Goodbye Madrid

For some reason, I always end up at a time in a place where major events have just happened and are happening. I don´t seek them out, they just sort of find me. But here´s the truth about any natural disaster/financial crisis/ sport event/ wedding/ protest or riot : Most people just continue on with their lives and for the most part remain unfazed.
Human beings are remarkably adjustable and malleable. We can adapt to even the most dire situations. There is a search for little elements of normalcy which permeate even the most abnormal situations.
The economic strife that Spain is going through has certainly taken it´s toll on everyone. But yet, the streets are still bustling with activity even at 2 in the morning on a weekday. People still go out and eat, and laugh and are with their families. Life goes on… even when they don´t know how they will find a job tommorrow.
So many of my friends are currently unemployed, but the solution is now to go back to university and learn a new field. Most of the universities are offering scholarships to go back to school, and some people are readily taking them.
I know the situation is bleak right now, but I love Madrid so much. Despite the fact that my time here was so bittersweet…
Madrid… I am always reminded of the expression ” You were never mine you were only borrowed for a time”. I tried so hard to remain here, but every power on this earth was making it increasingly harder to stay. Madrid is a lot like that popular, beautiful and funny girl you always wanted to make friends with in high school. She was always friendly, but you never quite got that invitation to eat lunch or go out with her. I have so many friends that I leave behind, and I feel like somehow I wish there was a place that I could take them with me at all times. But we never know ” Las vueltas que da la vida” and maybe, somehow I can return. But for now, apparently, I give her back to their rightful owners. I turn away from the curved streets, and the terraces and windows, and the moonlight peeking out . I leave the soft strumming of the guitars and the bright spanish fans. I say goodbye to the taste of potatoes and eggs, and all the Spanish expressions I learned along the way… Adieu my beautiful Madrid till we meet again.
Tommorrow …London.

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Wingeyes Weekly Picks : Spanish Edition

In celebration for being in Spain, I am doing the weekly picks part with things that are Spanish ( for the most part…) Here are some interesting books, films and series and sites in Spain.

Most interesting non fiction book : The Ghost of Spain
I have mentioned this before but this book is a historical book/ travel narrative which provides an enlightening perspective about Spain torrid history and it´s inability to talk about the pain of Franco and the civil war and the regionalism which permeates the country.

Book Recommendation : Shadow in the Wind by Carlos Luis Zafron
This magic realism book is set in post civil war spain where Daniel is taken to the cemetary of Forgotten Books where a small group protects the forgotten and eroded books. He picks one book, shadow in the wind by Julian Carax. This book has been systematically burnt by one man, a scary scarred burn victim who seems to buy all the books he can find. The book evolves of a story within a story of Daniel´s story and the story of Shadows in the wind. An incredibly complex book which gives the bleak feeling of the pain left over from the civil war.

Best film : Laverinto del fauno
( Pan’s Labyrinth) I am sure many of you have probably seen this film, but I would recommend giving it a second look. Sure, the director is Mexican but the film takes place in Spain. ( On a sidenote, while here in Spain I cannot even bribe my friends to go to a spanish film… i kid you not)

Best horror film : The Orphanage
This film is not what it seems at first glance. It is a horror film , true , but it speaks on our fear of the unknown. The main character buys up her old orphanage with her husband and adopted son. However, the orphanage has skeletons in the closet… literally. THere are more things than meets the eye and odd things start to happen. Her son subsequently goes missing and most of the film is spent on a desperate search to find him.

Most recent film : Biutiful
Javier Bardem is psychic. He can speak to the dead, but most of this is almost completely irrelevant to the harsh reality he has to live in an impoverished sector of Madrid. Gone are the glamorous winding streets, the cafes and the Hollywood version of this city. Instead, you find the harsh and grimy reality of a city bogged down by unemployment and poverty. We see through his eyes the unfortunate lives of African and chinese immigrants. He is a man struggling to keep afloat for the sake of his two children, but does not have much means to do so. It is , as he says, ugly and beautiful at the same time.


Most recommendable thing to do in Madrid : Get Lost.
Seriously, go rambling around the curved streets of Madrid and you will find a secret surprise. Go eat at a local bar and see what you can find. You can sleep in the park in the Retiro, or roam the barrio La Latina. In some ways, the best bet is to not plan anything at all.