Sunday, February 7, 2010


On Sundays here, Lidl and Mercedona close early (I say early, I mean sometime before 5) but Oysho, Women's Secret, Pull and Bear, and €2 tackmarket type things do not - essentially, you can buy lingerie and teddy bears, but not groceries. WOE

(I'm bound to do a proper freakout post about the first two sometime - the wine section alone is enough to send the average Irish student into palpitations. TOO MUCH, TOO CHEAP, AAAHHH)

Mad mad mad(rid)

I have now been in Madrid for five days. I arrived at a bright and sunny morning hour last Wednesday after no sleep and launched straight into a day of apartment hunting with two equally bemused coursemates, which was a little painful.

Thus far I have learnt that spaniards/Madrileños are mad for:

Fur. There appear to be a greater concentration of middle-aged women with cigarettes in fur coats here than in any other city I have visited.
...And I've been to Riga.

Cautious road-crossing. Being a naturally meek crosser from a nation of happy-go-lucky jaywalkers, this suits me down to the ground. This seems to be a city designed with pedestrians in mind - an arthritic suptugenerian can be half a street away when the crossing alarm (which generally sounds somewhere between a sci-fi lasergun shootout and a nest of baby cyborg birds tweeting for food, very satisfying) sounds, and still have ample time to get across the road before it turns red. Lovely.

Preventing identity theft. Whenever you pay for anything by laser, you have to produce government ID. Which is a hassle and a half for one as scattered/fearful of theft as myself - do I LOOK like I got it together enough to either apply for a Garda age card (it's only been, oh, two and a half years) or learn to drive before I left home?

Unfortunate hair.
Now, to be fair, the vast majority of folk I've seen actually have quite acceptable hairstyles, and there's hardly a lack of profoundly stupid-looking hair back at home. There's just a sliiightly greater tolerance for liberal gel application/unfortunate fringes/strangely elaborate hairpiling here. And this is the first place I've seen a new and hideous crossbreed stalk the streets (well, metros. Well, one metro.): The Dreadmullet.
It's pretty much exactly what you're picturing.

Putting milk in juice. Pascual and all those juicy-type companies seem to sell juices with added skimmed milk- and to my bewilderment it's actually not that bad.

B-cup bras. According to Oysho, an underwear-and-confusing-sleepwear vendor, every Spanish woman must wear a B cup, as it's quite literally all they stock.. Puzzling.
Not as puzzling as their clothing however, most of which can't seem to decide if it wants you to wear it to the shops (by Tesco's rules, that is) or to bed.
I'm pretty sure the dungaree-pyjama combo has yet to catch on at home.

However, Madrileños are apparently not mad for:

Cats. In five days I have seen an unusually short human in a cat costume, cat teddies, cat décor, but nary an actual feline in this whole sorry city. Those are disgraceful odds.

Stable internet connections. A world of impotent rage has been mine.