Sunday, 27 July 2014

It's Greek to Me

Our summer lunch in the centre yesterday was at a Greek restaurant, and, of course, I had moussaka. The moussaka was nice and there wasn't any dancing even though we were in the touristy part of town (very near the police station we were at a couple of weeks ago). Besides, the part of the restaurant where we were was tiny.

 There was, however, some 'entertainment' that I'm glad I didn't have to watch as I was sitting with my back to the door and the tables behind. While we were eating, a woman with four young children, two of which were twin babies, came into the restaurant. The first thing one of my friends noticed was the waiter gave one of the babies a lighter to play with. The baby, like all babies, immediately stuck the lighter in his mouth. Who would give a baby a lighter to play with? The worst is yet to come. The mother changes one of the babies' soiled nappy (diaper), puts the dirty wipes and nappy on the table and does the same with the other baby. Thank goodness some of us only got the description of the scene. We deduced that the woman and children were probably the waiter's family. Still, such behaviour has no place in public where people are eating. Don't worry, we won't be going back to that place. Should I write a review of this restaurant and put it on the page of reservations for restaurants that I use? You remember I'm the social secretary for my group.

Other news and wonderful news at that: my friend, who is continuing with our old language academy, has decided to start up a smaller version in my neighbourhood. I won't be working there, but I'm very happy for them and imagine they will do well. I won't be here when they start enrollment for classes, but hope she, or somebody, finds time to send me a Whatsapp. I'm so pleased that they're getting on their feet and would love to see the ex-director's reaction when she hears about it. She closed the institute just because she wanted to retire, disregarding other people's desire to continue.

That's about it for this week. Nothing to say except hope everyone has a good week. Oh, it's the end of July! Tomorrow is my baby sister's birthday.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Weekend Delight

Not too long ago I saw a video of the chaotic traffic in San Francisco in the 1930's. Although the traffic in the Gran Via, our Main Street/High Street, wasn't nearly as chaotic in this photo as it usually is now, you can see the pedestrians crossing the street wherever they want - some people still do. This photo was taken in 1949. Yesterday when we were in the Gran Via, we saw a group that we imagined to be pickpockets. Needless to say, everyone held onto their bags. According to one of the newspapers, the police have identified 25 different groups operating in the centre. The thieves would have had slim pickings at the outdoor cafes because we had a very cool day and the cafes were empty. I heard one girl exclaim, "Qué frio hace!" Spanish people don't always dress for the weather.

All last week was blazing hot in most parts of Spain. A couple of days I saw over 100º F on Yahoo. In Écija, a town near Seville, the other day they showed an egg frying on the street. I kid you not! Then yesterday we had that lovely cool day, so we didn't try to walk on the shady side of the streets as there wasn't any sun until about 6 p.m. Today it's still pleasant out, but no fears the temperatures are going up again. Oh, and our Indian meal was nice - not many customers though.

To those of you who've been blogging for a while, do you remember those posts that started Out my window... I'm wearing...? Well, the fire brigade were down the street from my house. I'm not sure why and from my windows I couldn't see anything except the vehicle.

This is me for the week. Since it's not too hot, I'm going to do some things that need doing round the house. I managed to clean the tiles in the bathroom last week and had a sauna at the same time. I think I've mentioned that here the tiles go from the floor to the ceiling. That's a lot of tiles to clean, not to mention I have tiles in the kitchen which logically I have to clean more often.

Wishing everyone a happy week. July is slipping away, isn't it?

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Summer's in the Bag

I've just commented on my friend Terri's page that I use the same bag all the time. It's not stylish and it's not leather, but it serves its purpose. Not only does it serve its purpose of containing all the things I have to carry, but it's served me well these past two years. The only complaint I have is about the weight. I've taken out my phone yet I see no difference in weight. Another thing I'll have to see if I can de-clutter!

The past two Saturdays I've had lunch out in the centre. If you've read my post from last week, you know that we didn't have the best experience. Yesterday we ate at the Mexican again and somebody probably had too many margaritas. It's the only place I'll have margaritas because they're sour and not sweet. Over the years the size of the glasses has got smaller. Next Saturday we're going to an Indian. I'm going to look at the restaurant page online and see if they offer a discount. If I'd booked the Mexican online, we could have got a 30% discount, except on drinks. The problem is we never know how many people are going to show up.

As you can see from my title, it's finally getting hot. As a matter of fact, by Wednesday it's supposed to get up to 100º F according to the internet, and my friend Jenny says the weather forecast on the internet is always right. I love seeing the Mediterranean blue skies but don't love the heat.  I'm going to try and keep my place as cool as possible for as long as possible. I shouldn't complain though, because so far I haven't had to put on the air.

I hope everyone has had a more exciting week than I, and that you have a good week ahead.


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Lost in Translation

It's so strange how what starts out happy and fun can turn out badly. Yesterday I was having lunch with a group of friends and ex-colleagues at a restaurant in the centre of town. It's a restaurant in a pedestrian street, one that we've eaten at numerous times before. Since it wasn't too hot, we decided to eat outside. We were laughing about the English translations of the dishes, especially the 'menestra de verduras', or mixed vegetables, was translated 'pottage gives vegetables'. This was especially funny because Pottage is the surname of one of our group who wasn't there with us. I'm not sure if you can see this page of the menu. I've scanned it and a couple more pages and will give it to my friend to use in her language school.

To make a long story short, because I know some of you have already seen this update on facebook, some time during the meal one of my friends' bag was stolen. Apparently there was a guy sitting behind us who didn't order anything. He had a leather jacket which would have been the perfect hiding place. A waitress in the restaurant thought he was Columbian, but somebody at our table thought he was Eastern European. I didn't see him as he was sitting behind me. I accompanied my friend to the police station, because I have the keys to her house and also to pay for her transport home. As we were getting ready to leave after reporting the theft, her bag turned up with everything in it except the money. mobile phone, tablet and some pens. 

Ironically during the meal, we were discussing how safe Madrid was, or that we weren't worried about getting shot down in the street by some crazy packing an arsenal of weapons. However, it doesn't matter how careful you try to be if someone is intent on robbing you, they will. We had also talked about meeting up every Saturday for lunch at the restaurant when the institute closes at 2 p.m. I don't know if we will now.

Our weather is still fairly nice. I touch wood as I say that my house continues to be cool. I posted a newspaper photo of the storm that we had on Thursday in Madrid on facebook. Some people I think thought all the hail was snow. My area didn't get it too badly. However, I know the farmers in a town called Villaconejos will probably lose most of their melon crop. Villaconejos (Rabbit Villa) is famous for its melons. I'd just seen a documentary a few days before about how they care for the melons by hiding them under the leaves so they don't get too much sun.

I hope everybody in the US had a good and safe holiday weekend. Hope your Monday isn't too bad and hope the rest of your week goes well.