far too much writing, far too many photos

About the legend above the lottery/betting shop doorway (”Lotería Primitiva”): one of my landlords confirms that in this case ‘primitiva’ translates to ‘original,’ referring to the original/numbers game. “Lotería Primitiva” — how can you not love that?

And as long as I’m flogging distinctive signs — from el Paraíso del Jamón (”the Ham Paradise” — it’s paradise! and it’s full of ham!): “Chorizo, jamón y cenicera: la mejor penicilina.” Translation: ‘Chorizo, ham and, er, whatever the hell cenicera is: the best penicillin.’

El Paraíso del Jamón is a modest little joint on la Calle de Arenal near el Teatro Real in Madrid. Two counters — one where customers stand and toss down café, beer, tapas, bocadillos, all dispensed by white shirted/white aproned gnomes; the other where meats and cheeses can be bought. The food and café are good and inexpensive, and the atmosphere leans toward the wonderfully, earnestly tacky. As in most shops of this kind, pigs’ legs — all waxed up to keep ‘em fresh, complete with little cloven foot — hang above the bar, lined up in perfect formation. The espresso is as good as what you’ll drink in most of the nicer places along the street in the direction of El Teatro Real, la Plaza de Oriente and el Palacio Real, and the atmosphere, while not refined or genteel, is fun. At least for a weirdo like myself.

Madrid: entertainment and good food/drink everywhere you look.

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