Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Last and the First.

Dia 5 and 6

¡Feliz Año!

It's been about 48 hours since the last post. That's a lot to catch up on. I'm doing these together because the two days kind of blended into one.

On the 31st, I woke up feeling pretty crummy, considering I only had a few hours of sleep because of staying up late planning my trip. My sinus/allergies/cold thingy was pretty bad, and the day was overcast and gloomy and almost bitter cold. I'm not complaining as much as setting the scene, creating a little drama, ya know.

We went to Retiro Park. It's huge, like Balboa in San Diego or Central Park. Was really beautiful. I can only imagine it in the spring or fall when I suppose I could feel my hands.

Later we went back to the hostel to nap before New Year's. I took an antihistamine and slept like teenager before noon on a Saturday. (Facebook reminds me that "sleep like a baby" doesn't work, because babies don't sleep.) This siesta was probably in the top 3 best decisions of 2012. I woke up feeling like Bradley Cooper in Limitless.

For New Year's here the big thing to do is go to Madrid's main square Sol (it's like Spain's Times Square) which has a big clock and bells, and at the stroke of midnight eat 12 grapes, one for each of the strokes. The grapes have seeds so it's kind of challenging. The other challenge? You can't hear the bells, and there's no countdown that everyone can hear. By 12:03 I think most people called it safe to be the New Year and started shoving grapes into their mouths.

But I'm not there yet. After I woke up feeling like Bradley Cooper, the Barcelona girls and the West LA Persian homie (whose main Spanish word he knows is "Simón!") and I went to a Syrian restaurant and hookah lounge. It was about 10:30. Simón and I were the only ones wanting to go to the Sol, so we slammed our food and booked it over there.

I didn't mention that of course it was cold and drizzling. Because I was feeling somewhat like that super human guy in Wanted who can shoot wings off of flies, this only excited me more for the night. I mean of course it has to be raining and cold and slippery when you spend New Years in Madrid. Movie sets pay lots of money to set up that kid of ambience. It was awesome.

We met some Americans while pushing our way through the crowd because they recognized some English swear words homeboy was saying. We spent midnight with them and ate our grapes. Madrid's Sol plaza is the one they show on TV. So if you saw any pictures of a clock in Spain at midnight on your TV or online, then I was there at that place. If you look closely in the reflection maybe you can see me standing there in the crowd, with a bunch of grapes stuffed in my mouth.

After that we followed the Americans to an Irish bar the Dubliner. We were one of the first ones there and they were playing good music. It got packed after a little while and we were dancing and hanging out. Or at least I was dancing.

Soon afterward I had to leave because I was supposed to meet up with the Barcelonas at 1 am. Simón was having a good time so we parted ways and I headed to find the girls. We met up at a cafe and there we waited for my Madrid friend Sara who had spent midnight with her family. I actually didn't think she would come out, but I'm glad she did.

We found a bar and got bebidas and danced. There we danced swing, the twist, all the single ladies, and finally got to do some salsa. Oh and a conga line! cant forget that. It was a good mix and good time.

Next we left to look for a new place and ended up at a Funk and Soul lounge named Mader Faker (*ahem*), which had, well, 60s soul and funk music. Not the type of scene I would have guessed I'd be at. It was a small place and we had a blast. The four of us danced and joked around for the next few hours, taking pictures and meeting other people from Ireland, Holland, Scotland, and other places. Very simple, but when you're with awesome people you don't need much.

At 6 or so I suggested we find another place, so we left. To decide our next move, the girls were feeling tired, the Churros were too far away, lots of places were closed. The night was ending. I was still feeling probably something like Spider-Man in that moment when he first discovers how to web-sling himself between the city buildings and lets out that long yell of excitement, so I didn't want to go home yet. We extended it a bit longer by getting some pizza at a place that reminded me of Brooklyn pizza on 4th ave at 2 am, but better quality and pre-made like No Anchovies.

At this point Sara decided to take a taxi home. We said our good nights, and the rest of us headed back to the hostel. We didn't want to wake our roommates with our conversation and laughter so we goofed around with Reuben at the reception downstairs and walked around the halls. Finally at 7 or 7:30 am we went to sleep.

All in all it was an awesome night. Couldn't have asked for a better one. I'm telling you...that nap was amazing. But more amazing? My Spanish friends! (Awww)

Then today the 6 of us roommates all exchanged stories when we got up and eventually got ready and went to Fres Co, a buffet much like Sweet Tomaoes or Soup Plantation.

I had a scary moment at the end of the meal where I almost choked on a nearly frozen dried apricot. It just fell into my throat wrong. I could breathe enough that I didn't feel like I was dying, but at that moment I didn't feel like I was really living either. It was pretty terrible... Like someone was lightly choking me (I know, sounds so pleasant). I ended up being fine after a few hours but there were some moments I wasn't so sure there wouldn't be some lasting pain. By the way, a goal for this year is to learn CPR and get First Aid certified. Call me inspired.

After that the Barcelonas and I went to the circus. It was similar Cirque do soleil. Really incredible show.

So that's how I spent my last and first days of 2012 and 2013.

Tomorrow (now today) I'm going to Ávila, a medieval town that I feel compelled to visit.

Thanks for the continued comments and "likes." I wish I could "like" them
all back! Keep 'em comin'.

Brindamos! *Tchin tchin* a 2013!

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