travel back in time

Tuesday 31st May 2005, Madrid, Spain

mmm... Sorbet!!

It's icecream weather in Madrid. At least, it was. Friday and Saturday were scorchers, well into the thirties. Friday evening, our extended wanderings took Maria and I into a little part of Madrid that we hadn't been before. We found the most sensational ice cream and sorbet shop, and I had a double cone- one scoop of green apple sorbet, and one scoop of lemon and lime sorbet. Delicious! My biggest fear is that I won't be able to find the place again.

Metropolis building, near Gran Via.

Another bomb blast rocked a little part of Madrid again the other day. It's got to the point where it almost doesn't warrant mentioning. On myt return from France recently, I saw some apparently terrorist-related graffiti on the railway station wall that read "OUR FREEDOM OR YOUR LIFE". Freedom from what exactly, you bored, brainwashed, hateful, pathetic idiot? Are you oppressed? You poor baby. I've lived in this country for almost a year now, and I can promise you I don't yearn to be set free. Why don't you cut yourself a big slice of chorizo, pour yourself some rioja and enjoy the good life that is Spain? And stop blowing things up where I live. From now on I'll be wearing my anti-terrorist tshirt more often than ever.

the faithful Tio Pepe sign

The Tio Pepe sign above the end of Puerta Del Sol is one of my favourite Madrid landmarks. It is the very first thing I noticed when I arrived in the city almost a year ago. I remember fondly that hot summer morning, sipping coffee under the Tio Pepe sign. This sign seems to symbolize everything thatn this city has come to mean to me. It looks different in thge changing light, and I can't resist photographing it every time I pass. Another reason for Maria to think I'm crazy.


Maria and I had a visit on the weekend from my mate Sebastian. Remember Sebastian, the guy who surprised me last year in Chercos? We saw him again in December in Berlin, when he drove across from Hannover to help celebrate Maria's birthday. Sebastian and his brother (don't call him the little brother!) were in Spain just fopr a few days' break from school/university. They drove up from Valencia to spend Saturday night with us, then on Sunday we all went for a wander through Madrid's famous El Rastro markets. *note the matching tshirts- it's a long story*

The Madrilenos are going to go berserk if their city gets the Olympics!!

Maria and I have got an action packed week or so ahead of us. Tomorrow night, we're having two Couchsurfers over for dinner, an Italian guy on holidays and an English girl who I think has moved to Spain. Then the next night, we're off to an African music festival. Friday, we're watching Maria's Mum dancing flamenco, and next week there's a couple of free street concerts in Madrid, Shakira, Alejandro Sanz, Carlinos Brown.... I think the festivities are something to do with Madrid's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. I think we find out next month whether we were successful in our bid. You just know Madrid is going to go crazy if they get the Games.

Cine Dore, in the Huertas area of Madrid

Speaking of huge events, the incredible BIGGEST SAVAGE FILES COMPETITION EVER has been closed, and winners are being announced on my competition page as I receive the results from the sponsor companies. Thanks to those of you who entered, and shame on those of you who didn't. You missed out on a great pool of prizes, and thanks to you some lucky sods have picked up prizes in more than one of the competitions. There are still a couple of Hostelworld Goldcards up for grabs, and nobody has claimed the special "REFERRER'S PRIZE" yet either.

Madrid skyline, Gran Via.

There have been a couple of interesting stories in the news lately. Check out these little beauties:

A duck gets a $45 fine for jaywalking...

Making paper out of kangaroo poo...

Before I go, I'll just direct you this page which might explain why I don't like babies.

This Australian humour got so many comments that I figured I'd leave it up for a bit longer. Don't forget there's more funny stuff, and two slide shows of funny photos on the index page of this website!)

After every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form, called a "gripe sheet," which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight. Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor. Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas's pilots and the solutions recorded by maintenance engineers. By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never had an accident.

(P= The problem logged by the pilot.) (S= The solution and action taken by mechanics .)

P: Left inside main tyre almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tyre.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what they're for.

P: IFF inoperative.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget

The questions below about Australia, are from potential visitors. They were posted on an Australian Tourism Website and the answers are the actual responses by the website officials, who obviously have a sense of humour.

Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? (UK).
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Australia? (Sweden)
A: So it's true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not... oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in Australia? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia? (UK)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is...oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Can I wear high heels in Australia? ( UK)
A: You are a British politician, right?

Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. (USA)
A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: Do you have perfume in Australia? (France)
A: No, WE don't stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia? (France)
A: Only at Christmas.

Q: I was in Australia in 1969 on R+R, and I want to contact the girl I dated while I was staying in Kings Cross. Can you help? (USA)
A: Yes, and you will still have to pay her by the hour.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first