Thursday, July 03, 2008

Open Top Madrid

AOG, Madrid

Today I had a good day. Good second day at work. Still learning the ropes. Still excited. Then a good afternoon, friendly and comfortable.

First I met my writing-buddy David near Plaza de España. We had Starbucks coffee and chatted about Spanish politics. A lot.

He came on Monday to see me perform in the theater but didn't say a word about it today (I am obviously very needy). Grr.

Then we both got on the Metro (subway-underground) to meet some other friends of mine for dinner in Madrid's AZCA neighborhood- known as 'little Manhattan' since it is where Madrid's tallest skyscraper lives, Torre Picasso; 43 floors high.

The restaurant, Italian, had been chosen because it purportedly served wholemeal pasta. Turned out they didn't. And I'm on a diet.

They also ran out of meat. So I had salad for dinner. I don't mind that. But I did have my heart set on something else.

During the meal, one of our friends told us about his more-than-probable-move-back-to-Argentina in the Fall because of work. He'd be making more money in a country where a European salary will buy you an extremely comfortable and luxurious life.

Another one of us colluded with me regarding the concurrent paramour of one of our friends, not present at the dinner table. I find the paramour in question to be a complete parasite, and have thought so from the day I first met this person.

My opinion has not changed yet, though I have often said that I may be mistaken and I am willing to be corrected.

It does not look like it is going to happen. And now my friends are beginning to see what I meant, and they are starting to think the man in question is an idiot.

And then, the icing on the cake.

Mr. "I'm going back to Buenos Aires" informed us that he had brought his new car, an old 1970s Citroën Méhari.

I was anxious to see it, after it was drawn for me on the back of a napkin a month or so before. I had no clue what the car in question was (the drawing was accurate, but odd) and no one could rememeber what it was called.

It was a gem.

Topless, and bright orange/yellow, it is a wonderful blast from the past.

My friend offered to drive me back home. We drove topless all over Castellana boulevard. I loved that new perspective on Madrid at night.

It was a great experience driving in Spain inside something that old. I've been inside older cars (hello, I've been to Havana!) but not in Spain. For whatever reason, old cars in Spain are conspicuous for their absence.

Most cars in Spain are new. Not necessarily expensive -I've yet to visit a city which can outdo London on automotive luxury-but new, ish. And here is this thing which is so ugly it is beautiful, so odd it is futuristic. So pedestrian and spartan it is a luxury item on wheels.

And I was the lucky passenger chosen to ride it that night. I felt very special all the way home. A cool breeze blew over the windshield and over our heads. Madrid slowly showing us a new perspective of itself, mostly unseen from inside a hardtop. Convertible drivers are lucky, I've always thought.

The car's owner told me he had bought it for two thousand Euros, and that he had passed the word that he might have to sell it should he get back to Argentina.

"I've been offered six thousand euros, and all I've done to this car is fill its tank with petrol and drive it a bit".

Worth every penny.

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aallll said...
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