Unrest? No. Thelebration!

May 20th, 2010 by admin Leave a reply »

Today was both our first day in Seville and our first brush with the civil unrest that worried us in the days leading up to our trip. We heard that the government cutbacks necessary to stabilize the debt could lead to rioting, as they did in Greece weeks ago. We had already been reaping the benefits of the weakest Euro in years (less than 1.25 dollars per Euro, lowest since 2006), but we had yet to feel the sting that the weakening Euro had on the population.

Carrying a flag for miles is true commitment

As we walked back from trying to find a book store that sells books in English, we came upon a group of relatively unwashed-looking young people — about 50 in all — holding a sign that read “GRECIA LLAMA” or “Greece is calling”. As we passed them they started marching and chanting. Fantastic. We turned the corner ahead of the group and saw a much larger gathering, more than 1,000 people and growing by the second. For a moment, we were worried that this group (which was much rowdier than the protesters) was also worried about in increasing economic woes. As we got closer though we could see that these weren’t unwashed hippies chanting, but were instead young people in soccer jerseys singing and cheering. You can imagine our relief. Apparently, Seville has just won the Copa del Rey, which is something obviously worth celebrating.

When the protesters were stopped by the outermost ring of revelers, they dispersed. And thus, the crowd had another win to celebrate.

On a personal note, the accent that the people speak with here is difficult for me on two fronts. First off, it sounds quite different than the Spanish spoken in the Americas. If I had to describe the differences, I would say it sounds very thick here, like talking with soup in your mouth. I am used to the Spanish of Central and South America, so it has taken some time for me to adjust to the different verbal inflections.

The biggest difference though is in how the letters z and c, when followed by an i or an e, make a “TH” sound instead of the American “S” sound. The resulting effect nearly identical to a bad lisp. This effect is especially salient for me, since I underwent speech therapy when I was younger to fix a slight lisp in my own speech. Since speech therapy is pure conditioning, I am experiencing the still-lingering effects every time try to say “thinco” instead of “cinco”. Moral of the story – I had a REALLY good speech therapist.

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