Dear Mom and Dad and Angela and the Creightons,
Congratulations! You made it onto my daily list. That means if I write an email to my parents, you all get it, everytime. That also means youīre going to be reading a lot of junk, like what I had for breakfast. I think the better stuff will be in the weekly emails.
Iīm at the train station in Madrid waiting for Jenny (friend from NZ) to arrive from wherever she was. My first flight was delayed in SFO for two hours due to too much fuel in the tank. I think the pilot was new or something because he sounded stupid.
That flight was delayed too, so I didnīt miss it. Okay, nothing happened on either of my flights or in the airport or getting a hotel. I just arrived. Thatīs it.
First impressions of Madrid: itīs such a European city. Itīs cool. You know youīre not in the USA with all the big buildings (only 4 or 5 stories though).
Okay, really. Nothing has happened. Please do not forward this message to anybody.
Dear Mom and Dad,
Okay, so another daily email. (Donīt forward) I donīt have enough time for a good email because I really have to use the bathroom. A problem with Europe is the lack of toilet facilities. I have to always be aware of where the McDonalds are. In Asia and S. America itīs often pretty easy to just piss around a corner, but thatīs no good in Spain. Man, talking about it doesnīt make it any easier to hold it.
Iīm in Spain with my friend Jenny. In Cordoba now. Madrid was a few museums
Wednesday, February 13, 2002 11:45 AM
Okay, so much better. Another thing different, along the same topic. In S. America, the internet cafes all have bathrooms. Thatīs one of the big reasons I used them so much. But here, I had to run next door to a bar restaurant, pretend to look at their selection of alcohol, slip off to the baņos, come back and have a look at the menu, hmmm, trying to decide, putting it down, shrugging my shoulders to the bartender and walking away.
But it was worth it.
I have a numbering system for my emails now. The first is how many monthly emails Iīve written, then weekly, then daily. This still counts as the second, a continuation of a few minutes ago.
In Madrid Jenny and I went to a few museums--didnīt learn anything, and celebrated Carnaval Spainish style. They had bands in the big central plaza, and a parade one night through the streets, but no dancing or revelry. It wasnīt a colorful local festival or anything.
Yesterday and today in Cordoba we saw the old mosque which had a cathedral built in the center of it, preserving the infinity of columns and arches of the mosque as much as possible. Some ruins of an old Moorish medina in the outskirts of Cordoba (did some hitchhiking for a few kilometers each way). Another abandoned synagogue. And more narrow, winding streets.
Tomorrow I will go to Granada to see the Alhambra, and then Morocco on the 15th.
Dear Friends and Family,
I have been in Spain for a week traveling with my friend Jenny (a New Zealander I met in San Diego). Today was Granada, before that was Cordoba, Toledo, and Madrid. I donīt know if Iīve done anything very interesting in Spain. I saw the Alhambra today. Itīs an old Moorish palace, taken over by the Christian Spainiards in 1492 when the last Arab was kicked out of Spain and Western Europe. The Alhambra was beautiful, with well-kept gardens and intricate archways; but Iīm sure I will see much more of that starting tomorrow in Morocco.
The rest of the stuff in Spain was like museums and some winding cobblestone streets. Iīve done all that already. It was okay, but this trip is about Africa (for six months minus this week).
I told you about sleeping in the freezing, wet tent at Duke (in North Carolina). Well, after Duke I visited the University of Washington (in Seattle). They were so nice. I met and talked with 17 grad students and 9 professors. UW made a very good impression, and to top it off, they just offered me some fellowship (so Iīll get the same funding but without having to be a teaching assistant or maybe a research assistant), and then another fellowship which gives me an extra $3000 for the first year.
After Washington I visited Stanford. Boy was I disappointed. Professors seemed to ignore the grad students, and every grad student hated his life. Nobody was very happy. Iīd like to get accepted by Stanford, but Iīd never go there.
Then I went to UC Berkeley (where I went as an undergrad). They were very nice, impressed me. I thought the atmosphere might be similar to Stanford, but no way. Professors were friendly. Students still didnīt have lives outside of statistics, but they werenīt jaded or suicidal. Still, Iīve already done Berkeley for four years and I want to try something new.
So my two choices for where I will study and work for the next four to five years is Duke and Washington. I think I will choose Duke, though Iīll try to get more money out of them if I can.
This is a monthly email, butīs itīs also sort of an introduction to my travels, and a recap of past stuff. My next monthly email will be jam-packed with exciting African adventures.
This is also my first weekly email. Most of you are on the weekly list. Iīll try to make them interesting.
I have created a third list, my daily list. Everytime I find an internet cafe Iīll write a daily email. If you want to be on it, let me know. But be warned, you might be hearing too much about what I had for breakfast.
West Africa I:
M email ,
West Africa II: M email , D&W , Photos
Ethiopia: Both M&W emails , Photos
East Africa: M email , D&W , Photos
5th Month: M email , D&W , Photos
South Africa: M email , D&W , Photos