Does Madrid ever sleep?

by admin on April 18, 2009

We got Sydney (Kaelin’s visiting friend) off to the airport this AM but what an experience!  We left the apt at 6:30am…I was a bit worried about finding a cab as they said calling one does not work….so we headed to the closest blvd.  As we left the apartment we immediately realized that Madrid had not gone to bed yet.  There were hundreds of people….all over…..still partying in the streets….LOTS of drunk people…as we strolled through the scenes with Sydney’s luggage rolling behind I felt somewhat unsafe….at 6:30 in the morning!  No one bothered us so I became more comfortable as we strolled to the main blvd.  It was still dark out so it was a bit erie…..we reached what appeared to be a busy street….as we waited on this one corner we saw taxi after taxi pass us by…all filled with passengers…I had no idea that my issue would be that all taxis would be full….and that we would be avoiding drunk people….no idea…I had these two young girls in my care and I was not prepared.

I started to immediately process game plan #2, with my antennas reaching toward the dark sky…..to think…30 minutes ago, I was sleeping peacefully.   As I contemplated our next move, I said a prayer…”just show me the way….show me the way”……..the next thing I knew this drunk guy was walking toward me eating a sandwich and said….”taxi?”  I said, “si” and he slurred some street name and point up the street….I tried to repeat what I heard so he would say it again…..and he did…but I still didn’t get it….I just knew it started with an M…and that there was egg in his sandwich…. so, we headed up the street in the direction he pointed….looking for anything that resembled his M word.  Yes I did ponder how ludicrous it was to follow a drunk man’s slurred direction but at that point it was all I had…so we walked…and as we did, I noticed a silence in our group….Kaelin and Sydney are normally take charge girls…there was silence…just the faint sound of their footsteps immediately filling the steps of mine….as if I had a wing…and they were struggling to stay under it.

As we walked passed a mariachi band loading their car….several couples hanging out by cars….groups of people all dressed up and looking good…I realized that we were the minority….sober people on the streets at 6:30am…we were the minority?!  I began to look at the passing cars in a different light….it was as if we were part of a game….I had to find a taxi…while tranversing through drunk people and most likely, drunk drivers…and the point structure?….taking the right direction after a drunk man slurred some words at you….10 points…….crossing a main blvd with cars full of drunk people driving every which way…..15 points……a empty taxi passing without stopping…..lose 15 points…..successfully passing the group with the young man peeing on the street sign….20 points…..staying calm while being taunted…10 points…..rolling a suitcase…..lose 50 points……saying prayers…..100 points……getting cash out of the atm during all of this…..beep beep beep stupid stupid stupid…..lose 50 points….I can laugh as I look back on it…but then….with two young girls in tow……and no pepper spray in hand….I wasn’t laughing.

No….it wasn’t funny when I glanced up to see a young man….in a group of men…peeing on the street sign…and looking directly at us approaching.  I told the girls…keep walking fast and keep looking to your right…..no eye contact…..Kaelin….not hearing…..looked……and the taunting began….and our pace increased….there was a very big intersection in site….and as we approached the corner,  I could see lots of taxis passing by….filled with people….and my heart sank.  I began to turn toward the girls while telling them to say a prayer to whoever it is they pray to so …..and out of my eye there was a taxi….sitting right in front of us….I gestered to him  and he knodded his head…..he knodded his head!  He didn’t just drive on as others did before….he knodded his head!!  I didn’t really believe it until he got out and popped his trunk….we were safe…..we had won.

Before I could even step toward the taxi, the girls had thrown the suitcase in the trunk and were strapped in and ready to go.  I jumped in to the fainting sounds of taunting as we sped away.

Once safe in the cab, we regurgitated what had just happened and pondered what could possibly be so fun that you would stay out until 7am?  And how lucky were we that a drunk man felt the compassion to direct us?  And the taxi was right there at the end?  Hmm……

We took Syd in to her terminal and got her set…..watched her go through security and waved good bye.  Kaelin and I went on a search for the taxis which is never as easy when you don’t have your contacts in. :)   We were victorious and jumped in….buckled up….and headed back to Calle de Alpadoca, cinco.  As we told the driver donde we were headed, I recalled the memory of when we arrived in Madrid…first got in two taxis (5 people had to go in 2)….and how I had to show him the address written down…and was nervous about sending 2 girls in another cab at that point….and a bit nervous about where are apt was….how it would be…..what we would do…..and relieved that we made it through without customs…..and now we just jump in and say our address in Spanish and head back as if we were locals.  It felt comfortable….and everything had worked out just fine…..actually really good……and we had spent the night before at a bar, having a margarita, talking about sex, drinking, and anything else they felt like talking about……and I realized once again that there is a bigger picture to this….one that I cannot really even grasp….and I really need to let go of the daily worries and feelings as if I had control….and to let it be….be strong…identify good direction…..and execute…..because this is changing lives….and I’m lucky to be a part of it….

As we jumped out of our cab and ran back upstairs, I felt as if I was a Madrid local coming home from partying :) …so I jumped in my bed and fell back to sleep….and as I awoke there was a sense of great relief…..that I wasn’t in charge…..that I was back to my core team….and the stage was now set for an even more amazing second half to our journey….

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