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17 May – Arrive 0745. Picked up by Czech and Goatboy at the airport. Introduced to the rest of the crowd shortly thereafter. Crushed Funky’s nads and pierced Cornelius’ anus by way of a greeting. Rested up a bit? What did we do after that? Ah! Went to the Retiro and hung out at the park drinking beer with Chris, Marianna, Andy, Sarah and Smug. Andy and Smug took out boats and rowed a bit on the lake before we hit the bar there at the park. We came back and dozed a bit before Alexei took us to the disco that night. We went first to the Chueca to hang out while we waited on Alexei and Mark to join us with a couple of birds they knew. The Chueca is a smallish plaza, but very fun and relaxed and full of queens. I had a splitting headache at this point, by the way, and could hardly talk, much less laugh out loud. The others finally showed up, and we headed to the disco on foot. It was a bit of a walk, but very pleasant. My head was still pounding until we got to the club and I got a bourbon in me. It was a great time with Charlie and all the kids, dancing with Smug and Alexei and Czech and Sarah – especially nice was Czech grinding his nubile little bottom against Wally throughout the night on the dance floor until I was in a frenzy of lust and ready to chew through the dance floor to get at him. That hot little bitch. Goatboy secured a Morrocan boy named Hassan on my behalf, but even with the international language of love and my good looks I could make no headway with him unless I wanted to buy coke from him. He was strictly business and I was strictly fun and games. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with him anyway, but I played along. I didn’t want Mark to think he’d blown the boy in vain for a phone number. Most of our group made their way back to the flat earlier in the night, but Mark and Alexei and I stayed until they closed at dawn. We had a catty conversation with a hideous woman at the door of the club (Club Gold?) and then wandered off down the streets on a Sunday morning to find a place that sold hot chocolate. We were stumbling down a small sidestreet near the Plaza Mayor and were surprised by a peacock and two hens. It was a bit surreal. We cornered them in an attempt to capture at least one, but they flew off one by one as we tightened the circle. I said I wanted to wring the neck of one of them, but I doubt I would have. Alexei was waiting for the dwarf to come around the corner making squeaking noises. We finally found the hot chocolate, which was delicious, after witnessing the brave Spanish army conquering the Plaza Mayor, and then made our way home, I think.
18 May – I had only slept for a short time, maybe two or three hours, when Adam offered to lead us children about town to see a few sights. We went to the Plaza Santa Ana and had lunch – for me it was anchovies and cheese on toasted fresh bread and patatas brava with a beer. Andy was in a rather bad way. I seems he had come back to the flat the night before in a blackout and scooped up a large spoonful of moldy lentils that were in a stewpot on the kitchen countertop waiting to be cleaned. We weren’t sure why he did that, as there was loads of good food lying about. I don’t think Andy knew why either, poor guy, but he assuredly paid a heavy price for the carelessness. We saw the plaque marking the geographic center of Spain; it is at the Puerto del Sol with the big Tio Pepe sign at one end. We put Andy and his gurgling legumitude in a cab bound for the flat at this point, as he was unable to continue without covering our next three stops in liquid black love. The Palacio was closed, but we went down into the garden there and spent some time. I got a picture of Mariana taking a money shot. There are pines and cedars everywhere in Madrid; I wasn’t expecting that, and it made me think of the hill country of Texas in some respects. The climate was similar, certainly. It was warm and dry and breezy and smelled of cedar, and the temper of the people we saw was relaxed and cheerfully hedonistic. We walked back, stopping at a couple of sidewalk cafes along the way for a beer or two.
