January 26th, 2010

(no subject)

Back from Madrid.

Did you all miss me?

Totally, totally awesome mini-vacation.

Got off the plane in Madrid and so few people had checked luggage that mine was actually at the conveyor belt when I got to it. This is the first time in my life I haven't had to wait for checked luggage!

Had the cab driver take me to my hotel. He didn't speak English but did speak Italian and understood French. I can't speak Italian but I do understand it so we had a long involved Italian/French conversation.

Got to the hotel and it was awesome! Usually I'm a cheap bastard about hotels so I've only been in shitty ones the past few years, but this time I wanted to treat myself and I'm glad I did. I'd forgotten how psychologically fun it is to be in someplace really comfortable and swanky.

By the time I got unpacked I was starving but it was 3:30 and not Spanish lunchtime so I went to the one place I know serves food all day long - The Hard Rock Cafe. Didn't stay very long there because there was a birthday party for a bunch of 9 year old girls - AT THE FUCKING BAR.

Did have a good pulled pork sandwich and saw the guitar Slash used during that famous show at the Ritz before Guns N Roses became popular. Seeing it explained a lot. I always wondered how he did all those tricks with it like playing it behind his back and shit. Seeing it made it make more sense. It's very, very tiny, which would make manipulating it around a good deal easier. Plus, the strings are set much, much closer to the neck than they are on a standard electric guitar which I have to assume would make all his hammer ons a shit load easier.

Went back to the area around my hotel and window shopped a bit before meeting rebeccacita at an Irish expat bar.

We hung out there for a bit getting to know each other. She told me that I was much, much more "laid back" than she expected from my journal. Nobody has ever called me laid back which I took as a huge compliment. I also wondered how much of a nut job I must come off as here.

She took me to an out of way really cool authentic tapas place where I hoovered up tons of meats and cheeses. Then, it was time for the bar crawl.

The girl knew all the cool places that had good drinks but were not that expensive. We hit a ton of them getting either one or two drinks at each place and then moving on (some of the bars had a deal where the girl got two drinks for the price of one, so those were the bars where we had two rounds.)

This kept up until 4 a.m. and was awesome. Because we were walking around so much neither of us ever really got drunk, but we did maintain an awesome buzz.

The next day I slept in and read a book in the posh hotel room for a while and then wandered around the neighborhood until meeting Rebeccacita again around 4:30. Had a few drinks and then walked down toward the Prado.

Along the way I noticed a bar I'd really wanted to go to on my last trip called The Glass Bar. I hadn't gone before because it was super posh and I would have felt weird being a single guy in there. As we are passing it she mentions that she had always wanted to go there and I was like "this is fate." So we decided we'd hit it later on.

We got to the Prado and I spent a lot of time looking at The Garden of Earthly Delights, which I have now decided is the best painting ever created. Nothing comes even remotely close to it.

It's gigantic. It's beautiful. It tells a story. It's very sacrilegious and it's angry and just wonderful. Looked at a few other things then went to the gift shop where I got a print of it and bought Rome Girl a puzzle version of Las Meninas by Velázquez.

It's funny, Las Meninas and The Garden of Earthly Delights are the two super famous paintings at the Prado but many more people stand around and look at Las Meninas than at The Garden. In fact a lot of people walk up to The Garden of Earthly Delights, look at it for a second and then walk away in disgust.

I call these people "pussies."

After the Prado we hit The Glass Bar which can best be described as the type of bar Patrick Batemen would go to. It was all shiny black and silver and glass and super posh. I had their version of a gin and tonic which featured ginger and mint in it and was served in a giant oversized brandy snifter.

Next we hit The Penthouse which is considered the most exclusive bar in Madrid. It's a rooftop bar with a great view of the entire city. You sit on giant overstuffed leather couches and they pump aroma therapy smells into it, so you feel vaguely stoned and relaxed.

Good times.

Then, we found another tapas bar and pigged out on more pork products and cheese before we decided to go bar hopping again.

We hit a bunch of dives including two lesbian bars. The first dyke bar was really seedy but there was this really cool lipstick lesbian couple we saw canoodling who were sorta adorable. Also talked to a drag queen who informed us he'd been awake for almost 24 hours and didn't feel fabulous anymore and wanted to go home but couldn't pull himself away from the place.

The second lesbian bar was very popular and very not seedy. Everyone was dancing and having a good time. This was when I realized there are two types of Spanish lesbians. One type is really, really intentionally ugly. The other type is ridiculously feminine and pretty. There seems to be no in between at all.

We bummed around the town a bit more until Rebeccacita's feet were hurting her and she needed to sit down. We found a hooka bar that was empty except for the owner and got a beer. Then, a baby chihuahua came out and started running around and we played with it for a while because it was adorable. The owner then told me that she used to run a hooka bar in Montpellier that she had to close and sell when the French smoking bad came into place. Now, I'm trying to remember if I ever saw that place.

The next day we spent exploring the western side of the city including this beautiful park where about 50 or 60 Spaniards had decided to dress up like Star Wars characters and have light saber battles. This was beyond amusing.

Found a mexican bar later that we liked so much (mostly because it was all about cats) and drank way too many beers and margaritas while eating enchiladas.

Finally it was getting late and she had to work Monday morning so we went back to the city center, had a couple gin and tonics in the Irish expat bar and called it a night.

All in all the vacation could not have been better.





My big client needs to temporarily halve my workload and retainer!!!!!

Not sure if it takes effect on the next pay period (Feb. 1) or the one after that (Feb. 15.)

Either way I've got to suddenly seriously hustle to bring new business in the door!

On the other hand, at least I still have them as a client and they say they will kick it back up when the workload comes back.