How many times can you say goodbye? - 05 May 2006

Madrid: A tales of tapas and frozen peas.
With Lindsey, once more, with feeling.

Can you build a future in an airport?



Plaza de Toros in MadridLast day with Lindsey. I remember only now how I tried to enjoy it as much as possible (after all the weather was great for the third day in a row), but how sad I was down deep inside - very deep, knowing how un emotional I am, sometimes an empty shell of emotions - knowing that Lindsey would leave in less than 24 hours.

Tomb at Plaza de Toros in MadridPlaza de Toros of Las Ventas, the location of the most famous Corrida stadium. The Corrida is a well-known Spanish tradition where basically a bull gets killed by the torero and then transformed in chorizo (salami) for your pleasure. The cycle of life.

Plaza de Toros in MadridSometimes the torero gets killed by a bull very upset but it happens so rarely that every time someone dies they build a monument outside the plaza. Usually a big bronze statue with a bull literally owning the torero.

Some people like it, some don't, but it's their tradition and families seem to enjoy bringing kids to watch it.
I'm not Spanish, and the only animals I like to see killed are the one that will end up in my plates, in steak or salami form.
Personally I would use hardcore vegetarians instead of bulls in a corrid, but this is just my point of view.

River from the cable wayLindsey and Olaf on the cable wayAfter the Plaza de Toros we reached Arguelles, where we could get on the funicular to get on the top of the Casa de Campo Park.

The trip was short (11 minutes maybe) but like anything from a privileged point of view, interesting. Seeing Madrid from there was a great experience, spoiled only by the annoying Spanish voice describing the view.

We spent some time at the top of the hill just relaxing, before getting too hungry again and move back in the city. It seems that our trips are regulated by the amount of food in the bellies.

Paella time!After deciding to go for one of the outside restaurant somewhere in the tourist area, and after waiting 45 minutes for our food, we were rewarded by one of the biggest sea food/chicken paellas ever seen by men.
It took us more than 1 hour and still we couldn't finish it. But it was delicious (just like Mr. Pibb and Red Vines).

Frozen peas on my neckGoodbye at the airportTo top it all off, my neck was badly injured after my head was forced to sleep in an awkward position the previous night, and only a bag of frozen peas gave me some comfort.
For some reason, in the tube everyone kept looking at me, sore and with some peas (almost totally de-frozen) to relieve the pain. I bet this sort of homemade solutions are known only in movies.

We walked back to the hostel, we packed our stuff, and left it to get to the airport earlier enough to try to change a ticket. Oh yes, unfortunately I booked the ticket to leave Madrid 24 hours after Lindsey instead of just 30 minutes. Some communication problem, you see.

Emergency hotelI was ready with my usual great collection of desperate stories that always worked so well in the past ("Family emergency: my dad/mum/cat/bicycle died last night", "Personal reason: I forgot the gas open at home", "National problem: you know, Iím supposed to be on that plane to get with my football team to the Champions' League match and yes I am a professional football player") but I couldn't get a free change of ticket.
The cheaper ticket to London was something like 700 euros, so I gave up, and I was already thinking about finding a nice corner to spend my night in the airport.

Lindsey instead decided to force me to book an hotel room somewhere not distant and, for once, I decided to listen to someone else.

Around 10pm Lindsey after a long goodbye walked through the customs and I was on my own again, this time in Spain. I'm almost getting used to it.

So while Lindsey was flying and  getting worried for me about my night in an unknown last minute hotel and a long wait at the airport the next day, I had time to drown away my sorrow in many baths during my 12 hours stay at 4 stars hotel (the Auditorium) not far from the airport.

My roomThe hotel, booked with a discounted rate, was immense, with 800 rooms and too many levels. I spent the night trying to watch the usual locked channels on the cable TV but at the end I ended up watching The Lord of the Rings in Spanish on the local channel.

I discovered few positive things about spending a night alone in a double room of an expensive hotel:

  • walking around the room naked. Great feeling. On a thick carpet or the springy bed, wearing only your glasses.
  • long and foamy baths, pleasure that makes you realizing that yes, you still are a man who likes quick showers, but a long bath after 3 tiring days in 30 degrees is always great. And you can play with the bubbles. And you can fart underwater (then you stop play with the bubbles) Going home 6 hours earlier
  • the television. Yes, the best channels were locked, but hey I didn't mind.

Bathed and restored in a proper condition, I went to the airport some 12 hours before my flight. This time, using my "Hey look at me, I'm desperate and I need to go home" skills, I managed to get an earlier flight home, without paying a dime.

But just by myself. Again. Adios Lindsey, see you in 4 months (yes, going again to South Africa!)


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