La Más Why

August 24, 2011 By: erik Category: Funny, Parenting, Spanish, Videos 186 views

Spanish QuestionEarlier today I came up with a Spanglish joke: “Mi hija es la más why del mundo.” Like most one-liners, it’s a play on words. It is pronounced exactly the same as the syntactically correct Spanish sentence, “Mi hija es la más guay del mundo” The word “guay”, which is pronounced exactly like the English word “why”, and I think is only slang in Castilian Spanish, is a general positive adjective mainly used by youth that could translate to the English words cool, great, awesome or terrific. So the meaning of the proper sentence “My daughter is the awesomest in the world.” Of course the joke was to substitute her new favorite English word, making her “the most ‘why’ daughter in the world”.
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Encounters with the Guardia Civil

August 22, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Extremadura, Spain 1,350 views

Guardia CivilI had my third ever run-in with the traffic division of the Guardia Civil, Spain’s national police force, this past week. I was on my way out of Higuera de la Serena, the small town in Extremadura, southern Spain, where we spend a week each August drinking beer and complaining about the heat. Luckily, it was early in the day, before the day’s imbibing had begun. Before I explain what happened, let me briefly summarize my first Guardia Civil encounter, because the lessons it taught me came in handy this week.
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Americano en Colindres, El Diario Montañes

August 21, 2011 By: erik Category: Internet, Media, News, Spain, Spanish 457 views

Americano en Colindres, Diario Montañes (thumbnail)Yesterday, as I was packing to return from my weeklong vacation in Extremadura, I received an image on my mobile phone from my friend Andrés, back in Colindres. “You’re famous!” he said, and included a photo of an article in the regional newspaper for Cantabria, El Diario Montañes. I was so surprised! When I got back to Colindres the following day, I went around to various bars to see if they still had yesterday’s newspaper. I was surprised by how few of them had already thrown it away. I did find it telling, however, that the bars that still had the paper were establishments that I already considered less cleanly than the rest. I had to get two of them because the first one I got didn’t have the page with the article in it.
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Maneki Neko

August 12, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Experiments, Photoshop, Weird 620 views

Maneki Neko (thumbnail)In general, I am very much against knickknacks, a.k.a. crap you have to clean the dust off every once in a while. So perhaps you can imagine my dismay when my daughter and mother-in-law bring home one of those horribly gaudy asian waving cat things. Apparently it had caught my daughter’s toddler eye (and why wouldn’t it?) in the local chinos shop, and her grandmother had bought it for her. “Mimi mimi mimi”, they said to each other mimicking the not-entirely-unlike-the-Nazi-salute gesture. I facepalmed and sighed.
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Bárcena Mayor – The Oldest Town in Cantabria

August 12, 2011 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Spain, Travel 633 views

Bárceno MayorWhen discussing what sort of mischief and/or tourism we could get up to last Sunday, my wife mentioned that a friend had recommended visiting “the oldest town in Cantabria”. With only this tidbit to go on, I turned to Google and discovered a Cantabrian tourism site with the sentence, “It is said that [Bárceno Mayor] is the oldest town in Cantabria, and possibly even all of Spain.” Yet nowhere on the great big internet could I find out how old the town was thought to be. It was also unclear how one would even determine how old a small town is when it’s nestled in the mountains near a cave with 15,000 year old Paleolithic cave paintings.
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Tapas in San Sebastián

August 11, 2011 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Spain, Travel 676 views

Tapas in San SebastianIf the dozen or so hours of “travel in Spain” television shows I’ve watched are any indication, one of the tapas capitals of Spain is San Sebastián. There’s one particular district where every bar you glance into has fifteen or twenty different tapas to choose from, all laid out on the bar. The quality is really high, just like the prices. Just the previous week, I had been at a tapas festival in Santander, and I’d noted that 2.50€ for a tapa and drink was a little expensive. Well, in San Sebastián, all three tapas we tried were at least 4€ each (with drink). Pricy!
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A Cloudy Walk Around San Sebastián

August 08, 2011 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel 247 views

San Sebastian BeachOur two-year-old daughter, Nora, has been in Extremadura with her grandparents for all of last week and will be there for another two weeks, one of which we will be visiting her. It’s hard to be away from her for a whole fortnight, but we’ve been video conferencing with her with some success. We thought it wise to take full advantage of our childlessness and do some tourism that would be a lot more difficult with Nora around.
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3D Bottle Window Effect

August 07, 2011 By: erik Category: Colindres, Science, Videos, Weird 122 views

Virgen del Carmen (in bottle)In my local cured meat and cheese shop, they have this bottle of water that is very intriguing. It’s meant to be a souvenir of Colindres, the town where I live, showing the Virgen del Carmen, the statue of this version of the Virgin Mary (more or less a goddess of fishermen) that they parade around town once a year. In the photo, she’s seen in front of the town church. What’s cool about the bottle is the exceedingly clever 3D visual effect it presents. Watch the video first, and then I’ll explain it.
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Spaniards Don’t Understand Roundabouts

August 05, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Fighting Stupidity, Skepticism, Spain 1,260 views

RoundaboutThis rant has been near the surface for several years now, but a news report on television yesterday set me off, and I need to write it down to get it off my chest. Let me be clear. It’s not that Spaniards are stupid or generally bad drivers, the problem is that they are taught wrong at driving school! Believe me, I know, because I had to go to Spanish driving school to get my Spanish license.
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Tapas in Santander – Semana Grande 2011

August 02, 2011 By: erik Category: Food, Photos, Spain, Travel 585 views

Goat Cheese and WalnutsEvery year, right around Santiago, nearby Santander celebrates its Semana Grande (Big Week), with the most Spanish of traditions: bullfights and tapas. My interest in bullfighting has waned in recent years, but my interest in tapas is as strong as ever! On Sunday, the last day of the festival, my wife and I went to sample the wares that the restaurants around Santander had to offer.
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