Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Otra niña

Los Príncipes de Asturias esperan para la próxima primavera su segunda hija.

Monday, November 27, 2006

La Comida Ecuatoriana

More rain... the whole weekend was wet. On Saturday, I went to see "Scoop", a new movie by Woody Allen, with Maite, Alicia, Govi and Daniel to another V.O.S. cinema, this time it was Verdi on c/ Bravo Murillo. Nothing groundbreaking, but Hugh Jackman was cute as hell even if he played a really bad guy. It's hard to make another Manhattan or Annie Hall. After the movie, we had some cañas and pintxas in a Basque pub, most of the food and drinks were listed in Euskadi, for instance: in Castellano they call one liqueur "pacharan" and there it was spelled "patxaran".
For Sunday, we had planned "La Comida Ecuatoriana" in a small restaurant called San Francisco de Quito close to Tetuán metro station. I picked "fritada", apparently very authentic Ecuadorian meal. We drunk some beer and almost at the end I read the label and realized they made beer from maize, how weird.

Monday, November 20, 2006


"I will look through your treasures, gypsy. Is this understood?" Borat interrogates a yard sale lady/gypsy over a Barbie doll/woman she has shrunk and I couldn't stop laughing. I went with Adrian to see "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" and Sasha Cohen is a pure genius. It's offensive and cruel and... but I had to check YouTube for more sketches right away.
On Saturday, I went out with Antonio, José Manuel and Rubén. First we hit "Why not?" and after Antonio and JM left, we met two flight attendants for the BA, a girl from Venezuela and a fairy English guy. We went together to "Polana" on c/ Barbieri and we had so much fun there. It's a disco place (only) and it was so packed and smoked... I got home at 5 am in the morning.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Angels? Why not?

Saturday was the day to see Cirque du Soleil's "Alegría". One could tell already in the subway that most of the people in the car were going there as well. The company built a tent in front of the El Estadio de La Peineta and the construction details were amazing. So small and cute from the outside but surprisingly spacious and comfortable inside. The show was divided into two parts that felt different from each other - the first part was a little bit weaker than the second one, which was full of breathtaking acrobatic performances. The whole piece was actually a traditional circus show - with clowns during the intermissions imitating the previous performance in a messy way. In the first part, there were two performances that were very good - in the first one, called Powertrack, they quickly installed long trampolines and the artists were jumping above each other, it was like a dream. The second memorable piece, called Fire/Knife dance, included two half naked and very cute guys playing with fire, literally. At one moment, they danced with two torches burning from both sides. After the break, there was not a single weak piece in the second part, everything was simply amazing with the closing performance (Aerial High Bar) being the most stunning. I was very happy that I could enjoy it - thank you, my Riverside friends, once again!
After the show, I went for dinner with Antonio and Jose Manuel and later for a drink. We hit two bars, first one, called "Why not?", has a live DJ. The place is in a deep basement and the ceiling has the same decoration as the lovely Menagerie. The second bar, called "The Angel" was fortunately very close to my house as the universe began to be a little bit warped at 4am in the morning.
On Sunday, I saw "Los Fantasmas de Goya" or "Goya's Ghosts", the newest movie by Miloš Forman with Stellan Skarsgård playing Goya and Javier Bardem portraying an Inquisition monk. Situated around the outbreak of French revolution and the consequent French occupation of Spain. Worth seeing, even though it is very depressive.
UPDATE (16/11): Worth seeing not only for the European audience, I guess. One can draw parallels between the fate of particular people at the time depicted in the movie and any other time in the European history, like the early 70's in Czechoslovakia after the Soviet occupation. Forman is from the same country as me, so I can completely understand why he focused on some particular parts of the story. If somebody wants to understand the history of Europe, with all its tweaks and re-runs, "Los Fantasmas de Goya" can be the first step. Reading what I wrote, it sounds pretty pathetic, huh?

Friday, November 10, 2006

La Virgen en el tren

Cool! Another public holiday, this time we celebrated a patron saint of Madrid, La Virgen de la Almudena. On Wednesday, in my Spanish class I learnt a useful "expresión familiar": when there is a public holiday on Thursday like today, the Spaniards like to take a day off on Friday, too, and they call it "hacer puente". It's unofficial, thus extremely popular. I guess I celebrated this day with the best lunch here so far. I went for a menú diario to Areia Colonial, a restaurant/bar/chill-out on c/ Hortaleza, where I enjoyed a caipirinha on my first day in Madrid, so I have a special feeling towards that place. A wonderful salad with warm aromatic cheese on top was followed by "brocheta de langostinos". This feast was crowned by an outstanding "tarta de chocolate" that was served warm. In the afternoon I went to see a movie and as I happened to be in the Madrid de los Austrias, I went to check if there was anything happening on Plaza Mayor. Indeed, there was some fiesta there, as colourful as described in my travel guide. The castizos from Vallecas, dressed in traditional outfits, were dancing on the stage and were proudly accompanied by many people in the audience. I understand that the stage performance could be targeted on tourists, but the madrileños followed, so it was a pretty surreal experience. After the movie, I made a stop in fnac and bought a new CD by Alejandro Sanz, called El tren de los momentos. Passing by a Pull and Bear store, I remembered that I wanted to post a piece of an advertisement for their clothes with Evandro Soldati, a Brazilian supermodel that convinces me that if there is a God, he must be Brazilian.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Fuera de mí

