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Web Log Archive

Postings 16 to 20.

Log #20. Avenida de Americá

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal?. Went looking for a haircut - and ended up a couple of miles from home walking along the Avenida de Americá which is one of the main road arteries in and out of the city. The metro station of the same name, which is at the beginning of the road in central town where it meets Calle de Francisco Silvella and Principe de Vergara, serves as a major(ish) transport interchange, called the Intercambiador. It's a mini subterranean city incorporating a coach station, rail station and metro stop with lots of escalators, lifts, shops and people determinedly going places. The coaches mainly serve those heading North / North East to places like Bilbao or Burgos. As is the case so often in the larger urban transport junctions it's scruffy and you also get loads of tramps and assorted dodgy geezers. The guy in the picture was out for the count when Madrid-Uno snuck the photo below - and it was the middle of the day.

Traffic coming into town at Avenida de America. Homeless guy having a snooze.

Both the pics were taking from a ramp-like structure where the air vents out from the sub-station. I guess the homeless guys like the heat at night or something 'cos it seemed like a popular vagabond hang-out - the Annabel's of tramp land... hehe. Still, there was some etiquette amongst the gang. Bottles and cans of alcohol were all stashed, everyone was careful not to throw their cigarette butts out close to him and no-one bothered Madrid-Uno as he wandered to the top of the ramp and peeked about.

Log #19. James Bond with a Spanish Accent

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal?. The Bond film 'Never Say Never Again' was on the tele tonight. How amusing to hear 'Thero Thero Siete' Sean Connery dubbed into Spanish. I'm sure that to the Spanish the dubbed voice conveys masculine smoothness but somehow it just doesn't conjure up that laconic, wry, Edinburgh baritone to which Madrid-Uno is accustomed to. Still, NSNA is an enjoyable romp, definitely one of the best Bond films despite Sean getting on a bit at that stage. Certainly better than the gimmick filled stuff we've been getting recently (though haven't seen the new Casino Royale with Daniel Craig yet). Favourite line? Fatima Blush: "Oh, how reckless of me. I made you all wet." James Bond: "Yes, but my martini is still dry." LOL! Second favourite line - Q: "Good to see you Mr. Bond. Things have been awfully dull around here. I hope we're going to see some gratuitous sex and violence." James Bond: "I certainly hope so too." Madrid-Uno is now curious to hear how Clint Eastwood's voice get's dubbed. "Go on Punk. Make my day!"

Log #18. FIAT cafe

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal?. Onwards and upwards toward c/ Serrano, 197 where that road meets Conche Espina, to go to FIAT. The Blonde is meeting her girlfriends from work and Madrid-Uno is to be introduced to their bf's where, it is assumed, we boys will talk business and football and they will talk about whatever it is women talk about - knitting patterns, children, how good their men are at rogering them,.. but I'm like totally guessing here. Fiat cafe Madrid, Serrano, 197, reservas 91 564 64 34 As our taxi draws up Madrid-Uno sees Porsches, Mercs, cabriolets of various models parked about. Drat! The Blonde has failed to warn him it's a posh place, although now he understands why she was grinning when she said Madrid-Uno looked fine before we left the apartment. Hmmm. Now why is she playing tricks? Anyway, a couple of very large lagers in nice glass 'balloons' soon make me forget my holey Converse sneakers and talk with the boys is serious - interest rates, bond dealing, derivatives, corporate mergers and whether a 140 watts of Alpine stereo is strictly necessary in a VW Golf. We have grouped inside with a couple of lads holding on tenaciously to our slot at the bar and the other end of the circle congregating by the empty well of the dance-floor. A DJ will start playing later but at the moment this area is being used for dining. Inside it is humming and there is an even boy / girl ratio with a high grooming factor - I smell Armani, Hackett and gentlemen's sporting jackets. There are tables outside as well and plenty of people are just milling about on the pavement too, meeting and greeting, lots of that continental cheek kissing. We really must get these people to stick to handshaking. Service is poor in that it's slow and the staff are surly, although this obviously partly down to the crush - Fiat is a modern bar / restaurant for a primera hora de la noche, somewhere for the early part of the evening, and it's very popular - clearly a place to see and be seen for the late-20s and 30 something yuppy crowd. The place closes at 2.00am but we move on at midnight. Madrid-Uno's trainers forbid him entry to the next bar, but this place looks packed too, judging by the view through the windows looking down into the basement public area. Instead, we wander a bit further down Serrano to xxxxxxx - which shall be blogged's just that Madrid-Uno needs time to collect his thoughts after a brief but, errr, interesting night in this particular club.

Log #17. Bullfighting on TV

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal?. Vegetating on the sofa Saturday afternoon, channel surfing on TV, Madrid-Uno comes across what looks like the Spanish equivalent of the BBC's 'Grandstand' sports programme. We have our 'panel of experts', our genial host in classic sports presenter garb, and action replays of last week's match-ups being analysed. Except, the replays aren't football goals, or basketball nets or whatever, they're of bulls getting swords through their heads. Bloody hell! Isn't there a watershed for this sort of thing? We are briefly taken back to the sports news office where we see some Bullfight. Bull wins.Real Madrid footballers training and a round up tennis match results, then it's back live to the opening of today's featured bullfight. Spanish versions of Ally McCoist, Alan Hansen and Gabby Yorath do pre-fight interviews, although noticeably there is no word from any of the bulls. Maybe they're refusing to speak to the press. And then we have the grand entrance of all the protagonists - horses, banderilleros, peones, mulilleros, picadores, matadores, other specialised dors and I'm sure I saw some wallabies, performing elephants and snarling tigers held back by heavy chains in there as well. No sign of Caesar today but the stands are full. Wonder if they do Mexican waves every time a bull gets sworded?

Madrid-Uno ain't no Hemingway, and he's watching this on the sofa, sober, rather than full with agreeable smooth bodied Rioja and being fanned by a Spanish beauty nibbling on his ear watching live in the stands like the great one, but he found little entertainment in the bullfights that followed. The bravery of the fighters is clear. Even the weakened bull is still a formidable opponent for the Matador to make his tandas and passes in such very close proximity. There is lots of tradition and no little skill on show. But. Well, but Madrid-Uno is English. And to his uncultured eye all he sees is the humiliation of a noble beast. When the sword is pushed through its skull, the bull stops for a moment, its front knees buckle, it rocks for a couple of seconds and then rolls over as it expires. Twenty minutes ago it was an angry, confused tonne of muscle and testosterone. Now it's dead. With lots of spikes stuck in it with different coloured little flags. And then its back to the studio before the next fight starts for more tennis results and expert analysis replays.

Daniel Hannan: In praise of bullfighting

Log #16. Guía de Distritos

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal?. Madrid-Uno is gradually getting to grips with the geography of the city, which is uphill, which is down, East and West, North and South etc. The city council dropped some informational litter through the post-box which has a nice simple map which is reproduced below. Madrid-Uno lives in Salamanca district (Zone 4).

Guia de Distritos, Madrid, Spain.

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