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Web Log Archive

Postings 26 to 30.

Log #30. Menu Del Dia

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal?. Today Misterio introduced Madrid-Uno to the daily lunch special - the Menu del Dia. As we meandered round the back-streets of the main Goya avenue he showed how each restaurant and cafeteria displayed the menu on a board outside the establishment showing the options of a starter, main and dessert (+ drinks and coffee normally) which will be served from about 12.30 to 4.00pm. The Madrilenos take lunch seriously and office workers usually get at least 2 hours break in the afternoon so they can take their time. What a change from England, and especially London, where you get a half-hour (hour max) for a sandwich from Pret and maybe a swift-half in the local boozer.

Log #29. Calles Serrano and Preciados

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal?. A survey of Spain's most exclusive shopping streets (by a company called Cushman & Wakefield) has ranked Calle Serrano third most expensive street as measured by price per square metre to rent. Calle SerranoMost expensive was Calle Preciados which is also in Madrid and suitably this translates as 'Esteemed Street' or 'Valuable Road' in English. Filling out the top five were three streets in Barcelona (Portal de Ángel, Paseo de Gracia and Portaferrissa). Serrano's most expensive retail space costs Euro2,100 per sq metre per year, up 5.4% year on year, whilst Preciados (located between Sol and Gran Via) costs Euro2,580 (2006 prices). Serrano is choc full of top name fashion stores (Valentino, YSL, Donna Karan, Versace, Gucci, Pedro del Hierro, Adolfo Domínguez etc.), jewellery shops, art galleries and expensive restaurants. Preciados is pedestrianised, always full of shoppers and boasts the largest El Corte Ingles department store in the city plus FNAC, which is famous in Madrid for books, music and as a place to buy all your concert and special event tickets.

Log #28. Cinema V.O.S.E - Scanner Darkly

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal?. In the centre of town, just off Plaza Jacinto del Benavente to be precise, there is a multi-screen cinema that shows UK and American films in V.O.S.E. (Version Original Subtitulada en Español), i.e. in English with subtitles. It's the YELMO Cineplex / Cines Ideal movie theatre. Madrid-Uno was shown this little gem by Sabrina who also said there is the Roxy cinema for art-house movies in original languages. Unfortunately we couldn't agree on which film to watch. Keanu in A Scanner DarklyShe wanted to see a Ken Loach film (yet another squalid Irish oppression opera from that tired old socialist hack - who produces that crap anyway?) but Madrid-Uno firmly refused to put money into that lefty bullshitter's pockets and instead plumped for A Scanner Darkly, Richard Linklater's animated version of the Philip K. Dick short story. Alas, the combination of animation with ciencia ficción is not the way to a girl's heart (or mind indeed) and so Madrid-Uno's geeky plans were thwarted. We ended up having tapas down the road instead. However, having been told that Monday afternoons are discount days here Madrid-Uno snuck back a few days later and for 5 euroweenies for the ticket + another 5E for super-sized popcorn and coke got to watch the film early afternoon in a largely deserted auditorium, joined only by two other people - one of which, would you believe, was a girl. So female sci-fi fans do exist in Madrid. Respect. The film itself? Hmmm. A mixed bag. The animation was indeed used to good effect but the linear plotline (a problem with the novel as well) and antediluvian anti-corporatism ultimately left one unsatisfied.

Log #27. Plaza Dos de Mayo

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal?. Pissed as newts on a Thursday night Madrid-Uno and his brother Aquaman were wandering back to the apartment and stumbled across a strange gathering. In a large square dedicated to the heroes who started the revolution against Napoleon's occupancy of Spain, with a suitably heroic statue of citizen soldiers set on a plinth in the centre, we have a large crowd of people drinking, smoking and goofing around. It's 1.00am in the morning and there must be at least 200 people here, maybe more. Everyone's laughing and chatting, sat on stone ledges that encompass the central part of the square, or on benches set up by a small children's park with swings and roundabouts etc. Hippy girls are doing those twirly ribbon things they like so much and dreadlocked boys are practising their juggling. Impressive looking joints are being built and most people are swigging out of litre coke bottles that have been supplemented by whisky (we presume). We note that one of the characters in the statue has had his raised beacon of hope replaced by a large bottle of Mahou beer and one of his campadres now sports a funny paper hat. Out of deference to the local residents ghetto blasters are turned well down and guitarists are picking or strumming softly, so the background noise is muted - a sort of hum, no shrieking. To this strange throng are added teams of chinese immigrants, men and women, circling, mixing and negotiating with the revellers to sell them cans of lager that they're carrying in shopping trolleys. We order a couple and it's 1 Euroweenie a pop - and they're ice cold. Must have some sort of refrigeration device inside the trolley.

Log #26. Mallorca Delicatessan

A great place to visit is Mallorca, a kind of upmarket delicatessan that makes the cutest little bocadillos (sandwiches or buns) and is possibly the only place in town where you can buy genuine Stilton cheese or English bacon. When you walk into this place you grab yourself a small chalk board and everything you buy or consume is marked on the board by the shop assistants. When you're finished eating (there's a cafeteria kind of space) and / or shopping you take your board to the checkout and pay. Madrid-Uno hasn't yet tried to wipe off the marks and pay less (hehe). It's a small chain apparently with outlets dotted around the centre of town, but the store Marid-Uno visits is on Calle Velazquez towards the southern end close to Goya.

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