So I’ve learned a couple of fun new things over the weekend. First, that picture up there is taken from Friday night when me and Monica met up for tapas in La Latina. It’s of a cartoon Michelin Man (like from the tire company) I guess spinning flat pizza dough in his hand. Monica then told me that the flubby rolls on a fat person’s belly are called “michelines” in Spanish, a reference to the the white rolls on the Michelin Man. I made use of the word on a very good occasion later on that weekend.
I also learned a new drinking game called “La reina se casa con…” which means “The queen is marrying…” Basically it’s like a name tag game with two phrases that gets you trashed quickly.
I also saw my first impromptu flamenco performance on Friday night at this tiny Sevillan bar in La Latina. Monica and I happened to be walking by a small street when this deep-throated singing drew us into the bar. There was a small dark man singing next to a guitarist whose fingers were just running break-neck speed over the instrument. It was amazing. People were clapping their hands and stomping their feet and getting really into it. That was the highlight of the night, besides catching up with Monica over some cañas and tapas.
Also, I want to add: Whoever labeled New York City as the city that never sleeps obviously has never been to Madrid. I mean this. I have never seen anyone, ANYONE, love to have a good time as much as the people in Madrid do. On Friday, it seemed like a parade was going on in La Latina with the amount of people sauntering through the zig-zag streets. And it’s not just that they go out; obviously there are parts of NYC where you see people hanging out in the streets at odd hours during the weekend. It’s this kind of ritualized, ingrained custom of having a damn good time that you sense when you see an entire plaza filled with Spañiards sitting back, smoking, drinking, talking. They seem to live for that kind of thing. It’s not taking a break or a having a night out. It’s what they do all the time. They take eating and socializing very seriously. And you would never see anyone alone. There are always the endless groups of friends that arrive and share the rest of the night. Who needs a 24 hour metro when you have the world’s most perfect 24 hour bus lines? And who needs to worry about the metro closing at 2 AM when it never occurred to you to go home before the metro opens again?
More to come on the rest of the weekend…