far too much writing, far too many photos

After a few days of fine, slightly cooler weather, high summer has slipped back into Madrid. Went to the main post office at la Plaza de Cibeles around 10 a.m. to mail a box of stuff back to the States, when I returned the air had shifted from nicely mild to warm and getting hot.

The settling-in of summer has been evident around the city center with the increased numbers of tourists. People of all ages pulling big wheeled suitcases, younger folks with backpacks strapped on, most wearing shorts, t-shirt, sandals. Lots of young folks standing at doorways to buildings with hostals, poking at door buzzers, waiting for a reply or calling into the intercom in English and/or Spanish. Snatches of passing conversations in German, French.

After the post office, a quick cup of espresso and a visit to the bakery down the street for the day’s baguette and a couple of their excellent empanadillas, I headed back this way, passing a 50-something gray-haired male strapped into a full backpack, bedroll lashed across the top. He walked slowly, as if weary or not entirely sure of his bearings. Olive green t-shirt, black jeans, running shoes. Neat, but rumpled from travel. The backpack/bedroll were dark blue/gray, a small green stuffed teddy bear hung from the rear of the pack, bobbing a bit with the traveler’s steps, its features set in a blank fixed half-smile.

In ten days I’ll also be travelling. Not a thought I’m crazy about, so I think about it as little as possible. Yesterday I called the friendly people at Telefónica in an attempt to get my internet service put on hold during my months back in the States, something they assured me, when I first ordered the service, that would be easy to arrange. BWAAAAAAHAHAHA!!!!! About five minutes into the first attempt — not proceeding quite as smoothly as I’d hoped — the woman I was speaking with hung up on me. After a short laughter/cooling-down interval, I called back, spoke with another representative, a guy. A better experience, though Telefónica still wants to make me go through some hoops to get the service suspended. Have not yet decided if it’s worth hurling myself through them to save myself some shekels. Will decide during the next few days.

The fact is that since my arrival in August of 2000 and the subsequent dealing with local utilities to set up my first flat, they (or at least Telefónica) have made major efforts to improve the quality of the experience. Dealing with the power company back then was unbelievably unpleasant, the phone company only slightly better. With my current landlords I don’t have to deal with the power company, for which I give profuse, grovelling thanks. I’ve had to deal with Telefónica, however, and it’s become clear that they have put tremendous effort into being more pleasant, responsive, kind, humane, all of which I sincerely appreciate.

On the other hand, I spoke with a Spanish friend yesterday and mentioned my attempts to get my ADSL service put on hold. She laughed out loud at the very idea, saying (through snorts of hilarity), “It’s impossible!” Impossible? Well, no. Easy? Hmmm — the word I would use is doable. Doable, with some contortions on my part. We’ll see if I’m up to it.

Passing voices in conversation drift up from the street. A few minutes ago, the bell of a local church rang midday in counterpoint to the beep-beep-beep of a truck backing up into la Calle de Gravina, post-grocery-delivery to one of the shops that ring the plaza.

A quiet Friday morning in Madrid, the hours drifting steadily by, each one warmer than the last.

Leave a Reply

Proudly powered by WordPress. Theme developed with WordPress Theme Generator.
Copyright © runswithscissors. All rights reserved.