The Hot Mess Express comes to town!

After our gruelingy long 1 day of class last week on Wednesday (10:30am to 7pm), Mike and I were more than excited to head home. Everyone had been looking forward to the weekend, as the Barca girls from Maryland were coming to visit the next evening! The girls who came to visit were Naomi, Monica, Sarah, Elby and Lauren.

That night, we decided to head to Big Ben on Calle Betis to meet up with our friend Chelsea & Co. Although we had been to Calle Betis more times than I can remember (Literally), we had never actually made it to Big Ben before. I think the reason for this is because you have to pass our local spot Alambique, and the Discoteca Demo to get there. Naturally we stopped at those two places, and after some euro tequila shots at Alambique and a full night of dancing at Demo we usually never were able to make it any further haha. We all hung out at big ben for a while, bounced between the bars and had good time.

All the Maryland Boys at Big Ben with our tight Bufandas

The Epic Day Arrives

The next morning, we woke up at 2 for lunch or so and then headed off to explore the city before the girls got in. We decided to go to the art museum near Plaza De Armas with our friends Becca and Tess. The museum had lots of really cool paintings, but they were all very religious which wasn’t quite for me, but nonetheless it was a really enjoyable afternoon.

We got back around 5 or 6, and hung out while we awaited the girls phone call telling us they had arrived at the airport. They’re flight was expected to land at 7:50pm, and we were planning at meeting them at the bus stop. As 8:30pm rolled around I began to get a little concerned as no one had called and we couldn’t figure out where the girls were. About an hour later, after messaging friends on facebook for a while to ask for the girls spain phone numbers I was finally able to get in touch with them. Turns out that the clowns had all forgotten to write my phone number down, so had no clue how to contact us and when I finally talked to them they were already at a bar haha.

Ollie and I hopped on our sevici’s (Sevilla’s amazing bike service) and rode over to meet up with the girls. They were sitting at a Cien Montaditos inPrado de San Sebastien, and we had quite an epic reunion. The girls were sitting on the packed patio outside, and the second they saw us on the bikes, all 5 of them jumped up out of their seats and started screaming and running towards us. It was rather amusing looking at the stunned expressions on the Spaniards faces, and I’m sure more than a few people were thinking that Ollie and I were quite the ladies men, which of course we are haha.

We decided to take the metro back to the residencia as it was much faster, and we didn’t want the girls to have to lug all of their bags back with them. After we got of the train at Plaza De Cuba, we headed towards our residencia to show them our new home. After a quick tour, Ollie and I went to drop them off at their surprisingly nice hostel in Triana just 10 minutes away from us.

We all got ready really quickly, met up, and then headed over to Torre Del Oro to show the girls the amazing concept that is Botellon.

Torre Del Oro and a very bright moon!

Best Friends re-united in Spain!


After spending an hour or so at the Botellon, we were all ready to get our groove on so we headed over to Buddha for our traditional thursday night dance parties.


Buddha was a blast, like usual and around 4 or so Me, Sarah, and Naomi hopped on a cab to head back home…or so we thought. The cab dropped us off at betis, right by where the girls live and we headed off towards the hostel. The only problem was that we couldn’t quite find the hostel, as all of the cobblestone streets looked the exact same, we had only been there once, and were all slightly intoxicated. After what felt like an hour of searching for it and the temperature kept falling, we decided we should go back to our residencia since we didn’t know what else to do.

We’re not supposed to have guests overnight, but after much deliberation about what to do upstairs, I figured the girls could crash on my bed, and I would just sleep on the couch and they would leave in the morning before mama rosa ever found out. Well, That turned out to be a bad idea haha. All the boys were upstairs in the kitchen around 6am assuming the girls were fast asleep, and we making chicken wings when mama rosa came upstairs and let us have it. Apparently, Naomi had woken up to use the restroom, and accidentally opened Mama Rosa’s door instead of the bathroom one as it is really dark in the hallway at night and hard to see. You could only imagine mama rosa’s surprise as she had never seen Naomi before, and kept trying to figure out what was going on and screaming “quien es”. We tried to explain the situation to her, and she said that the girls could stay for another couple hours but had to be out very early in the morning.


The next morning when we awoke, the girls had already headed back to their hostel. We had lunch, and Mama Rosa didn’t seem too upset but wasn’t exactly happy either, and then headed off to meet up with the girls. We met them at Phoenix, where the fattys were eating their second lunch of the day.

From there, we began to give them a tour of our beautiful city. Nick and I had left earlier on to meet up with them, and Sean and Ollie caught up to us later on by riding their sevici’s over. After seeing the bikes, Monica and Elby decided they wanted to try to ride them, making for one of the funnier moments of the trip as they both don’t quite know how to ride bikes.

Elby sort of figured it out, Monica not so much..

We first went to Plaza De Toros, which is the bullfighting ring, and then headed towards Alcazar and the Cathedral.


Also Saw a dude who was playing some blues and killing it on the harmonica which pretty entertaining. He had dancing simpsons characters at his feet for some reason haha

From there, we headed to our favorite park, parque Maria Luisa to show them the beautiful Plaza De Espana! To our surprise, as we approached Plaza de Espana, we ran into 4 friends from Maryland getting off the paddleboat, Chelsea and Jamie who were studying in Sevilla with us, and Allie and Dayna who also happened to be visiting Barca that same weekend!

