Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Another traditional spanish practice we were able to watch was the famous bullfighting. On the day we went, they fought with the females in order to choose the ones that are most aggressive so they could reproduce. Those that aren't aggressive enough are killed and used for meat. We watched five different bull fights, and I believe only one of them was aggressive enough to be able to reproduce. It was very interesting, but at the same time a little sad to see the bulls being teased. Although the bullfighters said that the bulls don't feel the pain because they have so much adrenaline running through their body, I couldn't help but feel bad for them. However, to be able to see the bullfighting was a great opportunity. Not only that, one of the bullfighters we watched is a famous bullfighter in Spain. If I overheard correctly, a few spaniards were saying that the bullfighter was so good that he made it boring, because the bull didn't even stand a chance. It was a great privilege and I really enjoyed it. We were given a great opportunity to take good photos while also being able to experience one of Spain's most famous cultural traditions.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Arriving at Granada, we were all so excited to see an upgrade in the hostel living. The air conditioning works great, we get internet, and the rooms are larger. Granada is a smaller city with a good amount of people. It's very well decorated and there are many areas where you can get a good view of the city. So far, we have met with Tino, the National Geographic photographer, and he has given us many lessons, resulting in an increase in our photography knowledge. I would say that his most important advice is to become involved in what you are photographing. He has a great way of explaining things, and the advice he gives is greatly appreciated. After we go out and take photographs, Tino has everyone download their best photos onto a hard drive, and he critiques everyone's work individually. It's such a privilege to be able to hear what he has to say, and whenever he gives me advice, I am sure to take it. He has said that it's very important to have conversation with those who you want to take pictures of instead of just "stealing" photographs. As a result, I've been able to use my spanish and work on my spanish conversational skills. One of my favorite places we have visited in Granada is a big overlook where you can see a beautiful view of Alhambra, the castle city. Not only is the view great, but many people go there to sit on the edge and just all hang out together. It's a fun social setting onlooking one of Granada's main attractions. We have been able to take quality photographs there since we've been twice; once during the day and once during the evening. The sunset is beautiful while at the overlook and it lights up the castle, giving the castle a natural warm color in photographs. Recently, we were able to watch the U.S. verses Spain soccer game which was a great experience considering all the diehard soccer fans in Spain. However, despite Spain's consecutive wins, America came out with the victory, giving us all something to celebrate about. Today we were given an opportunity to watch girls dance the flamenco and take many photos. We went to a flamenco school where young girls take lessons to become professional flamenco dancers. They were all very talented and the dancing was a lot of fun to watch. We were very surprised to find out that a lot of the dancing that they were doing was improv. None of it had been practiced, so the instructor would call out specific moves and they would all be done consistently. Unfortunately, today was also Tino's last day to be with us. However, his advice will stick with me and he has already improved my photography skills with just the five days he was with us. I felt so lucky to be able to work with him!
Okay so I know I haven't exactly kept you updated, but here in Spain we're constantly on the go. We didn't have any internet connection in Madrid (we're now in Granada), so I will start by telling you about the adventures in the capital of Spain. Our hostel was actually a lot better than what I expected. The air conditioning didn't exactly work the way we wanted, but we survived. Some of the main attractions that we visited include the Plaza Mayor, Madrid's Palace, the Prado Museum, the palace's park, the Real Madrid Soccer (futbol?) Stadium, and many more. The city is beautiful and provides a lot of good chances for well-taken photography. I've been able to learn about the city's culture while also gaining an intense amount of knowledge in photography. We've also had many encounters that wouldn't typically happen in Houston, but they all gave us something to laugh about. The city is very lively and people surround the streets. The nightlife lasts until about 7 a.m., making it difficult to fall asleep, but we managed. No one really eats breakfast here, hence the bread rolls we're given every morning, but they eat big lunches and late dinners. The food is interesting, but not bad at all. While in Madrid we left for a day by train to Toledo. The town was a lot smaller and by a lot, i mean A LOT smaller. The commotion doesn't even compare to Madrid's, but it was a nice quaint town. So to wrap it all up, our time in Madrid was great. The photos came out well and the city was fun to see. Well sorry for the big delay! But I'll be sure to keep you updated from now on! Adios!