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Blogs from Abroad

Blogs from Santa Clara University students studying abroad.

The following postings have been filtered by tag Rebecca Gonzalez (Spain). clear filter
  •  La Boqueria

    Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010 2:28 PM

    Today I went to check out a famous market here in Barcelona called “La Boqueria.” It is famous for its variety of fruits, nuts, spices, fishes, and other goodies. Its central location has allowed it to become a tourist hot spot. As a tourist, you mostly go there “look” at the products, not necessarily buy the products. As a local, though, this is a place where you come to get your ingredients for dinner. I spotted an elderly woman with a wheeled basket trying to get past a group of tourists who were blocking her way as she was trying to pick out some fruit. When I commented this scene to my host mom, she simply said, “That’s the reason why I hate going to La Boqueria. It’s such a hassle to go buy something when there are so many people who aren’t buying anything. Then the sellers raise their prices because they know tourists come. I prefer to go to the local market down the street. They may not have a huge variety but at least it isn’t crowded and prices are a bit cheaper.”

    I know I was fascinated by La Boqueria because I am not used to seeing huge markets back in the Bay Area with a great variety of fresh produce. La Boqueria has gone from a local market to a market for tourists. When I visited I only bought a plate of ready-to-eat pieces of watermelon, however, there was a huge variety of already cut fruit and fruit smoothies all ready for the hungry tourists. Sure having these tourists in town can increase the business for the sellers of La Boqueria but it can, in a way, disturb the peace of the locals who are just trying to buy their daily produce.

  •  Excuse Me

    Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010 12:00 AM

    One thing that I have noticed since being here is that it is not common for people to say “excuse me” or just simply apologize. There has been countless times where someone cuts right in front of me when I’m walking and I have to suddenly stop to avoid bumping into them and I do not get a single “excuse me.” This all tends to happen in the metro. A lady slapped me with her purse and went on as if nothing happened. On a crowded metro train, people try to make their way out and push through people without saying a word. Now, it might be something that just isn’t done here but a little common courtesy wouldn’t hurt. The first couple of times people bumped into me I would say “perdon,” “gracias,” “disculpa” but the courtesy was never returned. At first I considered this very rude and was mad at the fact that people here were not considerate. After a while I got used to it. I got tired of being pushed around that I eventually gave up being nice and started cutting people as well. I hadn’t noticed my adaption until today at the metro. I stepped inside the metro train and was headed for the only seat available in that section. According to the rules around here, first come first served so whoever rushes to the seat first gets the prize. I noticed that a lady was also headed for the seat and I prepared myself for the competition. However, instead of rushing to the seat, the lady just looked at me, smiled, and said that I could sit down and kept walking down the train. Her courtesy caught me so off guard that I suddenly felt like burring myself into the ground. Simple, yet that was one of the nicest things that I have encountered in the metro thus far. I have gotten used to people pushing and cutting that a little politeness was shocking.

  •  Watch out for your carbon footprint!

    Sunday, Sep. 26, 2010 10:38 PM

     

    I have been in Barcelona for a few days now and I am surprised at how conscious this city is in reducing one’s carbon footprint. There are a few rules in my homestay regarding energy efficiency and living "green."
     
    Rule #1: Turn off the lights whenever you leave a room. It is not ok to leave the lights on in your room while you are going to the bathroom (or any other place in the house that is not your room) as this is considered wasting energy.
     
    Rule #2: No more than 10 minute showers. Do what you got to do as quickly as you can in order to save water. Even the toilets save water! There are two buttons to flush the toilet. One to press if you have done #1 (less water comes out) and another one if you have done #2 (more water comes out to flush). Never had I seen such a button in the US and it makes perfect sense! 
     
    Rule #3: Recycle appropriately. There are three different trash cans: one for regular trash (food wastes, napkins, etc.) another for paper and another one for plastic. Our señora said if we do not know where a piece of trash goes, just to leave it by the sink and she will take care of it. At the end of the week, the trash is taken to different dumpsters located at the center of the barrio so all the households can take their trash there and recycle appropriately. 
     
    Rule #4: Take public transportation or simply walk. There are announcements constantly in the metro mentioning that 3566 citizens who take the metro or bus save 238,604 pounds of CO2 (as seen in the picture). The transportation company does a good job in promoting public transportation through these announcements, flyers, and posters all over the city about how taking the metro is helping the planet. I take the metro everyday to school and it is all a brand new experience for me since the closest thing we have to a metro in the Bay Area is BART, yet I prefer to just drive my car everywhere I go.  
    Taking shorter showers, knowing what to recycle, & riding the metro everyday are just the basics of “green living” I will be experiencing at my home stay.

     

 
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