Chicas on the boat

Everyone from Maryland at the Plaza De Espana

After our long day of exploring the city, we headed back home to freshen up for dinner. Before we all went out to eat that night, i figured i had to do something nice for Mama Rosa to apologize and get back on her good side. I decided to head over to floristeria, and bought her some pretty orange flowers and a chocolate bar from SuperSol. I had written a letter in Spanish for mama rosa to explain the situation since she hadn’t fully understood it earlier on. I walked in, and handed her all three things (Letter, Flower, and Chocolates) while she was sitting at the dinner table with everyone and she loved it. She gave me a big hug and everything was perfect and back to normal again. She truly has a very short memory, and is one of the most forgiving, friendly, funny and loving people i’ve ever met!

Afterwards, we met up with all the girls at Phoenix, and then headed off in search of a good restaurant to eat at. The bartenders at Phoenix are all really great, speak English, and are very helpful. When i asked if he could recommend a good restaurant, the bartender actually drew me a map on a napkin describing how to get to the restaurant he recommended down the road. On the way there, we saw a good looking Italian place and just decided to eat there, as it seemed solid and had room for our big group of 13. They couldn’t seat us all at one big table, so they gave us two circular booths next to one another. The restaurant was really good, and we all chowed down on some delicious pasta and pizza, sipped on some vino y cervezas and had a wonderful dinner.

The other table

Our Awesome Table

chicas y yo

After dinner, everyone decided to head over to chelsea’s place to pre-game before we went out that night. Hirsh and I decided to grab our beverages from the residencia, so we sevici’d over a few minutes after everyone had gotten there. As we approached the building, we were greeted by everyone screaming at us from the rooftop. Apparently, Chelsea has an awesome rooftop space which they have access to so we were back and forth between the roof and her apartment during the pre-game.

At Chelsea’s place

Unfortunately, Naomi and Lauren had been under the weather and weren’t feeling too well so decided to head back home instead of going out that night which was a bummer.

Mike and I with the girls right before they went home 😦

The rest of us, however, went out and got our groove thang on. We hit up Alambique, and then went to Demo for what felt like the 10th time that weekend and all had a great time.

Dance Party!

Ran into our Argentiantian Bartender friend Ramon!

We went back to Chelsea’s for a while afterwards. The walk back was hilarious, as the girls broke out singing Titanic songs, and Dayna and Monica were bustine out all sorts of funky moves haha.

Dayna was having a good night

We all hung out on their rooftop for a while, and then headed back to our residencia once more at a time that was way later than would be acceptable in the US.

The next morning, or I guess afternoon as one o’clock isn’t exactly early for most people, we met up with the chicas at Cien Montaditos to grab a quick bite.

At Cien Montaditos. I clearly have a look of disbelief at something ridiculous Monica must have said

After spending some time there, the girls dropped their bags off at our residencia as they had checked out of the hostel. When we had reached the apartment, the rest of the gang was eating lunch. Monica immediately ran up and gave mama rosa a hug which was unexpected and entertaining. I re-introduced her to Sarah and Naomi, who she had met under rather different circumstances a few nights ago, and she greeted them with a laugh and one of her infamous Que Fuerte’s. The highlight was probably when Monica finally met nikita, as we had been calling Nikita Mini-Monica pretty much since the day we met her.

Monica meets Mini-Monica!

Naomi lookin ridiculous wearing my moroccan jacket haha

Afterwards, we all headed to the river to chill for the afternoon before the girls headed back on their flight. It was a lovely, relaxing afternoon with snacks, cheap wine, good music, and even better friends.

Lazing by the river

We really like Climbing Trees

As their flight approached, we came back to the residencia to grab the girls bags. Sean, Nick, and I took the metro with the girls to the bus stop and after a few minutes of waiting for the bus we had to say our goodbyes.

On our walk to the bus station…adios amigas!

All in all, it was a super fun surreal weekend! It was great to see some of my best friends and catch up with all the girls. Some of them kept saying that seeing all of us made them homesick and miss their friends from back home. To be honest, for me it had the opposite effect, as seeing good friends from back home made me feel much more at home and served as a reminder for all the great people awaiting us when we eventually do get back to the US.

Throughout the trip, Naomi kept asking me to visualize ourselves on a map. She said “think about where you are now, where we are visiting you from, and where we were just a few months ago.” Processing that and drawing strings between the thumbtacks on the mental map I had created in my head helped me realize, and appreciate the ridiculously amazing lifestyle that we have been living even more!

The fun never seems to stop, we are going to Italy in just two days!



Residencia Valentine’s Day!

We had happened to get back from Morocco on February 14th, more commonly referred to as Valentine’s Day. Never really understood the whole concept of the holiday or where it came from, but truly applaud the genius behind it and many other ridiculous created American holidays that stimulate oh so much unnecessary spending.

Anyhow, as it was Valentine’s Day and all Ollie had the brilliant idea of doing residencia valentines. We did residencia valentines in a fashion very similar to that of Secret Santa, with all the girls names being out in a bag, and all of the boys grabbing a name. It was quite an entertaining process, and we all ended up with “our valentines.” I was fortunate enough to paired up with my homegirl Caitlin, who is by far one of the most entertaining people I have ever met, and is an instant quote factory as she has the unique ability to recall some of the ridiculous song lyrics you will ever hear at the drop of a dime. The rest of the pairings were Nikita and Ollie, Nick and Kari, Hirsh and Becca, Sean and Katie, and Robby and Steph.

After unpacking our bags from Morocco and getting settled in at home, we all sat down for dinner and that was when the valentine madness began. Caitlin, being the creative, unique, and eccentric person she is had told me that she was planning on writing and singing me a song for valentine’s day which I had been looking forward to all day. As talented as Caitlin is in so many random ways, singing was not one of the gifts she was blessed with haha. As we all sat down, Caitlin entered wearing a pink wig and sang what I believe to be one of the best live performances I ever saw.

Best Valentine Ever haha!

