The better part of this past week I spent in Madrid. It was quite nice to be back in a big city although by the second day or so, I was ready to return to my small town. When I first got my plaza, teaching placement, I was kind of disappointed that I didn't get Madrid. Now, I am so happy that I didn't. I realize that I would never learn Spanish and I would be even more disappointed if I spent a year in Spain and only walked away with the few measly words that I currently know.
Aside from that, Madrid is n-i-c-e. I tell people that it's cleaner than Miami, and I stand by that. They always have people out cleaning the street. The street cleaning brigade is hard to miss since they sport bright neon yellow/green vests and walk around with dustbins and brooms in hand. Also, there are trash receptacles everywhere so there is no reason to litter. You only have to look up to see billboards asking people to reduce their usage of plastic bags or electricity or what have you. Even the hotels where I've stayed seemed to be in to promoting environmental causes. In order to turn on the light, you had to place your room card into a socket of sorts. Thus, because you needed your card to turn and keep on the lights, chances are you wouldn't leave the lights on when you weren't in the room because that would have meant that you would have locked yourself out.
Heh, I got lost in my train of thought. Anyone who knows me knows that I favor comfort over fashion so that usually means a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops. But since I didn't want to stick out, I tried to find out what the Spaniards wore. Fortunately, I found that I could get a way with jeans, a t-shirt, and decent kicks (boat shoes in my case, but Converses would have sufficed).
Anyway, Madrid was nice. I went to the Palacio Real with my roommates for the weekend. We ended the night by going to Huerta which is a street full of bars and other species of night life. It was pretty cool. I got to hear flamenco music and such. On Friday, I changed lodging to a nice hostel right in the city center. I think Puerta del Sol was about 7 minutes away walking. I met up with a friend from high school and she took me around to her father's place. He lives in a pretty swanky apartment right across from El parque del Retiro. We ended the night by going to some mall right on the city limits (unfortunately I can't remember its name) and ordered tapas. I had goat and cow cheese, sardines in vinegar, patatas bravas, croquetas, grilled vegetables, and sangria. It was good. And then I went back home and "fell asleep."
Actually I tossed and turned all night. I feel bad for the kid in the bed next to me because he seemed like a light sleeper. I wasn't expecting a Madrid night to be so chilly and it wasn't until 7 o'clock in the morning that I realized that the blanket in the cupboard was for me. There was a moment when I realized that the guy to my left and the girl to my right had the same style blanket and their blankets were the same as the one in the closet. Silly.
By Saturday, I was ready to leave. Taking the metro to the bus stop was ridiculously easy and it was smooth sailing after that. Hopefully I'll know my way around Madrid a bit better by the time my sisters come.
Good times. Next post: pix.