Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Madrid for Two Days

It has been 38+ years since my wife & I accompanied fifteen 9th graders to Spain. Returning was most interesting. Cadiz, Jerez de La Frontera, Seville, and Granada were all new to me. Not Madrid!

The hostal. Las Musas Residence, was really good. There I got to meet Mislav from Germany, Ana from Brazil, Onur & his amigos from Turkey (with an invite to visit!). Pedro from Argentinian is the main man in the hostel. He has a good personality, honestly interested in each person. There's a large flat screen TV - saw some of protests in Cairo on it. The kitchen is quite good & all of it is very clean. AND mercifully, the kitchen, and large living room - both are closed from midnight to 8 a.m. Yes!

El Prado This was a return visit, though without fifteen 14 year olds!! Tuesday thru Sat, it's free from 6 - 8 p.m. I went both nights. So much to see: Goya, Velazquez, Dali, Rubens & a host of other painters well worth seeing their work. Do take a look online:

Plaza Major go figure! On my 1st visit to Europe 38 years ago, this plaza was unbelievably impressive. Still quite lovely, I was reminded of the fascinating square in Brussels. Oh to be so spoiled!

Tapas Tour & ?? Provided by the hostel, it brought you to 3 tapas places : truly Madrid, Andalucian, and Basque. The most unique by far was the latter. They hold the bottle well above one's head and aim for the glass. small barrel like buckets are on the floor to catch your poor aim!
We each tried it, but not soemthing I'd seek out!

the ??? I wasn't interested in the Pub Crawl that began shortly after, but Mislav & Ana nudged me. It takes in 4 bars, an hour each. I managed 1 & 1/10th. I'd heard of the term: clubbing. But here it was in our 1st stop. Increasingly more & more packed, very loud music, little light (my hair lit up the room a bit!), and young dancing or some version thereof! Here is where I first met Onur & his two friends from Istanbul. Very pleasant young men. Very aware of other cultures & enjoying conversing about them.

Later two Spaniards from Madrid started a conversation with me. One was quite alert & spoke English well. we went back & forth betw. eng & Spanish. His friend was a tad far gone. Still they wanted to converse with me. Porque, no se! Probably a curiosity!!

Ana was quite surprised that I chose to depart after about 10 minutes of bar two. I went along for the experience' and agredable nature of my companions. I happily departed.


Elizabeth said...

What were the names of the places you went for tapas?

Phil Rivera Travel Blog said...

I will email my German friend who is still there & see if he knows or can ask.


Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.