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Web Log Archive

Postings 106 to 110.

Log #110. Real Madrid Basketball Wins - Getafe Football Club Loses

Mixed success for two of Madrid's sporting teams this weekend. On Saturday, plucky little Getafe CF, the Spanish equivalent of Watford FC who had battled through to the final of the Copa del Rey, lost to Sevilla 0-1. The Getafe fans partied anyway, filling the town square and getting soaked in the municipal fountains. Sevilla supporters could be seen driving around Madrid during the night, honking their car horns and flying their red and white banners, but were studiously ignored by the Madrileños who have a soft spot for their fellow Castillians. However, on Sunday the Real Madrid basketball team won the Spanish championship (away in Barcelona, which was very pleasing...) so the city had another chance to celebrate. Madrid-Uno is not a basketball fan (giraffes in silk pyjamas) but it's always good to beat the whingeing Catalans, even at dominoes, so he sank a few cervezas in honour of the all whites that night. There was also a wonderful comment from Lopez, one of the Real players, who when interviewed right after the final buzzer got a little carried away, viz: "I want to thank everyone who supported us and helped us to win the trophy. I want to thank my Dad, my Mum, my brother, my dog..."

Log #109. Los Serrano

Look at the head on that! Ana, barmaid in Los Serrano, fails to pour a cerveza properly. Shock Horror Television Scandal! In the Spanish version of East Enders, which is called Los Serrano, the actress Natalia Verbeke, who plays sexy bar maid Ana, has been exposed as a fraud! Yes, in today's papers it was revealed that curvy Natalia does not know how to pour a pint!!!

Bar Serrano is the equivalent of the Queen Vic in East Enders and although the bar they film in is real enough, with proper draught beer drawn from proper beer barrels, the popular Argentine sauce pot does not actually know how the taps work. Fortunately for everyone concerned and the equilibrium of the viewing public's nerves, she salvaged her reputation somewhat by proving the master (or is that mistress?) of carving the leg of ham - an important skill in a ham obsessed country. Natalia has promised to learn the art of pouring a proper caña, using a friend's bar for practice, but in the meantime will probably get by by being sexy but dim-witted, which is both natural for her (she's not what you would call the sharpest tool in the box - either on set or in real life) and precisely what the viewers want.

Log #108. Madrid's Getting More Expensive

¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? Some pride and not a little trepidation greeted the news that Madrid has risen sharply up the table of 'most expensive cities in the world', published yesterday by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. The city climbed 27 places between 2006 and 2007 and is now ranked 26th out of 143 cities worldwide. Most of the rise was accounted for by housing costs, which continue to climb steeply even as the city expands outwards at a frightening rate. But if you strip the housing factor out Madrid remains a relatively cheap capital city in European terms and is all the better for it. Which other major city in Europe, for example, could you get a decent three course meal with bread and a glass of wine for less than 10 euroweenies? The average wage here is estimated at approximately 900 euroweenies a month - a salary level less than half that in London - yet the people live well, the bars are full most nights, and the shops on Goya, Preciados and Serrano do a brisk trade every day. This is a city growing very fast and getting richer even faster, but they're coming from a very low base so, for now at least, it remains a relatively inexpensive place for us English guiris spending our sterling. But if you're going to visit us do so soon, because we're catching up fast!

Log #107.Écstasis en el Bernabéu y a Plaza Cibeles

Almost a quarter of a million fans congregate at Plaza Cibeles to celebrate Real Madrid winning Spain's national football league title.
The white half of the city (that is, those supporting Real Madrid rather than red and white striped Atlético de Madrid) went into emotional meltdown tonight as los vikingos won 3-1 at home to beat Real Mallorca and claim their 30th National Championship - otherwise known as La Liga after a 4 year barren period with no trophies. Tradition has it that Championship celebrations are held at Plaza Cibeles and events there were tinged with a touch of hysteria. An estimated 250,000 fans converged on the Cibeles fountain and the players arrived in a white open-top bus which circled the monument as the crowd went nuts. Club captain Raul, celebrating his fifth league title, was lifted on to the monument by a crane whereupon he draped a Spanish flag, a club scarf and a club flag around the statue of the goddess as his team mates looked on. Eventually, the bus crept away but the night ended in confusion as police fought a battle with one particular section of fans, tear gas was deployed and a number of arrests were made.

Click here for a full review of La Liga 2006/07 as it happened for Madrid's two main football clubs. And here is some video of the celebrations posted by Real Madrid CF.

Log #106.Soy una Osa

El Oso y el Madroņo - The Bear and the Strawberry tree. The city emblem is 'El Oso y el Madroņo' (The Bear and the Strawberry tree). The most famous representation of it is a statue in Puerta de Sol, pictured. Today, a group of 'activists' were in the plaza distributing flyers and scratch cards contending that 'el oso' is, in fact 'una osa' - i.e. it's a female bear. Television cameras were out to record the fun and did a series of vox-pops about what the locals thought about this assault on their treasured symbol. Probably the best response recorded by TV Cuatro was a very wry fifty'ish bloke who, when asked: "So, do you think it's an Osa, not an Oso?", replied, "Why, of course it's a female. If not, where's its willy?"

There are a number of theories as to how Madrid got a bear and a tree as its city emblem. For a selection of the best answers we recommend this page on Yahoo! Spain .

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