Quick note this was written on Sunday. I haven't had internet since then, but I am going to give you all a chance to digest this post for a day before I post my next one, which was started Monday and finished yesterday. I also don't know how to do tildes, but I realize where they should be. Don't hate, appreciate.
For those of you who did not know, after one delayed flight and one missed connection, I made it into Madrid. I quickly walked through the airport (which was completely void of customs) and found the Metro station. I located a place clearly intended for insufficiently prepared tourists and asked (in Spanish) how to get to my hostel, Las Musas. Without skipping a beat the obvious native of Spain answered me in English. He did not even wish to try my Spanish prowess. Great! No habla espanol. Estoy en Espana. Se habla espanol. After thanking the man for his help, which I'll admit was definitely easier to comprehend in English, I boarded the packed subway leaving the airport. Remembering all the advice, I (with a massive suitcase and also oversized backpack) blended in seamlessly with all the native Spaniards in order to avoid theft and eventually reached Las Musas... the train stop. Shockingly enough there is more than one location in all of Madrid named Las Musas. After realizing my mistake I turned around and re-navigated the Metro to the correct destination. I had made it to Spain!
I learned a lot in Madrid:
I am immune to jet lag.
People go out at Midnight at the earliest, and get back at 7
Overweight men dressed in Spiderman suits get paid for pictures
Pan-fried cubes of fat are delicious
Bread is unforgiving to gap-toothed foreigners
Natives are nice and helpful, they just might not appear it at first
Euruba is the best beer in the world
An authentic and affordable Spanish dining experience can be found at "Burguer"
Watching a flamenco does not give the ability to dance one
Ham hangs from ceilings
Longboarding looks amazing here
El Greco hates photographs, but Picasso does not mind them
Pine trees are considered exotic
No bebes para olvidar, bebes para recojer
Crossing one arm across your body and placing the other hand thoughtfully on your chin gives the impression you understand the artwork
...and most important...
Your location enhances your experiences, but your company makes them.
I apologize for the depth of the last one, I struggle with even the shallowest levels of thought and emotion in Spanish so when I get to escape into English my mind needs the exercise.
In all seriousness. Christopher McCandless (or Alexander Supertramp) had it right, "Happiness is only true when shared." You can take in experiences by yourself, but it is exponentially harder to reflect on them by yourself. (Unless of course you have a blog, pen, pencil) The Plaza Mayor is amazing. It is as majestic and grand as one could hope. If I went there sin mis amigos, I still would have been drinking Sangria alone. Luckily, immediately upon arrival at my hostel, I met up with Chelsea and four other WMU students. A lot of the time we just walked around, there was so much to see. I saw where the Kings and Queens of Spain have lived, I went to el Prado, ate jamon cerrado al museo del jamon, and I danced gracefully en muchas discotecas. Sometimes, we made plans. They never worked out. I saw Carmen, which is a flamenco. I still cannot dance. Madrid is a city that never sleeps, much like I can assume most cities are. It was amazing, eye-opening, and a roaring good time, but three days has been enough. I want to feel sand between my toes, I want to taste the salty air, I want to sleep in a bed that isn't bunked. Tomorrow, I will be doing all that.
I leave for Santander at 1 tomorrow. Wish me luck.