Madrid's neighborhood of CHUECA is known for many things: a bustling Plaza de Chueca, hip-and-happening clothing shops, gay bars, alternative lifestyle PDA (Public Displays of Affection), and annual summertime Gay Pride blow-out (hmmm.. that wasn't intended as a pun, but...
), and rhinestone-leashed mini-dogs with some of the most flamboyant costumes you'll ever see.
At the end of last summer I threw out my old, rotting, sandals, vowing to get new ones this summer. And since summer was slammed upon us last week, prematurely, I was in desperate need for some new ones. An American-turned-Spaniard can only wear tennis shoes with shorts so long in the streets of Madrid before EVEN HE starts feeling self-conscious!
And since Chueca has the "Avenida de Zapatos
" (I coined that phrase, by the way) along its Calle de Augusto Figueroa
, heading east from Calle de Hortaleza, going 3 blocks until reaching the ultra-modern Mercado de San Anton, I decided to do my shopping there. With 10-15 shoe shops along this strip a guy - or girl - can't go wrong.
Maybe it was still too early in the season, though??
I went in every one of those shoe shops, including those just off the main street, and didn't find a single pair I liked!! Mind you, I'm CLEARLY (CLEARLY!!!) not a fussy dresser, but two-thirds of those shops A) didn't have mens' shoes, B) half of those shops which did didn't have sandals. And C), those which had sandals only had the slip-on kind, flip-flop style which, for a man on-the-go like me needs doesn't work. I need something which isn't going to be kicked-off accidentally, like when getting hit by a speeding taxi, tour bus, or way-ward Segway not following the group.
I honestly couldn't believe I was leaving Chueca neighborhood without buying - or even finding - a single pair of sandals I liked.
Amazing. HOW can that happen? Upon recounting this story to a female she said "Well, sure! Everyone's wearing flip-flops now. No one wears the kind you strap-on anymore!
So what's a guy - an American guy - to do?? Answer: GO TO THE MALL! So that's what I did. Two days later I went to the Príncipe Pío shopping mall and within 5 minutes I found - and bought - a pair of strap-on, tan leather sandals, "Bueno, Bonito y Barato
". (or, for "sandalias
", were "Buenas, Bonitas y Baratas
") And, to rhyme with that, add "BORING", I guess. No flash
in this guy. But at least were were nice-looking, according to "the female". "Zang!