Oh, a dreaming human brain... the land of wonders. You can get whatever/whoever (LOL) you want! Enough said.
Today, I had to pay for my Spanish class so I went to the ATM of my bank, Santander Central Hispano, on campus. There was a graffiti over the front door saying "Fuera de la UAM" and the ATM machine was painted over with a black spray, so nobody could see the screen. Amazing.

Monday, November 6, 2006

The river is wild

Hey you, whoever you are up there, listen: Enough is enough! One more weekend full of rain! Time to take some rest from these water activities, ¿vale?
On Saturday, I slept like a baby till noon and then I tried to get the tickets for "Alegría" (a Cirque du Soleil performance to which I got tickets as a farewell gift from my friends in Riverside). The tickets were bought through El Corte Inglés, that monstrous chain of gigantic department stores that obviously do other things such as ticketing. Well... it's too early to judge them, but I haven't got my tickets (yet?). Unfortunately, when the girl at the counter check the computer there wasn't my name anywhere and I couldn't be surprised that she didn't want to give the tickets to me, because anybody could come and try to do the same thing.
In the afternoon, Govi called me and as we discussed on Friday, we went to see "The Inconvenient Truth", or "Un verdad incómoda" in Castellano, to IDEAL Cinemas. To my surprise, Iván "the cutie" was there as well, I thought he'd left like a week ago, but he went to Italy for a conference and as it turned out it was his last day in Spain as he was flying back to the US on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, he had to do some packing so we didn't go for any cañas after the movie. Then Marco sent me a text message at 11pm from a rock bar called La leyenda, close to Plaza de España and told me to come over for have some beer with his girlfriend who came from Italy to visit him. The funny thing was that in that message the bar was on c/ San Bernardo, the street that I know so I didn't take any emergency map with me. When I got there, no such a place could be found, so I called Marco back and the bar was actually on c/ San Bernardino, fortunately very close from c/ San Bernardo, but because I didn't have any map, it took me a while to find it. I met also Mar and Marco's roommate there with whom I had some drinks in Lavapiés few days ago. The bar was a very eclectic place, playing various styles of music, from The Cure to ZZ Top. I was told that bands actually performed there pretty frequently. On the way back home, a big storm came, the streets were instantly flooded and we could call the Madrid's main artery easily the "Gran Río". I am sure there was more water in the streets than in the Manzanares river.
On Sunday, an ordinary Spanish homework and then I went to see "The Sketches of Frank Gehry" to another V.O.S. movie theatre, called Golem Alphaville on c/ Martín de los Heros, very close to Plaza de España, but because I got some training the last night, it was a piece of cake to find the cinema. The place is much, much nicer and cleaner than IDEAL, also the people are extremely friendly there, so I am positive that if I could choose, I would prefer Alphaville to IDEAL. The movie could become easily an adoration garbage, fortunately Sydney Pollack also included a voice of Hal Foster, a professor at Princeton, who was not as excited about Gehry's works as the other ones in the movie, including one artists who was interviewed in his house wearing a bathrobe and sunglasses and claiming that Gehry shouldn't care about the "naysayers" because they are just bunch of flies flying around a lion.
UPDATE (7/11): I received the tickets! Apparently all that the girl needed was a little letter written in Spanish that Mien sent to me, saying that the tickets were for me.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Madrid needs water

Madrid necesita agua. That's what I can read close to the drinking fountain in the cafeteria now. Yes, but it rains already for three weeks. Please, "too much water kills the water", OK? I need some sun!

Thursday, November 2, 2006

La fiesta en el barrio bajo

The Halloween we spent in Lavapiés, a barrio where the artists and other "dangerous people" live. First, we had many jarras of beer and some croquetas, patatas con queso and ensaladas in Taberna Achuri on c/ Argumosa. Sitting outside (as I was told, very unusual for this time of the year), we watched cool people dressed in really great costumes and also some homeless guys trying to find a bench to sleep. Then we went to another bar in the same neighbourhood, with IKEA lamps and 80's music, how stylish yet funny. Unfortunately, that place was very smoky, otherwise I would stay longer. Catching the last train from Atocha metro station, the barrio was still full of little kids dressed like devils.