Hola from Madrid!

July 31, 2005 — Sa Wat Dema

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…

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