Sunday, November 15, 2009

Japan Lag

AOG, Madrid

I came back from Tokyo last Sunday, a week ago today. I arrived in Barcelona around 11:30PM and got to bed around 1AM.

The next day I took a fast train from Barcelona to Madrid. Having left the country of silence less than 24 hours before, arriving at, and traveling through, the nation of noise, the shock was remarkable.

It all went mostly in silence on board our train until we stopped at Saragossa. There, two (maybe three) middle aged couples entered my coach.

From the minute they sat their Aragonese butts down, until we arrived at Madrid's Atocha Station, all they did was talk, non-stop, and in a loud voice. 

At one point, one of the ladies decided to call her son and hold a full conversation with him right in the carriage. I could not believe it.

It was interesting to overhear that one of the husbands in tow had not taken a train to Madrid in 35 years. 

That the last time his wife took a train was when they went on their honeymoon.

That they were all going to some Central American country for a well deserved vacation.

And although their lives were interesting, all I wanted was peace and quiet.

This week, it has taken me five days to realize where I was. This may sound more glamorous than what it really is. 

I was at work, and my mind was elsewhere. It wasn't as if I didn't know where I was, it was more like my cognizance of the outside world was still in Japan, and not here, in Madrid, at all.

It is hard to explain.

By Thursday, however, my cognizant self arrived with my physical self. I began to be more aware of my surroundings, my home, work colleagues. I don't know. It was odd. Perhaps jet lag played a part.

New Friends

This Thursday, to celebrate my newly found awareness of my life, I went to Diurno, my usual daily breakfast joint. 

I picked up this month's issue of In Madrid magazine and had a latte. On the classifieds section there was a small ad concerning "Gay friends in Madrid".

I thought, well, why the heck not?

But then I went to work and completely forgot about it.

I was sent home early-ish, and it was too cold to walk. I took a bus, and, after a couple of blocks, remembered the ad. I checked to see if I had the magazine with me. I did. So I texted both numbers on the ad. No reply for about 10 minutes.

I thought I'd left it too late, and began to plan my evening ahead: get some milk, wholemeal cookies, and watch Big Brother (or Gran Hermano, as it is known in Spain).

However, after a while, I got an SMS telling me where they met, and at what time they left. I rushed home, took the quickest shower (wash that work/office smell off!), and left.

On my way there, the other member actually called me to tell me where they were, and informed me that he had just gotten off a plane, and apologised for not having called earlier. 

Yes, he was British.

I arrived and was quickly greeted by one of the organisers who introduced me to the evening's participants.

One blonde American girl, one other American guy, one guy from, I think, Latin America somewhere, and the rest, Spanish guys of various ages and hairstyles.

We stayed at the café in question off of Montera street (or Whore Alley as I call it) until about 11:45PM, then, slowly, most people made their way home.

The evening's host and a Spanish guy invited me to go for one last drink in Chueca. I decided I would go with them.

All in all, an enjoyable and surprising evening, considering I woke up feeling very Tokyo, and went to bed feeling very Madrid.


Timbo said...

Well...where ever you are my dear will always be the brightest star in the sky!

Ynot said...

I'm blushing now silly...thank you for these kind words


Timbo said...

Not kind words....truthful words..