Sunday, December 2, 2007

Lengua de Cerdo - Salamanca, Spain

(Lengua de cerdo)

After the Camino, I was anxious to start studying Spanish again. I enrolled in Colegio Delibes, an intensive immersion program in Salamanca and signed up to stay with a host family with full board (three meals a day included.) Spaniards eats a lot of pork and seafood. And nothing goes to waste; they eat it all: ears, face, feet, etc. My host mom had prepared pork chops for me several times before so it should have been a clue that something suspicious was going on when she asked me if I wanted to try "this pork." Another student from Germany was also staying with the host family and she had decided not to eat the "pork." I asked her why she didn't want the pork today because I had seen her eat pork before. She said that she didn't like pork in sauce. (Another, "wait, this isn't right" moment.) In reality, she had already spoken to my host mom and decided not to eat this "pork."

Well, the truth finally came out after and only after I cleaned my plate. As I'm chewing the last bite, my host mom asked me if I liked the pork. I said I did and asked her if she had any more. It really was good and I really could have eaten more. Then she asked me if I knew which part of the pig the meat was from. My mind started to race and to be honest, I was expecting a lot worse, (mountain oysters for example) when she uttered the word, "lengua." "Lengua de cerdo" is pig's tongue. Not exactly what I had thought but like I said, it was good. I had seconds.

While in Europe, I tried a lot of interesting food. Horsemeat in Holland, goat cheeses in France, and pig tongue, a part of the pig face, and a dish that looked like a black rice cake made of rice that has been soaked in pig's blood and barbequed. Mmm!

(Salamanca at night.)

Here is the city of Salamanca at night (from the bridge where you can see the cathedral). It is an incredibly beautiful city with so much medieval architecture: the cobblestone roads, 2 cathedrals, the main plaza, gardens and the University of Salamanca (one of the oldest universities in Europe.) And a lot of wild university students. Students didn't even go out until 1:00am and didn't finish until 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning. One club didn't even get started until 5:00am. Quite an experience...

I just loved this sign. I saw on a local shop door while walking down one of the main shopping streets. It reads "Cerrado por vacaciones hasta el dia 19 de noviembre. Disculpen las molestais." Essentially, "Closed for vacation until November 19th, sorry about the inconvenience." And I took this picture on November 4th! It's great! We are going on vacation for a couple weeks, see you later. It's a great to live. It's a different mentality from the commercial world we are used to here in the States. A majority of shops in Spain are locally owned and run in Spain. The owners open the shop in the morning and they close it at night. Except for "siesta" where they close from about 3:00pm to 5:00 or 6:00pm for lunch, they are there all day. Most of the shops are also closed all day on Sunday to give the owners at least one day of rest. It can be an "inconvenience" when we are used to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week but you have to give it to them. Viva la Espana!

No comments: