Shannon’s Super Sexy Blog. Music. Travel. Randomness. And a Lot of Wine.

Archive for March, 2004

Shrimps and Corruption

Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

There is a huge uproar over the Miss Espana contest. Apparently some of the contestants got “special treatment.” I know because I was watching a sort of Jerry Springer show but instead of an ugly guy (Springer) there is a pretty girl trying to keep things in/out of order. There were three contestants on the show complaining in a loud and relentless manner. The director of the contest was on a telephone trying to defend himself. I guess some of the contestants got “private interviews.” Hmmm… wonder what went on in these private interviews? No wonder Miss Jaen smiled so much.

For lunch we had a tapa of chorizo at one bar and then some killer shrimps with garlic at another. This was on our way to the Thyssen Bornemisza museum, which is one of the coolest museums I have ever been to. The rain has not stopped but it seems a little warmer. I feel incredibly at home here. I think I need to move back to a city. Maybe this city!

Later I will write about the talk show where a porn star was being interviewed with a huge screen behind her, showing one of her movies. Dang.

Tonight we are tapas grazing tonight, on and around Cava Baja. I would be totally depressed leaving Madrid if I weren?t going to five other cities after this.

Manana… Toledo.

The rain in Spain doesn’t want to stop

Monday, March 29th, 2004

I love, love, love Madrid. This city rocks. We have been walking everywhere and eating a tapa here, a tapa there… I will save the details for the trip report. It is bleeping freezing here, and raining all the time. If I had cajones they would be freezing off. We have not let this stop us, but I missed out on the flea market and the Retiro park, also we won?t make it to Segovia – it is just too wet and too cold. I will be back though I know, I really love it here, forget Chow! Amsterdam if there was ever a city that needs Chow guide it is Madrid. There are tapas bars and hip places to drink EVERYWHERE. It is like my own personal mecca. We have one more day and then we head to Toledo.

So, last night we got home in time to watch the last part of the Miss Espana contest. As soon as we started watching they picked the six finalists. Instead of just calling the six finalists, the camera would focus on a contestant and then the finalist was made to wait in agony for like two minutes on camera and then very slowly the MC would say whether she made it or not. It was brutal to watch! The misses Barcelona, Sevilla, Jaen, Valencia, Melilla (I think) and Orencse (or some such city) made it. Barcelona was very weepy and heartfelt and got the most cheers. Jaen was the prettiest in that so perfect you make me sick kind of way, and very polished. Sevilla looked downright mean. The others were boring. The scoring system was as follows: There are a gazillion judges (Twelve? Twenty four? It seemed to take forever.) Each one rates each girl from 1 to 6. So if you get a 1, you get 1 point, 6 and you get 6 points. The totals are tallied on the TV screen and also a huge screen at the contest; still, the MC had to rattle off every score very slowly after each judge. If you thought the Oscars were long… Jaen took the early lead. It went up and down but it was a clear race between Barcelona and Jaen. Everytime Sevilla got a bad score she looked like she was going to kill that judge. Jaen smiled alot the silly cow. The others just looked scared. Jaen won, of course.

So that was just hours of entertainment. There is also a show here that we have seen twice as it seems to come on in the right-before-going-out-for-the-evening time. It is called Hecho Pareja I think. It is like the Dating Game but for older or perhaps socially inept people. The first day the woman and the three men contestants were in their sixties. On this day there were questions about sex and I heard the word “Clinton.” Then they put on blindfolds and the woman had to slap the guys in their faces! The show last night was better, it was a pretty scary woman named Petra and the three contestants were a Clark Kent type guy, an Erik Estrada type guy (perhaps not packing as much as Erik) and a balding, fat freakazoid named Jesus. We got to see them do a sexy dance, push ups, and slapping (this time the guys got to slap Petra). Jesus won! I took a picture of the TV, I have never seen such a mismatched couple.

Later I will write about the comedy show involving a married couple, a whip, black vinyl, soccer balls, and a naked guy in the closet.

We have also been to the Prado and the Palazzo Real, I am not spending ALL my time watching Spanish TV. We are going to the famous Casin Botin tonight. We were suppose to go last night but somehow the time jumped an hour ahead and we missed our reservation.

