Madrid, La Alberca and leg falling apart...

Madrid Travel Blog

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Gotta keep a stiff upper lip. My life is pretty good. Really no reason to bitch and moan, but having a prosthetic leg does a fucking wonderful job keeping me humble. Five minutes in Madrid, I got out of the truck, walked to the store across the street and walking back the leg wouldn't lock in. Took it apart, put it back together and still nothing so then went to the hospital to find a prosthesis. Slept in the truck waiting for the manufacturer to open- need to always go to a manufacturer. If I go to a a yellow pages ortho technician, they know less than nothing. They send it to the manufacturer and charge a commission, usually their stores are a combo ortho-nutritionist-herbal doctor/certified massage therapist.

I hope you follow. Anywho so it was. On the bright side, stopped by the hot springs outside Granada for a nice 2 hour dip. So, the real technician put it together, maybe only slightly better than myself. No fee so no worry. It lasted a week. But in that week I spent two days in the Prado Museum- fantastic! El Bosco has some mushroom induced religious art from the 15th C. Then all the Goya, think early 1800's.. Goya is dark, often depicting scenes of common folk in despair. The Prado I think only represents Spanish artist. Spain has had some dark periods in history.  So much, 2 full days. Walked and walked the corners of Madrid. Reina Sofia Museum is the Spanish modern art but they closed the doors on us on Sunday it opens only to 2pm.
Picasso, Dali etc... I couch surfed for two days in Madrid and here is a wonderful uplifting story.

I met Kenneth, his partner Jose and adopted son Dominic. Kenneth and his previous partner, Bill, adopted 2 children while living in the states. Bill died and Kenneth carried on the responsibilities by himself. What a load! To adopt a child is amazing. Kenneth is not rich but his heart is open and he deserves more than what I can properly pen. There are so many good people in the world, doing selfless acts. He does it graciously and (the other son is in the US trying to establish a relationship with his natural Mom) Dominic is a wonderful young man, 18. Jose and Kenneth can marry in Spain, very cool but now they are not. I hope wherever I am Kenneth and Jose will stay in touch and we can meet up somewhere.

Neither have any wish to move to the states. General consensus of the expats living in Spain, none wish to deal with the corrupt political systems of the UK and US. It is too bad that the Constitution no longer holds favor as it did 100 years ago. Fall of the Roman Empire took 500 years? Technology does speed things along.  Back to the story, such genuineness that Spanish people have. I talked with Jose forever as we went to the Sofia without Kenneth. He was tired out after we went to the largest market in Europe (rumor), called the Rastro- open on Sundays 9am-2pm. The more I speak with Spanish the more I have in common with the culture. To sum it up? No, but my take is this: Spanish are genuine. the smile is the largest I have ever seen (the women of Catalonia especially, to die for yummy.
)and the people speak their mind, think rationally and listen. We may disagree on issues but so is life and the world keeps turning. At any rate, I had a ball speaking with Kenneth, my couch surfing host and new friend the two days before I went to La Alberca.

I joined a volunteer English program. It was a very good experience. The Spanish were "immersed in English" between 9am to 10pm. The selling point of Pueblo Ingelis.  Being the man I am, I drank with a variety of Spanish until 3-5am every other day. Successful? I don't know if it is worth the money for the Spanish(1900 euro) versus finding language exchange partner plus a few friends, and study, but if the company is paying for it, why not.

For me, I wanted to communicate to Spanish and exchange ideas with very intelligent people, I wanted to go to a small village for more than 2 hours, free drink, free food, free hotel- do it again!!  The program needed two more teachers asap, so I found two in Granada and for this labor I got a sweet little 2 night hotel and breakfast buffet upon my return. We taught English, 20 minute walk from this small medieval village in Salamanca Province. Surrounded by mountains, villages are peppered through the mountain range and quite lovely to see. One of the Spanish had a car, Pablo took me up to the top with this other teacher Barbara. Amazing rolling hills and land throughout Spain. Because the larger cities are so spread out, villages are very primitive still today, it is hard to imagine communication or Civil War in an era like the 30's.
  Two days before we were to come back the release valve again screwed up, ugh! It such a sticking point. I really don't like this part of my life. Meet a pretty girl and gotta worry more about the leg than the sack- that just isn't right...

