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On nearly every street corner along the Alcala corridor, salespeople try to get a half-sheet of paper in your hand. They’re usually in a blurry monochromatic green or red ink, and the tours are all affordable surveys of three to five places at a time in a crowded van or luxury bus.

I’m no tour guide, but I’ve seen all of these places and in more intimate detail. And, while they are affordable, I know how to go for cheap and more immersed in the language and customs I’m here to learn.

I don’t pretend that I’m not a tourist. I don’t suggest my way is better, but it’s better for me. And, if you want to try it out, I can usually tell you where you need to catch the bus to start out.

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