My favorite thing to eat so far – well two things. A huge plate of fried seafood at a tapas bar in a cave under the Plaza Mayor (we thought we ordered a tapa… we are still learning.) Also a piece of bread that was toasted on an open fire right by the bar and spread with garlic and oil, at a taverna near the Prado. It was so GOOD.

There are incredible buildings and big boulevards with huge fountains in the middle everywhere… cool boho streets with too many tavernas to try and not enough time to try them… Madrid is surpassing all expectations so far.

Fighting petty crime for fun and profit

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2004

I read in a magazine today that you can buy a little computer chip and have it planted in your pet, so that if the pet gets lost you can find it. This service costs less than $40!

I find this a bit freaky and bizarre since let’s face it, when are humans, as employees, lovers, ex-convicts, or what have you, going to be injected with this chip? Probably sooner than we think.

Even though it totally freaks me out I can’t help but think about productive and useful ways we can use the implanted chip.

For instance. I have been reading practically on an hourly basis of all the pickpocketing and petty crime in Spain. I remember back in 1998, before my first trip to Italy, being fearful of all the petty crime in Italy because I had read about it hourly for six months before I actually went. Now, of course, I have been to Italy and occasionally witnessed petty crime and even fended off an robbery attempt by pretending to hurl a bag with four bottles of wine in it at the would-be robber and then running away really fast (with the wine, of course, do you think I would really throw away WINE?)

Even though I now saunter carelessly through petty crime ridden Rome and Florence carrying a backpack or purse (gasp) and have never once worn a money belt (you can?t be serious! No way! Double gasp) I find myself feeling a bit fretful about the petty crime in Spain. Chalk it up to inexperience I guess.

But, eh, where was I?

Oh yeah. The implanted chip. If they can put a chip in a live creature, why can’t they put a chip in my rolling suitcase? My purse? My camera? Seriously, with the right technology we could wipe out all the petty crime in Europe. With the chip (as I see it), you install it, and then transmit the information to some great purse/wallet/suitcase data center in the sky. If your purse/wallet or whatever is stolen, it can be tracked by the proper authorities wherever you are. Can you imagine, you are at a flea market, and suddenly you notice your wallet is gone! Instead of turning red and helplessly moaning, uh, HELP! you can simply press a button on the special, police summoning talisman that you wear around your neck (the talisman comes with the chip, obviously, all part of the package) and suddenly the horrible robbers are being chased by Barcelona’s finest, and they catch them and give you back your wallet, and you can go and eat some tapas.

It would be nice, but now that I think about it, any chip that tracks anything is way too weird. Instead, everyone should wear super tight pants. Yes, super tight pants and purses with zippers but no zipper openers. Everyone should dress like a punk rocker – that’ll get rid of the petty crime. One need not risk the breakage of four bottles of wine, after all.

Dreams in Spain and Breakfast in Monrovia

Monday, March 22nd, 2004

The weekend went wicked fast leaving me with only four days and four nights to go. I dreamed about Spain all night last night. Last week I was dreaming about Venice alot – but now it seems I’ll be dreaming about Spain until I get there.

First, my mom and I were at the gate trying to check in for our flight, only they wouldn’t let us on because we had paper tickets and not the new rubber tickets. They wanted us to go to ticketing and get rubber tickets. I was trying to tell them I didn’t know about any freekin new rubber tickets, but they would not hear me. So, I told my mom to wait and I’d go to ticketing. But then she was in downtown Chicago and I was in front of a hotel that appeared to be in Miami, trying to hail a cab to go find my mom.

But I guess we made it on the flight, because then we were in Madrid and buying train tickets at the train station. You had to punch what you wanted into a computer, then an agent on the other side of the computer would give you the ticket. We got our tickets, but the destination was Warsaw. “Through the Soviet Union” the ticket guy said. “But we aren’t going to Warsaw, we are going to Sevilla,” I said. He made some scribbles on the tickets and gave them back to me.

Then I was in a crowded market, not with my mom, but with my best friend from high school, Celeste Karwowski. Someone cut my purse strap and my purse fell to the ground, and a guy grabbed my wallet and ran. Another guy chased him, I chased him, and the robber threw my wallet back at me.

