Welcome Chad and Mom / Jake turns 21!
Trip Start Jan 14, 2009
34Trip End Jun 07, 2009
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The next day I had class till about 6-6:30. Mom had spent the day in Toledo, but I would meet up with her for some Tapas once again on this night. We went to a well-known place called Lateral, which is in the gay district of Chueca. Some pretty good dishes I would say. The one that stood out to meet was the baked potato filled with him and a fried egg on top that would be mashed inside of the potato. I could tell Mom was liking all the tapas, but nothing really that made her say, "Ooh, that's awesome!," which was my goal at least. Mom enjoyed some good house wine while I made the mistake of a ordering what is the Spanish Version of Bud Light Lime. My mistake-I'll know not to order that one again. Mom went back to her hotel room and I proceeded to meet up with some friends and got to a club called Pasha that night. I ended up meeting some Spanish girls who had actually been to St. Petersburg, Florida before (about 30 minutes from home). However, albeit meeting and conversing with Spanish girls was fun, the club proved to be a little too expensive for my liking.
The next day I woke up around 11:30 in order to meet up with Mom and my brother Chad who had just flown in from Chicago. We reunited and went to a restaurant, not a museum, called the Museo del Jamón. One could easily mistake it for a ham museum due to the incessant blocks of ham that line the walls and the deli areas of the restaurant. Nevertheless, Mom and Chad got their fix of jamón cerrano and queso (cheese) as well as an entire other plate of ham.
We continued walking around the city a little via a walking tour from the center of the city (Gran Vía) to pretty much all along the outskirts of the city, seeing some interesting sites such as Plaza de Espana and a park that I'd like to frequent in the future. It features a small, stone structure in a quiet park that overlooks the Madrid countryside. We relaxed on the grass their for a while and took in the 60 degree weather and sunshine that graced our presence. We walked some more around the Bilbao area and all the way to Chueca, which was filled with fun/hip shops and the like. We finally made it back to their hotel where we were all happy to take a load off our feet and relax.
Later that night, Chad and Mom came over to Maruja's for The Dinner. I know that Chad and Mom were excited to come over (albeit having no Spanish vocabulary practically), but I was pretty pumped as well, especially since I could be the translator. When they arrived, they all greeted each other with 2 kisses on the cheek and exchanged words that I translated.
However, the shock for my roommate and I was that Gloria, my lovely model 'sister', actually spoke English very efficiently I guess you could say. We had no idea since we always talked to her in Spanish! Nevertheless, she got along with my mom swimmingly, and Jon and I looked at each other thinking, "What in the world has she heard us talking about in our rooms??" Her English was obviously not perfect but she was well understood by all those at the table.
Maruja served an unbelievable looking and tasting dish of Paella that WOW'd my mom finally, and hopefully Chad. She also served some slices of Lomo (a different part of the pig) as well as some regular slices of Jamón Serrano. It also tasted delicious and she put out some sweets and chocolates that I have been subjected to eat for the entirety of my stay so far. We continued conversing and I somewhat enjoyed translating because I felt like I was the translator at the Meeting of the 5 Families in The Godfather. Only this time Don Vito Corleone was doña Maruja de la familia Rodriguez! 'Twas a challenging task but I think I managed to be successful.
We concluded the dinner with a very nice picture of my family and my Spanish family. I truly enjoyed Operation Spanish-American Cultural Immersion.
That night, Mom had missed her bedtime in Maine by about 2 and half hours so she went to a hotel while Chad accompanied me and my friends that live in the building to near-by hookah bar. It was a crowded, smoky atmosphere but we enjoyed explaining to Chad many of the cultural differences that we have encountered in Spain.
Saturday: The night of my Birthday!
Unfortunately, we had to go an excursion for 2 parts of the day. One part from 10-12, then another from 4-6. From 10-12, we checked out the region of Madrid called Las Asturias and finished at the Plaza Mayor, which was definitely a happening place even on a cloudy day. We grabbed lunch nearby Plaza Mayor at a tapas place. Favorite dish was the French fries with a fried egg mixed in. Delicious.
We walked around a little bit more, shopping and such until we decided to go have a little respite/nap at the hotel. When I woke up, it was time to go the Museo del Prado, probably the most renowned museum in Madrid. However, the thing is huge; it would take one 3 days to take it all in. As of right now, they are featuring a Francis Bacon exhibit now as well. Mom and Chad went on a self-guided with audio-guides in their ears while I went with the group. I enjoyed looking at the paintings; however, once again, our tour guide Pepa decided to talk as if she was literally writing a epic Spanish novel to be included in Frommer's Guide to Madrid. It really makes me appreciate the art less, but whatever. We got done with the museum and I headed home to relax and get in birthday mode!
Millis and I looked extremely spiffy before heading out to meet Mom and Chad for dinner. We picked an area to eat in called La Latina, which has some authentic Spanish restaurants. Our first choice was overcrowded and the second required a reservation. Next door, we find a majestic restaurant where we drank some smooth wine (out of a huge vase type item). In addition, we started out with a shot of humus (seriously) that we scooped out with a spoon. Later, we enjoyed some smoked grilled that was a "hard" cheese, but very good nonetheless. After that, we split a plate of Ostrich with mushrooms that tasted like shitake, and some Codfish with some other side that I cannot recall right now. Miraculously, it was enough food for the 4 of us to share, and I think we were all pretty satisfied.
Now the fun part(s):
We left the restaurant and made our way towards the bar I wanted to go to celebrate my birthday. It was called Chosita Sueca, and had all my friends meet us there. We got a few rounds, and waited till midnight so have a birthday toast! Although it may seem anti-climactic to turn 21 in a country where drinking is legal at 18, it felt truly special at this point to have my mom and brother as well as all my friends in Madrid to celebrate with me. Age ain't nothing but a number as they say. Though I guess I will always be able to say/remember, "I loved celebrating my 21st in Madrid; it's an experience I'll always remember." After the bar, Chad, my friends, and I headed towards a club called Joy, which is one my favorite places here. We had a great time, and I made it home safely only to wake up at 9:30 am ON MY 21ST BIRTHDAY TO GO AN EXCURSION!!!! I was pretty pissed, but seeing the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) was pretty cool. I felt pretty crappy all day, but did not mope. I powered through, and made the best of the day, even though it didn't really feel like my birthday, nor did I feel like I was 21.
Later that night, Chad, Mom and I met up at Seco 5 to enjoy some Sangria and food before parting ways. It was truly a joy to have them in "my city" and I did my best to effectively show them around as much as I could.
So...March 1, 2009...I am 21 years old, 2/3 of the way through my Junior year of college...studying abroad in Madrid...what a life...
But seriously, where did the time go???
If you think you have an answer for me, I'd like it in the form of a Blog Comment, double-spaced, paginated, and Times New Roman please. Thanks