Madrid Part 2

Palacio de correos, now the city council building

I forgot to bring my toothbrush so i had to search to find one to buy. I ended up brushing with a bottle of water and spitting out in a sewer grate in front of the Ministry of Culture. Jason's still got plenty of scum in him.

This is just an office building.

some book stall row that stretched for the length of one city block.

Retiro park. People were gobbling up any grass available to hang out on. There is tons of sweet sweet grass in Madrid.

crystal palace. usually there is something going on in there but it was under renovation or something.

pigeon tagged with a number

Why is this one sign in Japanese? I didn't notice any others in my time in Madrid.

View from the top of Circulo de bellas artes. This amazing and beautiful building is something like the art student's league in NY only 1000x more epic. They have live model drawing sessions for cheap, concerts, theatre shows, art exhibitions, a radio station, and extravagant parties. So you get to draw and paint in the upper levels in this amazing building. It has a statue of Minerva, the greek goddess of wisdom on the top. There is a really nice cafe at the bottom with chandeliers and really high prices and sh!tty waiters. I ordered a $10 milkshake and it was make out of that fake icecream that's make out of ice. This is marco's favorite building in madrid. I agree. If you come to Madrid you have to go to this building and you have to go to the top.

I saw one of these super mini buses zoom down one of the compact streets in Marco's neighborhood and couldn't get a good shot of it in time. I wonder how bad the drivers of these buses get dogged on back at the bus depot by the drivers of real sized buses.

Puerta del Sol is usually a beautiful place but a historic event was happening there when I was in Madrid. prior to some elections the youth of Spain got fed up with the politicians and didn't like any of the choices they were offered for the elections, and the crappy 21% unemployment rate, and the economic crisis, and the housing bubble burst and took to this plaza to protest. They made a huge camp out of the whole plaza. by law they were supposed to be out of there the day before the elections but weren't going anywhere and the police weren't going to do anything about it either because it would be a nightmare. The same thing was going on back at Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona.

fresh from Japan I thought this was an atomic bomb cloud and a dog like hachiko or that it could even be hachiko. i wondered why they would have such a statue like this in madrid of all places. later i found out it is a bear and a strawberry tree.

i quipped, what the hell are these girls accomplishing? and if you look at it it looks kind of stupid and they look like they're just sitting around on a saturday afternoon cuz everyone is doing it and its the cool thing to do. but marco said, maybe, but they need everyone in on place and they need the numbers to make a statement. I guess that's true. I just automatically see a sea of hippies, LGBT activists, weirdos, and young kids who don't really know what they're doing. and they all look like they could be from williamsburg brooklyn if willyburg was suddenly 80% spanish and 20% south american. I don't know enough about these kinds of protests or case studies to make the above judgement though.

at a nearby plaza there were circles of people discussing various controversial subjects like environmental issues, education, big business, animal rights, etc... there appeared to be a leader or several leaders writing down the discussions. people would raise their hands and shake them instead of clapping. for me it was cute to see everyone getting along and being civil. for spanish people its pretty serious.

i guess this is better than being in the square. at least here you're with the people and you're talkin' about what's wrong in small community circles.

eventually a giant circle was formed and the leaders of each of the smaller circles used a megaphone, one by one to state their circles' demands to the the government. it seemed that they allowed select people to comment from time to time. Everyone would ask me what i thought about the whole protest thing and i would say, i don't know. and i don't know because what i gleaned from the whole thing in this square is that it just snowballed into a giant hippiefest where they were preaching vegetarianism, animal rights, banning nuclear power, rainbow flags, and basically were anti-capitalism. All that stuff is fine and well but I feel it turned the part of the protest i saw into a self righteous circus. Like a giant "lets demand that every hippie thing be changed protest". To me it seems like they have too many irons in the fire and should focus on a few.

i found myself drawn to this cute young skinny tom boy college girl with the megaphone. A strong solid woman in her 40s that was very good at public speaking had just finished basically preaching vegetarianism and this girl stepped up into the middle of the giant circle to give a counter argument. I couldn't tell what was going on but the older woman started chasing her off after the intent of her speech started to become clear, and lots of people started booing the girl. She kind of fought them off for a couple seconds but eventually the hippies got their way. It's not just because i'm a meat eater or that I don't like hippies but I liked how this girl had the audacity to try to talk sense into this crowd of hippie protest goodvibes and go against the wave.

i couldn't choose which picture best represented the moment so i put both. her posture is almost the same in both photos but there is something different in each photo that conveys the feeling of that girl. skinny, fragile, trembling, unsure yet sure of what shes saying. The coolest thing I saw out of the whole protest.

it's funny that so much wine is consumed here that they have put these around madrid. as for drinking during the protest, it didn't really happen because the message was that they shouldn't drink and should focus on the protest and not turn it into a giant party.

