Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Trip I Will Never Forget


Last week I got the opportunity of a lifetime to step into a new continent. When I heard about the opportunity I pounced at it like a tiger. I got the opportunity to go to Morocco for a whole week.

Lets start by talking about the way there. I was in a bus ride for about 20 hours until we finally made it to Fez. It was so tiring but when we finally made it to Fez it had all been worth it. My trip to Morocco was truly an eye opening experience. I learned that Arabs are really pushy businessmen, I learned that a lot of the population speaks Arabic, Spanish, and English, and I learned that Morocco was the first country to recognize the USA as a country in 1777.

The first day we got there the program took us to a place where you can buy hand-made Moroccan carpet. When we got there, we got free mint tea which was delicious and we got a demonstration of their popular carpets. After that, they pulled a classic business move, they split the group apart so that we wouldn't have a lot of bargain power. Carpets were extremely over priced, they ranged from 200 Euro to 150,000 Euro (without negotiation).

As soon as you asked, "How much is this?" they were on your case and walking you towards the register. A lot of people got ripped off that day. Some of my peers bought carpets costing more than 3,000 Euro in some cases. After the carpet place I could tell that a lot of my peers were suffering from cognitive dissonance (regret of the purchase). I was lucky enough to detach my emotions and business while a lot of my friends made purchases just because the seller looked like he needed the money, gave them a really nice story, etc. I like to think I knew better OR maybe it's just because I didn't have the money to buy something that expensive anyway. Ha!

Knowing that I didn't create a budget to buy a carpet, I decided to just play around with the businessmen and see how much I could bring prices down; I looked at it as practice for my negotiation skills. It was really hard negotiating down carpets especially because they had a lot of demand of people that were willing to buy without negotiating and all because they felt bad (even though some of the carpets had a 5000% markup). I did however manage to bring down a rug all the way down to 60 Euro from an initial 350 Euro and all thanks to my professor Michael Sudoo at DU for teaching me how to negotiate.

The carpet businessmen were in Fez by the way.

After the carpet buying frenzy, we went to the Sahara Desert for two nights. We slept in Haymas (tents) and yes it was really hot by day and freezing by nighttime. Being in the desert for two days was definitely an eye opening experience for me. I admire how people actually manage to live there in the burning weather and isolation and still remain happy. Nighttime in the desert was beautiful and peaceful, I had never seen so many stars before. The desert, however, did have some setbacks that might've ruined the time of many of my peers. A lot of my peers got sick either by drinking tap water or by eating certain foods--and lets just say that they spent a lot of time in the bathroom. Luckily, I didn't get sick =).

Meet Jerry
My favorite part of this adventure was that we got to ride camels in the Sahara. It was great crossing it out of my bucket-list. Although it was really fun, it was also painful especially for guys. The day we got to ride camels I immediately went and picked my camel and named him Jerry, he was an angry and lazy camel. When it came time to walk it wouldn't want to get up and walk haha aside from that my camel was really cool.

When the trip came to an end I was honestly pretty happy to return to Madrid and take a hot shower. We didn't shower for 2-3 days in the desert by the way so everyone was feeling a little down. We arrived in Madrid around 7AM and immediately me and my roommate raced to the shower. After the shower I took a great cozy nap and then woke up finished some homework and went to the gym. The trip was worth it and I am happy I got to experience Morocco. =D
Life is Good

Scott, Me, Juan (Left to Right)

On the Ferry headed to Morocco

Friday, November 8, 2013

Barcelona, Cataluña


Last week, I went to Barcelona with my roommate and two new friends. Micah and Jordana, they were a blast! We took the Renfe/Ave (train) there and got there in less than 3 hours, we had our own table with four seats for a great price. We went on the weekend that Real Madrid played Barcelona which is the biggest rivalry in soccer. Unfortunately, out budgets didn't allow us to go to the game, the ticket prices were ridiculous--Nose bleed seats starting at 400 Euro. We decided to go to a bar/restaurant near the stadium and watch the game there. The ambiance was great and you could hear people chanting from the stadium which made it feel like we were there, except in the exclusive box office seats (haha). 

Aside from the game, we also went to the beach and relaxed for a while. The beach was really cool because I got to see people surf waves for the first time. 

We also took a free walking tour and got to see a lot of cool art and architecture. Overall, this trip was really  fun!

Pablo Picasso's only public art

Cool Street art with Ronald McDonald

La Sagrada Familia 

La Sagrada Familia Plaque

Barca Fans really DISLIKE Real Madrid

Barcelona near a huge church

Beach with sailboats 

Haha My roommate was tired. (Roommate Guillermo-->Left and Micah-->Right)

Model status. My roommate captured this picture and I didn't even mean to pose. 

London, Great Britain

London We Meet Again!

Near the Thames River and Big Ben =)

Last weekend my roommate, my friend Crystal, and I decided to take an adventure and travel to London. London was great and full of fish and chips and beautiful European cars. I was in London about 10 months ago and I got the opportunity to go back to this beautiful city last week. Since I had already been in London and done all of the "touristy" things, I decided to do my own thing and go and explore one of my true loves--yes you guessed it, I went scoping for beautiful European cars. Initially, I did some research and found out that I didn't live too far from an affluent neighborhood so I decided to kick rocks (walk to it). When I got there all I smelled was money with a hint of fish and chips, it was the perfect combination. 

I was amazed of how affluent this neighborhood was and it all evolved around a famous mall called Harrods and other name brand stores like: Gucci, Prada, D&G, and other really OVERPRICED stores. The first 15 minutes I was there I saw more exotic cars than I have seen in Colorado in a year. I saw and heard revving engines everywhere. From Bentley's to Bugatti's I saw them all one by one. 

I literally spent around 4 hours walking around and looking for cars in this neighborhood. I said to myself, "I am not leaving until I see at least a Lamborghini Aventador and a Bugatti" and sure enough I ended up seeing them within the four hours. When I first saw the Lamborghini I was in disbelief and amazement that I just saw around $700k driving around. The Lamborghini has been my favorite car since I was 7 and I got to see and hear the beautiful engine of this beast for the first time in person! 

About an hour later I saw more than $2 million dollars driving around. I saw a black on black Bugatti Veyron! This car was unbelievable, it literally sounded like a gulf stream jet roaming the streets and I was extremely happy. And guess what! I was lucky enough to record it before it flew away. Check out the video below and you'll see what I mean. =)


Gray Bentley SuperSports

 The owner of this Bentley saw me take this picture and he waved at me. Nice guy!
Matte Gray/Black Nissan GTR looking good
Velvet Ferrari California being felt by a blonde
 This is a Ferrari California with a velvet exterior. I actually saw this same car on YouTube when I was watching car videos with my brother. I was happy when I saw this car, I've never encounter a velvet car which was a little strange.

Red Ferrari 458 Italia looking beautiful
This is a Rolls Royce Ghost, a picture that I will never forget. This was one of the first beautiful cars that I saw in London so I followed it for a little and it came to a stop. Once I caught up to the Ghost I started capturing pictures and after a few snapshots the owner came out of the car and fueled me with inspiration. When he first got out of the car I thought he was going to be mad at me and make me delete the pictures but instead he told me, "take as many pictures and video clips as you want, this is a free country". After sharing my dreams and where I come from with him, he told me that I have a good head on my shoulders and then, he told me, "Make sure you continue exploring the world, and working hard and one day you will have a car better than this!". I was speechless and fueled. He later drove off and I continued walking looking for cars for about another hour or two thinking of what he told me. Then just before I made my last cycle around the neighborhood I heard a honk and saw him waving goodbye to me. I then left really pumped back to my hostel.