Monday, December 31, 2007

Feliz Año Nuevo!

Mikey´s typing on the computer right next to me, so hopefully we won´t overlap too much. Sorry for the dueling posts, but there´s lots to write and little time!

It´s about 3:30 now on New Year´s Eve and we´re gearing up for the big night tonight. Our hotel is right on the Puerta del Sol, which is like Spain´s Times Square. So tonight we´ll be surrounded by Ricardo Clarko´s Nuevo Año Rockin´ Eve. The tradition here is to eat 12 grapes at midnight for good luck in the next year (or perhaps 12 years...couldn´t quite translate the explanation perfectly) and, of course, drink champagne to toast the new year. It´s going to be a good time...and we know this first hand because we were around yesterday for the practice...yes, ¡they practice for New Year´s! That´s how seriously it´s taken here. And the crowds stayed out til 3 or 4 am afterward...actually, was still some noise in the street when we woke up this morning. This morning we went to the store to buy our cans of 12 grapes (brilliant marketing by the grape industry, as they get triple the price per grape), a bottle of champagne to drink, and two bottles to spray all over the crowds beneath our hotel room. =) Hey, when in Rome...or Madrid...

We also made an exciting find yesterday- other Americans! We were hanging out in the Puerta listening to some Mariachis when we met two teachers from America, Brooke and Evelyn, who were able to give us some good tips on what to do and see in Madrid. I especially liked one piece of advice: ¨drink lots of vino.¨ Well, okay! They were also able to clue us in on why we keep seeing people walking around in multicolor wigs all over the place. Apparently it´s a New Year´s / April Fools´ Day (celebrated here Dec. 28- the day we two fools departed for Spain) tradition, so we´ll have to find some wigs big enough for our American heads and join the fun!

Some other quick tidbits:

- After avoiding eating at a KFC in the US for 24 years, I finally broke down and tried it last night, since we couldn´t leave the Puerta and make it back in time for the New Year´s practice if we ate elsewhere. It was $20 for 7 pieces of chicken and some fries...kind of wishing American things weren´t such a novelty here!

- ¨Google¨ has also become a verb in Spanish: Googlear = to Google something (no joke)

- Spanish people like being happy and having fun...and they dance whenever possible. At the New Year´s practice, we learned a few songs, including the Spanish Hokey Pokey and ¨Quando te toco, vas loca¨ (When I touch you, you go crazy), a dance that spreads virally, because every person who´s touched by someone doing it has to join the fun.

Okay, that´s my update for back soon, possibly next time from Paris! We leave tomorrow afternoon, SPT...eeks! Better learn French soon!


Siesta, Fiesta, repeat...

Alright people, Mikey here, on day three of our trip. I gotta tell you, its kinda cool being the minority. We´ve run into all sorts of language barriers, and conquered most of them, but not elegantly. We´ve had some interesting experiences too. Lets start from the end of day 1...

After the usual arrival, walking around, and gathering our collective wits that first day, we decided to do something cultural, in case we were too incapacitated. Enter the Reina Sofia Museum. We saw original works by Miro, Picasso, and Dali. It was an amazing place, and the city around it embraces the museum as two others are in the vicinty, and it is known as the art district. However, you dont wanna know about that... Lets get to the good shit...

So after we finish blogging for you guys the other night, we decide to leave the cafe, and go get something to eat. We went to a place known as VIPS... nope, not pronounced v.i.p`s, but VEEPS. We get there, and the store the restaurant is in has another restaurant, AND a convenience store... all in one. We eat, (they had good burgers :) )and decide after wards to go enjoy a night out. We hear about this club thats held in an 18th century palace, and are WAY too curious. As we approach this monolith of a building, we look on to nothing but three bouncers out front. Upon approach, we get into line, which at 12:30, wasnt bad at all, seeing the clubs dont start filling until 2 or 3. 15€ to get in (you know your impressed i found that sign on this weird ass keyboard, dont lie) and it comes with a drink. So we ascend the marble staircase into what can only be described as a mansion of the 7 sins. Nicer than any club ive ever seen in America, this place had it all: at least 12-15 different rooms, all with bars, as well as hallways adorned with mirrors and beautiful bodies every where the eye could see (btw... fat people are very scarce in madrid... to say the least, im easily found when lost.) We get our free drinks, and begin to enjoy. This place also kept almost all of the original decor, so its like partying in Wayne Huizengas crib. A night of dancing and fun runs into a commercial break when i go for my second drink. Not remembering i didnt pay for the first one, i order the same red bull and vodka. She then takes half of my wallet and smiles. It was a cute smile. But it didnt change the fact that i just paid 11€ for my drink. Well, to make a long story shirt... that night was expensive, but worth it. We partied in a friggin mansion guys... yeeaaahh

We wake up.. the room is dark, as we have no windows, only a double door heading out to the balcony, and so as we awake, we open it to find the city bustling with busy bodies... Wow Madrid wakes up early. Upon closer examination i find that it is not early at all... 2 pm. SHIT! That went fast. So we get up, get ready, and head for the tour bus. Madrid Vision. That stands for Madrid Vision for all you laymans. We take the bus all around Historic Madrid, seeing the Prado Museum, a whole buncha old shit, and danny ducking tree limbs as the bus would occasionally hit a few. (please see video for more from the Vision Tour. ) So now i will relinquish to Danny for the second part of this two part blog (for time purposes) BTW, he got to write about all the cool shit, so enjoy his... ill get the cool shit tomorrow...

PS. The videos lookin to be pretty friggin cool, so read up on here, but know that the best is yet to come.