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Friday, February 06, 2004

Bajo el Sol de España

The good news is that the warm weather and sunshine here in Madrid have conspired to knock the cold out of my body. The bad news is that it jumped over to my brother.

I wrote an essay a long way back about internet cafes and why we do not have them in the States--at least not many of them. At the airport in Seattle there is a dorky and expensive internet place with private booths--perhaps for viewing internet porn? A block from my hotel here there is a cool internet cafe with about fifty work stations. It is relatively inexpensive (2.5 Euros an hour i.e. about $2.90). You see them all over the place in most countries I have been to except the U.S.

The weather also conspired to keep me out of any museums yesterday. Instead of looking at art I walked about ten miles through various sections of the city. El Parque del Retiro is a huge city park just east of the Prado museum. Every big city should have such a big beautiful place to escape the chaos of the streets. Seattle has no centrally located park, something I notice almost every day.

I could really get used to this whole tapas thing. I have not eaten much else besides the little things you wolf down with a small glass of beer or a little wine. Last night we had a plate of spiced sausage and fried squid in La Cerveceria Alemana which is located in the lovely Plaza Santa Ana. This was our second visit to this place and the barman recognized us. He took good care of us both times. I told him that I wasn´t too familiar with the whole Spanish eating method so he walked us through a few items on the menu. At another spot off of La Plaza Mayor we had a beer and a plate of small fried fish (boquerones) similar to what I remembered from Greece. They are similar to sardines and you eat the whole fish--bones and all.

There is a great little jazz club near La Plaza Santa Ana, La Central, where we saw a jazz trio play their final set of the night. I see lots of jazz in Seattle and I am always amazed at the reverential treatment given jazz artists in Europe. La Central is a bar but everyone in the audience pays complete attention to the stage during the performance. No one talks, no one makes any noise. If you are an American jazz musician you owe it to yourself to get a gig over here.

It?s sunny and warm again today but I need to go to a museum just to give my feet a rest. We are meeting up with some Spanish friends of the family this evening at their house. I want them to take us out in their neighborhood of Madrid and show me how this whole tapas routine should go from start to finish. I will be ready to move here for keeps right about when I?m due back home.

Adios y hasta mañana.

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