Next time you're heading to Spain, pack In the Garlic next to your guidebook (or you can pick it up when you get there). I wished I had read the book at the beginning of my trip, as it would have explained so much of my confusion about Spanish culture, for example:
When I walk by people on the street in a small town and I say "hola", why are they saying "adios"?
We say hello, and they say goodbye. We're used to this now, but it remained weird for a long time. When walking down the street it's only natural to greet someone you know with "Hola". The Spanish, however, get right to the point and dispatch you with an "Adios".
The American film I'm going to see isn't dubbed, is it?
You are never going to persuade the Spanish--highbrow minority excepted--that subtitles have much going for them. In an effort to cut out the morally objectionalble, promote all things Spanish AND make cinema accessible to all (with high illeteracy rates many people just couldn't read subtitles), a sizeable and respectable dubbing industry grew up during Franco's rule. As far as most Spaniards are concerned, the voice they hear IS Clint Eastwood, it IS Sean Connery...
Written by two British expats who have made a life for themselves in Spain, In the Garlic is a hilarious and enlightening window into Spanish culture from an outside perspective.