Saturday, September 19, 2009


I once asked my friend when Cinco de Mayo was. My Spanish is that bad. And to make things worse, the Spanish speak their language with such a delicate European flourish, I've started confusing it with Italian. It was with those handicaps that I wandered into the Madrid bus station and bought my ticket to Seville ("Sevilla" if you want people to know what you're talking about).

"Uhhh... uno ticket to Sevilla en mañana. diez... in the morning."

The piece of paper she handed me in exchange for my 20 euros looks like a ticket to Seville, so I assume I did it right. We shall see tomorrow after I get off the bus.

After I got my ticket, I had a late lunch that turned out to be one of the day's highlights. While I was walking to the metro station, I passed a tiny bar that was so packed with people that it was literally impossible to enter. People were jostling toward the door in an eight-deep mob on the sidewalk. That's a better recommendation than any website or guide book could possibly write. I made a mental note of it and returned later -- still packed, but with enough floor space to reach the bar.

I ordered by pointing at the guy who went ahead of me and saying "uno". I got an 8oz glass of light beer, and about 20 seconds later, a plate piled with food - tapas; potatoes with spicy sauce, toast with ham, and some kind of fried pork dumpling. I handed the bartender a 10euro note, and got back eight and change. €1.20 for a beer and a plate of food. And both were delicious. I ordered again - "uno mas" - and got the same beer, but a different, equally delicious, plate of food. I finished it, was stuffed, but realized that I had only spent €2.40. "Uno mas", again. I left without finishing the last plate of food, and half buzzed from the beer.

If any of you are ever in Madrid, I would strongly recommend you check this place out. One of the best, cheapest meals I've ever had. I was talking to the guy who runs the hostel I'm staying in and he said it might be the city's best place for free tapas. Apparently you can get tapas chasers for beer here, just like we get beer chasers for shots in the US. Awesome. It's called El Tigre (The Tiger)... two blocks North of La Gran Via - halfway between the palace and The Prado.

Oh... and apparently this is tonight. Note the time. No sleep for me.


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