“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

Saturday, October 30, 2010



It's been a busy week of class but we managed to find some time for fun! This was the last week of the theater festival so we made an effort to catch a few shows. Thursday night we saw a free show at the patio of the Baluarte Candelaria. The Baluarte was constructed in 1672 by the governor to protect the natural entrance to Cadiz. The cannons used to protect the city were located there. It was restored and is now used as a "Sala de Exposiciones."
Patio of the Baluarte
The show was odd. It was loosely based on Grimm's version of Snow White, but I saw no real connection to the story. On Friday night we bought tickets to see "2036. omenga-g" a production put on by the theatrical group Joglars. AMAZING. The show was full of sarcasm, humor, and political puns. It traced the transformation of Spanish life over the years. Here is a link to a video clip that sums up the show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QddRpI0piGo

I enjoyed every minute of the performance. Its great that we have mastered the language to a point where we can laugh along with the rest of the audience. Tonight was the last night of the festival and it is tradition that on the last night there is a large, free performance. We joined everyone from Cadiz in the Plaza Catedral to watch the final show. OH MY GOODNESS. I have NEVER in my life seen anything so amazing!!!!!!! The show was put on by Xarxa Teatre - a group from Spain - and was titled "Proserpina." The artists used these amazing structures as costumes to narrate the Greek myth of Persephone.

Notice the people inside the structures. They used metal poles to manipulate the arms and head
The group performed on a large stage with the Cathedral as the backdrop. Rather than using a screen, they projected the artwork directly on the church. My favorite part was the fireworks. YES - fireworks! On either side of the stage there was scaffolding with fireworks on top. During the significant moments in the story, they would shoot out and bounce of the Cathedral. It was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen. I was so impressed by the creativity that went into this production. Not only that, but the strength and talent the artists needed to manipulate the characters. Here is a link to a video of the performance at a different location. Its summarizes the hour-long show perfectly. This is a must see!

Aside from seeing some amazing theatrical productions, I also did some volunteer work this weekend. On Friday Teresa and I participated in another volunteer project sponsored by the University of Cadiz. We were joined by some locals and some other students from the Sevilla program. The project was held at Salinas La Esperanza - one of the many salt marshes here in Cadiz. Over the years, the salt marshes have been neglected and as a result, the precious salt cannot be harvested and a number of bird species are becoming extinct. There is a local man named Joaquin, who, along with his sons, commits every day he can to maintaining the integrity of the salt marshes. It was an honor to be able to work with such amazing people on such an incredible project.
The Salinas in the morning. Beautiful

Over the course of the day we worked on several small projects.
We repaired a dock, built wooden shelters for bird nests, and hauled stones to create a filter for the marsh water.
Shoveling rocks into a wheelbarrow. It took many trips to fill the marsh with enough to make the filter!

Teresa admiring the wooden shelter she made to protect the bird nests.
Working hard on repairing the dock!

One of the best parts of the day was the bird watching. We used telescopes to see the many bird species that are unique to this region. Thanks to Teresa and her parents, I now know exactly what species we saw. We saw: Spoonbills, Black Storks (incredibly beautiful), and Ruddy Turnstones, and a few others.  

We also had the opportunity to rake salt. Which - I will tell you - is VERY difficult work! The salt found in these marshes is known as "flor de sal." It is a form of pure salt. Flor de sal is rare, and therefore, very expensive. (Don't worry, they gave us some to take home!) The salt is best used on foods that are uncooked, or already cooked. For example, my former host mom used to sprinkle it over fresh cut tomatoes. This salt can only be harvested in the summer when it is hot and most of the water has been evaporated from the marshes. We were fortunate to be able to rake some of the salt during our visit, something that typically doesn't happen in late October.
Here I am raking the salt - with the help of Joaquin's son


Flor de sal

The new friend I made!
Over the course of the afternoon a lot of people came and went. The day ended with a traditional Gaditano lunch - FISH! Some of the men built a large fire and Joaquin cooked up a bunch of fish that are native to the salt marshes. I have never had to peel the skin off my fish before eating it before. It was quite the experience. I must admit, that was some of the best fish I have ever eaten.

The fish cooking on the open fire

My delicious lunch!
But the best part was the company of the people we were with. It was great to be surrounded by locals who were so passionate about preserving the marshes. Its days like these that make me fall in love with Spain even more. The people here are just so friendly, social, and passionate about life. I cannot wait to go back to help out again!
Well that is all for now! I've had a busy day today and I cannot wait to get some sleep!



  1. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What an experience - the lunch looked fishy!!!!!! Keep writing and I will keep learning. Love, MOM!!!

  2. Alicia, I can't believe the things you are doing. That fish that you had for lunch looks like the fish my father ate. He would be so proud of you.

    love ya, gigs

  3. Alicia,I enjoyed your story about the fish. I do not think I would eat the fish. Take care
    Love POP-POP