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#58122 - 10/23/00 04:00 PM Impressions of Madrid October 2000
steveaqui Offline
Member

Registered: 09/01/00
Posts: 76
Loc: Inglaterra
Just back! I think!

Taxis:
I arrived at the airport undecided on what method of transport to use and I wanted to get out of there as rapid as possible. The 'old' bus service was there in front of me, with the other options being the shuttle bus or taxis. I took a quick turn about looking for the shuttle bus but there was no obvious sign of it or a checkpoint. Although, I must stress that I made no big effort to find it and in fact on my exit from Madrid I did gain sight of the bus arriving with clients.
All around me there were people fighting there way to the taxis and this seemed the most convenient way to the centre. I reflected on the stories of £200 charges to the centre and the more frequent ones of £20 etc.
My attention was drawn to an English party of three women, one woman had taken the lead role and set about arguing with and bartering, in English, for a ride costing 2500 pts but the taxi driver was not having any of this and was shocked by her confidence, in short he was not very keen on this particular ‘client’. Anyway I didn’t notice how much she eventually agreed but I remain confident that with her plucky spirit she was not ‘done’. I was proud of her!

Anyway, I can speak Spanish well although I still don’t pronounce my vowel sounds sufficiently 'hard', I am told, for instance, I can say a long set of words and impress but if I ask for a cerveza I usually get a bewildered look or even spoken to in English which really annoys me, even though I understand why. So I usually ask instead for a caña or better still for a doble, anyway where was I? yes, taxis. So I had no fear of communication problems, so I asked how much would it cost me to the Puerto del sol (cuanto me costaría hasta el Puerto del sol, por favor) to which the driver replied “depends on the meter” so I asked the next driver and he seemed more willing to communicate on price issues. We agreed no more than 4000 pts max.

Anyway, we set of for the centre of Spain like a bat out of hell and with one hand on the wheel and travelling like something out of car chase film, narrowly avoiding collisions and negotiating traffic, we arrived at the centre and I was duly charged 3500 pts which I considered very reasonable for the distance and moderate traffic encountered. Also, when you think that there could have been four in the taxi for presumably the same price or not much more. This was about 5 in the afternoon. Anyway, I did some time later hear one person recount how he was charged 6000 pts for the same journey.

My return taxi was from the centre of Spain but with a taxi stationed in the centre queuing and waiting for clients. I again enquired for the price and talked around the 4000 pts mark and I nearly got my head bit off.
This chap wanted to know where I got that kind of idea from. He said expect 2500 pts max. Well on arrival at the airport the price was 1500 pts with a 500 pts charge extra. I was pleased.

Conclusions on taxis: the Spanish people arriving at the airport are not afraid to use the taxis in fact they fight to be first in the queue. The amount you get charged depends on how ‘tough’ you are and generally how you conduct yourself. Arrive wearing shorts and an orange tea shirt and you then start to struggle against that first impression. If you can speak Spanish reasonably well you shouldn’t have to pay much more than I did. If you can’t speak Spanish and hold up 4000 pts and make it clear you don’t have any more and are not going to pay more anyway then I think you’ll get your journey ok.

On leaving the city the taxi service is excellent quick and convenient.

I was happy with the taxis.

I’ll return with more drivel soon providing I don’t get to much abuse for the long-winded stuff.

For instance: last person standing, apart from street cleaners, well only just standing as it happens, on returning from the Berlin Cabaret on a Tuesday in Madrid.



[This message has been edited by steveaqui (edited 10-23-2000).]

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#58123 - 10/24/00 04:29 PM Re: Impressions of Madrid October 2000
steveaqui Offline
Member

Registered: 09/01/00
Posts: 76
Loc: Inglaterra
AREAS:
For me the best is Plaza Santa Anna its got everything: tapas bars, jazz club, and a semi jazz club that had on one night a Buena Vista Social Club type group from Cuba, the “TIPICO ORIENTAL CUBANO” they were excellent and with free entrance you cant beat it, although the drinks are around 1000pts.

The worst area starts just east of Puerto del sol with prostitutes littering the main street. The area continues to degenerate over the Gran Via and reaches its peak at Chueca. Chueca, I only have one thing to say about it: dump.

Most of the Puerto del sol area is excellent and contains a wide variety of attractions: discos, bars, and the lot in fact.

