|My first European city and I think I'm falling in love. Maybe it's the fact that I've long hungered to see Spain. The schedule here fits my habits, there are guitars everywhere, the women are beautiful and now that the sun has come out I`m finding it hard to leave. The money is getting low so I'm looking for a gig or few to replinish the travel fund. The first Sunday without rain, I was involved in the single largest drum circle I've ever seen at the huge park here known as The Retiro.
A Fundamental Right:
One thing I see alot of here in Spain, which is different than where I'm from in America, is group singing. Of course it happens in English and Irish taverns the world over, but in Spain it's different. Here, it's not uncommon to see a large group of folks out for a stroll between tapas bars singing, in 3 or 4 different keys at the same time, a current or traditional Spanish song at the top of their lungs. I rather like this mentality. It's very "punk rock". It says that we don't have to be professional musicians in order to express ourselves with the fundamental, universal language that is music. It says that we all have an inalienable right to use this ancient language for whatever cause we choose. Screw those who would stand in judgement. They just don't get it and probably never will. The high and mighty who look down their nose at the thought of an untrained hand taking a try at using the tools of the art. Smash your flute!!! Bash your bassoon!!! Obliterate that oboe!!!! That'll show the bastards how we can express........... Oh excuse me. I guess I was getting a little carried away. But the point is, in Spain, music is not just an art form for the trained and educated but a liberty available for everyperson.
Police Action / Violence In Society
A difference I've noted here is that whenever the Policia get involved one-on-one with a member of the public, crowds stop to gather and stare. I'm not sure how they are on the highways, in The States people slow down for a good look at the carnage, but on the streets here the people are simply fascinated by what in America would be nothing at all. Are we Americans jaded? I mean we do put the largest percentage of people into jail of any country on Earth, so we 're obviously accustomed to the idea that authorities must constantly be looking for and punishing anyone found to be out of order. Here, a dispute breaks out in a bar over the tab and 3 cars full of cops show up to discreetly walk into the situation while a crowd gathers to see if anyone's going to jail (usually they don't). The cops carry guns here but they are outlawed for anyone else. One time I saw a car just miss hittting a guy going across a street. The pedestrian shouted and the car stopped, the driver got out and the two of them yelled at each other from two feet away for maybe 15 seconds, max. Then the driver gets back in his car and the pedestrian goes on about his way as if nothing had happened. That's the closest thing to conflict I've seen in over three weeks of been right here in the heart of the large city that is Madrid. In America, that's a situation that most likely leads to fists a flyin'. In America you're gonna see police action every day in a city this big. When people get that hot in The States it often can lead directly to deadly violence. Is it that we view life as being less valuable than our European brethren? Or..... are we more stressed out in the pursuit to "get more things" and therefore always closer to the edge? Or..... are the Europeans simply She-Men who have been castrated with shame by their women? I invite you to tell what you think.
Eating Habits Of The Typical Spaniard
Ok, I'll admit that title is misleading because I can't say that I know anything about the eating habits of the typical Spaniard. All I can talk about is what is around me here in the Center Of Spain. Three words that explain: "Museo del Jamon" ..... Museum of Ham...... They're everywhere....... They're an institution. Of course there are the ubiquitous McDonalds® and KFC® grease exports, but in Madrid, the Museo del Jamon is tops. The Spanish do love their pigs and they especially love to eat them. In more ways than you can imagine without spending three or four thousand years contemplating it, like the Spanish have. The display windows are an artistic arrangement of happy, smiling piggies, some whole with eyelashes and everything, but most are chopped into more varieties than you ever thought possible. The Museo del Jamon have more than a hundred types of pig sausages. Some make serious claims to the "Omega 3" value of their product and, whose to say? With this many hog legs hanging on hooks, hooves all polished and shiny with collection cups arranged below each one to catch the fat drippings, you just can't help but fall into a carnivorous mood. If you really want to experience something different, grab yourself a buffet ticket and get in line at the buffet down the street. More ways to eat meat than you ever saw in your life. Be prepared to turn something over with the tongs you're using, only to find half the face of something staring back up at you, teeth still intact. Just eat around the skull with your fork. Around here, it's not considered polite to gnaw on a skull bone with your bare hands.