She re-created Lady Gaga’s popular song “Bad Romance” and changed it to be “Brown Romance” just for me haha. It started with a great Rah-Rah-rah rah Rahmann, and proceeded to get better from that point on. She had some of the funniest and most creative lyrics I had ever heard, and fortunately Hirsh got it on video so I will be able to re-live it for years.

Right after Caitlin’s performance, everyone began exchanging gifts within the residencia. It was rather amusing as almost every gift turned out to be some sort of inside joke involving food, as most everyone happens to have their strange eating quirks and habits. Right before the end of dinner, Kari got up and busted out a great, funny poem she had written for Nick to cap off a delicious Valentine’s Day meal.

Next Day

Since it was Tuesday, thanks to our incredible schedule none of us had classes so I spent pretty much the entire day attempting to update the blog as much as I could and banged out the Morocco and Granada trips finally. While I was doing that, Ollie and Nick were busy cooking up Ollie’s belated Valentines day present to Nikita.

Men at Work

Nikita has this weird, somewhat disturbing obsession with eating junk food, and her favorite of them all happens to be Cheese Cake. As a result, to follow up with the theme of food related gifts, Ollie figured it would be nice to make her a cake. With his sue chef Nick by his side, they were busy baking some dank cake in mama rosa’s kitchen. On a side note, when Nick and Ollie went to Corte Ingles (Spanish Upscale Wal-Mart basically) they picked up a printer we all chipped in for which has been so nice to have already.

At dinner that night, after everyone had finished eating their meals Ollie brought out Nikita’s cake. It looked better that I could have imagined, as it had an oreo crust and Ollie used Strawberries to make a heart for Valentines Day, and Nikita was more than excited to see and eat it. We all dug in and pounded some cheesecake, marking an end to our rather interesting and amusing Valentine’s day.

Valentine’s with the delicious cheesecake!

The Residencia Valentine turned out to be a great idea, and after Caitlin’s hilarious performance for me it will one I will never forget. Here’s to hoping that everyone’s Valentine’s Day back home was as entertaining as mine.




We just got back from Morocco yesterday, and it was an absolutely incredible experience!

Day One

We woke up early Friday morning, got ready, and grabbed our delicious bocadillos mama rosa made us and headed out the door. It was about a 15 minute walk with our bags to the bus stop. We all paid our euro 2.40 and hopped on for the 30 minute or so ride to the airport to meet up with our program director Marta and the rest of the group.

We were flying with Ryan Air to Morocco, and it was expected to be an hour and a half flight. After going through security, we found out that our flight was delayed for an hour, so we all just checked out some shops and hung out for a while as we anticipated our ensuing flight to Africa.

Giant Cerveza in the airport!

Everyone waiting around

While we were waiting, we also saw a lady walking around with her tiny dog in the airport, which was rather interesting haha

While waiting in line to board our flight, we made friends with some Spaniards from Malaga that were also heading to Morocco! Guy in the middle was actually kinda creepy, and kept staring at me on the plane and gave me this really uncomfortable wink as we were getting off lol.

We all boarded the plane and were off on our way to Africa!

Beautiful Coastline

Desert Mountains

We landed at the Marrakech airport, and headed off to our hotel. We stayed at a nice place called Hotel El Andalous that was about 15 minutes away from the main old marketplace.

Hotel Pictures

Our Hotel Room!

Since our flight had been delayed, right as we got there we threw our bags in our respective rooms and took off for a tour of Morocco. We had a rather interesting Moroccan tourguide, who was extremely passionate about giving tours. She spoke Spanish in an Arabic dialect I had never heard before, making it very difficult to follow along with whatever she was saying. That was hardly the first time language was a barrier during the trip, as the three main languages spoken in Morocco are French, Arabic, and Berber, which is a regional language.

We started off by going through some sort of palace place, which was interesting, but the real fun began as we entered the old marketplace. It looked like a scene straight out of Aladdin, and it was as if we were in Arabian Nights. All of the small shops reminded me a lot of India, but the architecture had a distinct Islamic influence to it. After walking through the bustling, windy alley ways for a while we stopped at this incredible spice and herb shop.


I had never seen so many different spices, herbs, potions or whatever you want to call them in one place. We all took seats in this small room that was filled with jars of all sorts of different things unsure of what to expect. This Moroccan gentleman walked in with a white lab coat, and he had an immediate presence similar to that of a brilliant scientist.

Everyone in the Spice Room

Mad Scientist Herb Salesman guy that was the man

He proceeded to put on a fascinating show, explaining the powers and uses of all his magical herbs, etc. He got the crowd involved by allowing us to try different things, and included a good bit of humor throughout the performance that kept everyone engaged. He spoke of all sorts of moroccan herbs, and remedies for all sorts of different ailments, ranging from snoring to erection issues. Afterwards, he asked if anyone would like to purchase any of the products he had demonstrated, and we all jumped up asking for everything. It was rather amusing to watch the brilliant salesman take 30 euros each from all of us, but we were paying for his performance as much as for the products.

I wonder what’s in all these mysterious jars

While we were waiting for everyone to finish paying outside, this Moroccan guy approached Ollie, and asked him for his t-shirt. Ollie was wearing a Roma t-shirt, and for some reason the guy seemed to be fascinated by it, so they literally traded each other the shirts off of their back making for a hilarious situation.

So ridiculous

I exchanged my euros for some dirham’s, which is the local Moroccan currency. The dirham exchange rate was about 11 dirhams to 1 euro, so safe to say we all went shopping at the marketplace a good bit to take advantage of the solid exchange rate. Interestingly enough, it is illegal to take dirham out of the country for some reason…woops!

We continued our walk through the marketplace, till we reached the gorgeous and extremely large main plaza.

