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El albergue

El albergue

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Very Spanish Weekend


The past two weekends, I have had the particular joy of behaving in a very Madrileñan fashion.  What does this mean?  What does it include?  Well, in a nutshell, let me say that it is very fun, although not feasible for every day of the week.  What in the world might that mean?!  Well, read on….

Thursday evening - Ah, relaxation.  That’s what this night is for.  I watch a movie with my roommates, and we enjoy a late dinner around 9 or 10.  And we go to bed.

Friday – Oh the joys of sleeping in until 10 or so.  So lovely.  After a lazy morning of odd chores around the apartment, we go out to run errands or go shopping.   This past Friday the article sought for was a good pair of tall boots.  Unfortunately, they proved to be rather the proverbial needle in the haystack.  Sigh.  I did however come out at the end of the afternoon with a long knit scarf of bright orange.  Perfect for my red coat.  And it was only 2.50 euros!  Score.  In the evening, we putz around the apartment, watching TV or a movie online, or chatting with friends on skype.  What a wonderful thing skype is.  Really.  It is quite wonderful.  Around 8, we start dinner.  Last Friday, it was biscuits and gravy.  Oh heavens how homey and delightful it was.  We continue to putz for a few more hours, eventually dressing to go out dancing around 12 or 12:30.  Finally, around 1 am, we are heading out the door.

Friday night/Saturday morning – As we catch the metro to head out to the salsa club of the week, we comment between ourselves at the craziness of all the people that are still up and wandering around the city.  Oh wait, we’re up too.  Ah well, that is Madrid I guess.  We meet up with a friend or two on our way, and by 2, we are dancing salsa, bachata, and merengue with anyone who will ask us for the next dance.  Well, almost anyone.  I have had to avoid one or two obviously desperate old men here and there.  (No thank you, I most definitely do NOT want to get a drink with you.)  When we’re tired, we get a free drink at the bar.  It actually comes with the price of entrance, so I guess it isn’t really free, but it’s nice anyways.  I recently discovered rum and coke, so I’ve been ordering that at the bar the past couple of weeks, sipping on my cold glass and delighting in the combination of the rich, slightly buttery flavor of the rum and the sweetly invigorating taste of the coke as I watch the really good dancers do their thing.  I wish that just by watching I could become as good as them…..  Sometime between 5 and 6 am, we head on home.  If we leave more towards 6, we can catch the metro, which opens back up at that hour.  If not, we just might have to walk home, like last week, when we arrived at the bus station right after the last night bus pulled out.

Saturday – We fall into bed about 7 in the morning, ready to sleep forever.  Unfortunately, it is impossible to sleep as long as our bodies might like, due to neighborly noises.  Sigh.  Sometimes you just kind of wish you were the only person on earth so you could sleep!  Admittedly, it is pretty ridiculous to expect a large building full of apartments to work around your own personal sleep schedule.  So we get up around 2 pm.  And we make delicious breakfast.  Mmmmm.  Last week, my roommate and her friend made us all crepes.  And this week, I made us banana pancakes.  Once I figured out how much flour I needed and how high the flame on the burner needed to be, they turned out as some of the fluffiest, tastiest pancakes I have ever had.  Another lazy “morning,” then it’s either out to the park for an hour or so before the sun sets or out on some other errand like shopping (still no boots…bummer).  In the evening, we share a meal made out of whatever the heck happens to be in the cupboard, skype with different friends, and go to bed early.  We’re tired.

Sunday – After sleeping in as long as possibly, we jump out of bed and dash about the apartment getting ready for church, which starts at 11:30.  I really like our church.  The people are all really friendly, the music is great, and the pastor is quite an excellent speaker.  I am challenged.  I have to think and reconsider different things.  The ambience is also quite unique.  Main services are in a local bar.  Kind of strange, huh?  Well, they have their own building, but it doesn’t have nearly enough space for a large group meeting, so they have to rent out a bar/club a block away from their center.  We go to that center after church to socialize, chatting with different friends we don’t get to see very much during the week.  Around 1:30, someone usually starts trying to organize something for lunch, and around 2 most of the people have splintered off in little groups to eat somewhere.  Last week, I ended up wandering around with one of my roommates and a friend for a couple of hours, finally deciding on a restaurant around 4.  It was Senegalese (from the small West-African country of Senegal).  It was packed out.  We decided it had to be really good to be so packed.  We were right.  We didn’t get a table until about 4:30.  By the time we got around to ordering, there were only a few options left from the menu because they had run out of everything else.  So we didn’t get our first choice, but man was it delicious.  DELICIOUS.  I got to savor the amazingness of roasted vegetables with Senegalese rice.  It wasn’t spicy, but it had just enough heat to where I could feel it in my belly like a tender warmth that spread out to the rest of my body in a calming ebb and flow.  Heavenly.  I literally didn’t eat dessert after because I didn’t want to chase away residual flavors.  It was that good.  We’re definitely going back.  Preferably at an earlier hour so that our orders can be guided more by personal choice than a scarcity of options. 

Sunday evening – Finally, we finish off with another relaxing night at home.  We skype family, have a light dinner, make cookies (oh the delightfulness of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!!!), and/or attend to various small things that must be taken care of before the new week starts.  If there is time, we might watch a movie or show together.  But really, we should go to bed early, because it is the end of our very Spanish weekend, and we must go to work tomorrow.

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