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#58124 - 10/24/00 04:42 PM Re: Impressions of Madrid October 2000
Nicole Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/24/00
Posts: 583
Loc: Los Angeles
more! more!
those of us living vicariously through you lucky travelers are insatiable!!

(I liked the lengthy post earlier!)

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#58125 - 10/25/00 03:54 AM Re: Impressions of Madrid October 2000
francisco Offline
Member

Registered: 08/25/00
Posts: 45
Loc: Madrid
Hi steveaqui,

I hope you don´t mind the correction, but it´s not "PuertO del Sol" but "(la) PuertA del Sol".

I'm glad that you had such a great time in Madrid.

Saludos.

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#58126 - 10/25/00 06:08 AM Re: Impressions of Madrid October 2000
MadridMan Offline


Executive Member

Registered: 05/06/00
Posts: 9080
Loc: Madrid, Spain (was Columbus, O...
GRRREAT account of your October trip, steveaqui!! Yes! Keep them coming! And your PuertO del Sol typo isn't the worst we've seen here. If only I had a dime for evertime someone wrote "Plaza del Sol" I'd be rich. hehehee..

We're waiting for your NEXT installment of.... "WHAT steveaqui DID DURING HIS HOLIDAY IN SPAIN"!!!!!

Saludos, MadridMan
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#58127 - 10/25/00 02:18 PM Re: Impressions of Madrid October 2000
steveaqui Offline
Member

Registered: 09/01/00
Posts: 76
Loc: Inglaterra
The Berlin Cabaret and Late-Nighters:

(no I don’t mind corrections)

I spent a lot of legwork looking for the Berlin Cabaret, in fact towards the end of the stay I was struggling to walk at all, anyway, I eventually found it and noticed that I had walked past it several times. Well, the notice read 30s style cabaret. This, to me, conjured up images of old black & white films with the likes of Lily Marlene & scantily clad young ladies with one leg sporting a garter resting on a table and arms wrapped around a well dressed client. Kisses being rationed out to ever grateful faces with a timely need to remove ever increasing lip-stick stained marks on the gentlemen’s brows. All taking place in a dimly lit smoke filled and highly ornate room sunk into the basement.

Well it wasn’t.

I arrived at midnight and was sent away, it wasn’t yet open. I went to a very near ‘real’ guitar flamingo bar (later) and returned I think, I drink far to much, at about 1:30 but it may well have been 2:30, anyway I was within 10 minutes of the start-up.

There were no such clothed personnel as I had thought. The room, which was of basement design, was peppered with a mixture of French & Spanish. I didn’t hear any English spoken in the bar with the majority being, as far as I could tell, Spanish tourists.

I duly obtained a drink, as usual, again at the 1000pts mark, better I think, to do the serious drinking first in less expensive places.

Within a short time we were all corralled to the centre stage area and ropes appeared around the bar area. Next music struck-up and from below the stage level, on a circular platform, a man appeared dressed a little like a clown and sporting a very large coloured chef type hat.

The clown spoke only in Spanish, an important point in his favour, and performed his cabaret over the next 45 minutes, I think! This covered such items as pretending to saw off a women’s hand, a feat that, as it happens, was very well done. No! not actually removing the hand, but giving the impression that it would fall off at any second. Most of the act involved heavy audience participation.

Anyway, it was quite good overall, especially because it was in Spanish, he spoke, or tried to speak English a few times and the audience fell about laughing. But all this wasn’t exactly what I had gone for and it’s highly debatable if it’s really worth waiting up to at that time.
Perhaps other nights are different. Are they?

Anyway, I made my exit and set off back to the Puerta del sol, well this was the real eye opener along the way and in the square there were only street sweepers and me. Incredible!

I think that the talk of the Madrid people staying out very late probably best reflects what takes place at the weekend and probably spreads to the early week nights during the very warm summer nights. When you think about it people have to get up for either college or work just like anybody else and consequently I start to form the impression that Monday to Thursday revellers are, in the main,during the cooler months, tourists. Obviously there must still have been people in the discos, in any case there certainly were on Sunday night.

Hasta Pronto





[This message has been edited by steveaqui (edited 10-25-2000).]

[This message has been edited by steveaqui (edited 10-25-2000).]