Main Plaza

We had dinner at the hotel at 8, and the temperature had plummeted rapidly throughout the course of the evening, so after our long day at the marketplace we all were eager to begin the long walk back to the hotel and grab some Moroccan cuisine.

Dinner was served buffet style at a restaurant in the hotel, and I loaded up on couscous and some goat curry. Just like India, we weren’t allowed to drink the local tap water so we had to pay for the giant bottles of water. We were all beat from our long evening, so everyone went to his or her respective hotel rooms to hang out. Morocco is a relatively dry country, as it is something 99% Muslim, so drinking is not prevalent at all in the culture. This provided a rare, and much needed night off for everyone in the program, and we just watched a couple episodes of friends, and some thriller called Glass House before we passed out. Right before we went to bed, Hirsh and I decided to try out the sleeping potion thing that we had purchased from the mad scientist earlier on that day. We dropped a couple drops each into glasses of water, drank them, and called it a night.

Day Two

Man, did those sleeping potions work. Hirsh and I didn’t wake up till 11:30 or so, and had some of the wildest and most vivid dreams of our lives. Interestingly enough, Ollie had woken up around the same time, and he had taken the drops as well and said he had a very similar experience. The strangest part was how easily we were all able to recall, relive, and most importantly remember the crazy parts of our dreams as if we had just watched movies in which we were all actors.

While we were getting our beauty sleep, apparently the rest of the group had headed off for a camel tour, so Sean and I decided to take a run through Morocco. We went in the opposite direction of the old marketplace to explore a part of the city we hadn’t seen before. The weather was perfect at around 65 and sunny or so, and 50-75 was the range we had throughout the trip. We were attempting to find the newer marketplace area, and had to use the help of many locals who pointed us in the right direction.

I don’t think that many people run in Morocco, and we were quite a site to see for the locals as we were Americans running in our toe shoes through the busy streets of Morocco. We checked out the new market area, which included Congress, a McDonalds, a train station and then headed back. It was nice to see a different part of the city, but still liked the old market the best. Once we got back to the hotel, Ollie, Hirsh, Sean and I decided to go swimming in the pool for a little and enjoy the nice weather!


By the time we had showered after the pool, everyone had returned from their camel riding experience eager to tell us what we had missed out on. We took what was basically a residencia trip to find a local Moroccan restaurant that the concierge had recommended. Once we had finally found it, it turned out to be a nice Moroccan café, but was an enjoyable meal nonetheless. The menu was written all in French, and I ended up ordering a Seafood Pizza. Really had no clue what to expect, but it was topped with Calamari and fish and turned out to be delicious.

Seafood Pizza!

Moroccan Coke Bottles

Best Banana Milkshake i’ve ever had!

After lunch, we all got back to the hotel and got ready to go to the market. On the way there, Sean and I saw a group of children playing soccer and decided to go over and take pictures of them. For me personally, It was especially cool being in Africa watching children play soccer, as this past semester I served as a non-profit consultant for a fledgling non-profit called Sports4Hope. Sports4Hope aims to use soccer to promote peace in Africa, so that was a really great experience. It is a great cause, and non-profit so if you would like more information on the wonderful things they are attempting to do in the Democratic Republic of Congo, you can check it out at

Soccer in Africa

To our amusement, a little kid walked over and said that we had to pay him a euro per photo. Rather annoying, but I guess you have to admire the aspiring business mind haha.

I just liked this picture

On our walk back to rejoin the group, saw some camels just chillin on the side of the road so decided to go take some pictures.

None of them seemed to mind or even acknowledge my presence, but I got rather close to one and he started pacing towards so I bolted off to join the rest of the group.

Camel coming a little too close for comfort haha

We all were excited to get to the market, buy a bunch of stuff, and more importantly get our haggle on. Haggling is one of my favorite things to do, as it is a basically a one-on-one game you are playing versus the shopkeeper that could result in all sorts of possibilities. It’s a battle of wills, tactics, and pride that never gets old. I had a great time haggling in India, and gained a good amount of experience and practice as well, so was looking forward to getting back into the game.

On the walk over, Ollie, Sean and I got separated from the rest of the gang at a busy crosswalk, which turned out well as it is nearly impossible to shop in a busy and incredibly marketplace with a large group of people if you want to get anything done, or not lose anyone. The three of us decided to try glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice, and it was one of the best decisions of the trip. Was the freshest, tasiest, most delicious orange juice I’ve ever tasted and if you are going to Morocco you must try it!


We ran into Nick and Nikita in the marketplace and started looking around. In one of the more amusing stories from the trip, a boy no more than the age of 12 walked up to Sean and asked “how much?” and Sean said “For what?” Apparently the child had been attempting to buy Nikita and was asking how much we would charge to sell her haha. The best was after the little kid, no more than 10 minutes later, and middle aged man walked up to Ollie and offered him 4000 dirham’s for her, but we decided as a group we wouldn’t sell her off for less than 50,000 Dirham. We all wandered through the maze of a marketplace for a while, buying a bunch of random stuff for relatively good prices along the way, and then headed back so we could grab dinner at the hotel again.

Moroccan Hat

After dinner, we all went back up to the room and were all hanging out for a while watching tv, when someone suggested we go check out the nightclub downstairs in the basement of the hotel. It was a Saturday night, and we figured it could be a good time so a group of us 6 guys headed downstairs. We walked in to a relatively packed nightclub, that had belly dancers all around, and was bumping an awesome mix of Arabic music, and top 40 american hits. For some reason, the DJ seemed to LOVE the black eyed peas so there was a healthy dose of that as well. We ran upstairs to grab the other guys and tell them they had to join us, and we all rolled up as a giant group of Americans to the popular Moroccan nightclub.


