When I first stepped onto the plane to Spain I got a great taste of Spanish humor. Once we were in the air the flight attendant began to tell Spanish jokes over the loud speaker and all of the Spaniard passengers began to laugh, clap, and whistle. I was surprised and amused by the joyous way the Spaniards took the most mundane things. I knew from this moment on I would have a good time in the company of the Spanish.
I was received by my friend Andreas at the airport. We embraced at the turnstile and made our old time jokes all the way to his house. Andreas lives in a semi-gritty neighborhood. The area has charming cloths-lines running from building to building and the streets in front of his apartment building are littered with the young men of the 20% unemployment rate of Spain. However, the area is very nice in an urban way. In front of his complex is a children’s playground. There were often children playing there until the evening. The playground is surrounded by a ring of park benches, which are graced with the elders of the community. The white haired Spanish watch as the children run and jump across the jungle gym. It was very inspiring to see an old Spanish man watch the youthful children playing. Further behind the playground was a concrete slab that the young men occupied to smoke away their idle days.
The street has multiple bars and corner stores. The cornerstores were owned by the Chinese, and bars were owned by the Spanish. The area is comfortable for a young person to start a life there and suits Andreas’ temperament well.
Andreas’ apartment is medium size with white walls. Each occupant has a window that opens to a cloths-line that runs to the windows of the buildings stacked adjacent to Andréa’s building. In a very endearing way I witnessed Andreas shouting salutations to his Russian neighbors across their forty-foot cloths-line.
In Andreas’ Apartment there are four languages spoken. Andreas can speak three of the four. English, Spanish, French, and Catala. Andreas has two female Spanish roommates and one French young man. Their conversations are often a mixture of the four languages. In a very real way Andreas is living the life of the French film “The Spanish Apartment”.
When I finally arrived at Andreas’ apartment, he fed me olives and sausages. Andreas has become quite a good cook. He can make Spanish tortilla and prepare hearty breakfasts. Throughout my stay he often made dinner and breakfast. His natural love for hosting meant that I was well fed.
The second night I was there Andreas decided, that instead of having me sleep on the floor he wanted me to sleep somewhere more comfortable. At 1 A.M. in the morning Andreas bused me and two of his friends to a small mountain range and by the full moon light we climbed for one hour. We made a camp and fire in a cave and Andreas cooked over the open flame. Then we slept on the rocks. I remember as I tried to doze off I heard goats climbing the mountain behind us.
In the morning I woke up to the sight of a vulture circling around as. After some more climbing we came down from the mountain. It was an amazing experience. After we got home everyone was so tired from sleeping between a rock and a hard place that we all slept on Andreas’s welcoming floor.
We woke up at 11pm and as the Spanish do, made plans to meet Andreas’ friends at 12am. When I did finally get home that night the sun had risen and I fell asleep in a chair.
The next day I took myself on a walk around Madrid. It was surprising that all the stores were closed for a couple hours in the midday so that people could go sleep. After wondering around the streets seeing that all the shops were closed. I gave in the urges of my host country and marched right back to Andreas’ apartment for a Siesta.
When and Andreas and I awoke from this we decided to watch the Bull fight. We actually watched it on TV, as the actual event was sold out. I liked that in one of the fights the Bull defeated the matador and was set free.
Well we watched the bull fight Andreas’ French roommate showed me a video of the prime minister of France’s wife singing. He also ate slices of Tomato dipped in Mayonnaise. I think the French are an odd people to say the least.
Andreas and I continued to eat and sleep for a few more days until I finally departed Madrid for Barcelona on an over night bus. I was so accustom to sleeping in caves, the floor, or a chair that the bus was like a pleasure cruise. I slept for five hours. Watched the sunrise over the mountains.
I arrived in Barcelona, tired and with a bad taste me my mouth. Barcelona would turn out to be one of the most interesting and exciting places I have ever been.
-until I write about Barcelona.
This Carla Bruni The prime minister of France’s wife!