* American man on shuttle bus at the airport: "I hate it here. I wish I were at home reading my email instead."
* American woman admonishing the front-desk clerk at our hotel: "In MY COUNTRY we can check out of our hotels without having to talk to YOU."
* Dubya. ´Nuff said.
* To make matters worse, it looks like America´s chief exports to Europe are McDonald´s, Burger King and Adidas. I am SO proud.
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In other news, our luggage arrived today (woo-hoo!) while we were out shopping and taking pictures of places with names like Cock Bar and Museum of Ham. And we had a delightful breakfast of churros y chocolate at a charming little coffee shop, while the people next to us started their day with pastries and beer. And I´m now the proud owner of three pair of totally sweet new shoes. The green pair next door to our hotel is still calling my name, though. And there IS a lot of room in my suitcase. Stay tuned.
My rarely used Spanish is coming back in spades, and I´ve surprised myself a couple times already by having complete, coherent conversations with store clerks and waiters. But when the shoe lady tried to sell me some shoe cream today when I was trying to make my purchases, the look of abject confusion on my face totally gave me away as a tourist. BUSTED!
A few more observations about Madrid: The place is dripping with European charm and spectacular -- almost pornographically gorgeous -- architecture. The men are all well-groomed and rather pretty. Everyone has fabulous shoes. The guy handing you your churro at the bakery will probably do so with a cigarette in his mouth. There is a large population of homeless people with Thalidomide-like birth defects. The sidewalks are narrow, the crowds are thick and the cars zoom by in ways that only the Americans find alarming. And I keep catching myself wondering if I could be happy living here.
On the rest of today´s agenda: The Prado. Some castle I´ve never heard of. Those green shoes. Another fabulous dinner. Perhaps a nightclub.
And, of course, endless blogging.