Sidreria el tigre is a bar that is always packed because for 4 euros you get a beer and a huge plate of various tapas. so packed that its not really enjoyable unless you're in the mood for that kind of packed bar. but if you're hungry and in that mood its awesome.

Marco ended up taking 4 plates for us. there were various sausages on breads, potato things, etc... it was random what kind of tapas plate you would get. the bar guys kept dishing beers and plates of these tapas at breakneck speed.

somewhere in one of the party districts of Madrid. tons of people drinking and eating outside.

Palentino is a cool place to drink. just showing you incase you ever go to madrid.

in Barcelona its the Pakistanis that sell you beer on the street. in Madrid its the Chinese. This adds to the "Chino factor" in Spain. The "Chino factor" is a term made up by me right now for a cultural phenomenon throughout the western world where people think that every asian person they see is Chinese and to a further extent, involved in low level work such as running convenience stores and selling beer on the street. The Chino factor is lower in places like the USA that have a more diverse population and many affluent and successful Asian people. The Chino factor is higher in places like Spain where there is a more homogenous society and few visible successful Asians. Maybe i'm just being paranoid and negative asian man but I feel that Asian people here are viewed in negative light or just aren't viewed at all. besides the fact that categorizing every Asian person as Chinese is insulting, incorrect, ignorant, and strips them of their unique super old various Asian heritages. This is similar to how Americans call every spanish speaking person whether they be from Spain or Puerto Rico "Spanish". You just say something like "this spanish guy at work has the new ipad" and he could be from columbia or the dominican republic or actually from Spain. I do believe that people know there are differences between the Spanish speaking countries but don't know if people are as educated to the differences between Asian countries. But still, we use the word "Spanish" as a blanket term, even I use it in NY. Would Spanish people like it if i called them/assumed that they were Portuguese? and then looked dumbfounded when they tell me they're actually Spanish, like where the hell is Spanish, it's all the same sh!t right? How does this translate for Asian people living here? For one, i feel that Asian dudes are looked at as less attractive/not attractive and as the dirty Chino guy from the convenience store that isn't fit for dating or even talking to. I'm not being ridiculous here, seriously its a human trait and the product of centuries of socialization. I'm always the only Asian person in every establishment I go to. In Asia westerners are treated as kind of special to various degrees and are even considered cool and interesting. People want to talk to them, be friends with them(maybe not in Korea as much) But when you flip it around here Asians are at the bottom of the caste system. Maybe I just want to feel special, like the rarest and most beautifulest flower. As an Asian American living in Asia I got way less special treatment because of how I looked so I felt way less special than say, John Ribiero who could get away with murder. Here I feel the opposite of special. I've only been here a month so maybe this will change. I'm also guilty of using the blanket term "Spanish" so i'm not exempt from this rant, although i know it's a blanket term for people from unique countries. I would probably be ok with "Chino" if they knew that Chino is just a blanket term and not that every Asian person really is Chinese. Most people just say whatever jason, or you're just exaggerating, or who cares. Maybe it's hard to understand this because you can't really try on being called "Chino" all the time and seeing how it feels because you're either not Asian, or live in the USA or some diverse country. I'm not throwing in the towel or throwing the race/social stigma card. I'm not crusading for the plight of the Asian man. 'm just sayin'.


Anonymous said...

You are a beautiful flower ol' buddy

Anonymous said...

My heart echos your words. I am glad that finally someone believes me when I say it was lonely and frustrating living in Miami as a Chino for three years...

Life is hard, man. It gives and then it takes. However, the cold shoulder treatment these "Spanish Chicas" give you for being a "Chino" will only make you appreaciate the pie much more once you stuff your face with it.

And yes, you are beautiful and precious (for a charm-less Chino bum whose existence is not recognized).

Your Chino friend from Seoul...