Friday, December 16, 2011

Free Day in Madrid

Last Saturday, Lucy, Marlene and I went out to Madrid for some free time. I have one free day every two weeks, and this is the first and last time I will get to go with the girls, as they are leaving the 19th. We had a great time!

Starting out the day: Marlene, U, Lucy, and E in the metro station where we get on. (U and E were going to clean the hotel, so we all rode the metro together.)

On the train...whoa, we all got a seat!! :-O Left to Right: U, Me, E, and Lucy

We got off the metro in a well-known plaza called Puerta del Sol (gate of the sun). Here a rather funny thing happened. There were a ton of people walking around, and I saw one person dressed up as a large blue stuffed animal. Before Lucy and Marlene noticed him, he came up and put one arm around each of them. I stood there looking at them with a look on my face like “Oh Pleeeeeease!” and I was congratulating myself that he hadn’t gotten me. I also knew that you have to pay these guys if you take a picture of your friends with them, so I made no move to get my camera out, but simply stood there waiting for him to let them go. Lucy kissed the cheek of the big blue animal head and then Marlene kissed the other cheek and he let them go. But then, horror! He went straight for me and grabbed me in a full front hug, drawing me up to have the kind of kiss that you see in the movies. Well, I’ve never kissed a guy, and I certainly wasn’t going to have my first kiss be on a blue stuffed animal head! I turned my head away and pushed back, but I had to actually struggle a little bit to get away. “That’s enough already!” I said (in Spanish), and he let me go. Creeeeeeepy! Haha…

These people are standing in line in Puerta del Sol to buy a lottery ticket. It's like a cultural thing to play the lottery to try to win the Christmas jackpot. Every time I've been to Puerta del Sol, there have been people standing in line here, and there's an equally long line in another lottery office right across the street.

We ate lunch in the "Museum of Jamón," which is basically Spanish ham. They shave it off in thin slices and use it for sandwiches and so forth. 

The store was really cheap, so it was packed with people.

We each bought ourselves a sandwich here and ate right there inside the store. Only when we were almost finished eating did we notice the sign that was right above my head. (I photoshopped in the translation for your convenience.)

Here I am in the Plaza Mayor, one of the most famous plazas in Madrid. The guy standing on the pyramid behind me is a real person dressed up in metallic paint and acting like a statue. 

Yeah...uh...there was this fat guy in Plaza Mayor dressed up in a Spider Man costume, getting paid to pose for pictures with tourists. Scary! There were also two SpongeBob characters walking around. Aaah! Help!

Plaza Mayor is full of random sights. For instance, here is a bunch of artist's paint just sitting on the sidewalk, with no one in sight and a million people walking by. 

Here's the picture the artist was painting. 

Here is a headless man. 

And here is a person dressed in a costume with a ram's head, walking around on all fours. 

All these people are out here trying to earn money. I don't know about you, but I don't think it would ever enter my head to think, "Let's see, I think a sheep costume would be really profitable..." 

Lucy and I waiting for the train on our way home.

Oh, and I can't resist posting a picture of sweet baby Juan Carlos (F's baby). Awwww... 

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