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Web Log Archive

Postings 46 to 50.

Log #50. El Derby and a Trip to the Countryside

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? It's round 5 of the domestic football season and its Real vs Atlético in El Derby! Z-Man (Real) and Charlie (Atlético) meet Madrid-Uno outside Diego de León metro station as we are going to the countryside to watch the match at Kicker's house. Transport is a classic Mark II Golf GTi, one of my fave coches of all time, and this one is beautifully preserved. The countryside is not pretty so instead we chat about the car and taunt Charlie about his support for those scummers Atlético. He doesn't kick us out though and with light traffic it's not more than half an hour before we are pulling up in Torres de Cima which is a small town North-East of Madrid. We are also joined by Javi who's abandoned the gf and kid with her parents and has come over to drink some beers, watch the match and also tease Charlie unmercifully. Since Kicker is also for Real that makes it 4 vs 1 but when the scum score first and hold on to their lead to half-time there's only one mouth doing all all the talking during the break.

Raul levels early in the second-half and it ends up 1-1 as honours are shared in a scrappy game that the striped ones dominate in the 1st half but Real dominate in the second - at least up until the point when the white storm were reduced to ten men with 20 or so minutes left. Even then, following Capello's defensive substitutions, it was going mostly Real's way, apart from one horrible moment when Casillas was left totally exposed and the new (Argentine) wonder-kid for Atlético scooped over attempting an audacious chip when he should have just shot. "Tira!" (shoot!) screamed Charlie. And then "Coño!" (which shall not be translated) as the ball sailed over.

Log #49. Holy Worship - A Night At The Santiago Bernabeu

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? Five-One! 5-1! Cinco-Uno! And Ronaldo made his comeback appearance (after his latest injury when he ate sixteen donuts before warming up properly). Yes, tonight Madrid-Uno fulfilled one of his main objectives in life and went to worship at the throne of football - Real Madrid.

Tickets were rustled up by Z-Man courtesy of two friends with season tickets. It was a Champions League group stage match (the Spanish just call it la Champions) against Dinamo Kiev and it was a stroll in the park for our heroes who were 2-nil up after twenty minutes and 3-1 up at half time. This meant it was not a passionate evening, although the stadium was 90% full, so the loudest roar of the night was when Ronaldo came on the pitch and just for a moment you got a spine tingling sense of what the place must be like when the crowd really takes off. Still, Madrid-Uno had plenty of time to savour the evening and observe a typical(ish) football night at the Bernabeu stadium. Looks like we should have brought a snack for half-time because there wasn't a meat pie to be had anywhere. Instead, the majority of fans bring their own sandwich / roll, usually wrapped in tin-foil and carefully unwrapped at half-time, and packets of seeds to nibble on like hamsters during the game. By the end the floors were covered with seed husks like a giant canary cage. Couldn't understand much of the chat but Z-Man passed on the choicest stuff. Apparently Emerson wasn't popular, he'd come from Roma with Capello during the summer, and there was also a bit of concern about Raul, although he scored a neat poachers goal in the second half. Real were always in charge but they insisted on defending like it was a practice match, rehearsing how to combat two-on-one attacks. Maybe they were practicing for the Barca match in a few weeks time... Five-1 was flattering but gratifying. It would have been a disaster if Madrid-Uno's first match had ended up another way. One nice touch was the sign for the public exit points which in Spanish is rendered as the vomitorio, i.e. where you are 'vomited' out of the stadium. They behave gallantly and politely these Spaniards but they talk dirty.

So, it was a floaty walk back, mingling with the departing supporters. Quite a lot of girls in the crowd and one very nice Kiev supporter with her face painted with yellow and blue stripes - grrrr. Then it was down through Nuevo Ministerios and back into Salamanca chatting about the partido. Rumbling stomachs led us to La Casa de La Cerveza on Calle Juan Bravo for some sausages and chips. I was told that this place used to be popular amongst the teenagers of the area back in the 90s when the establishment had a well known policy of turning a blind eye to the drinking age limit, but had now gone a bit more 'upmarket' as it were. Sitting on the outside tables it was still lovely n' warm even at midnight and the next door table were smoking a joint - very relaxed - but we settled for two cañadobles. A most excellent evening Bill. Yeah, totally non-bogus Ted.

Log #48. Limpia Madrid

Dia de la Bestia. Late at night when coming home from the pub, early in the morning on the way to a meeting, midday strolling to the shops, wherever I go there are people cleaning the streets. Madrid is a very ordered city and whilst dropping litter and letting your dogs crap all over the pavements is usual behaviour the place is still very clean. This is because they employ a veritable army of cleaners. And they're an equal opportunities employer. Whether it's the garbage lorry doing the midnight rounds or brush and broom patrols during the day, both men and ladies are picking up the trash. We don't have to separate our rubbish - the green revolution hasn't quite hit yet (or it has and they're ignoring it) - but there are bottle banks and paper silos dotted around various streets.

Log #47. Dude!

Abuelo patinando en Plaza Colon. Verlo pa creerlo.

Log #46. Noche En Blanco

A stroll to Plaza de la Independencia and thence to Plaza Cibeles to witness the Noche En Blanco - part of the 'White Nights Europe' festival, where the cities of Paris, Rome, Madrid, Brussels and Riga offer free cultural events and exhibitions one Saturday after the other. The official announcement called it an exceptional free cultural offer focusing on contemporary creation, where viewers can discover unusual urban spaces and contemplate masterpieces. Uhuh. Well, the big museums were open for free and there were some son et lumiere shows dotted around the city. Apparently there was a rave somewhere around Atocha station but Madrid-Uno missed that, instead happening upon a rather freaky show at Cibeles where silhouettes of characters did dodgy things in the back-lit windows of the surrounding buildings (very arty) as well as an amusing projection at Independencia onto the Ayala monument. Literally hundreds thousands of people were out for the shows but it was all very calm and civilised, although the news reports on TV that Madrid-Uno saw later had vox pops with unhappy queuers at the Prado who had waited over two hours to get in. What made Madrid-Uno laugh, as an Englishman that is, was that one interviewee complained about getting cold. Ha! You Spaniards wouldn't know cold if it jumped up and bit you! It was a lovely fresh night and the light rain was refreshing!!!

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