Nightclubs were extremely different that we were used to, mainly because there weren’t wasted Americans dancing all over the place as most people didn’t dance. The cultural gender differences were also on display as the men sat at tables, and watched their women dance for them. We all awkwardly tried to meet Moroccan girls, but after we realized no one even spoke the same language as them we all just decided to break it down and have a dance party on the floor. We bumped into a couple Moroccan guys, and had a blast dancing with them. We formed a giant circle, with one person rotating through the middle to showcase their moves and were all having a great time. We went particularly nuts when Shakira’s Waka Waka song came on, as that had been our Africa theme song for the trip to that point.

Dance Party

After a little, I decided to approach a Moroccan girl who was eating dinner to ask her if she would like to dance with our group. I figured I had nothing to lose, I mean we were in Africa and the odds of me ever seeing any of those people were pretty low haha. I got down on one knee and offered her my hand to dance, and although initially she playfully refused, the second time I came back she put down her fork and came onto the dance floor. To my surprise, I ended up dancing with this Moroccan girl for the rest of the night. I had absolutely no idea how to dance with an arab girl, as their style of dancing was completely different than anything we’re used to in American culture, and they actually know how to dance. I just started going for it, and was breaking out all sorts of funky dance moves I don’t think I had ever even done before, but she was loving it. I found it rather amusing that we hadn’t even spoke a word to each other for over 30 minutes of dancing, but both were having such a good time. I learned a bunch of cool arab dance moves, and realized that they dance using much smaller steps, spins, and much more hips than we’re used to. It was getting late, so we all headed back up to crash but all in all it was a great night and dancing with my new Arab friend, Gulfi (I think), was an experience I will never forget.

Day Three

We woke up around 8am the next morning, in preparation for our hike through the Atlas Mountains! After a quick breakfast at hotel, we hopped on the bus unsure and excited for the day ahead. I was sitting next to my buddy Tally on the bus, and we spent the trip taking pictures, and going through my ipod listening to all sorts of great music.

Tally and I!

Unfortunately, throughout the bus ride our Moroccan Spanish speaking tourguide would not stop talking, and was driving everyone nuts. Anyhow, after an hour or so drive and a quick stop at some mini-market rest area we arrived at the Atlas Mountains.

Cool truck on the side of the road

Shop at the rest stop

The Atlas Mountains are home to the Berbers, who are a group of people who speak the berber dialect, and I guess live in the mountains. As we got off the bus, we started walking along this road but no one seemed to know exactly where we were going, as it was the programs first actual trip to Morocco.

We picked up a very friendly tour-guide who led us the rest of the way. During our walk, he asked me if I was from India, and to my surprise he began speaking to me in broken Hindi. Apparently, our tour guide was able to speak over 10 different languages!

Me with our Tourguide

We all crossed a rickety bridge, and began our hike up the Atlas mountains!


It was more fun than anyone could have anticipated, and was more of a climb than a hike, but everyone had a great time. Sean and I were both wearing our toe shoes, and had a great time climbing up the mountain wearing them.


Vibram Climbing

Pictures can describe the sites we saw far better than I can so I’ll just include a bunch below:

Beginning our climb

Nick Climbing

Boys at the Waterfall

So sickk

Climbing Ladders and Rocks

We found Moses

Mountain Goats!

Hirsh and Ollie climbin the giant tree

Awesome Mountain


We had gotten halfway to the top of the mountain, and were eager to reach the top. The tour guide had said that it would take us two hours to reach there, but unfortunately, the program directors said that we did not have enough time to make it all the way up. After a great deal of internal arguing in the group, we grudgingly acknowledged that we wouldn’t be able to go to the top and began to head back down.

We hopped on the bus and headed down the road to grab lunch. We had a traditional Berber meal outside.

Walking over the bridge to get to lunch

Big table

The meal began with fresh vegetables and bread for appetizers. Then, for the main course, we had a dish that was filled with fresh vegetables (peppers, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, etc.) with chicken off the bone underneath. For desert, we had a unique fruit drink that had pieces of fresh fruit in it, which I thoroughly enjoyed. We were all starving from our afternoon hike, so we attacked the food like animals and were still quite hungry afterwards.


Hirsh and I chillin with the camels

We hopped back on the bus thinking we were heading home, but we stopped less than 20 minutes later. I had dosed off, and when I woke up half the bus had left for what the back of the bus assumed was a quick restroom break. After about 15 minutes, I got bored of sitting on the bus so decided to wander around and take a look at some of the shops on the side of the road.

Random Shops

We saw a junkyard rooster, that Sean attempted to buy off of a Moroccan all while claiming that he was the best haggler in America haha.

Sean Lynott – The Best Haggler in America

It had been almost 30 minutes, and I figured they were doing something other than the bathroom, so Sean and I walked up the hill into a Berber house, where we found the rest of the group sitting and drinking that delicious Mint tea that I just can’t get enough of.

Tea Lady

So tight

Berber House

After a couple glasses, we eventually went back down to the bus, and then finally headed back towards the hotel.

After quick showers, we all decided to go back to the marketplace for round two. We broke up into a couple groups, and agreed to meet up for dinner around 8:15. Dinner wasn’t included in the hotel the final night, so we agreed to eat at a local place in the plaza. Lily, James, Monica and I were shopping partners for the evening, and we all had a good time walking around buying far too many things.

The Shopping Gang

I couldn’t get enough of watching Lily try and bargain, and she may have very well been the worst bargainer I’ve ever seen but it was entertaining to see her try. As a result, I bargained for her which was fun because I just love haggling and bargaining at pretty much every opportunity I get. I bought a traditional Berber jacket; knock off sunglasses, a tight light green Messi Barca Jersey, and much more. Safe to say, the trip took a toll on my wallet but I believe it was worth every penny.

