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

Archive for September, 2011

Sueno Mojado

Monday, September 12th, 2011

I am settling into my life here in the little apartment near the Reina Sofia museum.  I had my first Spanish tutoring today, and I fear I will not have too much time for anything else!  I was not totally lost, and this is due solely to my introductory lessons in Italian many years ago.  (the verb “essere,” anyone?)  I have been trying to understand people’s conversations but it is impossible.  The only thing I understood today when eaves dropping was “pan con mais.”  (Cornbread.)  If everyone could just speak in food terms I would probably be OK.

I’ve also been trying to learn from watching American movies and show on the TV but I think this is not the way to go.  I think that a big part of understanding is reading lips, and obviously you cannot read lips this way.

Tomorrow I will meet my tutor in another part of Madrid.  Apparently the area near the river Manzanares used to be kind of ghetto, or merely boring but now it is kind of cool and hip.  My tutor is maybe 20 years younger than me (maybe more) so I will take his word for it. Though if you take the teacher/student dynamic into mind, I am eight years old, while he remains the same age.  Cool.

My first lesson did not help me with the minor plumbing problem here in the apartment.  Last night I was doing dishes and the floor was suddenly all wet.  Like, uber wet.  So I wrote to the owner because lord knows I do not want the people downstairs to get flooded out.  (Remind me to tell you how, just a few days ago, the rains in DC created a whackadoodle situation in my guest room at Casa Fischer.  Suffice to say, am a bit freaked about rain, and water right now.) So today the owner sent a plumber but of course, when he is here there is no problem.  As soon as he leaves, I wash dishes again and of course, vwoosh, a bunch of water coming out of the wall.  Anyway I think I figured out the problem.  I have a better command of plumbing than Spanish, that is for sure, and I know eff all about plumbing.  But try, just try, to explain, in Spanish, a flood besides saying “mucho aqua.”  Not to mention I got Suelo (floor) mixed up with Sueno (sleep? Dream?) Argh. The dude just didn’t believe me. Honestly it is kind of funny this happened the very day I started trying to figure out Spanish.  There is water in the dream!  No kidding, Sigmunda.

I like it here, this neighborhood.  My long morning at the Carrefour is just a distant nightmare; turns out, just down the street is an indoor market with all manner of fresh seafood, meat, veggies and fruits.  And I have been looking for a wine shop – the other day I hauled three bottles from the freeking Mercato San Miguel.  Friday, and also Saturday, and of course Sunday, everything was closed due to the holiday of Friday.  I just knew there was a cool wine place right under my nose, but if something is closed here it is like it does not exist.  There is a blank where the shop would  be.   A metal shutter, no signage, niente.  OOPS.  I mean nada.  Today, walking home from getting a glass of overpriced verdejo and doing my Spanish homework at some cafe near the Prado (I’ll let you know how that went) I pass this little tiny store.  It is not a wine shop per se, but an alimentari with a killer wine selection.  A wall o’ bottles, with little tags with the regions, grapes, etc.  Of course I spent some time in there, and while I was there people from the neighborhood were coming in to buy their evening pan (bread) plus quizzing the owner down about the wine for the evening.  Seriously, we are talking AGUJERO EN EL MURO.  I bought two bottles and the owner put a flyer in my bag, a sort of magazine called Mi Vino. This is my new favorite store.  I am only going to stay here in this apartment when I am in Madrid so that I can shop every day there.  I can also get crackers, water, and detergent, along with my fab vino de Bierzo.

And this is what I love about staying in one place for some time, you may never know a place like that is even there, unless you are around for awhile.

There is a channel in my apartment that shows non stop Sex in the City episodes. I am watching trying to figure out what the hell they are all saying.  “Si. Vale.” (coughs.) I am a bit scared that I went a little overboard on my homework.  I was suppose to say stuff like “my plant is green” but I went a little hardcore “mom and I are traveling here 3 weeks, we love Spain and enjoy our time together.”  I truly hope I was maybe 50% close to the actual Spanish.

Anyway, onward.

Leavin, on a Jet Lag

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Time flies, doesn’t it?  People that read my blog complain that I don’t write very much which is absolutely true.  These days, or years I should say, I write when I am traveling.  Actually, I need to get even more specific than that, because I am, in this moment and even before this moment, basically always traveling. So I guess what I really need to tell people is, I write in my blog when I am traveling on a sort of vacation and/or to new places, and in addition I must feel, at the moment, like writing.  Narrows it down just a bit.

These are all excuses of course.  The bottom line is, I should always be writing, even if I am in elfugue bumfuqua.  (Just made that one up.  What do you think?)

