Differences in culture are probably the most interesting things to observe. Things accepted in one place would be ridiculed in another. Countries, states, cities and even neighborhoods have their own cultures. The culture of Spain has thrown me for a loop entirely. Salamanca is a small city but is home to one of the largest and oldest colleges in Spain. Being here for only 2 weeks I have observed many little intricate differences that compose a normal day for a Spaniard.
A normal day doesn’t start until around 10 if you work in a shop on the street. While walking the stone streets to my 10 class vendors are opening their doors and hanging merchandise outside. Eat breakfast before you leave the house also because you will find no one snacking on a breakfast bar while walking to work. Cafes serve coffee to friends talking and sitting at tables, although that is where the coffee stays. Drinking coffee or soda while walking to your destination is frowned upon. In the afternoon, people walk the streets enjoying ice cream in a cone. Besides that eating is done at home or at a table.
The lax society extends even to the dogs. No one leashes their dogs here! Little tea cup yorkies to pugs to big dogs walk around following their owners or leading the way. When dogs pass each other a friendly bark is exchanged and they continue on their way.
Everyone knows that Spain has a nap called a siesta in their schedule. What everyone does not know is that everyone follows this rule. Banks, kiosks, clothing stores, travel agencies and small grocery stores close from 2 to 530. You will be able to view the sights but this is not the time to shop. The entire city stops and returns home for a big lunch and together time. I feel like I am wasting my day sitting and hanging in Rosa house. Today me and Christine decided to be active and walk around. Unfortunately being an American tourist on a walk I want a water, maybe a snack and possibly to enter a building. The kiosks with magazines, water, ice cream and snacks are all closed. Coming from a society that wants everything available at all times this is extremely odd. Even at the soccer game buying snacks or drinks required you to leave the seat. There was no beer sold. Try and image a baseball stadium with no venders yelling and selling soda, peanuts or beer in aisles. WEIRD!
The culture creating by the Spanish is one I could have never imagined. The differences are amazing to see and I know I am just seeing the beginning.
France had the same deal- shut down from 1pm to about 4! Being in Europe makes you realize how uptight and time-focused we Americans are. Time is money! Europe is doing it right by chillaxin’. Makes you want to stay there and live that lifestyle! No wonder we have so many heart attacks!