Wednesday, November 4, 2009

November 4, 2009

Yeah. I know. I know. It’s been awhile. Too long. But here’s the thing: we’re pretty busy, and when you have some free time in such a great place like Madrid… Well, you know what I’m saying. I don’t feel like hanging in front of the computer screen, is all. Please accept our apologies.

Not that we don’t love you. Quite the contrary. We think of our family and friends often. More than it seems. Really. Sometimes adjusting has its challenges, but overall it’s pretty cool here.

There is, however, one aspect of living in Madrid that has been very difficult for me in particular. Finding that great cup of coffee is still something that eludes me. This upsets me. I live in a city of, what, something like 4 million people – a world-class place that was in the running to host the Olympics – and I’m left with going to Starbucks? That’s the best they can do? The Spanish seem OK with this though.

The perils of a being coffee snob in Spain are many. First, Starbucks is the only place I can get just a regular old cup of joe. Everywhere else only speaks the language of “café con leche” (coffee with hot milk). The other places don’t usually sell beans for brewing at home either. But even going to the ‘Bucks comes along with more than it’s usual baggage. Strangely, many Starbucks in town (and there are many) have drip machines which are supposedly “broken”, and drip coffee is rarely ever brewed. I believe this is because most Spaniards get lattes or café con leches or (of course) Frappaccinos. Most of the time the staff try to give me an Americano instead, but they don’t fool me. I can tell the difference.

But being cheated out of caffeine and regional coffee flavors from all over the world isn’t the only coffee-related danger here. Twice I was given coffee that had gone cold but was warmed up with the steam wand at the espresso machine – the one that’s usually used for steaming milk. And I’m here to tell you, coffee with a frothy head of foam is disgusting… as well as against several health code regulations in the States. And speaking of public health violations, last Saturday, Sarah and I were at a mall and I was putting forth great effort to receive what I had ordered while we were being spit upon by a few cheeky little Spaniards two floors up. I chased them and gave them a look that crossed all language barriers while they hid behind their clueless parents. (yes, lots of parents are inattentive here in Europe too.)

Don’t feel sorry for me. I’d still rather be here with lame coffee than in the States at this stage of my life. Yep, it’s pretty cool here.

Before I go, I want to send a shout out to a dear friend of ours who is ill, and who has seasoned many of life’s greatest storms with so many of us. A friend who has given so much more than he’s received: Morrissey. The troubadour of our most intimate sorrows – the boy with the thorn in his side – collapsed on stage the other week while singing “This Charming Man.” I’ve been wearing black since hearing the news… because black is how I feel on the inside. But maybe I’d be more of an encouragement if I wore gold lamé. Get well soon, Moz.

1 comment:

teryll said...

So I probably shouldn't brag about the fact that a mere few weeks ago, I was sipping on a delightful cup of joe from Intelligentsia?!? Is that what you're getting at? LOL! Miss you guys!