I am in Madrid now. Tired. Sitting at a hotel Internet point, watching the money ticking up on my credit card in the bar at the bottom of the screen.
It’s €5.25 now.
That’s a lot of Euros.
I could go to my room and watch Sky News or Spanish TV or read my book, but I need to remain more vertical than horizontal to ensure my dinner goes down.
The bed in my room is on casters on a wooden floor, so if I sit there propped up on pillows, I slowly edge the bed away from the headboard and skid across the room. I go to sleep in one place, and awake with the bed lodged in the opposite corner. It’s a nice room otherwise, it’s just they didn’t think it through.
€6.30 now. The above paragraphs cost me €1.05, I hope you think it worthwhile.
I just had some truly terrible service. I foolishly went to the Hard Rock Cafe on Plaza Colon because it was the only thing open at the time. I strolled around the streets before, looking for alternatives, but everything opened at 9, and it was 6.30. That left room-service or the Hard Rock, so I went for the latter, thinking it’d be fun to read my book and watch classic rock videos on the TVs.
I hoped they’d play some Marillion, but they didn’t.
Anyway, I won’t go into detail, because other people’s stories of rubbish service is like other people’s stories of bad drivers or telesales experiences. We’ve all been there, it drives us mad, but it’s really not very interesting.
The question is, why did I go to the Hard Rock in the first place?
Listen, I’ve had two positive food experiences in the last few days, both in Valencia, though entirely unconnected.
First, I had a cracking ham and cheese bocadillo, drizzled in olive oil. Quite a treat, and worthy of repeated telling. It was made by a nice man who didn’t stop shaking my hand and thanking me for coming to his bar – my Spanish pal who’d taken me there kept nodding and saying “good, yeah?” – I nodded back each time – he was right, it was very good indeed.
Second, I had a posh set of Spanish bits and bobs at some top gathering of important people on Valencia’s big holiday just yesterday – wonderful ham and cheese again, and some truly magnificent chicken croquetas, to name just two stars of this pleasing show. It is funny to see how society’s best can behave like buzzards squabbling over carrion when faced with a limited number of breaded prawns.
So, this lunchtime, ignoring the wisdom of the elders, I attempted to recreate these moments. This meant I struggled through a dry stodge of bread, stringy ham and pungent cheese drowning in a strong olive oil that still sits in my mouth now, taunting me, reminding me of my folly.
So I fancied a change from Spanish fayre, and Chinese is generally rubbish in Spain; the pizza place was closed, and so I thought I’d brave it.
It’s now up to €12.60 and it says 35 minutes. So I guess it’s something like €25 Euros an hour which seems rather steep to me.
I’m going to bed now.
It’s only 9.30 but I can’t afford to sit here any longer and I have to get an overnight bus tomorrow night to get home, so I’m getting anxious. I used to take overnight buses and trains a lot when I was younger. It was a good way to save money on accommodation – but now, nearing 40, and on business travel, I’d hoped such things were behind me.
€13.65 now, that cost me a lot of money just to tell you I didn’t have much money. I’m glad I’m not paying cash, it would be too much to cope with.
Arrrgghhhh €14.00 – I can’t afford to proof read this even. Shit. It’s probably boring and rambling and needs a jolly good edit. No matter. Quick spell check because I’m not sure about buzzards, then it’s publish.