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#58128 - 10/25/00 03:04 PM Re: Impressions of Madrid October 2000
mclarke Offline
Member

Registered: 09/19/00
Posts: 179
Loc: Arlington, VA
Steve,

I hope you will continue sharing experiences on your recent Madrid trip. I do really enjoy reading your experiences.

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#58129 - 10/26/00 07:48 AM Re: Impressions of Madrid October 2000
francisco Offline
Member

Registered: 08/25/00
Posts: 45
Loc: Madrid
>I duly obtained a drink, as usual, again at e 1000pts mark, better I think, to do the serious drinking first in less expensive places.

Yes, that's the key. Specially in Huertas. (I see that you are a great expert in Madrid )

As for "Madrid people staying out very late" you are right: in Madrid we also work, go to college, etc. But as the friday gets near, the amount of people that goes out grows. In fact, thursday is a very common day for students to go out.


Saludos.

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#58130 - 10/26/00 01:25 PM Re: Impressions of Madrid October 2000
steveaqui Offline
Member

Registered: 09/01/00
Posts: 76
Loc: Inglaterra
A lucky event:


Walking around the streets of Madrid I chanced upon noticing a small poster advertising a concert, the name and face struck me immediately. It was Amaral probably still yet a relatively unknown singer but becoming, I think, more and more popular.

I first happened on seeing Amaral en Spanish T.V.E a programme called Séptimo de caballería (7th cavalry) hosted by José Bosé a famous half Spanish and Italian singer/host, at least the fact that he is la mitad (1/2) is what I understood him to mean when he was interviewing Madona. He later went on to invite Madona out to a Flamingo show in Madrid, he did this whilst lying prostrate on the floor telling her that he loved her.

Anyway, at the time, probably to the best of my recollection a year ago, Amaral was introduced as an up-and-coming new Spanish singer. Well, the fact is that I was taken with her style, delivery and song, titled
Voy a acabar contigo (I am going to finish with you).

Well the fact was that Amaral was being advertised as appearing in Madrid over the next two nights in a place called the Chesterfield Café.

On making my return to my hotel I looked on my what was by now a somewhat dying map and asked the chap on the desk where on the Calle Serrano Jover I should seek out the Café. I was informed that it wasn’t the calle jover but joven.

Fingers don’t do what eyes and brain tells them to do!

Lucky information for me since I would have been at completely the opposite side of the area that I wanted.

Anyway, later in the night, after I might add having taken on board some considerably cheaper ale than that usually afforded to me in entertainment venues: circa 1000pts. Also I was careful to adjust my intake accordingly with expectations (was it Oscar Wild who said: “expectations have a lot to answer for”) of a good night and thus prevented the ale from readjusting my vision too much.

Anyway, I took advantage of a taxi ride to the Chesterfield. About 500pts with tip.

I duly arrived and came across some visitors from Skipton in Yorkshire (Central/ North East England), a nice market town. They had arrived like me by way of EasyJet from Liverpool. They told me that they were staying next door. A place I went into, for a good looking at, on leaving the Café. Its big five or was it four stars. I asked for a brochure. My impression was that it was probably too big and expensive although undoubtedly ideally situated for the Café.

The Chesterfield is set, principally on two levels, with a bar on the pavement level and a bar and meal area below, also with a wrap around standing area for the people taking advantage of the entertainment but having chosen not to eat.

I took-up a position as close as I could get to the stage, yes of course with cerveza close by. An amusing thing struck me in that there was no entrance fee or indeed, as far as I could tell, any requirement to take a drink. Really strange stuff. I don’t know how they make these events pay for themselves. In England free entrance to a concert is not the norm but also is not unknown. In any case the proprietors would expect to make a lot from the amount consumed. The Spanish, as far as I can tell, are very conservative drinkers.

Don’t expect to make much in the way of drinks sold if you set-up a bar with entertainment.

Amaral duly appeared on stage complete with backing group.


I was not disappointed.
From now I will be like a moth to light, when in Madrid, heading to the Chesterfield Café for the live entertainment.


[This message has been edited by steveaqui (edited 10-26-2000).]

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#58131 - 10/26/00 03:51 PM Re: Impressions of Madrid October 2000
Puna Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/07/00
Posts: 1437
Loc: Charlotte, NC. U.S.A.
Have a CD of Amaral's ... fantastic voice- glad to hear she was as good, if not better, live!
_________________________
emotionally & mentally in Spain - physically in Charlotte
http://www.wendycrawfordwrites.com/

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