July 7, 2010 (Journal E4 – Part 1)
It is a bright and sunny 97 degree day here in Madrid. Weather report says this weather is to continue for several days, but one of my Spanish teachers calls this type of heat “bochorno” and says that it eventually leads to rain, even if only for 5 minutes. No rain in the forecast though! When it is “bochorno” the heat is infernal – no relief from wind or even shade – the heat is the same if the sun goes behind a cloud and even nightfall does not offer much relief. Should you open your window at night? That’s a question we deal with when the air conditioning doesn’t reach our room. (When the air conditioning DOES reach our room, it is as cold as a refrigerator and we sleep with the quilt!!)
Madrid has more trees than any other European capital. This is not because madrileños love nature, it is because they love the shade!
On Sunday (July 4 – I forgot all about the holiday in the US), another hot day but not as hot as today, we went to two places: El Rastro flea market and the famous El Prado museum. El Rastro is a huge market that occurs every Sunday, and it is spread out from a central plaza in all directions, up narrow streets and alleyways. It is HUGE. KF (my coworker that is on this trip with us), Dale and I took the Metro to get there. We could have walked, but we knew we´d be walking plenty in the afternoon. KF was lucky – the principal at our school had given her a 10-ride Metro pass at least a month ago, that she had for her visit to Madrid to see her daughter, but didn’t use. The pass still works!
Even so, I didn’t mind paying 9 euros for a ten ride pass, which I am pretty sure we will use. The metro is clean, efficient and cool. Even though the trains are only running at half the amount because of the strike, it was only a couple minutes wait until a train appeared. Because it was Sunday morning, it wasn’t too crowded either.
We walked up and down some of the streets to browse the wares being offered. Some of it was crafts like pottery, handmade jewelry, unique and original
clothes, while other stuff was bulk items offered for cheap, including bras, socks, underwear, etc. There were plenty of t-shirts for World Cup
especially Spain. Then there are antiques for sale. KF was looking for cheap but attractive items to put in her new condo. She looked at several things but only bought a fan and a small box.
I bought some used children’s books in Spanish
for my 2nd graders, some original jewelry (necklace and earrings) and some hand puppets (also for my classroom). We had run into a young man from Asturias who lives in Barradas when we were on the Metro, who was going to El Rastro also, but once we got there, we parted ways and we didn’t see him again. Too bad! He’s just about the right age for KF and they chatted quite a bit on the Metro.
When we got back to Barradas, we were very hot and tired, so we rested and had lunch before our museum trip at 3:00.