01 May 2009

The Three P's

Plazas, Palacios + Paella, that is. . .

Today was our most photogenic day in Madrid. We walked through Plaza Mayor twice--once when it was sunny + another time in a glossy downpour. We also visited the Palacio Real, but felt duped after waiting in line for twenty minutes, only to find out that entry wasn't free, even though the sign clearly claimed entrada gratuita, a minor detail for the security guard I talked to who quizzed me for five minutes:

--So what does the sign say?
--It says that admission is free.
--What else?
--Admission is free for four month period [from April 2009 until July 2009].
--And today's date is within that four month period.
--What else?
--That's all it says.
--No, you have to read it closely
--I did.
--That's not all it says.
--I assure you it is.
--Look, she said, dismissing me, everything isn't free.

After this, LB + I walked to La Latina, looked for a good Tapas restaurant, but only found a few, then we had tea at a café before heading back to Plaza Mayor, and then, after dark, corpulent clouds threatened the neutrality of the sky since the morning, we got stuck in a Spring storm as it started to downpour.

Finally, after making it back to our hotel, where I got in another inane argument with the cranky receptionist at the front desk who started testing my identity:

--Nombre [name]?
--No, tu nombre.
--Jackson Bliss, LB said, in a Peruvian accent.
--Mi appelido [surname] es Bliss, mi nombre es Jackson.
--No, hay otra nombre [no, there's another name here].
--Fine, I said, J. Jackson Bliss.
--Acá dice Jonathan [here it says Jonathan]
--That's my first name but I don't go by that.
--That doesn't matter, she said, what matters is what's written here.

I gave her an incredulous look. Spaniards, you have to understand, often have five, six, even seven names, and they often go by their third, fifth, or second name. This is very normal.

Then another guest asked her a question and she proceeded to ignore us. Later on, to test our theory, LB talked to her, and she smiled this fake smile + then turned to me + glared. I laughed.

But, Spanish female stubborness aside, our day was fantastic, and LB + I found redemption in our food, as we often do. This time, it was our dinner. We lucked out big time. With two minutes left at my computer at this cybercafé we visited (while vaguely Eastern European, chain-smoking boys played violent first-person video games), we found the name of a famous paellaría, located close to our hotel. So after freshening up, we walked to La Barranca, and got seated immediately despite not having reservations. There we ate some of the best Paelle we've ever eaten in our entire lives. And though we broke our vegetarian vow for a few hours to eat a little sea food, I have to say, it was totally worth it. That paella was worth capping someone for. It was that good. Then, after strolling around Sol for awhile, we went home, listened to French teenagers whispering in the hallway, and we made love, falling asleep as drunk Madrileños sang rock songs + Mozart arias in the street at four in the morning.

Graffiti 1
Surprisingly Unhelpful Unless You're Looking for the Metro
Street 1
Street 2
Arch towards Plaza Mayor
Streets 3
Plaza Mayor 1
Plaza Mayor 2
LB in Action, Looking Like a Charlie's Angel
Plaza Mayor 3
I Really Thought This Was a Real Guy for a Second: You Never Know in Spain. Some Dude Could Totally Be Wearing a Fake Metal Suit
Madrid Buildingscape
Madrid Skyline
Catedral de la Almudena
Catedral de la Almudena 2
Madrid Skyline 4
Catedral de la Almudena 3
Catedral de la Almudena 4
Palacio Real 1
Palacio Real 2
LB in Action 2
Palacio Real 3
Here's One of Many Signs Confusing the Shit out of Tourists, Most of Whom, Just End up Dishing Out the Entrance Fee after Waiting in Line for Thirty Minutes
Madrid Skyline 5
Streets 4
Streets 5
Streets 6
Spanish Flag
Streets 7
Streets 8
I Could Be Wrong, but I Think This Was a Store for Pope Gear
Plaza Mayor 4
Plaza Mayor 5
The World's Largest Bra--LB Could Have Worn These As Hot Pants
Plaza Mayor 6
LB, Looking Almost Angelic
Plaza Mayor 7
Plaza Mayor 8
Plaza Mayor 9
Plaza Mayor 10
Plaza Mayor 11
Plaza Mayor 12
Plaza Mayor 13
Streets 9
Land of Paella
Inside La Barraca
Inside La Barraca 2
Paella Worth Capping Someone for
LB, All Smiles before She Eats
I Love This Hotel. Its Motto is:
Yes, In Fact, I Do. Maybe We Could Escape from the World of Gossipy French Teenagers + Feisty Front Desk Receptionists
A Random Spanish Plaza with People Just Kicking It
Graffiti 2


Coty said...

I think that the free entrance announced in the sign is for the exhibition that´s inside the Palacio Real. There´s a place across the patio where there are many exhibitions during the year. But you have to pay to see the Palacio. I agree that maybe it´s not that clear for tourists.

Fernanda Ibañez said...

no, me estas ofendiendo en serio

Still Life in South America said...

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing your stories and beautiful photos.

Alis said...

Hola J! que lindo que escribis, empece a leer tus entradas viejas, sos muy entretenido, aburro siempre diciendote lo mismo :S
Espero que la proxima te postee en ingles...estoy aprendiendo y esa fue una de las causas por las que empece a leer tu blog, para practicar. Mi profe me dijo que busque algo que me llame la atención y bue aca estoy.
Muy bonitas fotos!

un beso.