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Web Log Archive

Postings 41 to 45.

Log #45. Madrid Masters

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? Spain's biggest tennis tournament started this week, the Mutua Madrileña Masters Madrid 2006, featuring 64 of the best men's players in the world in singles plus a mens doubles tourny. It's hosted indoors at the Madrid Arena de la Casa de Campo with a lightning fast surface (Green Set), and this year's favourites are Roger Federer (the best player ever to hold a tennis racquet) and last year's winner and local hero Rafael Nadal (who hails from Majorca - where the worter darn't taste like wot it oughta). Tiger Tim Henman has upset the partisan home crowd by knocking out two Spanish players in the first two rounds and Murray is through to the third round as well. El Rey Federer is cruising through as is Rafa and TVE2 is covering the main matches on terrestrial TV. An amusing sideshow in the tourny is the use of models as ball-girls. As a red blooded male Madrid-Uno whole-heartedly approves of this measure (lol). Being models they're not quite as keen as, for example, the ball boys and girls at Wimbledon who will rush to give a player his towel or new balls when serving. Instead, the girls sort of saunter around and scowl a lot (as models will) but hell, they're cute and the TV directors fill in empty time with close-ups as they adjust their pig-tails or fiddle with their knickers. Grrrrr.

UPDATE 1 - Lots of fun on the Friday of the tournament when Czech player Tomas Berdych beat Nadal and sent the crowd apopletic when he put his fingers to his lips in a shushing gesture at the end. Come Saturday and his semi-final against Chilenean Fernando Gonzalez the spectators gave the Czech a torrid time: "I've never seen anything like it, it's like a (bad) dream," said Berdych. "It's not a tennis crowd."

UPDATE 2 - In a best of five-set final, attended by stars such as Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid and Spain striker), film director Pedro Almodovar and other Spanish worthies who I didn't recognise, Federer crushed Gonzalez 7-5, 6-1, 6-0. "Super Numero Uno" the TV commentator called him. Exactly.

Log #44. A Short Stroll

¡Hola! ¿Qué tal? After a reasonably late Saturday night (2.30 a.m return, which is weak for a wannabe Madrileño - must do better) Madrid-Uno woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep. "Vale - me debo levantar." To clear his head he took a stroll down to Retiro and back, picking up a coca-cola from the auto-machine outside the 'Repsol' petrol station. Here's a good tip given to Madrid-Uno by Misterio. If you're doing cocktails and find that you've run out of ice (hielo), many gas stations sell packs of the stuff and they're usually open late.

Log #43. Juan Bravo 25

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? A quiet working day but in the evening Madrid-Uno caught up with Oskar for some late night dinner at an open-air terrace bar / restaurant. Set up in the middle of Calle Juan Bravo, an avenue that is wide enough to carry two-by-two lanes of cars with a further pedestrianised lane seperating the them all the way along. The terrace is attached to its kitchen and another restaurant / bar across the road, so waiters have to negotiate the traffic when they bring you each course but it's a common enough set-up in Madrid. Banks of trees and well-cared for potted plants and shrubberies line the middle island so car exhausts and pollution, or at least the smell of it, is screened off. We shared a tomato salad (very fresh toms with a great dressing) and mixed pinchos which were very elegantly done. Here's a good link to information about pinchos which are basically tapas on small slices of crunchy baguette.

Log #42. Una Clara

¡Hola! ¿Qué tal? Today Madrid-Uno was introduced to La Casera, which is a lemon / lime tinged carbonated drink and very popular with Madrileños. Sometimes, especially during the summer when they want a light alcoholic refreshment, they add it to beer to make a Clara - a shandy with lime tops basically.

Log #41. Gran Via to Sol

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? Tonight's excursion is for a wander around Gran Via. This area is the 'West-End' of Madrid, with theatres, neon lights, tourists, big shops and dodgy street people. Some fairly impressive Grandes Edificios line the avenue with well maintained and lavishly decorated facades. Walking up the avenue from the Gran Via metro you come to the Plaza del Callao which has some very big cinemas showing the very latest films. The street eventually ends at Plaza de Espaņa, a largish open space with a couple of major roads converging and some impressive skyscrapers.

If, on the other hand, you head from the Gran Via metro station downhill towards Sol you have to run the gauntlet of a posse of street prozzies (putas) who click their tongues to grab your attention and shout out to you telling you how good their arse is for anal sex. Whoa!!!! Thanks ladies, I'm sure your arses are wonderful but I'll have to pass on that. It's difficult to hurry past as well because the middle of the street is being dug up for repairs and the crowds are hoarded down either side by metal gates. Make sure you keep a tight hold on your valuables and try not to make eye contact. Down at Sol, which is also being dug-up so much of the area is boarded off, you can relax a little although it's crowded as well but mostly with out-of-towners or party goers.

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