Friday, January 22, 2010

Miraculous survival in Madrid!

In this time of trouble in Haiti, seeing so many buildings collapsed and few that are saved from under the rubble, it is with great satisfaction that I can report a miracle here in Madrid, just a few
streets down from where I live.

Last night, at 10:00 pm a woman noticed that large cracks were opening along her ceiling and down the wall. She called 112 (Spanish Emergency Number) and in five minutes the firemen were there to rush the 28 neighbors out of their houses. A few minutes later... the left side of the building came crumbling down. Zero casualties, zero injuries.

If this had happened a couple hours later while people were already sleeping then we would be looking at a catastrophe and a search and rescue. Instead, everyone is alive and well and the fireman were taking dust covered cars out of the garage.

The United Statesian

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Demon Dogs, Snow and Ice

Dear Citizens of the world,

The demon dogs are back with Galloping Spanish Blightus. The doctors here have a strange name for it - pneumonia.

The past three weeks have been spent sitting around, resting, coughing uncontrollably and trying to get the phlegm out of my lungs. Excitement with no end.

This week I was greeted with a treat in the form of snow. Four centimeters was enough to collapse Madrid and cause all sorts of confusion - not so fun for commuters, but great for me. I got to spend the day watching cars try to cross a patch of ice on a slightly inclined road just outside my window.

Cheap entertainment without even leaving home. See the video:

I've got a nice car, but I don't know how to drive it...

I recommend listening to Simon & Garfunkel's "Slip sliding away" while watching the video...

Maybe next week the demon dogs will have relaxed and I can return to life as normal here in the little metropolis called Madrid.

The United Statesian

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Day of the Innocent Saints - 28th December

Dear citizens of the world,

The 28th of December is a minor holiday in Spain with a religious background. It is called the Day of the Innocent Saints and it is similar to April Fool's Day, but with a different date and history.

I was not in Spain this day, but on my return I found out that I was the "Innocent" one to an anonymous gag. I was surprised to find a blow-up doll on my motorcycle in the garage.

The Innocent Saint's day is related to the bible story where King Harod orders all babies (Innocent Saints) younger than two years old to be killed in Bethlehem. Now it is a day for people to play gags.

My initiation was during my first year in Seville. A coworker called me at the office and pretended to be my boss. She pretended to be angry and wanted to fire me, but it was just a cruel joke. I promised to get her back, and I did.

Four months later on April Fool's Day I had an anonymous letter written and hand delivered to her desk before she came to work. The "writer" was a crazy student at the academy who was secretly in love with her and who had followed her home and even followed the boyfriend who would be "removed" from the picture soon so that they could be together.

She read the letter and ran off to the toilet. She did not tell anyone about it and she kept going back to the toilet to reread the letter. Later in the afternoon all of the coworkers huddled around her and asked what was wrong. They slowly let her know that they knew about this crazy student and said that he was outside and wanted to see her. She freaked out and then everyone yelled in unison "April Fool's!"

I told her that I would get her back... and I did, but not without the help of my many colleagues.

Happy Innocent Saints day!

The United Statesian