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Thursday, February 05, 2004

Fútbol Fan

I became a Real Madrid soccer fan last night completely by accident. We took the metro from the Sevilla stop in our neighborhood a bit north to the Canal stop just to check out a new area of town. We walked about two blocks when I noticed a tapas bar that was completely full. As we got closer you could see the TV tuned to a soccer match. It turned out to be a match between Real Madrid and Sevilla. We found a spot at the stand-up bar, ordered a couple of cañas (small glasses of beer) and started screaming at the TV like all of the other Madrileños in the place.

It turned out to be an excellent game, especially for the Real Madrid fans. Their star striker, the brilliant Ronaldo, was out with the flu so their second-tier guy, the Argentine Solari, stepped up and made a spectacular goal to start the scoring. Every time Madrid´s new English sensation, David Beckham, touched tjhe ball the crowd in the bar sent up a shout of encouragement. Real Madrid also employs the services of the Zidane, the French superstar ball handler. We ordered beers and started swearing at the TV like everyone else.

Tapas bars seem perfect for sports viewing. The food is excellent and there is plenty of beer and wine. We had a mixed plate of chorizo (spiced sausage), cheese, olives, and anchovies. This bar specialized in seafood so with every beer you get a couple of mussels and olives. I´m starting to get the hang of this whole tapas culture which is more than I can say for the spanish keyboard I am using.

I was going to look around the Prado Museum yesterday but I didn´t want to squander the beautiful weather. We opted for an epic walk with countless stops for coffee, beer, food, wine, beer, and food. The thing is the weather is even better today--what´s a dilletante to do? I think I´ll look at some art today just to give my feet a rest.

The hotel couldn't be in a better location: a block from the metro, and walking distance to just about everything in old Madrid. Even though the dollar is in the toilet it isn't expensive here. I haven´t been able to use a credit card--or I should say I haven´t tried. I haven´t had a tab big enough to bother charging. Food and drinks are especially cheap. I don´t think we have spent over $20 at any one place.

The metro here is inexpensive, efficient, user-friendly, and clean. It is a lot more than that and I only wish Seattle had a mass transit system this cool. A ten ride ticket is only 5.6 Euros (1 Euro=1.33 Dollars). I have already taken the metro to most corners of the city where I will walk until my feet are ready to fall off. Then I will drop down into the metro and ride back to my station at Sevilla. The buses seem to be a great way to get around although I haven´t bothered with them just yet.

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