Monday, May 12, 2014

Stranded in Spain, Pt. 3: Madrid Madness

B felt bad about me missing out on Morocco and going with her to Madrid, but to be honest I was looking forward to seeing my friend Gina. Plus, even though I moved away from the city, living in a pueblo made me appreciate my visits to the capital.

Gina was generous enough to put us up at her place, and her roomate was kind enough to allow me to sleep in her room while she was away. B and I exhaustedly dropped our bags to the ground upon arrival, and we went out for tapas. Like a Madrileña, Gina sought out a crowded outdoor plaza and we settled in. B was enchanted by the busyness, especially since it was a weekday night. Back home, people were not crowding plazas, as was typical here. It was nice to see B enjoying Madrid's nightlife atmosphere, despite the setbacks she'd had.
Keep calm and drink cafe con leche.

Where you go to get a passport.

 Night after night, we went out late. One evening, we watched Real Madrid beat Barcelona to win the King's Cup. Gina excitedly said, “Oh my god, I think they're going to come here to the town hall tonight! We HAVE to go!” I had trouble believing the team would fly directly from Valencia and parade down to Madrid's famous fountain, but apparently she was right. When we arrived at the town hall we were joined by 70,000 fans.

We stood in a spot that afforded us a great view of the fountain. And stood. And stood. The hours ticked by. Gina and I were excited we were going to see the team in-person, but when I turned around to see how B was doing, she was crouched on the ground, holding her face in her hands. “Are you okay?” I inquired. She didn't move. Alarmed, I told Gina that something was wrong – B was about to faint! She sprung into action and, in Spanish, informed a nearby police officer that our friend was in distress. They hauled her over the metal barrier and put her in a waiting ambulance. B's head weakly craned up to look at me, just as they put her inside, and I felt crushed. I begged the attendants to let me sit with her, but they wouldn't have it. Gina cried, believing it was her fault because we'd been going out late like Spaniards and B wasn't used to it. But I assured her that she wasn't culpable. The stress of the past week, plus the time difference, plus the noise and cigarette smoke at the Real Madrid celebration, had all accumulated into a huge tidal wave that knocked B over.

After being treated, B was released and, although I insisted on a taxi, she insisted she was fine to walk home. So we did. After that, we took it easy and discussed Morocco, as her new passport became ready and she could finally continue her vacation. The last thing I'd said to T in Málaga had been, “I don't think I can fly to Morocco at this point because it'd be a lot more money than I'd budgeted.” But after chilling out in Madrid for a few days, I felt a pull to see everyone again. To show my middle finger to the thief in Málaga by overcoming the setback, and continuing with my trip. B was in agreement. We decided to surprise T, and I booked my airline ticket to Fez. Meanwhile, B put a fake post on Facebook, thanking me for my help, as if I was intending to stay in Madrid.

(to be continued...)

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