This post is by Tyler Wiley, a Communication Arts Major at Santa Clara University. During the Fall 2013 semester she is participating in the CIEE Communication, New Media and Journalism program.
The one day I didn’t check the weather before heading
out to my 9 AM class, and of course I decided that the ominous gray clouds
hanging over the city were harmless since I hadn’t seen rain in months… False.
In my shorts and sandals I made my way to the CIEE building for my "clase
de periodismo". It was pouring, the rain accompanied by thunder and
lightning, and lake- size puddles were forming in the streets by the time I
made it to refuge.
Of course this was the day scheduled for our first
excursion. A trip to experience and record a taste of authentic Sevillan life.
Our passionate professor (Eduardo del Campo, a reporter at the newspaper El
Mundo), explained that if by 15 minutes past 9 the rain hadn’t let up, we would
surrender to the weather and reschedule… but a true journalist doesn’t give in to
unfavorable conditions, or there would never be an article worth reading.
Like clock-work, the heavy rain gave way to a light
drizzle just in time for s to start our trip to la Calle Feria, just around the
corner from Las Setas. We slowly proceeded in that direction, with Eduardo
stopping us at every interesting intersection or shop, explaining that he was
training our eyes and our minds to seek a story in everything we saw. A
journalist gives value and importance to every detail. In English, it’s a bit
easier, but I love writing for exactly this reason. The freedom you have to
create whatever image and emotion through words is always amazing to me.
Languages are alive, always changing…
Anyhow, we stopped outside of a fast-food station. A
room filled with windowed machines that pop out whatever numbered meal you
punch into the side buttons. Nothing looked appetizing, and we were told it was
a great late-night stop for intoxicated teens and often a bedroom for the homeless.
On a more attractive note, the little shop that was a tailoring-carpentry combo
around the corner seemed so poetic and had the most interesting contents. You
could tell it was filled with hidden treasures, and that every object had its
own unique history. The more I open my eyes to the city, the more I see, the
more I love. I spotted so many stands, shops and cafés I cannot wait to go
back and visit.
Our destination was the Mercado del Jueves on Calle Feria (named fittingly because it is an
outdoor flea market open only on Thursdays). My senses were overwhelmed trying
to take everything in. It was like nothing I had experienced before…
The first shops we passed were a bit pitiful. Merely a
couple soggy blankets laid out with miss-matched nick-nacks that looked like
they belonged on The Island of Misfit Toys; a broken radio, a dirty rubber
minion that probably used to be a great bathtub toy, some scarfs and knitted
beanies, and a couple damp fans. The “venders” sat at a distance. They looked
tired and discouraged even though it was just past 9:30 in the morning. I felt
a small pang of sadness mixed with guilt, but was quickly distracted by a
beautifully displayed collection of semi-precious stones and charms.
When I finally pulled myself away and turned to the
station set up kitty-corner to me, I spotted some cool vintage pants and
button-ups hanging from a small clothes line. A mother knelt bellow holding her
daughter at her hip, captivated by a miniature pair of white frilly shoes. They
were perfect, preserved from the rain by a thin, air-tight plastic casing. I
watched intently as an older man slowly mozied over and thoughtfully evaluated
the clothes on the line.
One family was selling old CDs, VCRs, DVDs, and even a
few books. Next to them a man with an endearing salt-and-pepper beard was
gingerly laying out detailed wood carvings. I wanted to buy a piece just for
the beauty of what care and pride had been put into making it. I felt like I
was developing ADHD. I was so excited and there was so much to see, and it was
I turned to my immediate left and saw a collection of
antique film cameras, each with its own custom leather case. I hovered around
the table for a while, until the lingering drops of water from the branches
above us got annoying… I walked with Savannah to the end of the street market,
just half a block further, and we headed back to catch everything we’d missed.
Of course, I found the only thrift shop on the street
and had to go
in. A beautiful eclectic Spanish girl greeted us with a big smile and a
“buenas.” I was in heaven. Cheesy t-shirts, neon jackets,
so many flannels, some creepy statues, and most importantly, a photograph of
Audrey Hepburn that I may go back for. It was a sign.
It was a successful outing. Libby got one of those
cameras, Kari got an awesome stamp collection booklet, and Claire got a creepy
smiley sun statue! As I walked back towards home after our class met up and was
excused the pavement was glistening and had that fresh post-rain smell. It was
a bit muggy, but other than the inescapable heat, I have nothing to complain
about. It was a great start to another amazing day in Spain.