Side note: In 10 years, I have a feeling that free internet porn will take over and we will no longer need to partner up. No matter how much we talk about love in relationships, at heart I think it is more carnal, primitive sexual drive- now if we can get this in any color, size, deep moan, long moan snoring all in the choice you choose... what more could a person want.  All the stigmas, and freakiness is obsolete.. fantasize about bondage? s&m, born in South Carolina and like sex with farm animals- no longer have to worry.

  Next stage of computer technology- interactive porn I am sure.  Populations will be controlled and we got some surreal non social system running our lives into a perfect order. Cool ne? People holding hands will be thought of as odd, neighbors won't talk but give the young lovers the "that's weird" look. It is what it is. We are always evolving and this is where it may be.

So yes, the valve screwed up, but locked in this time. The screw push button fell out somewhere and Friday I was awesome till I had to take it off at night. Saturday and Sunday back in Madrid, my pathetic self, I shake my head as I write this but I had to tie a belt around the leg and hold the other end of the belt at my waist. I put my coat on as if I broke my arm and hid the embarrassment well enough.

Anywho, Sunday was very good. Went to the Rastro market with Kenneth and Jose. The going price was 150 euro. Too bad, I found about 2m. of 1920's fabric on a roll, think William Morris!!! Likely not and since it didn't say "Morris", I didn't buy it. 150 euros I can find it in America, actually this must be said to any treasure hunter- like European antiques? textiles? Buy it cheaper in America at any size auction. Those that don't know William Morris, I was once one of you, now is the time to set this stupid little diary aside and google the man. Man of his time. In Barcelona the architecture is a splendid array of Antonio Gaudi, there are plenty of photos to show the lavish art nuevo of the time. Too be successful in the early 20th late 19th C., such was the time.  Kenneth invited me back to couch surf Sunday night since the hotel was no more, that was cool.
Monday, the car I left in the middle of nowhere was still there untouched- there is no parking in Madrid central unless you pay for it. The prosthetic manufacturer charged me 50 euro and he basically had to cast a die to get the European valve to fit an American casing. Another for that Socialized medicine, the technician couldn't believe that the components were not separate and easily interchangeable like...European. My liners are now tearing, I have 2 liners. Just got them 6 months ago, got to try one on at the manufacturer. For some people get excited to test drive a Porsche, I get that same wetty when I try on a new 6mm liner. The price tag is always the draw back. If your in the top tax bracket, the Republican Party just afforded you a Porsche but for me the hapless uninsured we trudge on with what we got.
The liner was 450 euro, not undoable but I should be able to get new ones under warranty so we see. I write this, it isn't bitching but it is actual stuff that comes up in my life (any girl ready to give her dowry for me?). The immediacy of prosthetic care sucks sometimes. I try not to ask for sympathy or put people in awkward situations more than necessary but it is as part of my life as is alcoholism. Good analogy? Maybe not...(funny though) is the sun. Shit happens, there are many of people who are much worst off and do the best they can. The lesson of this rambling- one must consider all the good things in life (Hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place), fuck all to the ignorant (means try to understand people who watch anything resembling CSI Miami, Reality TV), and try to have a better conscious barometer (not for other but for yourself- clean the dog shit off the sidewalk).
And that is that. Madrid is a wonderful city! I only scratched the surface. I don't know why but I haven't touched night life so much. I usually drink with friends at someones home. There are over 50 museums in Madrid. This Friday I will finish Barcelona, lovely (-ier) place! Spanish smiles to everyone!


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photo by: vulindlela