Friday, October 30, 2009


No longer a construction site:

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El oso is back where he belongs:

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Entrance to the new commuter train station:

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They did a really nice job. And yet -- no Olympics! La vida no es justa!

Vivieron felices y comieron perdices

In Spanish fairy tales the traditional ending, instead of saying "they lived happily ever after", is "vivieron felices y comieron perdices", literally - "they lived happily and ate partridges". I hope that they had some help plucking the partridges before consuming them, because if this picture (taken at the local 'polleria'*) is anything to go by, some pre-processing would seem to be in order:

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*: You've guessed it - there are no polls at the polleria.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

El secreto de sus ojos

Pictured above is Ricardo Darin, also known as "la cara del cine argentino" (the face of Argentine film). That's not an exaggeration - the guy has to have been in every movie made in Argentina in the last 10 years. He's a very good actor.

But what, you ask, is he doing on my blog? It's because this evening I finally got to see the film "El secreto de sus ojos" that I kept trying to see while I was in Buenos Aires. A very intense movie, though not, in the end, an entirely satisfying one. Despite all the Oscar buzz that surrounds it.

Still, if it's playing in your local multiplex, you could do worse.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tales of the City

I'll spare you the details of class (brutal so far, but there are signs of improvement). Brad arrived safely yesterday, but without luggage. However, I just phoned him and apparently they did deliver it to the apartment this morning, as promised. As he was travelling first class, courtesy of various upgrades on Continental, it seemed the least they could do.

Madrid is as incredibly vibrant as ever. People on the streets at all hours of the day and night - we had dinner at 8:30 last night (as Brad was pretty wiped out from travel), and were, of course, the only people in the restaurant, even when we left at 9:45.

There is much grumbling about Rio having snagged the 2016 Olympics - apparently the local politicos had figured - incorrectly - that Madrid had it in the bag. They particularly resent the fact that, in the final round of bidding, they received no support at all from other European countries. Who were obviously voting with the 2020 Olympics in mind, calculating that, in order to have a chance to secure that bid, the 2016 venue needed to be a non-European one.

The big news is that the construction at Plaza del Sol is finally completed, so that it no longer resembles a huge, ugly, perpetual construction site. One result is that the famous statue of the bear and the arbutus tree (see picture to the right), the emblem of the city, has been moved back to its original location, at Sol and Alcala. Once I get a little more organized, I will provide appropriate photographic documentation.

But first, I have to complete today's homework assignments.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Back on the Plain

This is just a driveby update to say that I am back in Madrid. Still somewhat discombobulated from the trip - I got in on Saturday, thought I had adjusted to local time, only to be further confused on Sunday by the change from Daylight Saving time on Saturday night. All was well today until I just noticed that my watch has done its standard "this is Madrid, time to start acting wacky" routine. So basically, since I forgot to pack the alarm clock (yet again!), I depend on the computer to find out the right time. (Yes, I know, I could have the TV running in the background, but frankly it's just too hideous).

Am in the same apartment as before, so there are certain comforting constants, like the ghostly shower noises in the middle of the night. Prep classes for the DELE pull no punches so I am currently searching my soul, trying to remember exactly just why it seemed that this would be a good idea.

I imagine that the outlook will improve once my sleep patterns normalize a little. Brad arrives tomorrow for two weeks - I will do my best not to resent his freedom to swan about Madrid while I wade through one practice test after another.

This too shall pass. But, be warned, it will probably make for infrequent blogging. I will try not to whine. The exam is Friday November 13th, so the whining period is self-limiting anyway.

Hasta pronto!