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Hola from Madrid!

Posted by Sa Wat Dema in Greek Island Adventure 2005
July 31st, 2005

Hey everybody. First there were three, then just two, and now but one. Dema the Greek will be the last of our intrepid explorers to return stateside, but I think we have all had a great time. As far as Spain is concerned, it keeps getting better, especially once I made it to Madrid. It kind of grows on you like a fungus, well at least a fungus that is filled with bars that serve vermouth on tap and tinto de verano con limon (red wine with lemon soda, like Sangria), guys with mullets, girls with crazy layered hairstyles, crazy art museums, tapas everywhere most of which contain anchovees, jamon iberico (the famous Spaish ham that is illegal in the US because it doesn´t follow E.U. preparation safety standards but which is the best thing ever), siesta, and lots of crunkness. First of all, a few words on Barcelona. It was not nearly as bad as Derek made it out to be, and I should know because I ended up spedning an extra day there (mostly due to the fact that I had been drinking all day before I was originally supposed to get on my train). It is a very artsy place filled with little bars, cafes and coffee shops everywhere, along with the appropriate funky types of people with lip piercing and such. Innovation and originality is almost palpable in the air (as is a nearly constant smell of urine), and it is easy to see why way-out artists like Picasso and Guadi were able to make it there. The downside to this open attitude is that there are vagrants, drunks, and homeless people literally everywhere. The police don´t do anything because these people don´t really bother anybody (except by adding to the urine smell). Anyway, although we could have stayed there a day or two less, it was still a fine place (altough no Greek island however). Also, it must have been fate that I stayed an extra day because I just happened to run into our firend Ewin, the profressional photographer that was on our sailboat in Greece! I don´t know how it happened, but nealy a month, 4 countries, and hundreds of miles after our trip, we happened to meet again. I ended up coming to Madrid on the train right after him.
My train to Madrid was two hours later than I wanted and ended up breaking down on the way. We had to wait for another train at this small town called Juneda in the middle of god knows where. In Madrid, I am staying at this hostel that was a former buddhist monastery. It is pretty cool. I have been living on jamon iberico and found this restaurant called literally the “museum of ham” where you can get quick sandwhiches of this ambrosia for under 2 euros. I have also been enjoying the churros with chocolate (it is literally a cup of melted chocolate that you drink = amazing). Last night, Ewin and I went out on the town and we really did it Spanish style. It was my first real cultural experience in Spain (much better than the art musuem and palace I toured earlier in the day). We went to strictly local places and ordered vermouth on tap (which despite sounding disgusting, especially when you imagine the vermouth we use for martinis, it is actually awesome, the vermouth is dark, sweet but not too sweet, and is great with ice and a lemon). We got tapas with sardines, peppers, and of course jamon. We had about 10 vinto de veranos and a similar number of gin with lemon fantas, which is surprisingly popular here. The best part was that we met this group of Spanish people and got to talking. I don´t know what happened, but I somewhow was able to speak the language. I mean, it was eiry, it was like some ungodly force came over me and I was speaking in tongues. There were stretches of maybe 10 minutes when absolutely no english came out of my mouth. It was ridiculous. We ended up going to a club with them and staying out until 8 in the morning. Ridiculous.

On to Seville and Granada and London…

Welcome to Crazy Town

Posted by Sa Wat Dema in Greek Island Adventure 2005
July 27th, 2005

First official posting from D to the double C. Well hello kiddies, gather round, I´ve got some updates. Dema and I have been sweating our family jewels off wandering around this city. Crazy Town? What´s that you ask. It´s Barcelona and so far it´s not all that it was cracked up to be. In fact, I´ll chalk it up as, *earmuffs for those under 11*, shittiest, well actually craziest part of the trip yet. It all started with leaving Nice. Just as we are about to embark on our overnight voyage to the Promised Land (that´s Barcelona, from what everyone at the hostals say), we happen upon some sweeties from the States. Jason, can attest to this issue we´re having. This had to be around the 3rd or 4th time we did this. Just as we are about to leave, it always happens that our predatorial instincts kick in and we end up sweet talking some charming bella figuras only to have to cut things short and leave for the train to our next destination. When will we learn not to book early.
Anyways back to that train ride. We end up desperately asking the hostal staff to take us to the train depot because chit chatty mc dema and I didn´t budget our time right talking to the girls from the states and catching a bus is hit or miss. So after negotiating a 10 euro ride we´re off. We arrive, we´re hungry and pay way too much for paninis we tried to shove down. The train was filled with loud spaniards, a big, fat sweaty crippled man with his hairy crack hanging out that kept bumping into me, continuous stops, and waking with a scratchy throat, a stiff neck and tired as hell. Off the train and onto the city we hop on the metro to the center of town, and walk down Crazy Street, known as La Rambla. It´s a freakin´circus. People selling birds, chinchillas, chickens, you name it, it´s being sold. There are also the ¨vendors¨that ¨set up shop¨ for maybe 30 seconds and then there off because one of the lookouts spots a cop. I can´t explain the madness. We get to our hostal, unload, and go out to eat. Well Dema the Greek and Derek the Turk get pretty upset when we haven´t fed ourselves, and to our delight, nothing is open. A little siesta and eating the worst tapas ever we head off for night life through the urine filled and stinking streets. Umm, why are we here again? So the first place we hit up looks pretty classy as do we. We enter, the ladies look good, a/c blasting and then we hear it. What´s that their playing, oh yes, good old bop, and jazz from 1963. Welcome to the twilight zone. The music reminded us of Linus from Charlie Brown and the dance moves closely resembled the gang from Charlie Brown getting down. Enough of that, off to the next club. The second club is around 126 degrees inside with all these sweaty euro screwballs with their mullets and fohawks litterally shoving their way to get to a girl to rub on. And if you´re thinking that íts just the euro guys that are crazy, the things these girls were doing, Oh boy. A few drinks later and being the only apparent americans in the place we decide to head home. Well Crazy Street has suddenly turned into Hooker Road. And not the hottie, spanish girl hookers, the black ones fresh off the boat from Africa. Their approach is simple. Grab your arm, ask what you want, tell you how bad they want an american, etc. Apparently no, means keep talking, because I said it over and over again and each time their suggestions got a little more vulgar. I´ll leave out most of the propositions since there are mothers and significant others reading this blog.

