Monday, September 21, 2009

Madrid: Is it my shorts that offends you?

I had the strangest thing happen to me today. I was on my way to the Plaza de Mayor - a colorful square where Spanish history is seeped deep within the cobblestones like old blood stains where bullfights, fires, royal pageantry, and events of the horrific and merciless Inquisition occurred.

Behind me was the Pluerta del Sol and an unforgettable bakery that I could barely pry my eyes from. I walked along the middle of the now quiet street, my face halfway buried in my guidebook when I looked up to see an old craggly man walking towards me. I start careening to the right, not assuming that he would move in time to prevent us from colliding. I brush past and he pushes me.

Yes, he pushed me. With two hands, he pushed my left shoulder and my back.

He mumbles something under his breath that I could not catch, likely because it was in Spanish and because I was still confused over the fact that he'd pushed me. I continued to walk but kept glancing over my shoulder to watch the man. He didn't seem homeless or delusional, or even the least bit confused - like I was. This completely baffles me. Why had he pushed me? I look around me to notice that several people were staring at me. I wondered if there was something on my face. Perhaps on my back - where the man had pushed me? But there was nothing. I could find nothing.

Except one thing about me did stand out. As I walked through the Plaza where several tourists and locals were crowded about, I looked closely at everyone and indeed noticed one difference (aside from the fact that I was Asian - but I wasn't the only one), it was the fact that no one else seemed to be wearing shorts. I saw women in skirts but they also wore leggings. None were wearing shorts. I stared down at my legs and wondered if they had been the cause of such hostility from the old man.

It was a cool day out and for those of you who know me, I HATE to sweat. So today, seeing the sun without a cloud in sight, I dressed for warm weather opting to wear a sweater and top layers to stave off the chill from the shadows.

I pondered this all day. Wondering if my shorts had truly offended the old man. I made a point to wear pants the next day, regardless of whether it was the true cause. No sense in attracting any unwanted attention especially since it's already fairly easy to peg me as a tourist.

Also, I dodged a bullet today (metaphorically speaking, of course). As I completed my tour of the Royal Palace, which is apparently Europe's 3rd greatest royal palace that had some of the most intricate and extravagent interior I have ever seen, I nearly got my wallet stolen!

I'd decided to wear a backpack today and opted to stuff my money belt inside of it due to how uncomfortable it could get sitting around my waist. As I strolled along the sidewalk amongst a large crowd, I heard the slow and steady sound of a zipper...unzipping. Realization dawned and I whirled around to face two young women standing closely with a surprised look on their face. I shift my backpack to my front to notice that the zipper was halfway opened. I look back at them and they seemed genuinely confused but it was hard to tell from the truth. Had they been trying to unzip my bag? As I'd only just gotten up from the bench after putting away my camera, I knew for a fact that I'd zipped it closed.

The girls quickly turn to walk the other way and I stared after them. Checking the contents of my bag, I sagged in relief to see that nothing had been taken. Boy, that would've been a disaster. I decided it was wise to keep my bag on my front.

What an interesting day.

You wouldn't believe the morning, that's for sure. I woke up to turn on my computer to do a bit of light reading when after a few minutes my computer just turned off. I stared in horror at the black screen thinking, what just happened? I try fruitlessly to turn it back on but to no avail. My mind screams, NO (insert expletive) WAY did it just CRASH again!

It was one of those moments where two things could possibly happen: 1. I could explode, picking up the laptop and gratifyingly hurling at the farthest wall or 2. Sit there and stare as all sorts of internal, confused dialogue happens in my head.

I did the latter. In seconds my brain thought the following:
1. Dear God, Why?

2. Maybe I'm still dreaming...yes that's it.
3. Any minute now...any minute now it's going to turn back on.
4. Don't cry...please don't cry
5. It's going to be fine...just breathe and keep sitting on your hands. It's not your fault you're unlucky with technology.

And on and on it went. It felt like I'd sat there staring at my laptop for an hour when it fact it was probably closer to 5 full minutes when I carefully shut it close, slid it beneath my pillow letting my face fall after it and shed a couple frustrated tears.

Long story short - it just needed to be charged :)

Tomorrow I'm off to Segovia which is 1.5 hours away by bus to visit the Castle that according to my bunkmate Lea, was the inspiration for Disney's Snow White's castle.

For now, I'm off to head downstairs to enjoy some FREE sangria with the rest of the hosteliers.

Thanks for visiting!
The Salon La Mallorquina - where all my hearts pastries smelled like heaven.

The impressive front of the Plaza Mayor

Just before I took the tour of the Royal Palace

Beautiful park fountains of Plaza de Espana

The fountain where I had my lunch in the shadows on the left side. I stared at a set of keys that sat just in front of the fountain thinking, The poor schmuck who lost his keys.


  1. Oh the disbealief look on your face when the old man pushed you! I could only imagine! I'm so happy you caught the sound of your zipper before anything was taken. Good stuff! Well, as safe and alert!

  2. shorts all the way! =D but how dare him! he pushed you!! but i'm glad you're safe. haha


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