Vamos a ver, where to start…oh I know! The best place to always start and finish is the food. From my 4 weeks here in Cadíz I have come to realize the importance of meals within Andalusian culture. Wether it be sitting down for a delicious home cooked lunch (because yes, they do that here) or going out for dinner (all hail the mighty tapas menu), there is always some aspect of each meal of the day, and even snacks, that holds some cultural significance and an even smaller personal significance that I have come to enjoy. It truly is an emotion that you must experience for yourself.
This year has been the hottest in quite some time in Cadíz. It seems that the wind has stopped blowing and the sun is taking its revenge on humanity. Needless to say, we are the tourists walking around during siesta time (the hottest part of the day), or even after ( its still hot), sweating like mad and forever a little dehydrated, but hey, our calves look great!
After such a day like today for example, when the sun had gone down, me and another chica in the group went out to eat. Now we did not have the typical Spanish tapas, actually was had Mexican and Italian food, but the type of food is beside the point. It is great to experience the Spanish cuisine, but more importantly is to immerse yourself in the culture and to learn by doing. As I mentioned earlier meals play a very important role. People here go out for ice cream during the day. There is never a time where I have seen an empty heladería (ice cream store). And likewise people go out for dinner. Though dinner here is not as large as the dinner in the USA it is muy importante for the people of Andaluz. Dinner here is more about the conversation than the actual food. That is not to say that dinner isn’t always excellent because I’ve not had a bad dinner yet, but more than the great food is the great person you are sharing the experience with. Really, the food goes with your conversation, the conversation doesn’t go with your meal.
So with that bit of knowledge I urge you to try new foods, stay hydrated, find every excuse to talk to everyone(en Español, por supuesto), have that post dinner ice cream because why not, and take some time at the beginning, middle, and/or end of your day to sit down and have a conversation with someone about Mexican food in Spain.