Enough of that.  I am in Madrid for just over a week and then I have five more weeks here in Spain, some of them with my mom.  I am going to Try to Write.

I landed yesterday, in the morning after a really, well, trying flight.  After which, a most precarious entry to my apartment from the airport.  None of this is anyone’s fault.  I guess that flights to Spain are such that you may as well reckon on No Sleep.  So, no sleep, whateves… but then get into the airport at Just Beyond the Crack of Dawn (and we arrived LATE) and neither my Spanish or AT & T phone will work.  So, after some serious fretting I just get into a cab and go.  Somehow, the guy who is suppose to meet me got a text message that someone was trying to text him and he called me in the cab.  It’s a holiday, and the fare of the cab is a little shocking. But then I can basically pass out until 2:30 PM.  There is a god.

First days in Europe after the journey are always a little rough.  Having said that, I do believe that jet lag is like a hangover.  You never really know how that insane night of drinking or that totally horrible night where you were squished into a little box for eight hours is going to affect you.  It is a kind of crapshoot, Sometimes you feel fine and other times, you mostly want to sit at a cafe table and sweat.  And it is funny because everytime I come over here I don’t really remember the horribleness of the first, and sometimes second day.  Because one of the best things about jet lag is that you forget.

Yesterday, what I remember, is also what I have almost forgot.  Walking around in a daze for a few hours, passing out at 10 PM.  Waking up at 4 AM to people having sex in what seems like my very bed. Are there walls in this building?  Thin ones.  It goes on for a couple of hours. I cough really loudly a couple of times, to no avail.  It occurs to me much later (like 12 hours later) that maybe I should have started moaning really loud.  I am not sure though, that this would have done much good.  In between moans they talk a lot.  Honestly, it was kind of horrible because I would start to drop off to sleep, thinking it was all over.. as soon as that wonderful fall into unconsciousness would happen VOILA. Moaning, and or talking.  Finally they stopped at about 6 AM, and I slept, like a rock, until 10:30.

I guess this is kind of boring.  I’ll be brief about the morning (needed to buy food, found a Carrefour YIPPEE love love love Carrefour, buy groceries but have to stand what seems like 5 hours in line because shopping in any Carrefour on a Saturday is akin to pouring firewater on all your nerve endings, come home to study Spanish vocabulary which is what I came here for, feel a sudden and impossible to ignore desire to sleep, sleep hard for some time, wake up and study vocabulary.  Then it is 6 PM.)

I left the apartment.  I needed to get out.  I started to walk, and let me tell you, walking around in Madrid is one of the most pleasurable things in the universe.  In the heart of the old city, there are many pedestrian streets, or maybe they are not really pedestrian but suffice to say there are not that many cars.  On other streets, an insane number of bars and restaurants.  It is a city for walking, and for hanging out drinking and eating.  It is also a city of art.  Madrid is a CITY.  It is where the young people move to.  There are a lot of tourists.  There is a lot of bleached hair.  There are short skirts, bad shoes, tour guides talking loudly with Australian accents.  I am invisible.  Not that I have really cool shoes or anything.  I don’t.  It is just that I am invisible.  I always have been, and I always will be.

I park myself in the Plaza de Santa Ana at a wine bar I really like.  The air is warm and I love my waiter because he smiles at my very bad Spanish.  The light changes, it glows pink and orange on everything.  Kind of like a California sunset, but with cheaper wine.  I walk home but don’t really feel like cooking even though I have food at home, so I stop in a pizzeria near my apartment.  The owner is young and really Italian; he makes Spritz con Aperol for a couple of girls and says “adesso” a lot.  First they play Sting and then the Police, so of course I have that conversation with myself.  Why is solo Sting so lame compared to the Police?  It was like he went McLight but so quickly, that he lost all punk rock cred.  Anyway no one really cares about that anymore.  It was the 1980s.  Suffice to say that “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” makes everyone from 2 to 200 years of age bop around all happy.  The four people hanging out at the bar in the pizzeria were bopping, I was bopping, we were all bopping.  Solo Sting = the Great Silence.

Anyway.  The owner brought me a limoncello and I am truly happy that I travel so much these days that I could give a fig whether I eat at home, or pizza or something local.  I am happy that I can walk around content that I am, well, content.  I am happy that I am here, and that soon I will be somewhere else.  I am happy that I am in Spain.  I am, well, happy.  What more can I say?  Boy, this is kind of boring.  I’ll try to give it a bit of a kick when I get over my jet lag.