At 8:15, we went to the spot to meet up with everyone but just saw Eddy, who said that everyone had finished shopping early and were already at the restaurant. He led us there, and it turned out that we were having dinner at a gorgeous rooftop restaurant.

Rooftop Restaurant

Pretty much our entire Morocco group was at dinner minus a couple people, and as a result we had a ginormous table. Ordering our meals was pretty difficult, as Nick was the only one who could speak broken English so no one could really understand the menus. We literally had a guy who worked at the restaurant go around and explain the different meals on the menu to every single person, but we finally got it all figured out.

Huge Table

There was this awesome guy at the restaurant who had a flaming torch, and he would shoot alcohol out of his mouth so it seemed as though he was blowing incredibly large flames, and he did this multiple times for us.

The man – little flame

Big Flame

The very same awesome guy happened to play the didgeridoo, which is a really cool Australian instrument. He started by blowing into it and playing us funky noises, and then he proceeded to ask our names. He asked nick what his name was, and after he told him, while the guy was playing the didgeridoo he would say the name “Nick” while playing it and it sounded crazy. He proceeded to do this for every single person at our huge table, and we even got him to say Droid like from the android commercials.
Playing the Didgeridoo!

For our meals, I ordered couscous and chicken. It was served in a heaping portion and was absolutely delicious.

My Dinner

I decided that I wanted to eat with my hands to get the true Moroccan experience, and Nick and Lily decided to join me in doing so and we all enjoyed the experience.

World Cup Coke Can!

Throughout the course of the meal, they had been playing live music in the background. Near the end of the meal, the music became much more lively and exciting, and I decided that I wanted to dance. I asked my friend Erika if she wanted to get up and dance, and we went over to where they were playing music and started dancing. They gave us hats while we were dancing, and then Nick got up to join us and the flood gates opened as around 8 people or so from our table got up to dance. It was a blast and the Moroccans loved it as well, the dancing made for a great ending to an already wonderful day.


With our New friends!

Sweet instrument/outfit

They Loved us haha

After dinner, we went back to the main plaza so nick could grab some grapefruit juice. At night, the main plaza turns into what appears to be a giant food festival, and there are delicious aromas in every direction.

Juice Stand

Plaza at night

we headed back to the hotel but not before Mike and Maygen decided to stop at KFC to grab some ice cream. Tally and Erika grabbed us from our rooms to come down to check out the club once more with them. We got down there and it was completely empty, but we danced nonetheless for a few minutes before heading back up. There was this one Moroccan guy who was dancing next to us by himself, so I grabbed him and threw him in the middle of our circle, and boy did he love it. He just danced in the middle of the circle by himself for a good 15 minutes or so. He kept trying to dance with this shy girl in our program, who I don’t really know that well, but I gave her a bump into him so she was forced into dancing with him for a while which was funny.

Mike and I with our new Moroccan Jackets!

Day Four

Woke up early morning to pack our bags and get ready to say goodbye to Morocco. Headed to the airport at about 11:30 and our flight took off at around 2ish.

Goodbye Morocco!

All in all, Morocco was an absolutely wonderful experience and I am so glad hat I had an opportunity to check it out. I would highly recommend taking a visit if possible, as it really is a whole new world!


Granada Trip!

That Friday morning, January 28th, we packed our bags early in the morning and hopped on a bus headed for Granada with the rest of our program. Everyone was rather hungover as the night before we had gone to this wild and extremely popular 3 story discoteca named Buddha. For those at Maryland, the only way I can describe it would be an extremely nice and much bigger turtle with that crazy dance floor upstairs. Apparently, it is the most popular place to go on Thursday nights, and we all had a great time so anticipating heading back there pretty often. It was extremely hot in there, and everyone was sweating and dancing up a storm.

The bus ride was around 3 to 4 hours long, and we stopped once at a rest stop to grab a bite. It was a rather peculiar rest stop, as it had all these random stuffed rabbits all over the place. Anyhow, after taking in the beautiful Spanish countryside we finally made it to Granada and I really liked the city a lot.

Spanish Countryside

I’m feeling pretty lazy and have been writing the blog all morning, so I’ll be describing our experiences during the trip through pictures.

Our Hotel Room

Mike and I slept through the official tour, so we went on a tour of the city by ourselves which turned out to be a really good time.

On our way to the main city


On our way back to the hotel, i bought a crazy jacket!

Alhambra at night!

That night, we went to see an amazing Flamenco show in this cave place!

Everyone in the cave

The flamenco show was amazing, and i couldn’t get over how fast they were moving their feet. The facial expressions that the women used during the performances were priceless. During the show, while the main guy was dancing he actually grabbed my orange hat off of my head and began to dance with it during the performance which was pretty entertaining. I am going to try and attach a video i took on my camera so hopefully this will work.

After the show, we met up with Ollie and Mike’s friend Erika who is studying abroad in Grananda for the semester

Granada is famous for its Tapas Bars, so we went to check a couple of those out. Tapas are great, because you get a drink and a small sandwich or some sort of snack for a very low price like 2 euros. After tapas, all the girls headed home but the night was still young so the UMD boys (Me,Nick, Sean, Ollie, and Mike) all headed to an Irish Pub.
At the Irish Pub!

On our way back from the bar, we ran into David and Justin and a couple other kids from our program. When mike and i had been walking around the city earlier on we had seen an awesome giant hollow tree trunk, and we decided that at the time it would be a good idea for all of us to go hang out in the aforementioned treetrunk haha

In the treetrunk!

