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Postings 131 to 135.

Log #135. Templo Debod

View from templo Debod towards Plaza Espana - Madrid. ¡Hola! ¿Qué Tal? It's mid-October but afternoons can still be hot, so for a Sunday walk Madrid-Uno went to the Parque del Oeste, and more specifically to the Templo Debod (pictured, looking back towards Plaza España).

The Temple itself isn't so interesting, but the story is: Apparently, the temple was donated to Spain by the Republic of Egypt in 1968 - they were building a dam and the area where it was sited was going to be flooded by the building of a dam. Originally built an estimated 2,000 years ago to honour the gods Amon and Isis it was rebuilt here in Madrid on the site of the former Montana army barracks and opened to the public in 1972.

There is nice parkland around it where lots of people take pic-nics or rest for a while on benches dotted around the gravel paths that criss-cross the area

But probably the best reason to visit is the view over the valley below. You can see west and south west over the Casa de Campo and towards the southern suburns where the horizon shows the silhouettes of a lot of cranes, testifying to the rapid growth of the city. In the late evening people come to watch the sun go down, chill after a hectic day or warm-up preparing for the night ahead, and it's all very social and relaxed.

Log #134. La Excepcion - "El Besolla"

La Excepcion are a popular Madrid hip-hop group. They come from the Pan Bendito barrio of town and often name-check local bars and people. The group consists of DJ Javier Ibañez and a couple of MCs - El Langui (Juan Manuel Montilla) and Gitano Antón (Antonio Moreno) - who rap in a mix of Madrid and Gypsy slang.

Log #133. Día de la Hispanidad

Today is a public holiday. It's 'The Day of Feeling Super About Being Spanish' and it starts off with a great big military parade centred on the Paseo de Castellana and Colon square. This morning we had jets and bombers flying low over our building, followed up by a squadron of helicopters, the Spanish version of the Red Arrows and the parachute regiment dropped in, looking mean and nervy. King and Queen were out to wave to the crowds and salute the marching battalions. Prize for Best Turned-Out must go to the Legionarios who looked very flash in desert jacket smarts and had what I'm guessing was a goat dressed up in armour as their mascot. Top stuff! It was all very impressive and I was happy to see that my UK taxes are being well spent. Shame they had to give up half-way through the Iraq mess, they looked pretty efficient to me.

Over this long weekend we also have the Fiestas del Pilar held in the eponymous barrio taking place from 11th to 15th of October - usual stuff; street party, live concerts, BBQ, drinking and talking into the early hours.

Log #132. Jeremy Clarkson Goes To Spain

Log #131. England vs Australia - Watching the Rugby World Cup at Molly Malone's

Get your drinking heads on - it's Australia versus England at Rugby. Not expecting the day to go very well but travelling in hope, Madrid-Uno made his way to Bilbao metro station to go to the pub called Molly Malone's and watch England play in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup. Molly's is good for expat sports supporters because it has space, lots of TVs and a good sportif crowd. As well as the usual suspects, expats looking for company to watch the national team, the crowd is often boosted by curious locals (thees roogby ees amayzeeng - the playurz are beasts!) and parties of tourists having a weekend-city break and staying at the Ibis hotel opposite. This makes a for a nice mix - enthusiastic support but without any 'edge'. May the best team win.

And the best team did win. And amayzeengly the best team were England. Having been useless all tournament the men in white suddenly became good again - more than good. Beastly even. It turned what was going to be a long, empty day into a boozy bright one as England supporters remained behind for a couple of hours to chew the fat and wallow in another extraordinary turnover of our greatest sporting rivals.

Back into the street blinking. The sun has come out while we've been inside and shoppers are making their way back from Gran Via and up Fuencarral, everyone heading for a siesta before the nights entertainment. A snap back into reality as you realise that here in Spain, in Madrid, only a few people care about your silly game. And you're drunk as a skunk and must look at little wild to the passers by.

However, there a few Spanish who have been following the tournament. Important matches have made the million+ mark in TV audiences and whilst going about the city in daily life you occasionally here snatches of rugby conversation, more often than not from Spanish sports nuts who know a good game when they see one and have been following the World Cup in general. They may not quite understand why anyone would want to actually play such a brutal sport but they appreciate the courage and the skills required.

Beep Beep. It's Madrid-Uno's mobi signalling a congratulatory sms from Zipper who has just watched the highlights. Drift off to siesta sleep. That night we started all over again but this time in French. Amayzeengly the Frogs beat New Zealand in the other quarter-final. What the hell is going on!? It's going to be another long boozy night in Spain's capital city. Allez les Bleus!

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