19 May – Andy and Sara left in the morning. Czech was feeling much better after shitting his ring the day before. Chris, Mariana, Smug and myself went a short distance up the road to a sidewalk cafe and had a few beers and relaxed. I was surprised to find that Smug did not know who Lorca was. I shall remind him of it frequently, and he will brush me aside with some offhand remark. We returned to the flat to clean up and rest a bit. Mark, Chris, Mariana and I left that evening for the Cuban bar, but ended up in Viva Madrid as our first choice was closed. (There is no rhyme or reason to hours of operation in this most interesting city, and it is a gamble going out if one is not in the rhythm of things. Conversely, there is always something open somewhere). Viva Madrid serves what I suppose is a Cuban drink called a Mojito, and it’s delicious and goes down very smoothly. I’ve never cared much for rum drinks, but these are really quite good. It’s rum and lime and crushed mint leaves. We made it into the Cuban place the next night, and I noticed that they also put angostura bitters in theirs. Viva Madrid has these paintings hanging here and there that look more like charcoal drawings. I didn’t examine them up close, but the story is that some famous artist made them to pay off a bar tab back in the 20s or 30s. From the bar’s website at http://www.barvivamadrid.com/
“It´s well know that Madrid nights are very special, unique, and if there is one place that best represents that very specialness and uniqueness it is without any doubt Viva Madrid. Its secret is the incomparable mix of youthful energy and the "know how" of the classics. Situated in the privileged setting of the "Las Cortes - Santa Ana" area, with the Spanish roots in its centuries old decoration, original zinc bar and hand painted tiles. Don´t miss the original crafted ceiling, gargoyles included and the Brassai inspired paintings of the 30's. Situated on a pedestrian ally way with terrace and tables well taken care of. Conserving all the "Marcha" that has made it famous the world round. During the day as well enjoy an aperitif, drawn vermouth, Italian coffees or our special Caipirinhas and Mojitos. Discover our "Alter ego" in this unique, tradicional an beautifully conserved bar?... Pub?... Tavern?... Clasify it yourself, enter in the legend an above all VIVA MADRID.”
I know it was a bit touristy, but it was very pleasant and a good place to come back to, in spite of the drunken Scots the second night, who came to anticipate their loss the following night to the football team in Sevilla.
20 May – Chris and Adam left in the morning, so Mariana had nobody to protect her from Mark and myself. Consequently, she was as safe as if she were surrounded by an infantry square. We spent a good part of the day at the Olivar again just taking it easy and eating out at the bodega around the corner. That night we ate at an interesting seafood place that had some shellfish I’d never seen before and tried bravely. Back out to Viva Madrid for more laughter and mojitos. The Cuban place was still open this time, so we stopped there first before continuing on to Viva. After Viva Madrid closed at two a.m. we wandered about town until we found a little basement gay joint called “Why Not” and slipped down for drinks and hash and flamenco dancing of a sort put on spontaneously by the patrons. The mood of the place was contagious and carefree, and I really felt welcome. We stumbled home at dawn happily drained and satisfied. This is the only place I’ve ever been where that sort of schedule could be accommodated easily and without much question. I know that work goes on in Madrid; it just rubs elbows and winks with the play that is full-on yet relaxed in its recklessness.
21 May – This was Mariana’s last day in Madrid this trip. Mark and I and Mariana walked through the Retiro and then the Royal Botanical Gardens. We took pictures of the statue of Lucifer being cast out of heaven that sits not far from the rose garden in the Retiro. We walked by the Palacio de Cristal and got a few pictures there and then hung out in a park cafe and had a few beers and relaxed before walking over past the Prado to the Botanical Gardens for a visit. We got a cab from the Botanical Gardens and headed back to Alexei’s to clean up and head over to the Olivar before Mariana left for the airport for a ten p.m. flight to London. After she left the three of us remaining opted to take it easy and just have some kebab sandwiches and soda pop and try for a decent night’s sleep. This was the first night that I got more than four hours sleep the entire trip. I wised up and left the window shut this time, so the street noise didn’t assault me in the morning. Turned out it was plenty cool enough in the house and I awoke feeling rather rested at the crack of eleven a.m.