The next morning, we had a tour of the Alhambra which was great.

Everyone with our British Tour Guide


There was super cool shrubbery all around!

Orange trees are amazing


We left the Alhambra a little early, as we had reserved a time at the Arab Baths. The arab baths was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. You felt like you were a king in a royal palace. They had tons of different baths all over, ranging from hot, warm, and cold. The way it works is that you go into the warm bath to start, then rotate to hot, then cold bath, and then into the sauna. Drink some tea, and then repeat. Best 20 euros i have spent in a while. The tea was to die for, and the best i have tasted in my entire life. Was a delicious mint tea, and we must have had 10+ glasses each. My only regret is that i did not take any pictures of the baths, but it it something that you must must must do at some point in your life!

After the extremely refreshing baths in the morning, we went and had some delicious Paella lunch outside at a nice restaurant in the city.

After lunch we wandered around a bit, and then headed back to the hotel.

Chillin with Washington Irving and wearing my new bufanda (Scarf)

Granada was great, and i loved the unique architecture that the city had. Highlight of the trip was definitely the Arab baths, Flamenco, and getting that crazy jacket. If you’re ever in Spain, would definitely reccomend checking Granada out as i had a really good time!


Spanish Adventures

Hola Amigos! Apologies once more for taking so long to update the blog! We’ve just been so busy exploring the city, going to fiestas, planning trips around the world, and taking siestas that I hadn’t found any time but I will try and pick up where I left off. Anyhow, Seville has been absolutely amazing, and I love the city more and more by the minute.

New Spanish Friends

A lot of crazy, funny, and interesting things have happened in the past few weeks but I’ll do my best to recap everything. After our incredible run in Parque Maria Luisa on the third day, we came back to the house and were hanging out for a while. A couple nights before, we had met these two awesome Spaniards named Daniel y Alfonso, and decided that we should give them a call to see what they were up to. They were both excited to hear form us and interact with Americans, so we ventured off to calle Republica de Argentina to meet up with them. They lived right off the main road, and invited us to come over and invited us (Nick, Mike, Ollie, our new friend becca and I) to come up and hang out with them.

We had met becca on the metro the day before on our way to visit Pablo De Olavide in a rather interesting fashion. She was standing next to mike and I, and based on her brown hair and tan skin I assumed that she was a Spaniard. I said “girls got some fresh kicks” to mike, and she turned and looked at me, and I tried to express what I was saying with “me gusta sus zapatos” and she responded with an “I speak English” and she turned out to be from the states haha.

Anyhow, we all packed into a tiny elevator 3 at a time and headed on up to Daniels apartment. They cracked open a couple 40’s of Cruzcampo (the popular, and cheap local brew) and we spent a few hours there and had a great Sunday evening. We met a couple of their friends, namely a rather interesting fellow named Pablo, who spoke some English, and It was nice interacting with the locals. There were some funny moments as they spoke no English so many of our sentences were lost in translation. My Spanish is steadily improving, as I am slowly getting a grasp of grammar and expanding my vocabulary, but the first week speaking sentences in the third person and not quite making sense was a source of entertainment for many haha.

Casey’s Birthday and Orientation

The next morning, we were off to Pablo De Olavide, our new university in Seville to check everything out. Pablo is a relatively small and new school, and is definitely no Maryland but we have all had a pretty good experience there so far. We took a tour of the campus, and then headed back to our respective homes as classes didn’t start till Wednesday and it was only Monday. That night, it was our good friend Casey’s birthday. Casey goes to BC, and for some reason or another we have a picture together from pretty much every night we go out in Seville together, which has become a source of amusement.

The Birthday Girl and I!

Anyhow, we all headed over to the girls place down the road to pre-game for what turned out to be one of the wildest Monday nights I’ve ever had. We all went to the popular street Calle Betis, which is known as the American hangout area as it is littered with Americans and study abroad students. We went to our spot Alambique, and then over to a discoteca called Demo and got our groove on. All in all, was a wild fun night!

The boys at Demo

Pablo Squared

The next day, we had our official orientation at Pablo relatively early in the morning. To be fair, everything has become relatively early for us, as we usually wake up around 2pm for lunch, then pass out for a couple hours into a great siesta before starting our days. Regardless, we all hauled our hung over selves to campus to figure out what the new semester would hold. We all entered a giant lecture hall after receiving our schedules, listened to some boring speeches and began to understand how universities work here. I was shocked to see just how many American students are studying abroad in Seville, with something like 400 alone at UPO.

Study Abroad Orientation at Pablo

Off the bat, we were pleased to find out that for study abroad students there are no classes on Friday, which will be great for traveling. We also noticed there was an possibility of us having classes only two days a week if we worked our schedules properly, which was exciting. They informed us about this program they have called intercambios, which is basically each study abroad student in assigned a local student with whom we can interact, and get to know them and the local culture. It serves dual purposes, as we are trying to learn Spanish and many of the Spaniards are attempting to grasp the English language better. I e-mailed my intercambio, Elena Flores Valentin, a few days ago, and she was extremely friendly, wrote English well, and was very excited to hear from me. Unfortunately, she is studying abroad in France so don’t believe I will be able to have too many face-to-face interactions, so thinking she will be more of a penpal type thing but with facebook/e-mail pal (not sure if they’ve termed a coin for that yet). As a result, I resquested and received a new intercambio today, Lisvette Elena Moquete Carrion, so will be e-mailing her this afternoon and hopefully everything will go well.

