travel notes: spain


Spain's tough terra for vegetarians, and even for the softer fish-killing variety like myself. Most things have at least some bits of ham in them. I spent my time dancing around meat dishes (aka the "Carne Hustle") - thank god for tortilla patatas.

The Spanish love their "polybagging" - and no, that's not a swinger's term. As a magazine junkie, it's fun to see fashion magazines wrapped in plastic pouches along with things like bikinis and purses, a GQ magazine with mini iPod speakers, and a version of Men's Health wrapped up with a bottle of water. You've got it easy, American letter carriers.

I spent an hour watching the Republican candidates debate - it probably would have been more palatable, had it been dubbed into Spanish. But I'm a firm believer in knowing thy enemy.

I made a pilgrimage to Cafe Commercial, my brother Kurt's favorite haunt during his time spent in Madrid. Over café con hielo (above), I watched two well-dressed women (sisters?), likely in their nineties, sipping tiny afternoon beers. The last time I was there, I saw the exact same thing. I think they just might be the same two ladies, as Café Commercial is certainly not a place that changes very quickly. I also think that if Americans spent more time relaxing in cafes, the whole world would be a better place.

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