19 December 2007

Home Improvement

Is that Tim Allen? No, it's me doing battle with my doors. Please watch the video and help me solve my technical difficulties! You can vote about what I should do with the poll on the right or help me with comments below. Also, watch the newly dugg videos by going to my YouTube site: http://www.youtube.com/scottfromsouthdakota. While you're there, subscribe to my video blog or sign up to be my friend!

16 December 2007

Christmas on the Beach

We're in the spirit at Crucero Baleares 4 today, busting out decorations and the Sufjan Stevens Christmas albums. It's been a bit strange decorating for Christmas while looking at the beach, but it's almost cold enough here to think about Christmas. You can see our lovely decorations set to the back drop of the beach! One of these things is not like the other...

Speaking of trees, we were weren't we...well, anyways, I visited Santoña which is a lovely little town directly across from my house. It at the bottom of the mountain I see out my window across the water. They have a great walkway in the middle of town with the trees you see all over Cantabria. The reason why I think they are so cool is that they actually grow towards one another. So you can see the tops of the trees have grown into one tree making almost a canopy above the walkway. Let's see a Christmas tree do that!

14 December 2007

Listen, you can hear Christmas

Christmas time is here in Laredo, and in case you were forgetting it, the city of Laredo has not only installed an impressive number of street Christmas lights, but also speakers on each corner of the main park as well as on random streets through the city. These speakers blast choral Christmas music...but it's not a recording of a famous choral group...instead it sounds more like someone recording hymnal singing at a church service on their mobile phone. The sound balance is always ridiculously awful with really loud organ noises or one voice louder than everything else. But these noises remind us of the coming holiday and of sitting in the pew as a kid covering one ear and then the other in order to hear the changing noises made by the Lutheran hymnal singing.

In other news...inquisitive minds want to know, and here it is! My bar. Well, actually a café. Cafeteria Berna. It's actually not in the old town, but right next to the casa de cultural (cultural house) in Laredo (the closest one because there are two bars right next to each other). Check it out. Included are directions both from space and within Laredo at the bottom of the post. Zoom in on the pointer marked A.

Off this afternoon to the nearby village of Santoña for the first time and this evening contemplating a trip to Santander for ultimate and meeting up with friends. We'll see where the strong wind off the Cantabric sea takes me.

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12 December 2007


After dropping by the US for a surprise visit, I made a swing through Mexico to see Elisa! We had a great time with amazing weather and picture perfect surroundings. We had a lot of crazy adventures, finding the strangest hostel I have ever seen, but eventually we trudged our way through the Yucantan, enjoying Mayan ruins, great food, and a small taste of Yucantan life. Despite occasional illness along the way (I thought Moctezuma lived and revenged, new verb, around Mexico, DF?), we had a great trip together and managed to take some beautiful photos which happen to go perfectly with a little James Taylor.

I have a bar

I have now taken the most important step of the living abroad, and language learning, process...having a bar! I know that I now have my favorite bar after a great evening last night.

I had my Spanish class and was a bit frustrated with my teacher who never quite takes the time to listen to the entirety of my questions (because she's usually too busy looking at her watch waiting for me and the Brazilian in my class to stop asking questions...only two of us in the free class), so I decided that I should watch a little UEFA cup football (soccer) and try to practice my Spanish with the bartender and people in the bar to learn the real Spanish. I had visited the bar numerous times and already knew the bartender, his wife who cooks, and his son who is there in the mornings shyly trying to practice his English. But last night I took the final step by meeting the regulars and getting a TON of free drinks and food.

I love the bar because it is close to my house and because it is the only place I've found in Laredo where you get tapas, a free snack that accompanies a beer. It's great! Last night I ordered one beer, then received, chips, then a tortilla sandwich. At that point I was feeling guilty for eating so much with only beer so I ordered one more, upon which I received manchego cheese and two sandwiches with chorizo. When I went up to pay after the game (real madrid won 3-1 one, unlike Rosenborg :( and I started talking with a guy at the bar who works for the local government. He had traveled a bit and was interested in language and international issues so we talked health care, learning language, the similarities between Spain and the US and the differences. While we were talking the bartender came and joined the conversation and poured a beer saying "es gratis." So a free beer while shooting the shit...and the shit continued to be shot so another free beer came my way. Then when the bar was finally closing, I went to pay and he said, you're only paying for one, so after 3 hours, four or five tapas, and four beers, I spent 1.60 euros. Gotta love Spain! So I'm feeling a bit more at home and have at least one place where people know me...even if it is where I am known as "el americano" that teaches English. At least here, I'm the only one americano so I can construct my own definition of el americano. At least that's my goal over the next five months!

...but it's worth noting that I discovered a blog of an American living in Colindres where I work! Great photos and stories from Spain, plus his last name is Rasmussen so maybe we're related! Check it out!

10 December 2007


And what a surprising week it's been. The relative silence here on the blog is not due to lack of activity, but rather lack of connection as I have been hoping across the Atlantic. I made the first leg of my journey from the pueblo of Laredo, Spain to the pueblo of Decorah, Iowa to surprise my family by showing up at the Christmas at Luther concert where my brothers were singing. And it worked! Thanks to the help of my sister, brother-in-law, and good friend Paul, I was able to make it in time for the show and the festivities. It was a huge surprise that left my brother with a large vein running down his forehead while his jaw dropped in a mix of smiling and shock. We all had a great weekend surviving a blizzard by chatting, going out to eat, and beginning to catch-up in lieu of the Christmas break that will soon be here.

And thanks also to Paul, the surprise for my parents was caught on tape! Check out the travel experience and the "stealthily-ness" of my weekend in Decorah in this video.

05 December 2007


Hola de Mexico! Yes, the posts have been few and far between because I have embarked on a new program called, not being with my computer for one week. To achieve this goal, I thought the only possibility was to travel...so I took a surprise trip to the US to visit my family. A great surprise! (video coming soon). Then I hopped down south to visit Elisa in Mexico. It's really amazing...hot, beautiful, and slightly crowded. More in the future. Ciao de Mexico.