Benios Diaz! Today we had a class from our faculty host Stan. He taught us a few things about the Spanish culture and the differences that he thought were important to know. For example men and women greet each other with a kiss on each cheek and a handshake is considered cold and distant. "Hola" is a safe greeting to give but if you plan to ask the person a question "beunos dias" or "beunas trades" were more appropriate. Spaniards have a much different sense of time than we do as Americans. In general Americans expect everyone to be there on time; however, in Spain it is very common for people to be late and it is not looked upon as rude. I feel that this is a very important consideration when trying to do business with someone from this culture. There were numerous examples of differences but I think the most important lesson that Stan was teaching was that things are different here and to learn those differences and not be offended. For example a Spanish girl pushed me be aside yesterday and I was offended; after asking Stan about that he said “That’s very common around here. The Spanish don’t have the space to be polite.” Well at least not polite by our standards!
We were taken on a tour of the campus, “urban campus” Stan kept stressing. The campus consisted of three buildings and was only the first few floors. Nacho, our student host, lives in one of the apartments that are located above the classrooms. I think it is interesting the way that the city is forced to use space. In fact most things in the Spanish culture are typically smaller, such as water glass or yogurt cups. The tour was brief, as the campus is small, but it was rather interesting to see the campus.
We were then released to go shopping in the central market. The rest of the students and I ended up meeting back up with Dr. Chen and we attempted to locate the central market. I ran into a tourist store and, after purchasing a few things for myself and others, half the group had moved on. Kevin, Chad and I thus began our solo search for the market. Our journey took us to the more commercial section of the city and we found a few interesting stores such as a Nike shop and a 7 story department store which proved an over whelming experience. The primary aspect of the shopping experience I noticed was the expense. Perhaps I was shopping in the wrong areas but the same merchandise in Valencia was far more expensive than it would be in America; this is before even factoring in the exchange rate. I was able to see the bull-fighting arena, which I thought was very beautiful and well made structure.
Exhausted from the long walk we arrived at the hostel planning to rest; the hostel was locked and no one came to the door. I am not sure if it was a siesta or some other reason. The three of us decided to have lunch at the neighboring Café Penalty and after lunch the doors were open. Still exhausted from jet lag I decided a siesta of my own was in order. Until tomorrow, hasta luego!