"The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don't wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope." — Barack Obama
Yes, I have been away for a while, and for that I apologize. Saying that the past couple of months have been intense, if not brutal, is an understatement. Thankfully, Madrid offers plenty of opportunities for sexy lady kitties like me to have a drink and unwind, after a much justified hissy fit.
Now, even though this is not one of those ranting blogs, this post is all about firsts. Accordingly, I must include an account of all the activities of the past weeks, even if some of them are less than good. But, kitty’s honor, this story has a happy ending and pretty little pictures to go with it. You see, for the first time after 28 months of living in Spain, I got pick-pocketed. Scratch that. I got my bag stolen.
I won’t go into the full details of how the story went down. Suffice it to say that I was having a glass of wine with three other sexy felines when my bag mysteriously disappeared. No, we were not drunk. And yes, we’re ok. No violence involved. To be fair, who in Madrid can honestly say they haven’t been pick-pocketed once or twice? Bag, keys, phone, even a 50€ note can all be easily replaced. Except that there was this one little insignificant item in my bag that I considered to be, you know, priceless. Yup, the bastards took my passport as well.
If you’ve never been abroad, and have never had your passport stolen, you might be thinking that’s ok. It’s not like you can’t have it replaced. On the other hand, if you have, you might know what I’m talking about. I never understood how much safe I felt having my passport with me. A lot of people will claim that Americans aren’t too popular in Europe. Blame it on George W. Bush, or whatever you want, but they will tell you we’re not always liked. And, unfortunately I have to say that’s more or less true. I’ve been places where people look at you disgusted simply by the fact that you speak English with an American accent. And I get it. But, you know what? Bring out that American passport and the authorities will respect you (in Europe, at least) 100% of the time. Unless they’re extremists, these people won’t want to mess with you. I’ve seen it first hand. Being a Puerto Rican feline, I have a very Latin American look and have seen a shift in attitude as soon as I tell them I’m American or show them my passport.
Needless to say, this was the first time I’d ever felt so unsafe. Fortunately, I was able to file a police report and apply for a new passport. The US Embassy was so supportive and my passport was delivered only 8 business days after I applied for it. 8 business days. I was always proud of being an American kitty. Now I’m also grateful.
That night, after all my stuff was gone, there was nothing left for me to do but drink. Thanks to my trusty Running X, funny Scottish Fox, who was visiting, and to Minnesota Babe, I didn’t have a second to dwell on my misfortune. They took care of my meal and drinks and led the way to a fun birthday party.
In true Spanish fashion, after the birthday party died down, X and I headed to Plaza de Santa Bárbara, off Alonso Martínez, for a bit of dancing at El Junco – another first. El Junco is a jazz club by day, turned nightclub experiment in the evenings. To be fair, I haven’t tried the bar’s jazz scene, but I do hope it’s a lot better than their failed nightclub attempt. The music was a bit dated, reminiscent of proms and weddings past, circa 1993. But, hey, who am I to complain? After the bag vanishing act, things could only improve. Right? Right.
Two days later, the girls and I got together to bear farewell to Scottish Fox with lunch and goodbye drinks. Wandering through the streets of Chueca, we came across the third first of the weekend – La Mafia. A Spanish chain of italian restaurants established in 2002, La Mafia does Italian with a mix of sense of humor and class. Black & white photos of The Godfather and other famous mafiosos add quite a singularity and character to this establishment. Italy-imported ingredients make for a delicious meal, whether you decide to go full on Italian, or simply Mediterranean like I did.
We then went to Naif for drinks, at Plaza de San Ildefonso. Having a bit of a sweet tooth, I opted for a slice of yummy cheesecake and a chupito (shot) of caramel vodka. To die for. The ambiance is urban chic. Sort of like the place where hip intellectuals like to go and ponder life’s banalities while sipping trendy wine. I simply loved it, and will definitely be back to try some of the food.
Aside from the pesky passport situation, clearly the weekend wasn’t a total bust. I managed to have good fun and get three new firsts under my belt. Not too shabby… Not too shabby at all!
‘Til the next time,
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