Friday, December 5, 2014

Rising to the Occasion of the Disconnected

Yesterday, Charles and I embarked upon a trip to Spain and France.  Ostensibly to pick up Patrick, but also to just tour and see a bit more of the world.

The flight was long and half empty so Charles graciously moved to the middle three seat and let me go to sleep on the two side by side seats that we booked.  We finally slept at 11:00 p.m. and landed in Madrid at 2:30 a.m. our time, 8:30 a.m. theirs.  Early Morning Madrid

We decided we were too tired to attempt the four change metro trip to the apartment that we rented near Santo Domingo.  We took a cab, something I rarely do without good reason.  The driver turned to us and said twice, "malos ojos muy malos ojos".  Then he showed us his glasses which were thicker than my at home magnifier glass.  Full head of grey hair and giant eyebrows peering back at me and in a gruff and almost greek sounding like Marlon Brando yelling for Stella.

We finally take off from the airport and the guy drives like Mario Andretti (actually pretty competently).  We got to the location of the apartment and the old man stopped and popped the trunk and we jumped out happy to be somewhere.  Unfortunately, we did not do a last check and I left my phone (I am pretty sure) in the cab.

After a moment or 30 of panic and notifying my office that indeed my phone needed to be killed, I realized that we would be device free.  Charles decided he would not bring his tablet since I used the phone most often for navigation.  Back to maps!

I will have a phone with the same number again upon my return.  But, great opportunity to remind people to back up your phone!

We listened to our friends Jose and Mary and dropped our things and headed out.  First stop was Museo Del Prado. How breath taking and amazing.  The long walk was energizing after the short sleep.  The day was not so busy and very easy to view the paintings of Goya and Rubens (spell check is changing his name).  The paintings and sculptures, not to mention the incredible size of the works themselves.  It is sheer scope and depth of an entire life time.

But on hour four, I was fading.  I could no longer focus on the placards or read the signs.  I even wandered almost out before the guardians civil told me to turn around.

Charles again, gave up his time to take me back to the apartment for a nap. (sorry Jose, I just needed two hours).  Then off again at 18:00 to see the Navidad markets and festival of lights.  Not to be disappointed!  Sorry no photos but I can assure you any Madrid anyone was on the streets, some with bare legs and mini skirts, some with guitars and open cases, some sporting pelts of fine dyed mink or bunny or fake either.  Boots are expensive here, and it does not guarantee good quality.  We saw boots that were rubber stem to stern and still 59Euros.

Finally, we went to the El Corte Ingles to shop and we were mostly happy but somewhat bummed.  We got the vegetables and stock for the soup I made, but no eggs and no pork I wanted to mix with my cumin.  The lady at the meat counter acted very cold and indifferent and did not even point us to the dried meats, like salami.  She just said no! Tried to engage her but no luck.  Fortunately, ham or jamone is served on almost every block. By the shave cup or cone or package.  Back home with wine and vegetables and some jamone hit the pot and the strange squash, Almost pumpkin almost acorn.  But what a pot! Chicken stock, Spanish onion, carrot, strange squash, potatoes and strange onion with cumin and oregano.  Sorry, I forgot to buy garlic!

Over the phone, over the IPad, doing it the old fashioned way,  MAPS!  More tomorrow.