Sunday, 2 March 2014

Becoming a Melilla tour guide

The last 2 weeks have been really lovely, as I've been spending lots of time with my new flatmate, who arrived on 16th February and Maria, who arrived a day later. Maria and I were planning to go to Granada, but decided against it because the ferry would have cost Maria lots without the resident discount, the weather hasn't been very nice recently and I've been ill. Maria brought me some vegetarian food supplies and new clothes, which made me happy because the majority of the shops here don't seem to go bigger than UK size 12 and are quite expensive even after reductions. I was also happy to receive some belated birthday presents and especially enjoyed the English sweet treats.



Presents from Amy, Maria and Jess



Presents from Fatima


During the week I was at school, which is going well because I'm not in until midday on Tuesday. However, on Monday and Wednesday I have early morning classes and afternoon classes, which is kind of annoying because I have to hang around awkwardly after the morning classes as there's not really much point walking for an hour to go home and come back. One of my classes particularly annoys me because I try to prepare fun activities, but they don't make any effort to participate even when I try to stay patient. Therefore, the teacher has stopped my lessons with them as a punishment, which they seemed to find hilarious.

Lots of people seem to be getting ill recently, so Maria and I babysat for my friend's cute toddler on Wednesday because he was too ill to go to playgroup. We also enjoyed shopping in the city centre and going around some of my favourite cafes, bars and restaurants including café Nueva California, La Cervecería, La Pérgola and Anthony's Pizzeria.









Ridiculously large cake


We went out on Friday night. One neighbour (who has been complaining about me chaining my bike in the corridor) came and complained about the 'noise' the last time when I had 2 friends over. This time she rang my landlord and the police about the 'house party' of 5 people. I think its a bit stupid really considering the amount of noise I often hear on the streets. Luckily we left just as the police were arriving and the rest of the night was good.



I bought this because it
was on offer and it looked
tasty, but I didn't actually like it!


On Sunday we went to the animal park (Parque Forestal) that I had seen when the teacher gave me a tour of the city at the end of January, but was closed. It was smaller than I had expected, but had an interesting variety of animals, including ducks, cockatiels, peacocks, turkeys and chickens, pigeons and doves, sheep and goats, wild pigs, a cow, tortoises, horses, ponies and donkeys and lots of interesting plants and flowers. Unfortunately the small animal area with rabbits and other fluffy things was closed. I was also looking forward to seeing the desert fox, but it was nowhere to be seen, so I guessed it was asleep. Afterwards we crossed the road to the normal park opposite, where there was a man with a bird of prey and many types of trees and cactuses.




















The people working in the tourist office are probably starting to think I'm a bit weird due to the amount of times I've been in and out to get maps or buy tickets for the tourist train with my family and friends. I went into the tourist office for the umpteenth time with Maria, who wanted to go on the tourist train last time, but it wasn't working. This time we managed to get tickets and I had my second ride on the tourist train and again was unable to translate the tour guide. Afterwards we went to some Moroccan shops and I bought a new bag. To my dismay, the Moroccan bags here are considerably cheaper than the prices they try to charge you in Morocco and I paid 18 euros. After paying 55 euros in Morocco for my other bag, I wish I had noticed it earlier, but at least I found my two perfect bags.





We've been having more problems with the gas and I recently discovered that instead of waiting around all day on my days off for the gas to be delivered, I can take the empty cans to the petrol station and swap them for new ones. Before this wasn't possible, because although there is a petrol station quite near, the cans are quite heavy to carry when full. However, because I had Maria and my new flatmate we all carried it home together.

On Friday night we went to a basketball game and sadly it was the first time I saw Melilla lose a game. Afterwards we went to Teteria Nazari, a Moroccan tea place which offers loads of different drinks. Everybody ordered tea and I ordered a banana and chocolate drink. When it arrived it was quite funny because everybody had tiny classes and mine was huge.





This week was the Carnival, a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent. I didn't see anything much happening until last and I thought it was perhaps because the city is largely populated by Muslims. However, in the evening Maria came across some information about a parade online, so a group of us went to see it and went for drinks afterwards.
























This is burnt at the end for
some reason



Plaza de España lit up for the celebrations


I'm sad that Maria has left, but I feel happy because I have a lovely new flatmate and next weekend I'm going to visit Amy in Almansa. I've also booked a weekend trip to Barcelona to meet my mum and sister in April and I have some friends interested in visiting in April and June. Due to all these trips and visits my bank account isn't looking as great as it was in January so I think I'm going to go easy on the spending now!

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