I’m finally here!
The rest of my travels were smooth for the most part. The flight to DFW was crowded but I had an aisle seat. I read, enjoyed the fruit salad I had bought in my home airport, and even fell asleep.
We landed on time, and it turned out the gate for my connecting flight was practically next door. I was so happy I wandered around DFW clapping my hands like an idiot.
I had plenty of time to get a personal margherita pizza at this sit-down Italian place. It was good, so good I hate the whole fucking thing, crust included, low-carb diet be damned.
The flight ended up being delayed by about 40 minutes, but it didn’t feel too bad. Plus the plane wasn’t full. Originally I was in a row with a Spanish woman and her daughter (the woman was very friendly and nice), but then they had the husband move into their row and I was able to take an empty row.
The flight, strangely, didn’t feel as long as I was expecting. It was 8+ hours but I watched a movie (Million Dollar Arm), read the rest of The Secret History, and slept a bit or just curled up with my eyes closed, listening to music.
The only downside was that I didn’t bring enough snacks. They gave us dinner and breakfast, but I was still starving for much of the flight.
Connecting with YP was less smooth. His phone wasn’t working, and I kept thinking he was in the baggage claim area when he was actually outside in the receiving area. It probably took us an hour to finally meet up.
We were both starved, tired, and discombobulated so we just got food at the airport. I had a ham and brie baguette, which was really good. The ham was more like prosciutto.
Then we went to the apartment. The subway was sooo slow, or at least it felt that way to us. The walk wasn’t too long either, but with our luggage, after being up for 24 hours, and under the hot sun, it wasn’t fun.
The apartment swapee’s friend met us at the apartment to give us keys and a nice intro to the city. What I came away with was everything closes down in the afternoons, people eat dinner late, meals are extremely leisurely, and pickpockets run rampant.
After he left we just chilled. It was mid-afternoon, which is a quiet part of the day anyway in Madrid, so we both took naps. We must have slept for almost two hours. I didn’t sleep fully but kept drifting off and waking up, not knowing where I was. But it still felt good.
We left the apartment around six and wandered around. The friend was quite right about most restaurants being closed from 5 until as late as 9. We managed with some pizza (again: yum) and walked around some more. Along the way we passed a “meat shop” (there are a lot of them around here) and I got a little paper cone of delicious fried pork fat.
There was a festival we wanted to go to later, but we were both kind of tired so we headed back to the apartment to wash up, rest for a couple of hours, and charge phones.
At first I wasn’t too thrilled about the festival. It just seemed like a bunch of people standing outside drinking and dancing badly. Then we got to a part where people dancing well, and then a row of food stands. That part of was fun.
I thought about getting a sausage or something but ended up getting a lame hot dog. I don’t know what I was thinking.
For some reason neither of us were too bothered by the crowds when usually we’d find them very annoying. We think it was because we weren’t in a rush to get anywhere, and for me, I figured that I wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway, despite being exhausted, so I might as well stay out as late as possible.
The only part that wasn’t so fun was the street with Indian restaurants and very aggressive hawkers. I mean, they were all nice but I don’t like people getting in my face and saying ni hao.
On the way back, we picked up a bunch of groceries — I got yogurt and apples but forgot eggs and instant coffee (that is, instant coffee additional to the little packets I brought) — and got back to the apartment around midnight. I needed another shower and then had a yogurt. We went to bed around one, YP taking the bed in the loft and me taking the couch, since we figured I’d probably be up before him and making noise in the kitchen.
I tried to read but did that thing where I closed my eyes for a second with the lights on, and I promptly fell asleep.
I thought the slight noise from our neighbors might keep me up, but it didn’t. I only woke up once during the night, and that was when I noticed the flashing green light of the phone, which I covered with a pillow.
I expected to be awake at 4 or 5 in the morning, but I slept all the way until almost 8. I was still a little tired and could have slept more but I also wanted coffee.
I had two cups and a piece of PBJ bread by the time YP woke up.
Today’s plan is to visit the Reina Sofia museum, which isn’t too far from where we’re staying. And then the Retiro Park.