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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

France/Spain 2011 - Day 6, Part 5 - Zaragoza

"The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave man...only five hundred." - Meredith Willson

***

France/Spain 2011
Day 6 - 22nd March - Zaragoza
(Part 5)

I took a Ryanair flight to from "Paris"-Beauvais (it's very far from the city so it's just named that way for branding purposes) to Zaragoza in Spain. On landing there was a bugle call boasting that this was one of their more than 90% of flights which were on time, and that this was the best of all European low cost airlines. And the passengers clapped.

Photography at Zaragoza's airport wasbanned. Even in public areas. Huh.

Somehow "Zaragoza" isn't a very lyric name - I prefer to know it as Saragosse/Saragossa.


Awful busking. I felt like I was back in Jakarta, with buskers at traffic lights. And with such a miserable performance standard, how dare she ask for money?

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Puerta del Carmen
This looks older than it is (1789). Boo.

Being in a relatively untouristed region of Spain, I felt quite vulnerable in a way I hadn't for a long time. Not only did I not know the local language, I couldn't communicate with almost everyone. The last time I'd been anything remotely as linguistically isolated had been in Japan, and even then I could guess Kanji, there were pictures or plastic models of food and some people spoke a form of English; perhaps the amenities of a developed country and the quirkiness had something to do with it too. I was put in mind of my reflection in China about being in a country big enough that people didn't need to learn another language, and where I didn't know the lingua franca. Then again it might've been partly fatigue because of the stupid 3kg of eggs that I was still lugging around.

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Member of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. Despite the proud claim of "1248-1950", it really is essentially only a bit older than the Le Prieuré de Sion (the Priory of Sion, 1956), as it was refounded in 1950 after being dormant since being disbanded in 1793. That said, it's still more authentic than TWG or Manhattan Fish Market.

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Iglesia de Las Escuelas Pias

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This building (Mercado Central) which looks like a railway station was between Calle de San Blas and Avenida Cesar Augusto
Inside was a market

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Ku Klux Klan merchandise store
The costumes looked quite stylish. I was thinking of getting one for Halloween but I was not sure they'd have my size.

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Calle de Las Armes

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Place Cesar Augusto

There was a museum I could've reached with 1 hour to spare, with some Goya and El Greco, but the really good stuff was in Madrid and Barcelona. I'd seen some of the same in other places, it was raining, my feet hurt from standing for 40 mins on the airport bus, I was tired from walking across maybe 2 arrondisements in Paris and I would have an early day the next day (having to fit everything I wanted to do in Zaragoza into half a day). So I decided to nua.

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Iglesia de San Gil Abad

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Flag hanging from balcony

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Narrow alley

I had been pointed to El Tubo, a food street. The food places were mostly bars and tapas joints.

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El Tubo conviviality

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People eating and having fun

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These menus looked very tempting but unfortunately they all needed 2 people. Note the lack of English. I only found one place with an English menu, in fact. This despite a 700,000 population (ranking it 5th in Spain)

I looked at some of the bars but prices were not displayed and anyway I felt awkward sitting (well, probably standing) at a bar alone where everyone around me was chattering away with others

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Place with offers galore. I chose this place.

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The choices on the menu. Of which I understood almost nothing ("Pollo" I was familiar with from Italy). So I ended up pointing at random: Pollo 12 quesos ("12 cheese chicken"), Ternera con tomate y cebolla ("Beef with tomato and onion"), 12 quesos mas queso al roquefort ("12 cheeses with another helping of Roquefort cheese"), yogurt seco con cebolla nueces, tomate y aceite de oliva ("Dry yogurt with onions, nuts, tomatoes and olive oil"), atun al pisto ("tuna ???"), jamon de pavo ("Turkey ham"; I knew "jamon" was ham but now I feel dirty... I guess now it makes sense, given that I'd figured out that they were a Lebanese place, but who knows what "bacon" they had?)
There're advantages to not being allergic to anything and not being fussy with food (given my culinary anti-role models)

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Mystery food packets (empanadillas)

During dinner, people from certain demographics kept wandering in to try to sell tissue and hats. Apparently this was normal. Again, this practice reminded me of other Third World countries.

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My monotonous-looking dinner. I didn't catch everything, but the one on the back row on the left was ham, the middle was tuna with tomato, the middle one on the left tuna and onion and the long one was beans (?)

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Interiors of the empanadillas

The empanadillas were alright, but ery filling and heavy. I imagined that they were the local analogue of Cornish pasties.

At the end I was given small squares of dark chocolate (70%) and mint. Aww.

After dinner I walked around and found:

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Häagen-Dazs open from 9am-midnight/2am. With no Siesta!
The sign below reads: "Breakfast is served till 12:30" (Ooh, decadent!)

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I was wondering if I could trust Häagen-Dazs churros, but it was a moot issue as they'd run out. Sad.

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Plaque commemorating the residence of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, "the first Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1906". What this plaque doesn't tell you is that this prize was shared with Camillo Golgi. Worse, it elides over the fact that the first Nobel Prize was given out in 1901. Maybe Spanish history is different from World history.

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"Academia Delta"

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Happy Hour lasting 5 hours (6-11pm). That's long.

I got lost in Zaragoa, which wasn't that pleasant as it was drizzling. However I ran across:

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Roman Theatre ruins

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Roman Theatre ruins Panorama

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I'm trying to figure out why I took this

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Fluffy dog

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Sign I didn't understand on the Church of Manteria (Iglesia de la Mantería).

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Iglesia de la Mantería
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