Sunday, February 7, 2010

Meet My New Best Friend

I would like you all to meet my new best friend. His name is Sr. Abono. We have lots of fun together...riding metros...riding buses...riding búhos (night buses)...riding trains...ok, he tends to only want to join me on adventures in public transportation, but we're still great buddies. He cost €53 per month (because I'm old and I go to university outside of the city limits), but it's completely worth it. My first day, I took 7 rides on public transportation. I'll even take the metro to go one stop now if I feel like it. The lack of technology bothers me, though. All the information on the card is filled in by hand and the picture is just a passport photo that was glued on. To use it, you have to remove the little slip of paper with a magnetic strip and feed it through the machine, though if you don't bring the whole thing, you can be fined.

Today, I went to the Plaza Mayor to see the marketplace there. It was just about the coolest place I've ever been. All they sell on Sunday mornings in the street is coins, paper money, stamps, propaganda, and military memorabilia. If anyone is looking for a particular piece of currency or wants something from the Spanish Civil War or World War II, let me know. I will have to limit how frequently I go there, since I have a hard time refusing fascist military propaganda posters. I spent the rest of the morning (read: pre-2:30 pm in Spain) in the Rastro, which is the weekly open-air flea market that sells everything from shirts to rubber tubes (I really don't know what they were for) to crafts to extension cords.

Also, Pilar announced at lunch that she would like to learn English, with the ultimate goal that she would speak exclusively in it to Álvaro's hypothetical children. This scenario seems unlikely in the relatively near future, however, as Álvaro, at 33, does not appear to be with anyone and doesn't seem to be in much of a rush. It doesn't help that Pilar's English vocabulary consists of "how are you", "very", "how much does that cost", and a few other words. She also thinks that "very fine" is a common response to "how are you". Furthermore, when Pilar announces plans, it usually means that she has no intention to do anything about them. For instance, her plan to quit smoking has so far consisted solely in her buying (but not using) nicotine pills.

As an editorial correction, I would like to apologize for telling the story about the Spanish guy who got angry when I mistakenly told him I was from New York. I ran into him again and it turns out he's from Maryland. He claims that his hatred of New Jersey comes from having cousins there.

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