Since we had our first full day of classes coming up, we decided we probably shouldn’t be going to any discotecas or bars and take it kind of easy. We hit up our new Spanish friends to see what they were up to for the evening, and they told us to come over to Pablo’s house to chill for the evening. We arrived at Pablos place and it was incredible. He lived at his parent’s house, that was basically the penthouse suite located at the top of this large apartment complex, with a huge terrace overlooking the city below. The inside of the house and the decoration overall was amazing. It felt like we had just been transported to a museum with what seemed like hundreds of oil paintings all around, and was definitely one of the nicer apartments I’ve ever seen.

At Pablo’s Apartment!

Pablo was extremely hospitable, and we even were able to cut off slices of Ham from a Giant Ham leg, which was interesting as well. We all hung out for a while, randomly played some call of duty and then headed back to Calle Virgen de la Victoria to call it a night.

Pablo De Olavide

The next morning was our first day of classes at Pablo de Olavide. I completely re-did my schedule what felt like 10 times, and after adding 3 courses and dropping 4, I finally came up with a schedule I was happy with.

Original Schedule – Looks totally different now

We all are only taking classes 2 days a week, which makes for an incredible 4 day weekend, and 5 days off total during the week, with classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. The four classes I am taking are Intermediate Spanish 1, Spanish Civilization and Culture, International Marketing, and something like the history of Film in Spain, which is taught completely in Spanish for 3 hours once a week on Wednesdays, while all of the other classes are on both Mondays and Wednesdays. Classes and UPO in general have reminded me very much of High School, as it is a much smaller campus, and the class sizes are very limited with approx. 20 students in each, and you have to attend courses. I think we have all been pleasantly surprised with the teaching quality in Spain so far, and I believe some of my professors are better than those I’ve had back home at Maryland.

Professors and stuff

My Spanish civilization and culture teacher is awesome, and one of the most expressive human beings I’ve ever met. The first day we were struggling not to laugh, as he uses his hands a ridiculous amount when he speaks English with his unusual accent, and moves his body in such a loose way while flailing his arms you’d think he’s had 10 glasses of some fine Spanish wine before teaching. Although we couldn’t take him seriously at first, I’ve found his unique personality and teaching style somewhat captivating, and found myself paying attention in class for almost all of the 1 hour 20 minutes which is more than I can say for most of the Business School professors at UMD.

My International Marketing teacher, Nano (like the ipod) is quite a character as well, and had the whole class laughing the entire first lecture with his funny stories from years past. He openly told us his favorite English word was “shit” and sprinkled in amusing and timely curse words throughout lectures. He seemed to be very intrigued when I mentioned that I was from India, as he had just returned from a month long trip there in January just like I had. He was so intrigued he actually assigned me to the India project for our group presentation, and regularly refers to India during lectures. My favorite story he mentioned was about a student who went to “use the bathroom” during one of his classes. Apparently the student left class, and then went to the courtyard outside to make a phone call. He had called his drug dealer, and was arranging to buy some drugs and since the windows were open, the entire class including Nano was listening. The student came back inside, and Nano told him that he was an idiot and that the entire class heard what he was doing. The scared student asked “Are you going to tell on me?” and Nano said “No, because that was the funniest shit I ever heard” haha so that should give you an idea of what type of professor he is.

I’m also taking a 3 hour film class, which takes place every Wednesday night. The course is taught completely in Spanish, and I decided it could be interesting as I figured we would be watching movies. The first lecture I attended, the professor literally lectured for 3 hours straight in super fast Spanish and I understood about 60% of what was going on…should be an interesting course for sure haha. I’m hoping that watching movies in Spanish once a week and reading the subtitles will help expand my vocabulary and more importantly my comprehension when speaking to Spaniards. I also like my Intermediate Spanish professor a lot, and am hoping that course will also improve my speaking abilities in Spanish.

Still can’t quite believe that we all managed to pull off classes 2 days a week, but I’m not complaining. I happen to have all my classes with Hirsh, and 2 classes with Ollie. During our breaks, we hang out at the cafeteria or play Frisbee in the courtyards and get all sorts of looks as I don’t believe many Spaniards play Frisbee. All in all, I would say everyone is really satisfied with our professors and experience at UPO so far.

That night, we came home at around 7:30 after an incredibly long day of classes, which began at 10:30am. We walked in to the best dinner night of the week, Fajita Night! We have fajita night every Wednesday, and Mama Rosa hooks it up with the dankest fajitas in town that include Rice, peppers, sriracha, Chicken, tortillas, guacamole and so much more. After our rejuvenating meal, we headed to the local sports bar to watch the soccer match. There are two local teams: Sevilla FC and Real Betis that both have loyal followings in the city. This evening Sevilla was playing Real Madrid, and the bar had a nice crowd watching the game.

We all had a pint or two of Mahou beer, and watched the intense match unfold. Sevilla ended up losing 2-0 in a close match, and we along with the disappointed legions of fans headed home for the evening.

The next day, we didn’t have classes so woke up at lunchtime and decided to go to this sweet park afterwards to play some Frisbee. There was this awesome random giant, pyramid like rope structure that you could climb. Since there were 4 sides, we all picked a side, and had a couple epic races to the top, which was a blast. That evening when we came back home, we put on some jamming tunes in our room and Mike, Katie, Nikita and I all started doing random dances. Nikita apparently can belly dance, and thought it would be a good idea to teach all of us how to do so. I would have killed to have a video of 6’ 5 Mike trying to drop his hips. Mama Rosa walked in on us looking real goofy trying to dance, and responded with one of her typical and unforgettables “Que Fuerte!” The best part was after she said that, I turned on some salsa music and she started dancing with us for a good 15 minutes which was quite a memorable experience. Gotta love Mama Rosa!

Hope everyone is doing well back home, and i’ll update the blog with all our other adventures soon!