Monday, September 28, 2009

no top ten yet, but i promise soon.

Describame (describe it to me). I wish I could. Yesterday, last night, this morning, now are all a blur.

Got up at 8 and ran out of the house, went to Madrid and went on a cultural tour. Saw an enormous Spider-man and con artists in the plaza mayor. Finished the tour and ate my first paella (good, not amazing, but surprisingly cheap). Hung with Jaime, Verena, Laura, Doug, and Alex in El Retiro (the big ass park there.) Drank a bottle of tinto verano (red wine and lemon soda) between the 6 of us. Waited for the David Bisbal concert. Had Jarrod, Arielle, and Claire join us. Went to the big ass free concert in the plaza and participated in a cultural event (publicity stunt for the 2016 Olympics) where I just looked really freaking foreign because I understood neither the directions about holding up my giant square of blue paper, nor the music being played. Point is that I was in a giant picture of Madrid, and it was cool (free).

David Bisbal, giant pop star, had one single that they played the recorded version of four times before he actually got on. Then he sang it, but I still don't know the lyrics. Something about besos (kisses). He looks like Mike DuPre (Skidmore friend, don't worry if you don't know him, just think lots of curly blond hair) if he became a pop-star. Had two pre-scripted encores. What a surprise...

Went to a place that spoke English for food. Cheap, ordered 'taters just to be an obnoxious American. And then the night really started.

We rushed back to the station at almost twelve to try to catch the last trains leaving to return to Alcala. Not a big deal, made it there on time. Then the train arrives at the station and...hold on a minute I need to gear myself up for this one because it gets nuts.

“I have never been so happy to see a train in my life” I said. But the train didn't have the normal destinations on it so we asked if it was the right train.

“Yes, I am speaking to you in English, this is the right train” another American student told Jaime. So we got on. Almost immediately a native of the area said it was the wrong one. We almost got off, but the American insisted that he had been “doing this for two months, I know it's the right train.” It wasn't. We got off at the next stop on the edge of Madrid. Too bad we had no idea how to get our butts back to anywhere. We were at a charter bus station; unless Amsterdam was our destination, we weren't going anywhere. The adrenaline and hilarity hit me then; the whole situation was hilarious. Getting home at a decent time suddenly flew out of the window as an option. Now it was just a matter of how ridiculously late we would get in.

At this point we all sort of went into a state of shock. The stupid American had just screwed us over to a point that I couldn't describe, and ultimately had changed so much of my near future by being so stupid that musing on the butterfly effect became an all too real experience. Bottom line: I'm never listening to Americans again. Luckily the metro was still running so we got back into Madrid, got off at Banco de Espana, and were where we started at 10 that was one by then. Walked to Recoletos and tried to figure out where the buhos (night buses that run back to Alcala) were. When it became apparent that everything wasn't quite working out, we separated. Doug, Jarrod, and Laura went back (they were more than understandably crabby and tired by this point). The six Skiddies (Jaime, Verena, Arielle, Alex, and Claire) remained. We were either going to the Recoletos office or we were going out. 1:35 now. We decided to go out. Public transpo started going again at 6:00, and the Tufts kids wouldn't even make it back to Alcala until 3:30 at the earliest.

So we walked toward Sol station. Which is a bit of a distance but it had the most open bars. Going out on a sunday may not be the best idea. But what else am I to do when I am stuck in a foreign city with no way of getting back and only enough euros to get robbed or get a drink.

I think I made the right decision.

Jaime asked a prostitute where a bar was. He didn't have business, she didn't have an answer. She just walked away and Jaime was dumbfounded. Whatever, it happens. An extremely fluent English speaker beckoned us into an Irish pub with free shots. We drank, watched American football, and a drunk Irishman dance along to pop songs. It was extremely comforting at that moment. Just chilled there for a bit. 2:30.

Then they closed. So we wandered a bit more.

And we found a salsa club. Keep in mind that I have been wearing cargo shorts, my flight of the conchords t-shirt, and my big-ass backpack around all day/night/morning. We went in and did some salsa dancing (well, we kind of did something that looked like salsa's limbless cousin with epilepsy. At least I did, Jaime was better). But I did get comfortable with the beat and tried to dance...Verena was extremely helpful in telling me why I sucked so much, Arielle was great in letting me lead, Alex was just loose about the whole thing, and Claire had a good push/pull going. 4:55.

Went to a churreria (place that churros are served 24/7). bizarre, because it was like a soda shop at 5 in the morning. 5:50.

Sol station. Watched three trains pass us before stopping at Sol. Two really high pickpockets tried to follow us around. Extremely conspicuous, smoked a joint on the subway. Followed us everywhere, eyed my bag several times, and followed us onto two train cars after we changed. We just got lucky that they were that bad at it all. Got to the Cercanias station (outgoing trains). Got followed by the pickpockets. RAN for a different train and finally lost them. Love 6:30 adrenaline. Got in bed 7:30.

I am not sure if I can ever do that again. Good news is that I am exhausted and I think I am done with anything remotely stage two. I am tired right now.

Culture is weird.