22 May – Mark and I slept in and went out for breakfast before walking to his place to start the laundry and see Miles the dog once more. I really like that dog. Leaving his house we went to the Sofia and saw the Guernica and other Picassos, Miro, Dali and an very interesting exhibit of photography from early in the last century. We left the Sofia and stopped at the train station – a very large building with something of a rain forest inside – and had a beer and tapas and were gratified to see Celtic fans getting on trains and leaving. We headed back to Alexei’s by way of the Castellano drag with all the consular offices and hotels on it. A couple of blocks from the flat we stopped and took a few pics of a British church of St George for Mark’s sake. I waited at the flat while Mark had his Spanish lesson with some slag that had good looking roommates. He and Alexei showed up about the same time. I’d been lazing about with the memoirs of fray Servando de Mier y Noriega that are really quite interesting. They walked into my hashy haze, and I convinced them that a quiet night on the town was just what we needed to ease us into a restful slumber before my departure. Off we went for the area around Santa Ana again to eat at Lacon. They were closed, so we ate at another place instead and then over to Viva Madrid for mojitos. A dozen or so mojitos later and we were ready to find another bar. After closing down the second bar we picked up a Mama doll that lay in the gutter; it said something about, “Mama y Papa y blah blah blah....” in Spanish, and it was a nice companion for Mungkay. However, Mark, as is common in paedophilic serial murderers, lost control and tore the fool thing’s head off. We made it back home and decided that the best thing we could do at that point was head over to the Casa de Campo for a little cultural exchange on my last night – make that my last few hours as it was about 430a.m. now – in town. Mark took a cab and met us down there, hopping on the back of the scooter with Alexei and I when we were a few hundred yards from our goal. As we neared the small campfire the girls had created on the sidewalk, we tumbled from the scooter and slid along the pavement a couple of yards, more startled than hurt, laughing our asses off. These girls were from all over the world, and I found the time we spent there most edifying. Mark was unsuccessfully trying to negotiate his own version of the Gay Handshake out of one girl, while Alexei counseled with another girl from Jamaica about the value of her soul or somesuch nonsense. I paid a girl three euros to stop pestering me and just hung out and giggled. We looked about at some point and realized that Mark was nowhere to be seen, so we began what proved to be a rather exhilarating ride back. We spent some time going the wrong way on the freeway and then did a bit of off-roading before we finally made it back to Alexei’s place. Truth be told, we were never in any danger.
What can I say about Spain that hasn’t already been stated? I fell in love with it the moment I saw the place, and my feelings only grew fonder the longer I remained. I regret that I saw so little of it, but I was engaged for every moment of the trip, either in reckless hedonism in good company, or just walking and looking and touching and smelling the place. The climate was perfect, though I sweated like a rapist. I didn’t see the bullfights, the Prado or Escorial, nor did I get out of town to Salamanca or Segovia as I had wished. But I couldn’t have asked for a better time than I had last week.
Alexei is a perfect host, and likely more tolerant than most of the people I’ve ever known. He didn’t bat an eye and carried himself with grace and good humor. I was much less than a perfect guest, and never did I hear a word of complaint with him. He overindulged me, and I am spoiled. I am grateful to have made his acquaintance and highly recommend his intimate embraces and hospitality to anyone. His henchman, Mark, was my man Friday, my Sacagawea, my Sherpa and my plaything, and he served me well during my entire stay. Who says you can’t get good help? He also stepped in and provided much needed solace to Mariana once she was left alone. I’ll tell you, thanks to that man, that girl wanted for nothing in the realms of pleasure. I stand amazed at his stamina and sense of duty.
I look forward to coming back, and not in some distant future, but perhaps before the end of the year. And this time I will get out of town a bit, and perhaps see some of those things I missed on this trip, like the bullfights and midget whores so oft and loudly ballyhooed. Until then I’ll just say that I fell in love with Spain, and nobody present did anything but magnify that experience for me. I hope that I did not diminish their time as well.
ANTI POPEYE-X FAN CLUB
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