Monday, 8 October 2007

Travel XIII, The Tapas Sandwich

This week I'll mostly be in Madrid for a Location Based Services Congress. I don't know why it's Congress rather than a Conference maybe I'll find out tomorrow, I thought Congress was something married people did to each other.

The hot dogs and Leffe at Brussels airport were on good form today but now I'm in a Spanish hotel bar waiting for a Cheess an' Han San'ich whatever that is. I like Spain although this congress is in the hotel i'm staying in so I won't see anything of the country this time. The flight was made a little more eventful than usual in that I had an extremely loud child sitting two seats away from me. I think she had that "terrible two's", it's something children get apparently and it makes them want to talk and sing at the same time as loud as possible and kick everything within reach. Could be contagious too, I felt the need to shout quite loudly a few times but I managed to contain it.

There was a time when I had enough of a grasp of Spanish that I could get around hotels, bars, hospitals and such. These days I'm almost back to the pointy waving language of the British tourist, never mind, this language is probably more widespread than French by now so it's a good idea to practice every now and then.

Amazingly the taxi driver didn't try to rip me off, that used to be part of the charm of Madrid, just like the Mexican taxi drivers that take you down a dark alley and shoot you. I've always thought the Mexicans are much better at being Spanish than the Spaniards are. The problem is countries aren't able to preserve their culture in this modern age of information, the spread of joke/useless email junk is so fast that the people at the Ministry of Culture have been caught with their pants firmly down. Probably having congress when they should be writing laws stopping people from modernising their houses and putting bits of broken pots in museums.

You might think it flippant but remember this the next time you're on holiday and it's raining cats and dogs outside. Where will you be without the Ministry of Culture then? Standing on bit of wasteland getting wet thinking "they should build something here". Where will you get all those little spoons with enamelled handles depicting the place you're visiting? Isn't it strange that you can always buy those in museum shops no matter where you go in the world? Why? Who buys them?

Of course the wonderful thing about Madrid is they have this local delicacy which is a fried egg on top of a plate of fries. It's egg and chips to me but I don't want to be one of those people that goes to another country asks the restauranteurs "can you make egg and chips?" I can get away with it in Madrid, I just say "I love your local delicacies, ahh Spanish food is great!" they like that. I do look forward to these trips.

Anyway, that's enough anthroplogy for one night, I hate spiders anyway.

Goodnight then,