Saturday, February 11, 2006

Ireland in Spain...

Gilliyn and Neville arrived last night at Barajas airport. I was stressed that we would not get there in time so took a taxi which was possibly the better idea except for the fact the taxi driver had no idea where to go and had to circle twice after going the wrong way and not listening to Juan - meter still running mind you!

We were in the right place more by luck that good management by the dodgy taxi driver. The airport is huge and the fourth terminal only opened last week. There are doors that look to be automatic someday, just leaning against openings in a precarious fashion. There have been teething problems in the opening that sound rather like the delayed opening of Adelaide´s new international terminal.

Ireland has banned smoking in pubs and clubs and here in Madrid the smoke is thick in restaurants and bars alike. Juan took us to a place to experience sangria but it was very popular and terribly noisy so we waited, were seated, observed for a moment and then yelled that we would try somewhere else.

Ironically just across the road was an Irish pub (Gill and Nev are from Ireland) where we settled happily. I was attempting to order cidir (cider) from the lady at the bar and she informed me in a strong English accent of her ability to speak English...

The weather has continued to remain fine and 10°C nights are not that bad at all. We plan to take the bus tour of sights of Madrid today before an evening at a vegetarian restaurant with some friends of Juan´s; one of whom is moving to Ireland so will quiz Gilliyn and Nev.

Some pics...

Farewell gift from the Koonamorians... (waves enthusiastically).

Juan, Elena, Pedro and Jorge outside a vegetarian restaurant we had lunch at. Pedro and Elena are vegans and father and daughter, and Jorge is Elena´s partner.

Candlemaking in Madrid. Some curious candles.

A gentleman selling some type of root that you chew. It has a distinct wheat grass juice flavor and all the fibre expected in a root. Interesting experience, definitely not addictive.

A very content stray cat enjoying the sun...

Sunset through the trees.

Boating on the lake in Parque del Retiro.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

To leave a message....´s my birthday today and I am turning 30..... well - not quite yet here in the Eurpoean times zone, but soon.

I promised a contact number so for Aussies, to leave a free message dial...

1800 786 070 then follow the prompts and enter my account number;


I will be able to access them from here. :)

Monday, February 06, 2006

We had the protest yesterday and it was a beautiful sunny day and about 11°C in the shade - and icy in the wind. Despite this, it was too good an opportunity to miss. Juan had recieved permission from the autorities to stage a demonstration and that was from 12 noon to 2 pm. The police wanted to move us along but the permission form kept them happy.

Over night I had been painting the banner for about 6 hours till 7am - and only had a few hours sleep before having to head to Puerta del Sol. Coffee assisted the problem. Long black here is a short black ' they seem not to have long blacks so coffee is basically a shot of expresso and that´s all - if you are not interested in leche (milk).

There are some lovely people there and Juan and I stripped down to take part in the demo. It was cold in the shade, so as long as no one cast shadows, it was bearable lying close to the ground. I was so tired I started drifting off in the sunlight.

"Sun baking in Puerta del Sol, Madrid, Spain..."

Afterwards we all went to felafels, then hot chocolate at Starbucks with Iain (activist from Britain) while waiting for the start of Brokeback Mountain. Juan took me for a touring walk of some amazing buildings on the way. I think that they will be part of the bus tour we are going to take.

I have met both of Juan´s parents now and they are delightful. I am so relieved taht they can speak some English - Juan is going to teach some more when we are travelling by bus around the city. Madrid is a very big place so there is a lot of "class time" available. :)