult, I’ll probably end up posting it on a Thursday. Just to keep everyone on their toes. With time differences and all, its Friday somewhere, right?

*also, ALLITERATION

Though my sense of humor is questionable at best (even in Spain I can’t keep from whispering “Es lo que dijo ella” under my breath and giggling to myself), I hope it is safe to assume that there are other oddballs out there that will get a kick out of this haphazard collection of things that have made me smile over the last few months.

Lets start in good old New York city, where shitty graffiti and legitimate street art compete in an ongoing turf war.. though 99.999% of the time, I vote for legit art, this apology note really did it for me.

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Clearly this person has major impulse control issues if they jump to the conclusion that the most appropriate place to pen an apology note is on a street lamp.. but nothing like a public display of repentance to really reel Netty back in. Is this our generations’ version of the ‘stand outside with a boombox’ apology? To be fair, spray paint is actually much easier to get ahold of than a boom box these days- as long as you are over 18 or accompanied by a parent.

Next, I spotted this gem in Liverpool.

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Most British humor is intentional, but I’m going to go ahead and assume that the proprietors of this business did not intend to name their store after the HIV virus.. in spanish. This was a big hit with my Galician host mom.

This play on words, on the other hand…IMG_5385Perfect example of dry British humor at its best. I wonder how many times this guy has been asked to off someone..

In Madrid, I found the entrance to what would potentially be my personal hell.

IMG_6143Whoever wrote “I love you” on this window.. I hope you die from hairball asphyxiation. Which is probably one of the offerings at Amsterdam’s finest caterotica clubs. This can go on my “never” list along with deep fried butter, eating bugs for protein, and bucket hats (IM LOOKING AT YOU KANYE WEST) .

While taking myself on a trial tour for the tour guide position I am trying out for this week (fingers crossed, this job would be awesome), I had to stop for a picture of this:

IMG_6375So I’m a little skeptical of this being an actual statement by the local government, but if it is.. you spelled graffiti wrong.

And this one… cause who doesn’t like a little guy on a littler bike?

 

 

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I’ll be back soon with a Barcelona update- looks like I might be staying for a while 🙂