Finally ditched the hookers, when an old lady stops me and brian, yells at us for pissing in her streets (which we didn´t do) and then spit towards us. I caught a little of her rabies on my right arm. I replied with some vulgarities and hand gestures and then we booked it home to wash the filth off of us.

To bad I already booked my flight from Barcelona to London otherwise we would have been outtie already.

When will we learn not to book early.

Map Update

Posted by Jason del Sur in Greek Island Adventure 2005
July 26th, 2005

Photo Update

Posted by Jason del Sur in Greek Island Adventure 2005
July 26th, 2005

I arrived safely into Chicago on Sunday evening. I pretty much spent yesterday recovering from jetlag and catching up on the Family Guys I missed. Today I’ve begun the process of getting my pictures into Ofoto and it’s not going quite as quickly as planned. That’s what happens when you have 530 pictures to go through, I guess.

So in the meantime, here’s a few to tide you over:
Brian and Derek about to cliff jump on the Booze Cruise (read Dude’s Cruise)

It doesn’t look so bad here, but I promise, the dudes are just out of frame.Here’s the three of us in front of the forum in Pompei. And since it’s wouldn’t be Pompei without the creepy plaster casts of people, here you are…Now for Brian and Derek in front of the Coluseum preparing for gladatorial combat (or hitting on women with their eyes closed):And the Fountain of Trevi where we threw money and made wishes to all find hot Italian girls:
I’m going to continue getting all my photos together, and I’ll post a link once I’m done.

Nice is Nice

Posted by Sa Wat Dema in Greek Island Adventure 2005
July 26th, 2005

It´s official: the French Riviera is Phat. It is all you have heard about it: beautiful beaches, ridiculous villas pearched on the edge of cliffs to the ocean, wealth dripping from everywhere. We took a train from Rome to Nice in France en route to Barcelona. We stayed at this great hostel filled with young people and a packed bar that served 1 Euro drinks. We spent the first day on the beach at Nice. We also happened to run into a bocce ball tournament. It was the funniest thing to see all of these old men in matching shirts and straw hats playing bocce at a professional level. This was no fun and games lawn bowling, this was serious business. The center few courts (I guess that is what they are called) had stands around them and areas for the media. It was kind of erie. The beach itself was also great because as usual for europeans, the French have no aversion to toplessness. The only one who wasn´t topless was Derek, because he got an incredible sunburn that makes him look vaugly like a lobster wearing a white tuxedo.
The next day was even better. We took a train over to a small village called Cap D´ail. That is where the really rich people live. There is an amazing beach and a cave you can swim out to in the surrounding cliffs. We then decided (stupidly) to walk down the paths along the sea to the next stop for the train: Monaco. Yep, D-Rock and Dema the Greek rolled into Monte Carlo. Although I wouldn´t say that we rolled too big. The walk was an excruciating two hours in the very hot sun and we were really scrubby by the time we got there. In fact, the last few hundred meters were through this tunnel that I think was only designed for car traffic. It smelled and was very dirty. Derek accidently brushed up against the sooty wall and got black all over his beloved Cubs shirt. To ease his troubled mind, I bought him the cheapest, most touristy “I love Monaco” shirt I could find. I myself was wearing a green hawaiian shirt over my bathing suit, so I didn´t look much better. The walk was pretty cool though beacue we saw all of these villas with their own little paths down to the ocean. I couldn´t decide which one I wanted to purchase, so I have decided to wait and buy one next time. We didn´t gamble, but we did get to see the craziest yachts and cars you could imagine. We feel alright though, because the NEXT time we go into Monaco, we will not be walking, we will be Yachting! We´ll always have the story to tell over cigars and wine when we are dining and living the good life. But at least for now, we will be sleeping on an overnight train to Barcelona! España here we come!

Brian

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