Then we were in someone’s living room that was also a bakery, and a woman was trying to sell me some of her goods. She had some little Easter duckies with the backs hollowed out and some filling in them. She had big cookies and chocolates filled with coconut. She was telling me the prices in pesetas (note to self – how much is a peseta?) I bought some of the chocolates.

Won’t it be weird if I see some ducks with filling in them when I am there?

On to real life. We ate breakfast at a diner in Monrovia yesterday. It was very crowded so we sat at the counter to avoid the wait. We ordered an omelette to split and a plate of fruit. There was a woman next to us who was eating something, but we couldn’t tell what because it had a whole bottle of ketchup on it. She also had a Burger King bag on the counter, which she eventually left with so it wasn’t empty. The question is, did she need an appetizer of something with ketchup before her main course of ketchup? Or did she want a greasy dessert? But the fun doesn’t stop here.

The next woman to sit down ordered not one, but two breakfasts. She ordered an omelette with fried potatoes AND a plate of pancakes. It’s not like these were small plates of food – we ate one between two of us. The woman wanted a side of avocado on her omelette but decided against it because it was an extra 75 cents. Out of the kitchen comes these two big breakfasts and the plates are placed in front of her. I was like, there is no way she will be able to eat all that. Yeah, right. She inhaled the pancakes. INHALED them. One snort and they were gone. She moved a bit more slowly with the second course, but she finished it. We couldn’t stop watching. It was totally insane. I’ll bet she went to Burger King after that.

The rave in Spain

Monday, March 15th, 2004

Oh my, oh my. We are leaving VERY VERY soon. I’ve got the new suitcase on the bed and am fiddling around with stuff. Asking the age-old question, “can I get everything into a 22 incher?”

The answer is, to be truthful, probably not.

I got my purple suede boots, the boots that I found when I went suitcase shopping but they didn’t have my size but then I found them on ebay. THOSE boots. They ROCK. They are beyond cool. How can I not take them? And if I do take them, I have to bring the jeans I bought to go with the boots. And my new orange suede vest that looks really good with the jeans and the boots.

So now I’ve got three items that basically can’t be paired with anything else and will fill up 1/3 of my 22 inch suitcase. I could wear them on the plane, but I have this serious problem with wine dribblage on planes. So that’s probably not a good idea. One good thing is, I can use the boots as a storage area for socks and underwear, thereby not giving up too much valuable space.

I’m getting my hair re-purple-ized tomorrow – another reason I must have my purple boots. I’m doing it a week and a half before the trip so I only partially destroy every shower I enter. I’d pack my own towel and pillowcase so I won’t wreck those provided, but heck, that would take up way too much room and I’ve got to be somewhat restrictive on what I bring.

I also bought some wine colored Pumas with a pink stripe. Now THOSE I can wear on the plane….

A Stranger in Spain

Saturday, March 13th, 2004

I’ve been reading A Stranger in Spain by H.V. Morton. The Slowtalk Patriarch, Doru, recommended this book as a good introduction to Spain. He is right – it is a great book – almost 40 years old but still fresh (though obviously some things have changed since then.) H.V. travels all over Spain and writes about his experiences, and he clearly is a sort of stuffy English guy but he is funny and keeps me interested every minute (which is, I must say, sort of hard to do.) Reading A Stranger in Spain is a lot better than brushing up on (or learning completely) your Spanish History by reading Lonely Planet or a DK Guide.

Here is a sample of Mr. Morton’s humor. It is a classic line – it just slays me.

“No one brought up on the works of Beatrix Potter can understand, much less appreciate, a bull-fight, and nothing can ever be done about it.”

CLASSIC. English homies will NEVER understand. For some bizarre reason, Hemingway did. He wasn’t English, but he wasn’t Spanish either. Hemingway must have been Spanish in one of his previous lives (Morton too, maybe. Also me, maybe.) At any rate I really love this book, have even tossed around the idea of bringing it with me. I’m still uncertain about the bull-fight thing. Because of the way Morton writes about it. I’m all for passion and ritual, but I think a flamenco may be more my speed.