Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the lame

Every time anyone’s ever mentioned Spain, even in my vague proximity, I have tended to note that while I’ve been to Barcelona on a more or less annual basis since I accidentally hitchhiked there in 2002 (WOULD THAT THERE HAD BEEN BLOGS IN 2002), I’ve never actually been to Madrid. Well, I’ve now accidentally redressed this balance – on my way out to Rio de Janeiro for the ludicrously jammy press trip that was to mark my return to the world of Adventure, I got shafted by Iberian airlines, who managed to deposit me and my fellow transferees in Madrid just in time to see the Rio gate close... a fact conveyed to us with the lackadaisical quality possessed only by British supermarket attendants and Spanish people.

I’d probably bore on about it more, but I’ve just spent 20 minutes filling in a complaint form about it all. Plus there was another English guy in the same situation whose determination to take out his frustration on the blameless woman at the Iberia desk was so obnoxiously mockey twattish about the whole thing that he actually managed to make me feel a note of shame, for some reason. (I was genuinely going to tell him to calm down, but it occurred to me that there was a vague chance that underneath all his Guy Ritchie pseudo gangster posturing, his ludicrous sense of entitlement might derive from the fact he was an ACTUAL gangster).

So yes, I’m at a hotel in what I suppose is the Madrid equivalent of Hounslow. Iberia gave me a voucher for a day plus lunch plus dinner here – the curious thing is that I’m reasonably certain that EVERYONE else in this hotel is in exactly the same boat… there’s something that quite tickles me about the idea of a sort of purgatorial hotel that nobody actually chooses to stay in, buts ends up in anyway. Anyway, I’m quite enjoying it here: the Madrid equivalent of Hounslow is a lot nicer than the London equivalent of the Madrid equivalent of Hounslow – I had a wander and a cheap beer in a nondescriptly pleasant local taverna (IS THAT EVEN A WORD); now I’m drinking cornershop tinnies in my hotel room (the minibar has five types of soft drink and just one coke can size beer – baffling) while watching BBC World and contemplating having a bath. BBC World and baths are definitely two of the defining features of my Siberian backpacking odyssey (well of three of the stops on it, but they were terribly emotional) and I feel a twinge of nostalgia. Perhaps above all, the downside of a 7.20am flight is that I can’t indulge in my favourite hobby of Hanging Out At The Airport; I have had nothing to do BUT hang out at (or near) the airport today (I could obviously have gone to Madrid but, um, you know, it’d feel like a quick squeeze of the boob when this is a lady I want to court). Anyway, I was only ever going to have a quiet one on my first night in Rio and I get there 10-ish tomorrow morning, so you know, if I actually get any compensation for all this hassle I’ll probably not complain.

NB BBC World – baffling, though delightfully so.

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