September 10, 2005
Today we finally got our housing assignments; as luck would have it, I am shacking up with a Colombian lady named Luz Elena, who lives a walking distance from the Institute. I got very lucky. Poor Lina is out in Timbuktu, but at least she is near a body of water, which is always nice. She gets to live with a lady and her 30 year old son, whom she thinks is going to be a fat loser but I told her that there is a possibility that he may be really hot. Still, his age is very unattractive to her, but I say, 30 is the new 20, and I’ve got first hand experience in that department. After our housing assignments were distributed, we headed out to lunch at Hotel Regina. We had some very uneventful paella a la chorrera (with invisible meat!), some kind of fried-cheese-and-potato-tamal-looking-thing that was lard soaked, and some patatas. I dumped half a bottle of olive oil into a crusty roll and called it a day. That was some tasty ass oil; I bet if it weren’t detrimental to my health, I’d be able to drink it straight out of the bottle. The dessert was very pretty and the first bite was scrumptious, but subsequent bites proved sickeningly sweet. So I put it aside. Afterwards we went on a walking tour of old Madrid. We went to Plaza Real and I finally felt like I finally arrived in Europe. We were surrounded by architectural and historical wonders. Though the place has an amazing history and soul, it’s been bastardized by the tourism industry. So we marched on. We saw where Hemingway did and did not eat (it’s an old joke: every bar in Cuchillero says “Here ate Hemingway” except for Carlos and Charlie’s which says “Hemingway did not eat here”). I snuck into a church inside of a convent that is usually cloistered off and I got a peak at an amazing altar, complete with ornate gilding and a fabulous mother and child. There was a rather elderly nun (not the small sweet nuns, but the slap-you-on-the-hand-with-a-ruler kind) yelling at full force that no one is to climb to the top of the altar while a confused looking Anglo tried his best to hide. We zipped across and arrived at a place that is much too amazing for words. I swear to you that once I was able to fully appreciate the beauty of Palacio Real, I was so overcome with emotion I had to stop myself from crying. Works of art such as those restore my faith in humanity, because if such beauty can come from the hands of men, then they can’t be all bad. My heart was going to freaking explode. And oh my god, the trees, the fabulous, beautiful fucking trees, stab-you-in-the-heart gorgeous. Orgasmic. Simply orgasmic. Then we went to Calle Arenal and saw a bunch of juvenile delinquents initiating themselves into the black lung brigade while waiting for some discotheque to open. We also saw the very first chocolateria of Madrid, called San Gines, which is full at all hours of the day and night with all kinds of Madrileños looking for their churro and chocolate fix. Then our tour was essentially over and Lina went to Sol to get some whisky flavored ice cream and to pick up a guia de ocio. After a quick pit stop at the Hotel Paris we head out to the cinema and caught “Princesas” (courtesy of BU International programs) a film about prostitution and friendship. The protagonist has a fantastic ass. The movie was generally enjoyable but it could have ended a lot sooner than it did, and it also seemed pretty pointless. It did have some good lines however (see: “Llenamela de leche”). After that we went to La Negra Tomasa’s (the place I saw announced on TV in Miami that I had been DYING to go to) and a marvelous evening ensued. Lina ordered a pina colada and I a Cuba Libre (rum and coke) our server was this friendly habanera who was an absolute doll. She told me that Madrid has a large Cuban population and now my goal is to find where they are all hiding. Some boys from our program happened to stroll in for dinner as well. I had La Negra Tomasa, which consisted if yucca con mojo, congris, and carne de puerco. It was scrumptious; just like my momma makes it. I think I actually got a little bit drunk today, for the first time in my life. I guess it was pretty fun because I felt like it was ok to be stupid. Then we had dessert, which consisted of sugared fruits and cream cheese, another Cuban favorite. Then the band started to play and the singer’s voice was like silk. Dreamy. He was a rasta looking fellow with a catfish looking face, but not in a disagreeable way. We left the place kinda early (midnight) cause Lina wanted to go dancing, but as luck would have it, it was raining and cold and that just put me into a funk. We tried finding a club anyway but came upon clubs that played “house” y para house estoy yo. Today I was hit on and I decided that I like Spanish men’s advances much more than American men’s because they are openly honest about their attraction while American men try to be all covert about it and that’s downright hypocritical. While most women may find Spanish men’s openness offensive, I actually find it flattering and refreshing. So there you have it, I love this place.