Madrid

Cervantes Monument at Plaza de Espana - Central Madrid

It’s Tuesday in Madrid and it’s foggy. And so is my head. Day three in Spain. Day four with the head cold. I’m traveling with my colleague from England. I’m afraid poor Stuart will have endure my constant nose-blowing and coughing. I’ve run out of cold medicine and they don’t sell over-the-counter stuff here without seeing a doctor. So now I only have cough drops, some Tylenol and lots of tissues – ugh!

As miserable as I feel, at least I got some sight-seeing in yesterday morning. To test my Spanish skills, I took the Metro to Central Madrid from my hotel. There was a moment or two when I questioned the logic of that decision but it all worked out. I traveled to Plaza de Espana which is within walking distance of the Spanish Senate and Palacio Real (Royal Palace) and Cathedral de Santa Maria. There is a monument to Cervantes there complete with likenesses of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Palacio Real is the largest palace in all of Western Europe. I was able to tour the Palace which is amazing – room after room of marble floors, guilded mouldings, art treasures and beautiful frescos. There is a formal dining room that would comfortably seat 75 people at one table! The Spanish Royalty really knew how to live.

Today it’s back to work; touring El Corte Ingles stores. We’re installing at Alcala Henares tonight and we needec to meet with the site supervisor and store manager. Then on to El Corte Princessa and Castellana. We’re replacing existing Liz Clairborne shops with new Jones New York shops in about 145 locations. I’ve once again become the official interpreter – Stuart is from England and speaks no Spanish (He speaks ‘English’ English and sometimes I could use an interpreter for him). I’ve gotten quite good at saying, “Perdon, donde esta Liz Clairborne?” I then usually wait for the person to point because their instructions in Espanol are often more than I can comprehend/translate. Tomorrow we’ll return to Alcala and possibly visit the warehouse in Toledo. Thursday we’ll take the train to Alicante. In the meantime I’m still searching for a Farmacia that will sell me an antihistamine.

I’m really trying to be grateful for this experience. Most people I know will probably never get to travel to Spain, but right now I’d just like my nose to stop running and to find something to eat that doesn’t have an egg on top of it. I think things will be better after my siesta.

Buenos Tardes,

Denis

Does The Rain In Spain Stay Mainly In The Plain?

Okay I’m in Madrid and I have to plead geographical ignorance. Is Madrid in the plain?  My room is on the 19th floor of this hotel and I have a pretty good view of the city (and beyond). There seems to be some mountain range in the distance. This could be a plain but I’m not certain.

This is about all of Spain that I've seen so far...

The reason I’m wondering is because it’s raining here in Madrid. I’m jet-lagged. And I can’t get that stupid song out of my head – thanks Audrey Hepburn (actually Marni Nixon whose voice was dubbed in “My Fair Lady”). Oh great, useless trivia rolling around in my head to keep me awake! It’s after midnight and I’m coming down with a cold and it’s rainy and dreary and the television here is worse than in Mexico. At least on T.V. in Mexico most of the women look like a young Charro (remember her, “coochie, choocie”? – she was married to Xavier Cougat when he was about 80 years old and she was in her 20’s?) Oh great, more useless trivia! All the women I’ve seen so far on Spanish T.V. look and SOUND angry. Also the exchange rate here is ludicrous – $30 Euros for a 15 minute taxi ride (that’s like $50 US). International travel is so glamorous! Dios mio!

I missed the ‘Crystal Ball’ last night with my Valentine; instead I was in the seat on the flight from New York next to a couple of contortionists. These people wiggled and crawled around on  that flight like they were possessed. “STAY IN YOUR SEAT!” Oh, for the love of God, how many times could two people use the bathroom on a 7-1/2 hour flight? If you guessed anything under 6 times; you would be wrong.   

Sorry for the rant but I feel pretty crappy and way too sorry for myself. I think the Nyquil® is starting to “kick in”. Anyway, I should stop writing now before I start to sound petty, stupid or intolerant. Besides I really love Spain. And don’t forget: “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain…” Damn it. There it goes again!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVmU3iANbgk

Buenas Noches,

Denis