Sunday, August 06, 2006

Students Again

Monday morning, we were due at the school at 8am. They do a Sorting Hat thing to decide who's intermediate and who's advanced. Beginners can usually sort themselves out, but we had to wait till midday to see what class we were in and get our timetable.

We had a hell of a time getting to the school. We knew it was in the Galileo Galilei Building on the campus of Universidad Politecnico, and we knew that there was a Metro station called U Politecnico. So we tried to get to that, but we had to change Metro lines and we messed it up. We started walking, but time was running out so we took a taxi. This proved to be a wise move as the campus is gigantic, and actually has four Metro stations that serve it!

We arrived at 0815 and were a bit confused that all the signs were for Don Quijote. We had booked through Estudio Hispanico - we'd seen Don Quijote, but EH were somewhat cheaper. However, it turned out the EH are merely agents for DQ. We were given an introductory chat and a tour of the campus while the timetables were being sorted out. Finally (at about 1230) we learned that we were in the afternoon session, and our first class would start at 1pm.
Our first teacher was a young lady named Maria-José, and she just started talking at us in Spanish. We all introduced ourselves, in Spanish that we just learned a few minutes earlier (yo soy Keefieboy - ka-eh-eh-effeh-ee-bay-o-y grecia). In our group of eight there are two English, one Welsh, one Indonesian, two Germans, an Italian and a Luxemburger. Six are girls, two are boy. Four are left-handed!

We belted through a whole load of stuff, had a half-hour break, and then we met our other Profesor, Llorenç (pronounced Jorence). This is where we discover that that the school operates on the good-cop, bad-cop principle. With a twist. Maria-José looks and sounds cute, but does the hard grammar, gives us lots of homework and expects us to do it. Llorenç looks and sounds a bit dodgy, but tells us all about the rude stuff, gets sidetracked into lots of conversational cul-de-sacs and is generally a good laugh.

Our first day ends with a welcome party. We have to assemble at the school, and then we walk to a bar. BetterArf and I were quite happy because we had just discovered that instead of spending € 1.20 apiece for each trip, we could get a multi-use ticket that is good for 10 trips and costs € 5.60. Yeeha!

The venue for the party is called El (la?) Amsteleria. I don't know if it is owned by Amstel, but you can't get a Carlsberg or a Cruzcampo or an Estrella Dam there. They have a bunch of tables equipped with metered pumps, so you don't have to go to the bar: you do it yourself and pay at the end. Beer, sangria and Agua de Valencia was all free for the first couple of hours. Near the end I wanted a bit more beer and was more than pleasantly surprised to be charged only € 2 for half a liter - regular bars would charge about 5. The joys of studenthood!

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