Ah, Espana. You saucy, strange, porcine laden country. Humid with sun and cigarette smoke, Spain is filled with boys with mullets and sweat bands, girls with rilo kiley bangs and shaggy boots, old ladies who look like they are on vacay from a convent, school children wandering in packs like plaid covered sheep, old men gathering over tapas y cervezas, brandy, almond encrusted pastries, Arab arches, cool sneakers, palm trees, red wine, Velasquez, and lots of other things. Madrid, the capital city, the 18th century city with starbucks on every corner, is a large and twisty city with plazas everywhere you look and people of all types and sizes rooming it's streets. And now, I'm one of them.
I've been in Madrid for three and half days now, which has given me time to visit the Prado, to walk around Plaza Mayor and much of the rest of the city, to take the obligatory trip to el Corte Ingles (a giant department store native to Spain with SO MANY LEVELS) and in general check the struggle out all over this city. Not only do fanny packs ABOUND (why? why? I just, I don't, I can't...I mean my DAD has one but I just...no), but additionally there are street performers, nuns (who are maybe street performers? I couldn't say) and hilarious struggles at every turn. For example, last night I saw a woman at a bar order a lemon Fanta and beer. Several days in a row have gone by with me seeing amazing and unaccountable public displays of affection, really to the point of, oh, my, did I just see a baby made in front of me? And, honestly, spending an afternoon at the Prado Museum means just a delightful few hours of German tourists standing in your eyeline like it's their job. Really? You need to see this El Greco THIS badly? More to the point, you need me to NOT see El Greco this badly? What did I ever do to you?
All of this time spent solitary may be getting to me. In an effort to connect with other sentient beings I've been feeding birds during my lunch times. You see, the weather here in Madrid has been frankly lovely, warm, sunny, dry, holiday weather if I've ever seen it. So I've eaten almost every meal (alone) outside, with only aves for company (that's Spanish for Bird. See how this is a learning experience?) On the other hand, though, it makes having wine at lunch seem much more acceptable (hi, Jon!), because my friends, the birds, don't have room in their heads to be judgmental. Thank god for tiny animal brains.
Wandering through various museums and national tourist sites, I couldn't help but wonder, what are other people my age doing at this point in time? Why, they are going out, of course, and given that this is Spain, they are sleeping until 2pm. pregaming at 10pm and heading towards their first club at 1am. Right, just about at the point when I have been in bed for at least an hour. Lovely.
I probably should enjoy European techno music and overpriced drinks with a 10 Euro cover while dancing throuhg a cloud of stale smoke and bad cologne more. Yeah. Let's leave that sort of thing for future-Leah, shall we?
My Spanish classes start on Monday. Thank goodness they do, because judging this hard takes a toll, it really does. Trust me.
Leah Franqui is a fairly interesting person/director/writer/reader/eater/drinker. She likes ugly dogs and dislikes her hair in the morning. She's a sucker for environmental causes and plays hardball with deals on chewing gum. She is a struggle.